Each week, Kate Williams ponders the world of social media. Today, she’s a bit doubtful about phased rollouts.
Dizzy excitement this week, as Twitter sloughed off the dry husk of its former self to reveal the irridescent butterfly beneath. After many months of hints and winks, it seems that the New Twitter is as sparkly a game-changer, as emphatic a brake on the growth trajectories of its third-party clients as we could have hoped for.
The new look is based on two panels, much like the Twitter iPad app, and pics and videos are now embedded within the tweet. Clicking on a tweet launches the multimedia content in the right-hand panel, along with associated tweets, geographical info, and related mini-profiles, enabling us to follow user directly from the stream. Twitter’s new site, you know, rocks.
At least, that’s what I’ve heard. Can’t, sadly, speak from personal experience – haven’t actually seen it. See, I wasn’t one of the Chosen.
Now, I’m not so foolhardy as to give away my age (unless you are offering a Restylane BOGOF, in return for my DOB?) but the truth is that, despite the girlishness of my giggle and the skittishness of my step, I’m not going to see the right side of (cough) thirty again. Oh all RIGHT, thirty-five. What? Stop staring at my wattle like that, you are putting me off my bran.
My point is this: it’s been many years since I was subject to the playground horrors of being ‘picked’. Decades have passed since Nadia Stephens, limber captain of the netball team and de facto Queen of Everything deliberately chose everyone else except me, till I was the only one left. Not because of my sporting aptitude, which was fair to middling, but because she had discovered that I was wearing a pair of my brother’s underpants, following another of my mother’s laundry debacles.
No matter – it makes no difference how many years have passed since first I tasted those bitter ashes. The pain of it became a part of me, woven into the fabric of my being like a long hair shed by a food-operative into spaghetti-based ready-meal. And, like an alien ovum in a derivative sci-fi movie, it has lain dormant all these years – pulsating patiently till the invention, dissemination and eventual domination of social media triggered its life-force once again. Now, I feel that pain. I feel it – because of Twitter.
Why are tech companies so attached to these these phased roll-outs, I wonder? It’s possible there is a perfectly sound commercial rationale, for but for the life of me I can’t think what it could be. It’s not like a closed-beta release, designed to iron out any wrinkles in private so it can be handed, perfected, to the whole wide world. This release is quite big enough for everyone to know who is a Golden Child, and who is a Runt – a strategy which seems both pointless and divisive, not to mention somewhat antithetical to the egalitarian imperatives upon which Twitter’s success is built.
Excuse me for one moment, there is mail incoming. Oh I see! “Administrative error… an accidental oversight, corrected with immediate effect.”
In that case, as you were. Do carry on.
A bientôt, mes amis!
For more social media snippets, do follow @emodkate – or for general twittery, @KateVWilliams.