Twitter have done what they’ve been threatening to do for a while, and started displaying “rich content” (i.e. pictures and videos) in timelines. It means Twitter now looks like this:
It is just as bad if not worse than I feared it would be, with what had been a clean text-focussed User Experience utterly clogged-up with low-value images that dramatically lowered the signal-to-noise ratio.
The grinning backpfeifengesicht above is from one of the dreaded “Promoted Tweets”, and probably gives away the real reason for the change; it’s a backdoor implementation of huge intrusive banner ads.
So many of the great moments you share on Twitter are made even better with photos or with videos from Vine. These rich Tweets can bring your followers closer to what’s happening, and make them feel like they are right there with you.
We want to make it easier for everyone to experience those moments on Twitter. That’s why starting today, timelines on Twitter will be more visual and more engaging: previews of Twitter photos and videos from Vine will be front and center in Tweets. To see more of the photo or play the video, just tap.
I’ve left with the impression that Twitter’s intended audience for this is semi-literate teens and annoying marketing types who want the ability to shout louder than everyone else. As others have said, Twitter now resembles what many of us don’t like about Facebook.
Fortunately the iOS and Android Twitter clients give the ability to switch this new feature off, but no such setting exists in Twitter.com. For us grownups who want to use Twitter to express ourselves in words, it’s time to stick a fork in Twitter.com and use alternative web-based or desktop clients.