Today was a big day for Twitter’s 140 million users. This morning, with little more than a vague “big announcement” rumor preceding him, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo came on NBC’s “Today” and revealed the platform’s first major redesign in years, including updates to its iOS, Android, iPhone and iPad apps. A surprise to everyone, including brands, the new layout (at left), which some say resembles Facebook’s cover-photo format, was available immediately following Costolo’s TV interview. Within minutes, users were downloading the new version and scrambling to find the perfect 1252×626 image for their main photo.
Well, some users. Among luxury brands, the pace was more like a crawl. Of the Top 10 largest luxury brand Twitter communities, just two — Michael Kors and Calvin Klein — had transitioned to the new version in the 12 hours following its launch. For every Warby Parker and Kate Spade that incorporated the new look right away, many many more social media savvy brands like Burberry, Macy’s, Starbucks, Nike, Four Seasons, Barneys New York, Old Spice, and Wired did not. Some of the slow reaction time, particularly for the Europe and Asia-based brands, can be attributed to time zone differences. But perhaps there’s something more to the abstention? Is this less a resource and design issue than it is a conscious decision and preference for the older version?
Obviously, Twitter the company is quite pleased with the update and believes all of its users should and will migrate to it as soon as possible. But with change inevitably comes criticism, some of it, in this case, quite legitimate. Twitter did what it did not just for aesthetic purposes but out of a need to make the platform more ad — i.e., revenue-generating — friendly. We’ll have to wait and see if users, individuals and brands alike, warm up to the new format, or whether reservations about its look and functionality keep them where there are.