Twitter has yet again changed the way they display tweets. The layout they unveiled last year, where information on a tweet – attached picture, people who retweeted it, etc. – showed up in the right rail, now that appears beneath the tweet itself.
So what? Sites change their layouts in minor ways all the time. It’s only Twitter. Also, I said I wasn’t going to write about social media anymore.
The truth is, I’m not even writing about social media here. Social media, as we thought of it a few years ago, is already dead. (More on that anon.) Their layout change is really about making space for their new advertising system.
Twitter has been using the right side of their screen for sponsored accounts and tweets for about a year as well. When people had the ability to expand a tweet and viewing it and the exchange it created on the right side of the screen, it pushed advertisements off the screen.
This layout change can only be necessary to improve the visibility of their paying advertisers. If tweets are now expanded below instead of to the right, then all that space on the right can remain advertising space. Twitter isn’t losing impressions because of their layout, they’re losing impressions because so many people go elsewhere – Facebook and Google Plus, for instance.
Obviously, they can do whatever they want – it’s their site. But last year’s layout was, in my opinion, a smart way to make the site functional. This new way of doing things isn’t, so money is the only motivation that makes sense to me for changing it.
How THAT is going to keep me from using TweetDeck or something similar to manage my Twitter account, I do not know.