The new Twitter: documentary evidence

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When the new Twitter was first previewed I put down my initial thoughts on this blog post. Having had a chance to play with it and take some screen shots, I managed to confirm my concerns that:

  • The new Twitter would affect delivery of brand messages and depersonalise consumer accounts
  • The new Twitter would adversely affect current Twitter accounts (particularly customer service accounts) efforts at personalisation

Let me show you.

I have a close-up shot of a flower as my background on my Twitter profile currently. In the old view there is clear real-estate either side of the Twitter activity area.
old twitter JPG
In the new Twitter view the image is sufficiently diminished at the edges that you couldn’t really meaningfully say what it was.

new twitter JPGSo the profile customisation has effectively been depersonalised in terms of the background image.

Ok moving on to existing corporate accounts: I am a fan of the @vodafoneuk and @vodafoneukdeals accounts and that way that they use Twitter for customer service.

I had taken a screen shot of the old Twitter view of @vodafoneukdeals which is fine for illustrative purposes:
Vodafone twitter customer servicesOne the left you can see a mini-profile of each of the main participants on the @vodafoneuk account. This gives you a bit of a feel for the person that you would be dealing with. In contrast, on the new Twitter view their profiles are almost completely obscured:

vodafone new twitter JPG
This adversely affects the personal feel of the tweeted responses and the perceived customer empathy with the team. However I noticed one piece of silver lining from this image: it looks like the colours of the activity area can be tweaked, lighter colours provide a more translucent looking background so brand imagery on the right-hand side would appear like a watermark. So whilst brand ‘humanisation’ is diminished, brand identity can be reinforced.

Thinking about the designs of future background images and settings, using light colours for the activity area seems to make the most sense: use simple bold high contrast background images and typography with an emphasis on the right-hand side of the screen to maximise brand visibility to your audience.