The new Twitter: disappointing for me, although I understand it
I wanted to wait a few days before I gave you my opinion on the new Twitter as detailed on the Twitter blog: http://fly.twitter.com
Why? Because investor +Chris Sacca
thinks I am not fair to the company and thinks I'm an idiot anyway (he said as much a few months ago on his Twitter stream at https://twitter.com/#!/sacca
-- I'd take you back to those tweets but Twitter's search engine still doesn't work for old stuff). Fair enough, I've been pretty harsh to Twitter lately because, well, they just haven't done much despite having 700 employees. So, I suppose this is an improvement.
I talked with quite a few Twitter employees in the past week and I've been watching all the blogs pour in (Techmeme had a bucket full, many positive, but most negative). I understand why they are doing it. They are trying to make it easier for new users to get around inside the product. Dan Frommer did a good job of nailing the positive: http://www.splatf.com/2011/12/new-new-twitter/
It's clear they explicitly aren't working for advanced users (I.E. those who have been on the service for more than a year). Heck, if I had 100 million people making 250 million tweets per day (amazing stat!) I probably would do the same thing. Remember, the tweet volume has doubled in less than a year. That means that a CRAPLOAD of new users have shown up in the past year (my dad is one of them, he still has no clue what Twitter is for, it'll be interesting to watch him discover this new design at Christmas and see if he's changed any of his opinions).
Because it wasn't designed for long-time users, I find it just leaves me wanting. They broke lots of things I've been used to, like I call them "replies" not "Connect." (the URL I used to use to look at my replies broke). OK, get used to a new URL, no biggie.
They did something similar to permalinks. Now I have to look for a word titled "details" to get the permalink. It used to be on the time stamp (which is where permalinks have been since the beginning of blogging).
I can't find my search box anymore, oh, there it is, they just don't call it search and moved it and made it smaller. Lots of other things have been moved. They also shove "who to follow" in my face, and the suggestions are laughable. Not to mention I'm already following 33,000 people on the service. At some point maybe they should say "hey, you are following enough, could we remove this feature from the UI for you to make it cleaner?" Nah.
Lists are still broken. I still can't follow more than 500 on any of them. I can't make more than 20. They still don't do anything to my home feed if I follow other people's lists. I still can't remove people from my lists.
So, this update clearly isn't for me, or anyone like me. I still can't see threaded conversations. I still don't have noise controls (hey, at least +Eric Schmidt
promised those to me last week on Google+). I still don't have a Mac app that works properly on my vertical monitor (they know about it, it's just "low on prioritization to fix.")
There's more, too. The mobile app moved everything around, but the iPad app hasn't gotten updated yet. Neither has the Mac app. So, now I have to learn a bunch of different UIs.
Why companies move the chairs around on the deck of the ship? I don't know. But they have 700 employees now and I suppose they need to do something to satisfy those pesky investors "hey, boss, look, we moved everything around and we STILL got more users coming in every day" (Twitter's usage has about doubled in just the past year, which justifies all sins -- I will remember that, because someday I'll be justifying my own sins to a boss. Hi +Tiffaney Fox Quintana
! :-) ).
Anyway, you all have fun with your Twitter. Me, I'll keep sitting here in the corner sulking. At least it'll give us something to talk about on +Steve Gillmor
's Gang tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Pacific (although I'll be very brief because I'll be headed on a plane to Texas).
And, yes, I have been watching reactions, and they have been quite split, which makes sense, given the design goals of this new Twitter.
Wake me up when they do something cool for advanced users, though.
Of course they don't have the problems of Facebook (who made their UI more complex lately with a ton of new visionary, and freaky to many users, features). They also don't have the problem of Google+ of slow-flow feeds. Twitter SCREAMS down my screen compared to Google+.
So, perhaps Sacca is right. I'm an idiot, to be kept quiet in the closet while he gets richer and while Twitter takes off and becomes a real business that grows and grows and grows.
I'm willing to take on that role. That said, don't expect me to be a happy user. Which explains why I keep coming back to Google+.