Twitter has had a bit of a revamp in an effort to improve the visual impact of its pages.
Users visiting a Twitter profile are now met with a banner image as well as the thumbnail avatar. The two-image user interface is reminiscent of two of Twitter’s biggest social media adversaries, Facebook and Google+.
Twitter users also have the opportunity to showcase recent photos in a six thumbnail sidebar which displays the most recent images tweeted from that account.
This is the first step towards Twitter’s ultimate goal of achieving a ‘destination page’ utopia, in which internet users can find everything they could possibly want without leaving the platform.
The change was looming after the decision to drop the use of third-party picture hosting such as Twitpic, yfrog and mobipicture.
This decision was not met with the open-armed response Twitter was hoping for. Many members of the tech world were outraged that the social giant could simply turn its back on picture hosting apps after they pioneered the art of tweeting an image.
The emergence of the likes of Twitpic took the original Twitter to a whole new level, as they were supported by Twitter’s own API ecosystem.
Twitter’s rebuttal to the mixed reaction of the sudden third-party axing was the claim they were simply ‘Delivering a consistent Twitter experience”.
Along with a new ‘me’ tab in the navigation bar (much like the ‘profile’ tab found on your Facebook page), the newest incarnation of the social platform gives a bigger, richer canvas upon which brands can paint a more visually engaging image for their target audiences.
The changes have been rolled out and can be seen in the newest version of its iPhone, iPad and Android apps. The announcement also coincides with the newest iPhone software update.
While many users will be jumping at the chance to make the most of the new Twitter styling, the increasing opportunities for brands to increase their grip on social channels won’t please everyone.
With controversy rife over the value of a ‘like’, and with corporate saturation at Facebook the subject of satirical ridicule, sceptics would argue that the biggest social platforms are giving advertising priority over user experience.
Twitter’s newest updates, while dressed as user experience enhancements, might just help to prove the sceptics right. With more refined Twitter analytics tools and advertising techniques emerging, how diverse will the social media landscape of the future look?
To counter this homogenising of social media, all channels should be celebrating their individuality and concentrating on putting users first. After all, if the users turn off, so will the brands.