Across the world, people are wondering: Has Twitter sold out?
If you haven’t noticed yet, Twitter introduced a brand new user profile re-design on Tuesday…and it looks eerily similar to Facebook. Among other changes, the header image now spans the width of your screen, and a square profile photo is inset on the top left. Categories for profile browsing (such as tweets, photos, following and favorites) are featured across the top of your Twitter stream (similar to Facebook tabs for a user’s timeline, about, photos and friends). You can also “pin” selected tweets to the top of your page, much like you would on a Facebook page.
Why Twitter’s New Profile Design Looks Exactly Like Facebook?
Twitter’s move towards mainstream
Data shows that Twitter is more popular with teens and young adults, who tend to associate Facebook with their aging parents. Twitter has always retained its “cool” factor by shying away from the mainstream, and maintaining its own look and feel. So, why the change towards conformity?
Some speculate that Twitter is trying its hand at appealing to a larger audience by becoming more consumer-friendly, moms and dads included. While the changes might alienate some early adopters and rebels, tailoring the design of the site to a mass audience with increased buying power both allows for increased engagement and attracts advertisers.
Uniformity across social networks
However, Twitter’s changes to look more like Facebook, and vice-versa, is nothing new. Social media networks have slowly gravitated towards conformity over the past few years, with Facebook and LinkedIn introducing hashtags (originally limited to Twitter) and Twitter including header photos, etc. All networks see what works well for engagement, and users—at first resistant to change—eventually appreciate the uniformity.
In Twitter’s favor is the fact that many of its users utilize a third-party application (like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite) to access and manage their accounts. These users won’t necessarily notice or care about the individual profile redesign, considering the only design they see is through their application. Some users focus on their Twitter stream rather than visiting individual profiles, so it’s unlikely they will be soured by the changes, either.
There are some notable, and positive, differences with the new profile re-design. Tweets that are more popular automatically appear larger, helping Twitter users filter the importance of tweets. You can also easily browse through tweets by filtering by all tweets, tweets with photos and videos only, and tweets and replies.