Twitter Tweaks @ Replies, Eyes New Site Design

Twitter has made some changes to its @ reply system, co-founder Biz Stone has announced. The @ replies will now be called “mentions” and will function a bit differently than in the past. The company has also reportedly hired a former Googler as its new creative director and may be looking at site design changes in the future.

Twitter’s @ Reply Change

First, the @ replies: Rather than including only tweets that begin with @your_username, as had happened in the past, the system will now include all tweets that include @your_username anywhere within the message.

“The @Replies feature was introduced because we noticed lots of folks putting the @ symbol in front of Twitter usernames as a way of addressing one another,” Stone explains.

“However, folks started getting more inventive as they often do. Now people include @username mentions in the middle of tweets as a way to simply reference another account,” he goes on. “Today’s update better reflects how folks are using Twitter now.”

The section will now be listed as @your_username (with your own username following the @, to be clear) within your Twitter home page.

Design Discussions

Meanwhile, Twitter has hired a new creative director to look at the site’s design and possible changes, according to the folks over at Creative Capital. Former Google Visual Design Lead Douglas Bowman is joining the team, Creative Capital reports, taking Stone’s place as acting creative director.

“The Twitter Web page looks pretty simple,” the site quotes Stone as saying. “But from our perspective, the design needs a lot of work.”

Bowman publicly announced his departure from Google earlier this month, saying it was time for him to “move on.”

“I’ve grown tired of debating… minuscule design decisions,” he wrote in a posting on his personal blog. “There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.”

Bowman indicated that he did have something else lined up, though he didn’t go into detail at the time.

“When I joined [Google], I thought there was potential to help the company change course in its design direction. But I learned that Google had set its course long before I arrived. Google was a massive aircraft carrier, and I was just a small dinghy trying to push it a few degrees north,” he said.

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