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The New Twitter.com: What it Means for Real-Time Business

This week, Twitter announced and has started rolling out a new Twitter.com, which offers a much more appealing, engaging user interface, along with many new features, along with a series of structural improvements designed to improve performance.  TechCrunch has posted screenshots of the new features, and a follow on post with some of the more subtle changes.  They include:  an expanded right column that displays photos, video or other content included in tweets, some threading of conversations, keyboard shortcuts, and much more.  As @ev said (and simultaneously tweeted) during the announcement, “you don’t need to tweet to get value from Twitter.”  This new design sets Twitter up to be much more attractive as a content consumption platform, even for users who may not actively tweet.

The dust is still settling on the announcement itself, and most users (including myself) do not yet have access to the  new site.  But we wanted to summarize the thinking so far on what the changes will mean to the business use of Twitter.

  • Impact on brand marketing, promotions and commerce:

“This new move is a step in the right direction towards the creation of a monetizable platform for brand and performance-oriented marketers,” said David Cohen, an executive vice president at Universal McCann, quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

Inside Facebook writes that the new Twitter has features that reinforce the sites value to marketers, with features that are similar to those offered by Facebook, and the possibility of adding a payment system or social games down the line.  Included in the 16 content partners Twitter had signed up for the launch are two that are not media companies:  Etsy and Kiva, and it is certain that Twitter is actively speaking with other brands and commerce sites about including expanded versions of their content, too.

  • Impact on search:

In the new Twitter, the search box is more prominent, and search results add some new features. The search results page includes a more prominent “save this search” button and filtering capabilities, puts promoted tweets at the top, offers editorially-curated “top tweets,” most recent tweets and people results, in addition to a number of filtering options–Danny Sullivan has produced a helpful illustrated guide.

  • Impact on the ecosystem:

The new Twitter is a desktop app minus the download, writes Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove, who concludes that Twitter developers will be relegated to niche markets, because “Twitter has given most of us desktop app-lovers reason enough to come back to the web and little reason for new users to dabble around.”   Whether users will switch from a desktop client to an entirely web-based experience remains to be seen, but Twitter has once again given developers a reason for concern.

What other possible business impacts do you see?  Let us know, and I’m sure this will be a big topic of discussion at TWTRCON SF on November 18, too!

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