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The Most Important Change in Twitter’s Redesign

A few weeks ago, Twitter redesigned its homepage, going from

to

One of the biggest elements they removed was Trending Topics. This was a feature that was front and center in Twitter’s second redesign, showing what was popular by the minute, day or week. Then in the third redesign, Trending Topics shrunk to a small, unobtrusive line. Now in the fourth iteration, it’s gone.

Thank goodness.

Removing the trending topics from the Twitter homepage is a great move because sometimes there are inappropriate or goofy topics that would deduct serious integrity points, tarnishing the site’s reputation as a valuable communication tool.

Hashtags like #itsnotcheating or #imsinglebecause would dominate trending topics, not because this was the most important thing happening on Twitter, but because a small community of Twitter users had way too much to say about it.

For the record, I have no problem with trending topics. I use them to keep track of the relevant topics going on in the world. The difference is I know the distinction between an important event unfolding in real time and a demographic flooding their playful banter onto the social network.

However, if you’re trying to convince your executive sponsors that Twitter would add value to your agency, you won’t be doing yourself a favor by pulling up Twitter.com and showing #yallneedtobreakup#sincewebeinghonest, or #youlookedgooduntil as the most talked about topics on the site.

So now when you visit Twitter.com, you see a background image of the world, implying its importance on a global scale (deservedly so, especially with recent events in Egypt, Libya, Japan, and Pakistan). The tagline is “Follow your interests”, showing the customization of its real time feed according to the topics you care about. For the first time since the original homepage, it brings back a personal feel by mentioning your friends and favorite celebrities, moving away from “see what people are saying” or “discover what’s happening” type of impersonal message.

As a result, I think the homepage is much more presentable to my executive management and with other stakeholders contemplating its use as an official government communication tool.

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