17 Jun 2011

New Twitter Features Announced to Improve User Experience

New Twitter Features

With so many options available when it comes to sending tweets – from third-party applications for the web, mobile apps and texting – Twitter developers are continuing releasing new features and updates in hopes to keep users on Twitter.com. Some of the latest updates make tweeting from Twitter.com more appealing and more user-friendly.

The Follow Button

At the end of May, Twitter introduced the follow button. The follow button allows users to instantly follow websites, brands and people on Twitter in just one click, like in this screenshot from the IMDb website:

IMDb Follow Button

Now instead of pointing people to your Twitter page, you can add the follow button to your website so people can follow you in an instant. Anyone can add the follow button to their website by filling out the necessary form.

The follow buttons is great for websites, but also great for users. Now users can skip a step when they want to follow a certain brand, company, person or website by simply clicking the follow button.

Adding Photos to Tweets & Photo Search

Twitter will soon be implementing a way to upload photos directly from Twitter.com or official Twitter mobile applications. Through a partnership with Photobucket, users will be able to upload photos with a few clicks. Users will also own their own photos.

Additionally, Twitter is now including photos and video in its search results. Now when you search for terms, hashtags and people, images and video will be included in the results:

"Bruins" Twitter Search Results

"Bruins" Twitter photo and video results

Automatic Link Shortener

Many Twitter users use URL shorteners to shorten links they include in tweets. Now, Twitter.com users won’t have to use a third-party shortener (unless they want link analytics). Now when Twitter.com users drop a full link in a tweet, it will automatically be shortened to a shorter version of the original link. The link will come through as a “t.co”, 19-character link on third-party applications.

For example, the link before I sent the tweet:

Sending link from Twitter.com

The tweet displayed on Twitter.com:

Tweet displayed on Twitter.com

The tweet displayed on Hootsuite:

Tweet displayed on Hootsuite

Making the link a shorter version the original link now tells other users who may want to click on the link what site the link will take them to. Also, if the link is reported as malicious, Twitter will warn users before they proceed with visiting the webpage.

Now sharing links on Twitter is instant, with no need for users to manually shorten their links through a third party URL shortener. However, if users still want link analytics like clicks or aggregated link clicks, they will still need to use a URL shortener that supports those features.

What do you think of the new features Twitter has announced? Will you use Twitter.com to tweet to take advantage of these new features? If you want to learn more about Twitter and how to use it to market your business, be sure to pick up my new E-book, Twitter for Business: A How-To Guide.


  • PeteS_UK Jun 17, 2011

    I have used the shortner for links that I’m not to worried about clicks, however, I will continue to use bit.ly for those that I am. If/when twitter add metrics then I would expect to see much more usage, not until.

    I intend to look into adding the Follow button to my website. Thanks.

  • Abby Gilmore Jun 17, 2011


    Same for me. I will still use bit.ly for analytics purposes, and I’ve grown to love Hootsuite as a Twitter app.

    The follow button is a great feature – I expect to see lots of websites adding it soon.

    Thanks for your comment!


  • April Jun 19, 2011

    I’m very curious about how the photo uploads and popular photo/video features will play out. I could see these being wonderful or awful. Right now, I know there are hundreds of non-Twitter companies competing to provide users with services Twitter currently doesn’t offer. Sometimes I appreciate those features, but frankly, I’m one of those people who would like those features to be integrated into the central Twitter application. Whenever the API changes and my life is suddenly inconvenienced because my third-party services are broken, I have to roll my eyes. Of course, that could leave those hundreds of third-party companies out of business, but, that’s the way business works.

    As for the Follow button, I love that it isn’t just for getting people to follow you. You can also use it when talking about others, including celebrities and companies with Twitter accounts.

  • CJ Jun 21, 2011

    nice. as a twitter fan i approve.