Twitter is currently rolling out its latest take on every journalists’ favourite social media platform.
You can read about the main new features here. Over the weekend, I’ve been getting to grips with them, and working out whether this update will change the way journalists and news readers interact with Twitter.
This is a big leap from the Twitter of old, and essentially positions them as a news service, much like Summify. Discover aggregates the most popular content being Tweeted about by those you follow, and makes it easier to find. This is great for dipping in and out of Twitter, and will ideally enable a journalist or reader to catch up on breaking news via Twitter, rather than just joining half way through a story.
However, with Twitter becoming a more “official” news source, there is a likelihood that false information could be circulated more easily. Twitter is bad enough at this already: see this fantastic interactive graphic from the Guardian about how misinformation spread like wildfire during the riots. With an official face of Twitter, false news stories become more widely promoted, and people questioning the rumours can be shut out of the picture.
2. Embedding tweets
Finally, Twitter has an easy way to let us embed tweets, which should save a load of time and make services like Storify less essential for summarising Twitter conversation. Twitter has cut out the middle man, and I’m a big fan of this, and journos far and wide should take advantage of this. Stop printscreening those tweets!
3. Multiple accounts on mobile apps
A feature that has been missing forever from Twitter has been multiple sign-ins. In an unexpected step, the Twitter mobile app now allows you to more easily hope between accounts, and I get the feeling this would be far easier for, say, live-tweeting an event. You’re locked into the account, which means there is no chance of tweeting from the wrong one, as you may have done with the Tweetdeck mobile app of old.
I’ve only tried the Android version, but I assume the iPhone one to be the same - correct me if I’m wrong!
4. More journalists and readers on Twitter
I really feel that Twitter have achieved their main aim in the redesign: to simplify the experience. As a new user, Twitter is always disorienting, and some people never really understand the torrent of information that hits you every time you log in. New Twitter goes to great lengths to address that, and does wonders for the user experience, making it into more one a reader experience for those not yet comfortable with tweeting the inanities of day-to-day life… or whatever it is you post.
Search a hashtag, for example, under Discover, and you’ll get the tweets, pictures, and videos associated with the hashtag. It’s well presented, and is, while still slightly chaotic, far easier to understand than a bombardment of text and bitly links. As such, I think we’ll see more journalists embracing twitter, as the first hurdle has been lowered, but more importantly, we’ll see Twitter be more open to those who aren’t “power users”.
The reader will exist more commonly on Twitter, and we as journalists, will have to learn how to cater for, and to, them.
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look