Twitter has announced their latest bid to make their platform more relevant. They have revamped the way photographs look when they are posted to their website, focusing more strongly on a media heavy experience. New features include uncropped pictures, as well as a multi-photo or collage display. In the grand scheme of things, this development is nothing more than a minor tweak, but it could just have some big results. After all, Twitter is trying to move away from being a text-based service to become a platform that supports rich media – like Instagram.
This isn’t really anything new. Twitter has been making a number of changes to try and focus strongly on the media element of its service. One of the biggest moves they made was the launch of ‘Moments’, as well as including autoplay on videos.
Today we’re introducing a more streamlined consumption experience for all native videos, GIFs and Vines on Twitter. These rich media creatives will now autoplay in timelines and across Twitter. We have begun rolling out this change to iOS and web, with Android coming soon.
Whether or not this is something people will enjoy remains to be seen. Facebook also has autoplay, for instance, but the majority of its users have promptly switched that off. This is also because there are still many people who do not have unlimited mobile data on their telephones.
In the past, Twitter would automatically crop images posted to its platform in order to create a user interface that was uniform in appearance and experience. This did go a long way towards keeping a streamlined look and it did also increase the number of Tweets people actually clicked on to see the full photographs. However, overall, people found it very annoying because they simply wanted to see the picture as it was meant to be seen immediately. While there were ways around this, only those with considerable technical skills were able to do this.
So, Twitter has now agreed that photographs will be posted in the size of the original snap. This is up to a certain size, however. If the picture exceeds that size, it will be presented as a square photo, which means some cropping will happen. Nevertheless, standard photographs will fit perfectly.
The downside of this is that you will need more physical time to scan through Tweets, because you will have to scroll more. If you are a power user who is not so interested in media and uses Twitter for information, the upgrade will not be welcome.
Twitter is also thinking of ways to arrange posts that include multiple images. One of the things they have included is that you can make a type of collage, whereby you choose which image is larger than other images in the timeline layout. This is something Facebook has also recently started offering.
Facebook unveiled a new sharing format which lets you post multiple photos and videos as tiles in what it calls Collages. Think of it like the multi-photo stories people could share on Facebook, but with videos too, and options to resize each white-bordered tile like in Instagram’s standalone app Layout.
The way Twitter has announced the changes may make you feel as if everybody has received the update. That isn’t true, unfortunately, but it looks like it will be rolled out to all users globally, although Twitter.com will be the first to complete it in full. Hence, if you are in a country outside of the US, you may have to wait a little while longer, as you will with the Facebook update as well.