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Exploring the New Twitter

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Twitter just rolled out a complete overhaul of its website, complete with lots of new features. Author Michael Miller walks you through the new Twitter and explains all about the new functionality.
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Do you tweet – or follow others’ tweets? Then you’re in for a big surprise, because Twitter is rolling out a major redesign of its website and pages. What you’ll see on the new Twitter is a lot different than what you’re used to; Twitter aims to put more useful information front and center, not just present a bunch of tweets in a list.

Exploring the New Home Page

We’ll start our tour with Twitter’s new home page. It’s not a whole lot different from the old home page; the most recent tweets from the people you follow fill up the main column on the right, which takes up about two thirds of the page width. Hover over any individual tweet to reply, retweet, favorite, or open (expand) the tweet. When you open a tweet, you can see any embedded photos, videos, or conversations – much better than the old way where you had to click to see anything extra.

Figure 1 Twitter’s new home page.

Your personal profile box is at the top left, with quite a bit of functionality crammed into a relatively small space. Here’s all you can do:

  • Click View My Profile Page to view your profile page.
  • Click Tweets to see all the tweets you’ve made.
  • Click Following to see a list of the people you follow.
  • Click Followers to see a list of the people who follow you.
  • Enter a new tweet into the Compose New Tweet box.

Beneath the profile box is a Who to Follow list – other folks that Twitter thinks you might like. Beneath that is trending topics for your local area; click a hashtag or keyword to see all associated tweets.

Exploring the New Navigation Bar

What’s really different about the home page, though, is the navigation bar at the top. Actually, it appears at the top of all Twitter pages; it lets you navigate the site from wherever you happen to be.

Figure 2 Twitter’s new navigation bar.

The navigation bar is your first hint to the new and improved organization of the Twitter site. On the left side of the navigation bar are links to the three main pages:

  • Home. As you might expect, this takes you to the home page.
  • @Connect. This link takes you to the Connect page, where you can view mentions, retweets, and replies to your tweets.
  • #Discover. This link takes you to trending topics, your friends’ recent activity, suggestions on who to follow, and a browsable list of major topic categories.

You can also search for tweets directly from the navigation bar. Just enter a hashtag or keyword into the search box and go at it; Twitter returns a list of matching tweets.

Click the Me icon (looks like a little person) and you see a pull-down menu of account-related options. From here you can view and edit your profile page, send and read direct messages, view lists you’ve subscribed to, access Twitter’s help system, configure your account settings, and sign out of your account.

Finally, you can create a new tweet at any time by clicking the blue Compose New Tweet button at the far right of the navigation bar. This opens the What’s Happening panel; enter your 140 characters or less then click the Tweet button to send your words on their way.

Figure 3 Composing a new tweet.

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