The Exchange

Relax! Twitter is not about to ruin your timeline

Philip Pearlman
The Exchange

Pearlman here.

I've stepped up out of the echo chamber for a sec to capture a bit of peace and to report on the way it is rather than what gets repeated again and again until there's very little spirit of the truth left to consider.

There's been lots of chatter in the tech blogosphere Tuesday night and Wednesday morning about the site design testing Twitter (TWTR) is running on a small number of accounts.

Mashable broke the story and posted a screen grab of @mattpetronzio's Twitter profile page. Petronzio, an editor at Mashable, is a part of the test group and his Facebook'ish profile page visual spread to sites including TechCrunch, Business Insider and of course Twitter itself.

It all became like a game of telephone, where one person whispers a phrase to another and then he whispers to a third person and so forth until headlines and story angles moved far afield from what was really happening.

By the time the story got to Time.com, for instance, the headline read: Twitter Tests Facebook Like Design and the copy read,

"Twitter is testing a totally new design on its website that will actually make it look like rival Facebook."

And the buzz was largely negative. The tweet below from independent bookseller Handee Books is a good example of the online sentiment:

The thing that got lost in all the noise, of course, is that the test design does NOT make any changes to the Twitter timeline.

I reached out to Petronzio just to make sure and he confirmed this. So the day-to-day Twitter user experience would not be affected that much, even if Twitter did at some point iterate the redesign for all users.

The timeline is the home page of Twitter and it's where users spend the majority of their time. It's the place where we monitor what those we follow are communicating in real time. It is the primary service.

Quick last point

The profile page redesign actually looks great. It does feel a bit like Facebook (FB) or Google+ (GOOG) and also reminds me of the Rebel Mouse platform to some degree. It will make the site more visual and will afford users more control over their own profile pages with features such as a larger profile photo and the ability to stick tweets of your choosing at the top of your profile page.

Twitter is a lot about self-presentation, so users will likely love these types of changes.

As for major changes to the Twitter timeline and the reverse chronological stream that is genius, yes, they'd have to be nuts...

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