Monday, October 21, 2013

Best use of twitter's blue lines yet

When twitter introduced its infamous thin blue "conversation lines" late last August, it got a lot of negative feedback from users who found them "confusing" and "nonsensical".

For twitter, the main objective behind the blue lines was to make it easier for users to keep up with conversations (exchanges of tweets between different accounts). Tweets which are part of the same conversation, are now displayed* one by one in chronological order, joined by the blue line.

This format annoyed many of those used to twitter's seven-year practice of showing tweets in a reverse chronological order. The departure from this practice though, offers an advantage which I discovered recently: twitter's blue lines make it easier to tweet stories that are separated into many parts.

Until now, the reverse order of tweets in a timeline, meant that the only practical way to read someone's story -when this was tweeted in parts, was to visit their profile and start reading from bottom to top. It all becomes easier though, if this person's tweets appear together in your timeline and in the correct order. To achieve that, you just need to continue replying to your own last tweet (removing your @username to gain more characters).

Of course when these tweets are buried in the timeline, you will still have to visit this person's profile, click on the timestamp of a tweet, and read the conversation in the correct order, this time without any blue lines.

* As long as you follow more than one account contributing to that conversation.

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