Understanding the New Twitter (Features and How to Use It)

October 11, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Twitter has changed. If you’ve logged into your Twitter account recently you might have seen a notification inviting you to try the new Twitter – and you might have ignored it, for fear that it would take too long to get to grips with.

You shouldn’t be afraid, however. The new Twitter interface is a great improvement on the old one, and makes great use of the familiar features.

So – go and login to Twitter, and look out for the pop-up notification or the banner across the top reading:

Pssst… the new version of Twitter is here. Try it now!

…and join me as I show you how to use Twitter v2!

(Don’t worry, you can revert back to the old version!)

Twitter v2 Explained

As soon as you login to the new Twitter, you will notice the new design which offers all of the Twitter features in one page. This means that you don’t need to go to a new page to send a Direct Message, for instance, running the gauntlet of whether Twitter will even bother to load the page up!

The Twitter page is now split into two, with the left dedicated to the art of Tweeting and reading other people’s updates, while the left is a sort of multi-function status section that displays information about other people, what is being searched for and much more…

One thing to note – if you have text in your Twitter background image, you may need to create a new image as the new Twitter page is wider.

Old Twitter Features Updated

Your standard Timeline – which is the area that shows your Tweets and those of the people you follow – is now part of a tabbed menu, along with @Mentions (Tweets with you mentioned in them, or directed at you), Retweets, Searches and Lists. With the Searches function you can save any previously made searches, a useful feature if you regularly follow a specific #hashtag. As with the original Twitter, lists can be created to group people you follow by subject matter.

Profiles can also be viewed from your main Twitter page without opening a new browser window or tab, while a selection of people you are following and who are following you are listed as well.

Best of all, however, is the What’s Happening? button which can be accessed from any Twitter page you are reading. This makes sharing Tweets and thoughts as they enter your head so much quicker.

How To Use Twitter v2 to Share Media Content

The main new feature of the new Twitter, however, is nothing to do with any of the above, which is really just a general tidy up.

Instead, Twitter have made it really easy to mix content with the act of Tweeting, with partnerships with a variety of websites including YouTube, USTREAM, TwitPic, TwitVid and others.

What this means is that whereas previously when a shortened URL was received when someone tweeted something from YouTube and you would click on the link to be taken to that site, now all you have to do is click an arrow and view the video on the right panel of your Twitter page!

Twitter intend to have this new version available for all users over the coming months – so now is a good time to get ahead of the game and start trying it out!

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