Twitter is revamping the service with personal Twitter profile pages, a new timeline that includes rich media and other related information embedded into tweets, and easier search for information based on @ symbols (usernames) and hash tags. Talking at Twitter’s unfinished new headquarters building in San Francisco, founder Jack Dorsey and CEO Dick Costolo explained that the changes are meant to make Twitter more accessible to everybody.
Their three goals:
Expose the "universe within every tweet." Tweets aren’t just 140 characters — there’s also context like retweets and replies, and embedded content like videos, images, and songs. Today, accessing this material still feels like opening a "side drawer," said Costolo. Make Twitter less obscure to use. Today, the @ and # symbols are too obscure — people don’t know what they mean. This contributes to a lot of people visiting Twitter but not really participating actively. The redesign surfaces these symbols and makes them the gateway to find out more infrmation about people and topics on the surface.
Share it with everybody. The world has 7 billion people. Most of those people are "not yet on Twitter," said Costolo. The redesign will roll out to mobile devices simultaneously, and is streamlined to load up to 500% faster. The trick is doing this without adding too much complexity. As Dorsey put it, "simplification is the key here."
Here are elements:
Personal profile pages. Every Twitter user will get a new profile page that contains everything about them — all their tweets, followers, favorites, images they’ve uploaded, and so on. "Tell more compelling story for you." New home timeline. The new timeline page will embed everything about a particular tweet right in the tweet — retweets, favorites, and added content. Twitter will also put an embed code into every tweet, so Web sites can take entire tweets and put them on Web pages, just as they do with YouTube videos and other content.
#Discover. A new # option at the top of the page will take you to a list of interesting stories related to people you’re following, or people Twitter thinks you might be interested in. (The relevance algorithm isn’t that great yet — the top two stories for me right now are about Ice Cube and Rick Perry, neither of whom I’ve ever followed or tweeted about.)
@ names are now the shortcut to people. A new @Connect item at the top of the Twitter home page will let you see everything that is happening related to your username — all retweets, direct messages, and so on. We’ll have a walkthrough posted shortly.