A new version of Twitter is now out for iOS, Android and Web users, showing off a smarter look and new features as it aims for a more social feel.
A Bird's Eye View
Twitter in any native version (to these eyes) always looked a touch utilitarian, despite user efforts with its background and icons. Now, things are a bit different with new panes and tabs to liven the screen up and additional tabs to segregate users from content. I'm not sure if its been universally updated yet; one account in Chrome has the new version, another in Firefox is still looking rather old hat.
Of course, if you've moved into the advanced territory of TweetDeck or another app, then all of this will be above you. What the new version offers is a Home button for the default view, @Connect to help you find relevant new people to follow and #Discover, which helps you keep up with trends, official Twitter news and other content.
New Twitter in Chrome has better partitioning of information
Tweet With Care
By splitting up the @people and the #content tags, the site should become easier to use for those who aren't down with the crazy characters that are part of the social media language. For most other users, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to get used to the new layout and conventions.
There is some divergence between designs. On the web version, there is just a silhouette for the user's profile, while on the iPhone that button is called "Me." At the practical level, pictures and images are now a part of the tweet and the whole thing does seem a little faster.
The evolution has seen both positive and negative responses. Power users will enjoy the new keyboard shortcuts to move around rapidly in the browser, while phone-based user are already moaning that there seem to be less tweets than there used to be showing on a page, due to the new layout.
If you've given new Twitter a spin, let us know how you've got on. The web is already full of vitriol, rationality and the shrugging of shoulders. The new design certainly hasn't stopped the fail whale appearing; I've seen him twice today already. iPhone users should also be installing the new Flipboard app -- an essential download.