Twitter is changing - here's what you can expect from the new version

Business Insider SA
Welcome message to the new Twitter. (Twitter)
  • Twitter has redesigned its desktop site and a small number of accounts were invited to preview the new version.
  • New features include quick keyboard shortcuts, bookmarks, improved direct messaging and trends.
  • But, for us, only three new features stood out: the bookmark function for saving tweets, night-mode on web platform and an extended trends list.

New year, new Twitter.

The social network service is revamping its website and has selected a small number of accounts to preview the new version, and give feedback. 

Our account seemed to have made it through Twitter's lottery system: 

Invitation to try out the new Twitter. (Twitter)

In an introduction to the changes, Twitter says the new features include bookmarks, improved "trends" and direct messaging functionality, an emoji button, quick keyboard shortcuts and advanced search. More functions are coming, Twitter says. This will include easier switching between accounts, as well as between "top" and "latest" tweets.

We took a sneak peek at the new Twitter and here's what it looks like.

Twitter has essentially simplified its web interface - it now looks more like its clean mobile site.

Move the arrows to compare the 'old Twitter' to 'new Twitter'.

The tabs are now marked with icons - titles for "home", "moments" "notifications" etc. have been removed. The Twitter "moments" button has also completely disappeared.

Photos and videos have been removed from the left side of a user's profile to the top right next to the cover image.

The tweet button is no longer at the top-right corner of the page but has been moved to the bottom-right side of the page, to stand on its own.

You can now save tweets without having to 'like' them via the bookmark function.

The new bookmarks feature allows you save tweets without having to like them. (Twitter)

A new bookmark feature allows 'tweeps' (users) to save tweets for later.

Previously, if a user liked a tweet or wanted to keep it for later, the only alternatives were to either retweet it or like it (after which it would appear under "liked" posts). This put users in a bit of a predicament for tweets they didn't like or agree with, but nonetheless, wanted to save for later.

Saved tweets will now appear in the user's bookmarks list and the best part about that is that the account that the tweet originates from will not get notified when their tweet is bookmarked. Bookmarks are also private: users cannot view your bookmarked tweets or get notified when you save them.

Night mode is no longer restricted to Twitter mobile and the app.

Twitter in night mode. (Twitter)

For those who prefer the dark look for aesthetic, accessibility or power saving reasons, Twitter has now extended the night mode function to the web too. 

Read: Google finally confirms something people have long suspected — dark mode on Android phones saves battery life

Data-saving has also been extended to Twitter web.

When data-saving mode is on, users can decide to load tweeted photos or scroll past the blurred data-friendly versions. (Twitter)

Users will be able to surf Twitter in data-saving mode too. When data-saving mode is on, images from tweets will not be automatically loaded. The user saves data by deciding which images to load. The tweet will also indicate the size of the image.

Twitter raved about an emoji button in the new version, however it all still looks the same as on the old Twitter - so not much of a change there.

Twitter moved the emoji button from the top right corner of the tweet composition box to the bottom right of it - which isn't exactly a tweak worth making noise about.

An upgrade to the trends list will now allow Twitter web users to expand trending topics and view more than 10.

Old Twitter trends. (Twitter)

New Twitter trends list has been expanded and users can now view more than 10 trending topics on the web. Previously, Twitter web users were restricted to viewing no more than 10 trending topics which have now been expanded up to 20.

New and expanded Twitter trends list. (Twitter)

Reaction to the new Twitter redesign has been lukewarm. Local equity trader Karin Richards isn't particularly pleased with the makeover:

We also liked the new bookmark feature, which along with the expanded trends list and dark-mode function were the only function that really impressed us.

The tweaked mentions section was not a hit with another user, @TheGoldenRatio4.

Twitter still also hasn't added an edit button despite a long-standing pleas from as high up as Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian).

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