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Twitter Outlines Roll-Out Plan for Alternative Feeds, Updated Bookmarks UI and Long-Form Tweets

Twitter Shares Mock-Ups of Longer Tweets and How They Would Look In-Stream

A quick Twitter 2.0 update: Over the weekend, Twitter chief Elon Musk confirmed that Twitter will be bringing back its side-swipe option to switch between the algorithmic and chronological timeline later this week, with its update to the bookmarks UI to come next week.

Twitter has already shared examples of how both of these updates will look, with the former actually already being released early last year, before Twitter rolled it back because it annoyed people so much.

Twitter engineer Andrea Conway shared this image of the updated bookmark button last week, which will get more prominent placement on the tweet detail screen.

Twitter bookmarks UI

Musk believes that more people will engage with more tweets if they’re aware of the bookmark functionality, which he says has been hidden by some ‘obscure UI’, while he’s also floated the idea of including bookmarks in a tweet’s like count – though I’m not exactly sure that people are using bookmarks as a Like alternative.

In addition to these updates, Musk says that long-form tweets will also be coming in February. That, at least at this stage, will still see tweets displayed in their regular size and format in-stream, with a ‘Show more’ prompt at the end.

Longer tweets

That’ll provide an alternative to long tweet threads, and Musk is hoping that the capacity to share longer updates will get more creators posting more content to the app, instead of linking people off to other host sites.

Though I suspect the UI here may change.

I doubt many people will even notice the ‘show more’ prompt, which may prompt Musk and Co. to make it more prominent in order to boost awareness. We’ll have to wait and see on release.

Finally, Musk has also announced that new text formatting options will also soon be integrated into the Twitter UI, which will enable users to add bold text, underline and italics, along with a selection of font size options.

That could facilitate new ways to engage via tweet, with different emphases adding another element to your short missives.

There are actually ways in which you can utilize these functions in tweets right now, as Twitter supports Unicode functionality, but a more native integration of these tools could see them more widely applied, adding another element to the tweet experience.

From a brand use perspective, the impact of each of these updates should be fairly minimal.

Side-swiping timelines weren’t popular when Twitter first tried them, so it’s hard to see them being much more relevant now – but if they do see more use, that could potentially reduce your tweet exposure, because Twitter’s algorithm would no longer be able to show your tweets to as many users in the main feed.

Bookmarks could be an element to watch if Twitter makes a bigger move into shopping and product listings, with users able to use bookmarks as a means to flag items of interest, while it’s too early to say whether long form tweets will be of relevance in the tweet stream (and really, you probably want to drive more people to your own website anyway).

Test formatting options will add another consideration to your tweet process, and it could spark some interesting new usage trends, if/when it rolls out.

But there’s nothing revolutionary as yet, there’s no big shift coming, other than Twitter potentially forcing brands to pay for a gold tick, or lose their authentication status, at some future stage.

That will be an important consideration for brands, though a lot may also depend on overall Twitter Blue take up, and whether Twitter decides to stick with its new, paid verification program, or scale it back, if it doesn’t see significant adoption.

Maybe we’ll get some indication on that soon, as you would assume that Twitter would know by now what level of interest there is in paying for checkmarks in the app.

Either way, Twitter 2.0, at present, remains more like Twitter 1.5, with minor tweaks that are unlikely to have a big impact.

But Musk has also flagged a bigger UI refresh on the horizon. Twitter’s Q1 numbers will likely drive when, exactly, it makes a bigger push.

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