Twitter rolled out “New Twitter” in September, with all 160 million users having access to the redesigned homepage by mid-October. While there was some resistance (as there always is with change), the reaction to New Twitter has generally been positive. And with the Old Twitter becoming obsolete shortly, we thought we’d take a look at some basics you should know about the New Twitter.
The Side Panel
One of the most obvious changes to the Twitter homepage is the right-hand side panel. This panel is much larger in New Twitter, and it offers several benefits. Whether you have been using New Twitter for a few months now, or you are reluctantly making the switch over, there are a few things about this panel that you should know.
First, most of the features on the right-hand panel of Old Twitter have remained. Their positioning may have been shifted, but items like Trending Topics, Who to Follow and a list of who recently followed you are still there.
This panel has also been expanded to include additional information while you’re navigating around Twitter.com. For instance, if you click on a user’s name in your timeline or search, you’ll see the right-hand panel change to reveal a mini-bio, including their picture, bio information and several of their latest tweets.
You can also watch embedded media in this side panel. Videos from YouTube, pictures from Instagram and even audio can be displayed from within Twitter using this new panel.
If you’re using the New Twitter right now, go ahead and press “?”. An overlay list of keyboard shortcuts will pop up. These make life infinitely easier for Twitter.com users, especially those who are on a laptop of simply don’t like reaching for the mouse.
pushing “n” will bring up the “What Happening” overlay in which you can quickly pen a new tweet; “m” sends a direct message; and “.” refreshes the page to see all of the lovely new tweets in your timeline.
These are immensely useful, and a great new feature of New Twitter.
The Little Extras
There are other things you need to know about the New Twitter aside from the right-hand panel changes and keyboard shortcuts. For instance, each tweet now include the real name (if provided) of the person tweeting in grey next to their Twitter username. This makes it easy to tell who’s who even when usernames are ambiguous.
Along with this information, there are now clear icons to indicate retweets and favorites. This is helpful when scanning a timeline for relevant information.
And finally, New Twitter offers more refined search results. You can search for tweets near you, or tweets with links to get at location- or media-based tweets only.
Along with all of these updates, there are dozens of other design and interface upgrades that have graced the New Twitter. What are your favorite new features?