Twitter Launches the First Stage of Testing for its New and Upgraded TweetDeck

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TweetDeck

This could be an important development for social media managers.

Having first noted TweetDeck’s upcoming update back in January, and hinted at possible paid additions to the platform as part of evolving subscription offerings, Twitter has launched a live test of TweetDeck’s new look, which includes a full tweet composer, updated search features, new column types and new ways to group columns into “decks” to expand usage options.

The main changes to the view involve new column layouts, with the ability to resize and shift columns to give them more or less focus on the screen.

TweetDeck

As you can see from this example posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, with TweetDeck’s new options you can not only add columns, as has always been possible in the app, but also expand and shrink each of them on the screen (as shown in the image in the tweet above), giving you more tools to customize.

It’s also worth noting that this is optional, and you can leave your columns as they are now in the app. You won’t have to change the size and scale of your columns in the new version.

You can also create new “decks,” which essentially allow you to create an entirely new series of speakers, which are then presented in a secondary dashboard that you can access through the sidebar options.

TweetDeck

This gives you another way to expand your use of TweetDeck, creating more decks focused on different purposes, or even individual layouts based on themes (as in the example above), with each screen taking on a more defined meaning.

In terms of search tools, the new TweetDeck offers a simpler layout for search options, though you’re still limited to the advanced Twitter search options you could always build into the TweetDeck tracking columns. However, the updated format makes them a little more accessible, which can be helpful.

Finally, the updated composer lets you see exactly what your tweets will look like in the app so you can better plan and schedule your posting.

The update has been long overdue. Twitter acquired TweetDeck in 2011, and it seemed at the time that Twitter was going to turn the platform into a more holistic, comprehensive tweet management option that would include advanced search and analytics tools, and eventually supplant other, third-party options as the primary tool for managing your tweets.

But since then, the app has received limited attention, leaving it as a functional, useful, but limited tool, at least in terms of what’s possible. I mean, if you were to gather all the analytics tools available on Twitter and combine them together, Voltron-style, into a big tweet management platform, TweetDeck could become a mainstream app – but right now it’s just a handy add-on, and most of the features can be replicated in other variants.

By expanding its functionality, Twitter could still make it a key platform for managing tweets, though right now I would say that the lack of additional analytics tools, especially after removing the Audience Insights element from Twitter Analytics last year, is a missed opportunity, and something that should be included in a broader TweetDeck offering, especially if Twitter is going to eventually offer users a pay for this tool.

Which, according to Twitter’s head of product, Kavon Bakepour, is the case.

In Bakpour’s words:

“With these tests, we’re exploring how we can give people more customization and control with TweetDeck. We want to get feedback on how we can extend TweetDeck’s offerings to those who use it the most. We’ll incorporate these lessons as we explore what TweetDeck might look like as part of Twitter’s subscription offerings in the future. We’ll be able to share more test results soon.”

So TweetDeck could end up being paid, which seems like the wrong decision, though Bakepour may only be referring to these additional elements, not general access to the app (which has always been free).

In any case, this is another experiment for Twitter as it works to expand the use of the app. Currently, the new version of TweetDeck is available to a small group of randomly selected people in the U.S., Canada and Australia to start with.

If you’re eligible to try the new TweetDeck, you’ll see an invitation in your TweetDeck panel to take part in the program, but there’s also the option to hack the new layout, as app researcher Jane Manchun Wong explained.

So, it’s great that TweetDeck is getting more attention because it’s a powerful and valuable tool, but it seems like Twitter as a whole could go further.

And perhaps, as Bakepour points out, it still will as it looks to expand this testing.

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