Every time something changes about a social network we use a lot, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, the immediate response is outrage. It’s been no different for Twitter’s new blue lines.
Twitter is attempting to simplify the user process with a simple blue line. As of yesterday, your Twitter feed on the desktop site, on iPhone and Android will have ‘conversations’ between the people you follow and others, linked with a thin blue line. The line will appear at the bottom of profile pics.
Twitter announced the change on Wednesday in anofficial blog post, stating “Tweets that are part of a conversation are shown in chronological order so it’s easier for you to follow along. You’ll see up to three Tweets in sequence in your home timeline; if you want to see more, you can tap a Tweet to see all the replies, including those from people you don’t follow.”
While the lines have had their detractors, Twitter’s new lines are probably a good thing. Here’s why.
First, as this article in Slate points out, Twitter is not primarily a place where you have conversations. Yes, there are people who mostly reply to others, but for the most part, Twitter users follow on interest, knowledge (and cat photos), as opposed to whether or not you know the person or not. This doesn’t lead to a lot of conversations, which will keep the clutter on your Timeline to a minimum.
Second, even if does lead to extra conversations, it’s a good thing. Twitter often becomes an echo chamber of the same voices being heard over and over again, with the majority of users remaining too shy of ‘intruding’ on a conversation between two people. By essentially bringing out a conversation into full view, more users will participate, which will ultimately make Twitter a more even playing field.
Third, the blue lines will place precedence on conversations over the one-liners and jokes we all love so much. While some of you might not like this, the change will serve those users who use Twitter for updates and opinions. Which is most of them.
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Jul 10, 2014