Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Twitter is Still Stupid

Almost a year ago, I wrote about how Twitter is stupid, but could easily be made smarter.  A nice time to make it better would be when completely revamping the web site.

So when I finally got "New Twitter" today, I had hope that it would fix all the little retardations that made the old Twitter impossible to navigate if forced to use the web site (rather than a good standalone client application).

Somehow, it's even worse.

New Twitter looks nice, and makes it easy to follow conversations, find related tweets, and see photos and other media without leaving the web site. So yeah, it's an improvement in some ways. Unfortunately, it's still got this one little flaw: it's impossible to fucking read your Twitter feed in any way that resembles how people actually read stuff.

Am I missing something? Because as I see it now, here is how you're supposed to catch up with your friends' updates:

1) Log in to Twitter.

2) Scroll down to the bottom of the page for some reason.

3) Start reading from bottom to top for some reason.

4) Get to the "last" tweet, which is actually at the top for some reason.

5) See that there are X number of new tweets. Click to display them.

6) You now have to scroll down X tweets to get to where you left off. Methods for accomplishing this include:

  • Scrolling down and skimming every tweet until you find one you recognize, like some really boring version of Where's Waldo.
  • Going down exactly X tweets, counting by hand. Might have to use your fingers.
  • Look for the really thin line that indicates where you last refreshed. Oh, they got rid of the only method that made sense.
  • Voodoo.
7) Start reading bottom-to-top again. Read the tweets you already scrolled past.

8) Retrieve new tweets, repeat semi-random up and down scrolling.

9) Go to hospital for severe eye strain.

That may seem overly complicated, which is exactly my point.

It'd be better if it went like this:

A) Log in to Twitter.

B) See the last tweet you read at the top of the screen.

C) Scroll down until you get to the last tweet at the bottom.

D) Click to refresh. Keep reading top to bottom like a normal human being.

Isn't that better?

Seriously, how does anyone use the Twitter web site (new or old)? Maybe I'm just not very tolerant of having to put a lot of cognitive effort into reading what should be a simple chronological timeline. Or did I forget to click some kind of "make this web site useable" option? Someone tell me in the comments, because I'm genuinely baffled by this.


Nick said...

I like the "stream" method (new posts on top) but there's got to be a better way where they invisibly load on top and you continue scrolling up, just like every other twitter app.

Gavin said...

Hey Phronk,

I'm definitely not interested in reading all tweets in my timeline. It would take all of my time and sanity!

Instead, I catch a glimpse of the latest few tweets, follow/join any conversations that interest me, check my mentions, and that's it. Check back in an hour or so.

Your method is interesting, but I could not keep it up.


Phronk said...

I don't really see the advantage of putting new stuff at the top (except it avoids having to put the arbitrary "staring point" at the top instead of the bottom). But either way, yeah, the main need is having them invisibly load so you can just scroll continuously. Or at least have an easy way to remember where you left off, even if you refresh manually.

Phronk said...

Gavin: I don't read all my tweets either. But with a useable client, at least I can skip over a chunk of my timeline by just scrolling past it. It gives me SOME sense of how much I've missed; I can, say, only catch up with the last half-hour. With Twitter.com, that's impossible without some of the complicated shenanigans I mention in the post.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I use the site because work blocked TwitterGadget, which is useful, but still backwards. Me no likey the new Twitter format. To me it feels like they took the worst elements and exaggerated them.

Ah well, it is still free.

Anonymous said...

I still don't see it is all that useful... maybe I am missing something...

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Layla White in Canada said...

The new Twitter is still slow as hell. I use Twitter but I rarely log in to the site. I used a program to access my Twitter.