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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Rival networking sites get overhaul

IT is the biggest change to Facebook since it launched in Britain in 2007.

In a totally new look, the "Timeline" feature replaces your home "Wall".

It makes everything you have ever done on Facebook ? along with your pictures ? appear in one screen that scrolls down year by year right back to when you were born.

Gaps before you joined the social networking site can be filled in whenever you like, meaning it will act like an archive of your whole life story.

The new concept of a COVER replaces the current Facebook profile pic.

It is much larger and designed to act, as its name suggests, like the front of a book or album.

It's a space for you to fill with an image that represents you and is the first thing visitors will see on your timeline.

If you want to see one kind of content, or get a snapshot of the basic information about someone, you can do so with the Timeline view that appears right under the cover.

These are filters that give you a way to see one type of content at once, such as Photos or Likes and Interests.

As you scroll down the Timeline, you'll see everything you've recently posted, just like you did on your old Wall.

But now your stories will be presented more neatly, with bigger photos and more emphasis on your posts.

As you scroll down, your Timeline summarizes and shows you only the most important things.

Use the Timeline slider on the right of the screen side to go back in time quickly.

At the top of your Timeline, you have a link to your private activity log.

It is a list of everything you've done or posted on Facebook.

The log itself is only visible to you and you can control which stories you want to feature and which ones you'd prefer to hide.

You can also change the privacy settings beside each post or even delete them.

Analyst with Mintel

THE re-design definitely encourages users to share more items as the timeline acts almost like a blog or memory book.

I think the new design also familiarises the site's users with the concept of regulalry logging their personal actions on the social network. Providing more easily accessible information is perhaps Facebook's approach to this.

It lets users show themselves more as who they are, rather than just a small piece of their personality captured on a form.

IN what has been a landmark year for Twitter, the social network has celebrated its fifth birthday with a design overhaul.

With a sleek new interface that bears more than a passing resemblance to Facebook, designers have produced a clean, functional layout.

Looking to improve the user's experience, Twitter have tinkered with the homepage, moving all slide bars to the left-hand side of the screen as well as providing a compressed box in which you can compose your new tweets.

The page on which you see your interactions with other users has been renamed Connect, with the option to view just tweets or everything.

Your profile, too, has been tweaked. But by far the biggest change has come in the form of the new section which is simply called DISCOVER.

This feature will effectively amalgamate the biggest stories of the moment into what might be called a Facebook-esque timeline.

An interactive version of the previous hashtag searches, Discover offers video content and article links as well as relevant tweets about popular topics. It means users can effectively go on Twitter and find out what's happening around the world in a more direct manner.

With links to authoritative news sources, such as The Sun, and relevant You Tube clips, it opens up a whole new world of immersion.

The traditional list of trending topics remains but this page brings that to life.

Now when searching for information and material regarding a particular topic, you're not just given a long list of largely inane tweets.

Though it's not identical to the old Facebook, there are certainly comparisons to be made between the new-look Twitter and the daddy of the social network phenomenon.

Analyst with Mintel

TWITTER'S redesign seems to be making the service more user-friendly to people who aren't already familiar with the site.

This is particularly true with the introduction of the discover tab which makes it more natural for users to go and explore topics and conversations.

Some of the changes also mean that in future users won't need to leave Twitter's website in order to view photos or videos, as these are now going to be embedded in the Twitter feeds themselves.

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