Despite my millennial status, I’m a bit old-school when it comes to social tools — especially ones meant to simplify and streamline the process for Twitter. Even when I produce Twitter Chats for our clients, I’m always more likely to be navigating the stream of tweets through Twitter itself via Chrome than I am to use some third-party tool.
Earlier this month, I thought my eyes had deceived me when I noticed a change in the design of Twitter’s Search interface. Much sleeker, and much more intuitive, the new design is really great. I’ve been tweeting since 2009 and social media is my meal ticket, so while I am very familiar with Twitter, I also really appreciate this change in design direction.
If I had to boil down my love for the new interface into two simple reasons they would be:
- Relevance > Reach: When measuring influence – whether of a person or a particular topic – people all too often are impressed and swayed by quantity over quality. So, for a Twitter search, they may then be interested in a search that would prioritize tweets by celebrities, or users with large audience numbers, above all others. That, my friends, goes against what’s at the core of social. We throw around the phrase “community management” as a job title, but it’s also an important reminder that at the core of each social channel, and really each social conversation, there is at least one community. Together, communities build reach. Independently, I’m more interested in the most relevant content – in this case, tweets and handles – that match my search, because these types of results will offer me more actionable opportunities for response. When I was live-tweeting the final series of Mad Men, I found myself going back and forth between the search interface and my Notifications page for the latest and greatest tweets and replies, not necessarily tweets from the most influential handles. I wanted to build a conversation. And so, with Twitter’s new search feature, that’s what users get – results prioritized by relevance, not reach, to build real-time conversations and reactions.
- Ease for Observation: Not everyone with a Twitter handle is there to share. In fact, I’ve met many impressive social strategists with incredibly minimal outputs on Twitter. That doesn’t mean that they’re not active; they’re simply silent observers. And, lucky for them, Twitter’s new search interface has made it easier than ever for them to navigate conversations silently and sleuth-like. With filters including “top” (which goes back to the point above about relevance) and “live” (super helpful for live-tweeting, Twitter Chats, and breaking news), as well as “photo” and “video,” Twitter has effectively condensed its search and discovery functionality to make tweets (and their authors) easier to sort through, engage with, and explore.