As most Twitter users probably know by now, the service launched a new feature this week that inserts full-sized images and video previews into your stream by default (provided they are hosted by Twitter), instead of giving you a link to click on. Some people seem to like this new design — which appears to be be driven in part by advertising, and partly by a desire to increase engagement among new users — but many others don’t. What follows is a selection of some of the latter.
The most common criticism of the new Twitter feature (which can be disabled in the iOS and Android apps, but not on Twitter’s website) is that it looks too much like Facebook for some users, especially when an event like Halloween arrives and many people are posting photos of their children:
We really preferred @twitter without photo previews in our feed. This isn't Facebook and we don't want it to be.
— The Missouri Review (@Missouri_Review) November 1, 2013
Twitter looks a lot like Facebook, with all the in-feed visible pics.
— katie rosman (@katierosman) November 1, 2013
Others who follow a large number of users and/or brands said that the volume of images was just too much, and they were forced to unfollow many accounts just to get their feed under control. Even though the settings can be changed in the service’s mobile apps, many felt it was wrong to change the look and feel of their stream by default, including Paul Graham of Y Combinator:
I assume Twitter did tons of A/B testing before turning into a photo-sharing service, but I find the photos drown out the text.
— Paul Graham (@paulg) October 30, 2013
Although the benefits of an image-heavy feed are obvious when it comes to advertising — the ability to show users an ad or promoted tweet with what amounts to a banner included in it, without having to rely on them clicking — this doesn’t seem to appeal much to many users:
#Twitter essentially morphed into a photo-sharing service over the last two days. Blargh.
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) October 31, 2013
Also I went from not caring about Twitter ads to being distracted & disturbed by this image-heavy feed. Facebook and Twitter are converging.
— Scott Lewis (@vosdscott) October 31, 2013
And while Facebook also has large images and videos, as well as sponsored pages that amount to banner ads, many users who don’t like the new Twitter feature seemed irritated mostly by the fact that the service used to be so easy to scan — since it was primarily text — and that the new version is cluttered and noisy.
guessing twitter's autoexpando will do wonders for their revenue going in to the IPO. but what an awful experience. my scan rate 1/10th now.
— rohit (@rohit_x_) October 29, 2013
Will the new feature bring Twitter the engagement that it needs as it prepares to go public next week, or will it irritate users looking for something different from their Facebook feed? That’s the $15-billion question. Meanwhile, I’ve collected all of the above tweets, along with some others from users with similar complaints, in a Storify module embedded below.
Post and thumbnails courtesy of Shutterstock / mtkang