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Twitter simply flipped the format of its timeline with a brand-new discussion view. The complete timeline will still show in the traditional ‘most recent things on top’ view, however now there are connected discussions which display tweets in an easier-to-understand format.

At first glimpse, this might appear like an easy upgrade that links related tweets together with a thin blue line and an elegant expandable box. But the reasons for this go deeper than simply making it much easier to read. It’s also making it feel more human and less Twitter.

The brand-new view is presenting on Twitter.com, in addition to in the iPhone and Android apps and functions an ‘old’ tweet initially, with more recent replies to it in order afterwards.

Here’s an example of a broadened discussion in a timeline (only a few the replies are visible until you spread them out):

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Note the timestamps along the side. Rather of the standard ‘countdown’ as you increase, the tweets really age, not more recent. This is a reversal of the way that Twitter has worked previously. And, a minimum of to my eye, it’s much easier to follow discussions when you are reviewing them chronologically from the earliest tweet with replies that add to the conversation.

From the beginning, Twitter has had its own system of communication. Third-party developers helped specify the conventions like the @ symbol, the RT and more, but that system has actually expanded increasingly opaque to brand-new users of the service. Just like any network, the conventions grow naturally to include in-jokes, little nooks of oddness and huge swaths of unintelligible discussion.

Twitter had backed itself right into a comparable circumstance by letting the audience define those conventions for so long. I am not stating that’s a bad thing, Twitter would not be half of exactly what it’s if those very early lovers hadn’t stretched and pulled the SMS messenger into its current shape. But, if Twitter wants to perform on its strategy of embracing media business and brand-new individuals that’ll really communicate with and engage, it now needs to make things easier and even more systematic.

Recently, at the D11 conference, CEO Dick Costolo suggested that Twitter have to resolve this interaction issue:

As far as what Costolo says that Twitter is missing out on, he says “simplicity”. “Linking the gap in between the awareness of exactly what Twitter is and … going in and understanding exactly what it’s right away.”

That gap is exactly what occurs when you’ve individuals who’re deeply bought a platform, and others who find the intricate lingo and mechanics of Twitter puzzling. Costolo specifically called out the ‘duration prior to an individual name’ behavior when you desire a reply to be seen by all as confusing. “Because of the 140 character constraint, users have produced this remarkable language for interaction,” he states.

“Public real-time conversational distributed” is where Twitter wants to ‘boost its capacities’. That’s where Costolo says that they are spending virtually all of their time. This is one of the reasons that Costolo states that they have not put a lot of time into personal group chat.

Instead of private team chat, we now have ‘public team chat’.

That being said– the conversation view is bound to trigger some complaints among long-time individuals. There’s a little leaping around involved with conversations broadening and contracting. When tweets are replied to, the discussion likewise gets pushed upwards in your timeline, moving entire lots of tweets at the same time.

There’s likewise the fact that the discussions, while making linked tweets simpler to review, probably make the timeline itself more challenging to review. Twitter is highlighting atomic systems of conversation over a ‘big stream of sayings’. For better or for even worse.

As a side note, when do you think Twitter will eliminate deals with from its feed completely, relying on the name field alone? That’ll make it even more ‘human’ and can maximize a couple of more characters if they move the handle to a ‘metadata’ field.

There’s also a fascinating negative effects to discussions in that you’ll just see people who you follow in a ‘broke down’ view, but when you broaden it you are visiting the entire shebang, including new individuals that are unfamiliar to you.

That’s the possible to raise some eyebrows when it concerns newbies seeing ‘weird’ people in their feed, however the tradeoffs might be worth it. Bear in mind: Twitter is always looking for means to motivate users to follow brand-new people. Even more than nearly other network, you just leave Twitter exactly what you ‘follow’ into it.

If you happen to use a discussion now, and see a brand-new individual with a smart reply to among the people you follow, you could effectively decide to follow them. That’s a creative little reward to this brand-new view.

The brand-new conversation view is not almost making it easier to check out linked things though, it’s likewise about taking advantage of the unique nature of Twitter. This harkens back to the ‘Town Hall’ jargon Twitter appears to be enamored with recently. These are not just linked discussions, they are linked conversations that are occurring in real-time. That’s something that nothing else network currently has going all out at such a scale and in public.

There’s a lots of stuff going on in the messenger area, with WhatsApp gathering hundreds of millions of users, Instagram tweaking its platform to be ‘messenger’ friendly and Facebook appearing messaging features in a huge means. However Twitter could really scoop them all by making itself more welcoming to systematic, understandable conversations. (And it likewise assists explain why Twitter desired control of its fundamental experience so badly that it cut third-party designers off at the knees.)

At least, that’s what it’s most likely hoping, or it would not have altered the basic structure blocks of the service in such a significant means today. The timeline isn’t immutable. It’s been bent and will continue to be bent in the service of Twitter’s marvelous plan. Who understands what it might look like soon enough.