Our articles about Twitter, though, largely revolve around ways to avoid going to the site altogether.
For example, I recently pointed out five Linux Twitter clients you’ve probably never heard of and Steve recommended you use Seesmic Desktop 2 as your Twitter client. The new Twitter might convince people like us to stop using a client and use Twitter directly. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the new Twitter, as compared to desktop clients.
First Off: Do I Have It?
A lot of people are wondering how to tell if they have access to the new Twitter. Well, you probably don’t; Twitter’s not sure how long it will take to roll out to all users. To find out for sure head over to Twitter.com and look for a message like this:
If you see that, all you need in order to try out the new Twitter is click the yellow button. If you don’t see that I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for a while, but keep reading to see what’s coming up later. Switching back to the old Twitter is as simple as clicking your name in the top-right corner, then clicking “leave preview”.
The first thing you’ll notice is that everything is wider. Like before there are two main panels, the left and the right. The left panel does largely what it did before – displaying tweets – and the right panel does largely the same thing as well – displaying information such as who you’re following and what topics are currently trending.
So, at first it looks like this is the same old Twitter, albeit a much wider one. But it’s not. Click on a Tweet and the right panel becomes useful. For example, if there’s a link to a picture, you’ll see the picture:
If the tweet is part of a conversation, you’ll see the rest of the conversation:
You get the idea; the right panel includes information to give the tweet context. Even if there’s no picture, or no conversation, you’ll see information about people mentioned in the tweet. It’s all about giving context to the little piece of information Twitter encourages us all to push out every day, which I think is welcome.
You’ll also notice that your profile has a little room to breathe now, giving more emphasis to your location and bio than the old interface:
Finally, for those of you who resent having use a mouse to browse your tweets, the new interface provides you with a handy supply of keyboard shortcuts. Press “?” and you’ll see a list.
Get to know those and you could save a lot of time browsing Twitter (or, perhaps more realistically, waste a lot more time browsing Twitter).
If you consider yourself an avid user of TweetDeck or Gwibber, you might notice a few key features are missing here. The biggest problem, for me, is the lack of support for automatic URL shortening. There might be a Firefox or Chrome plugin to solve this problem, I realize, but it would be really nice for such a functionality to be built in.
The other main advantage Twitter clients have over Twitter itself? Integration with other services. I know, I know, Twitter isn’t going to natively support Facebook or LinkedIn messages anytime soon, but to me that’s the entire appeal of a client.
Still, overall I have to say Twitter is now an impressive alternative to any client. I’ll be using it a lot more now than I ever did before.
What about you guys? Do you yet have access to the new Twitter? If so, do you like it? Or did you turn it off almost right away? Sharing in the comments below is an awesome thing to do, and if you have the new Twitter it just might make Mark very jealous.