Twitter’s been known for a number of things – namely, making a lot of noise – but the newly revamped platform aims to be something bigger, better, and very specific: The number one source for news. Heads up, journalists.
The primary new features are an extended two-column interface and embedded rich media:
New Twitter screenshot
While not having to point browsers to sites like TwitPic or YouTube certainly makes Twitter both bigger and better, does it really turn the platform into the new “it” place for news? The order is a tall one, but let’s think about it for a second.
For starters, the inclusion of multimedia means Twitter may have just leveled the playing field between online publications and broadcast news reporters. After all, outfitting tweeted links to stories with visual teasers would translate to a much more attractive experience for readers, and encourage them to visit the source site on their own time, rather than just in the morning when rags typically push their stories.
“It completely demolishes the idea of a 24-hour news cycle for newspapers and makes them more relevant in the second-by-second world of computers and smart phones,” said Rich Hanley, a professor of journalism and interactive communications at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.
Secondly, newsgathering just got easier. When a tweet is clicked, the right-hand column displays details of its author and subject, as well as relevant @replies, and, if geo-tagged, a map of where it originated. Journalists of every type are essentially being handed a modern-day technique for assessing both the usefulness of contacts and the accuracy of information.
Meaning, if you thought reputation was viral before, then, you might want to brace yourself. It sounds like finding the horse’s mouth will take even fewer clicks than it does today, so unless your facts are arrow-straight, don’t you dare hit that Tweet button. You will be hunted, and you will be caught. Quickly.
Finally, Twitter removed the “Tweet” button and character count from the spotlight to seemingly further promote the idea that the platform is just as much about exploring information as it is about reporting it.
At the end of the day, the new Twitter is still a lot of noise, but it also provides one of the oldest rituals in history with a vehicle for becoming applicable in today’s technological world. If that’s not a recipe for everyone’s favorite new news source, then what is?