Above: Twitter Homepage on IE 6
Above: Twitter Search Results on Firefox
Twitter recently upgraded their homepage for those to see that have either A. never signed up for the service, or B. those who have signed up, but had to log out. Having users log out to use Twitter’s amped up search defies logic at least to me. Hopefully they will rectify that situation with a simple home button at some point. The new home page piqued my attention for a couple reasons. If Twitter wants to have over a billion people using their service they need to start getting new people to sign up. And let’s face it, anytime Twitter decides to tweak something people are going to second guess the reasons (such as I am at the moment). I’ve already signed up so it’s harder for me to judge if this home page from a personal opinion is really going to convince masses of people to sign up on their own. For those that are confused about what the point of twitter is, the new home page doesn’t help clear things up aside from making the site a real time search as opposed to why most people use it as a means to publish something in hyper real time. While the distinction is minor it help explains the motivation of why someone would tweet. A new person isn’t going to get that point, and they’re probably freaked out at the information overload of non verb like topics.
Of all the updates, what I found the most interesting was their trending topics of minutes, days and weeks. A quick glance would suggest that those topics are automated—something that I don’t think is. I think they’re all hand picked by a person because every single one those topics on the homepage when clicked has an explanation from an editor speaking for the word’s popularity. At first glance that doesn’t seem like a big deal and actually helpful. The issue is that something like that doesn’t scale very well down the road. It also means that the trending topics don’t necessarily have to do with the scale of people tweeting, but what Twitter wants people to be talking about. That’s something to watch as the site evolves. It seems like they still have some back end automation issues and are using people power instead. Nothing wrong with that for the time being, but growth will make that unsustainable.