My draw to Twitter is that it’s super simple and easy to use. I get all the information I need just by scrolling down a list of ever-changing headlines and tweets. That may soon change, however, according to a new redesign that was spotted by a member at Mashable. For now, it looks like the change is only in testing, but if it goes live for everyone we could all be looking at pages that look an awful lot like Facebook. I’m not sure how I feel about that right now.
If you look at the full screenshot below, you can see that the user profile picture is aligned at the top left of the page, just under a header-picture. It looks just like Facebook, and even includes a short bio under the photo, as well as the timeline of tweets to the right. That’s exactly where your newsfeed exists on Facebook. Our biggest complaint is that tweets look massive, and are sectioned off in cubes instead of in a simple easy-to-browse list of headlines and chatter. Hopefully this is just an option, because Twitter has become a massive news source for millions of people, and this new format doensn’t allow you to consume news nearly as quickly. Why would Twitter do this?
Our best guess is to drive additional revenue. The company still didn’t report a profit in its first earnings report since going public, and it needs to continue to find new ways to make money. With a massive area to display content, Twitter opens up plenty of opportunities to serve sponsored posts and other advertisements. We fear that may mean big photo and video ads, though we hope Twitter has some restraint in that regard.
Right now the service appears to only be limited to a select number of users, though it seems to be a drastic enough change that Twitter is seriously considering a roll-out. We won’t complain if there’s an option to switch between different views, though that doesn’t appear to be an option in this test version.