Twitter Takes Aim at Facebook and Google Plus, Rolls Out New Profile Pages

Dec 9, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

On Thursday, Twitter made an announcement of some major changes to its profile pages:

…we are introducing enhanced profile pages that help marketers create an even more compelling destination on Twitter for their brands.

Communicating with users isn’t just about what you say. It’s also about how you say it. Now, your profile page does more to help you make an impression with a large header image for displaying your logo, tagline, and any other visuals.

With a goal of making the site simpler to navigate, Twitter says it wants to “win over more users and make the site more attractive to advertisers.” Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer, Dick Costolo said,

As other services tack feature after feature after feature on top of each other, we’re going to go in an entirely different direction and offer simplicity in a world of complexity…This new Twitter is really a foundation for us.

Through the site they’re calling “Fly,” Twitter shares a video showing some of the new capabilities of the new profile pages. And they look to compete with Google Plus and Facebook for marketing and advertising reach.

Some of the improvements, which have been made to both the website and the mobile app, include:

  • A home page with your personal collection of tweets featuring the latest news, commentary, and immediate access your favorite features as well as photos, videos, and conversations embedded directly in tweets so you can see the whole story at a glance.
  • New ‘Connect’ section where you can see who has followed or mentioned you, retweeted, or favorited one of your tweets.
  • ‘Discover’ — possibly the best new feature from a sourcing standpoint — lets you find information beyond what you think you want to find. This includes opportunities to do keyword and hashtag searches, browse categories, find existing friends, and even look at people suggested for you to connect to. On the mobile app, choosing Find Friends will search your address book for people you know who are on Twitter.
  • And the most significant new feature, the new ‘Me’ feature, gives you a Twitter profile page that looks very similar to a Facebook page, with information about you, your followers, images you’ve tweeted, and a timeline of what you’ve shared.

There are also new features for companies. Once the new features begin rolling out to users over the next several weeks, companies will be able to have landing pages similar to the ones in Facebook, with a bigger header image and select tweets that can stay on top of their timeline. And you’ll be able to embed tweets directly onto a website complete with reply, retweet, favorite, and follow functions. Additionally, the tweet sharing button will let you include a specific hashtag or mention a certain user with their @handle.

In an article on CNET, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus social networking platforms were compared in the categories of reach, flexibility, design, interaction, and mobile. Facebook was declared the overall winner though Twitter, with its new design, was the clear winner in that category and tied with Facebook for interaction. Google Plus was the big loser, though I still believe it has a lot of potential in the future.

Of course, as with any tool or resource in a sourcer’s toolbelt, Twitter’s new features are only as good as how they are used, In fact, Twitter even said of its new Discover feature, “you’ll see results reflecting your interests — based on your current location, what you follow and what’s happening in the world. As you use Twitter more, Discover gets even better at serving up more content just for you.”

Let us know when you get access to the new features and what you think of them. We’re certainly excited see how it will improve our own SourceCon Twitter page!

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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