Twitter, I Miss When You Used To Let Me “Discover”

Update (4/22): Twitter has officially removed the “Discover” tab from the desktop UI as well (and people don’t seem to be happy about it….).

Twitter has gotten a good deal of coverage on this site lately, and for ample reason: not only do I use it as a primary source of news and entertainment discussion, but I truly feel like some of the connections I’ve made through the social network have the potential to be long-lasting, personal relationships. This is something I cannot say about sites like LinkedIn & Facebook, which typically are used to keep folks in-touch once they’ve already established an offline connection.

This is why, through the years, I’ve been critical of some of the changes Twitter has implemented in their UI — not because I necessarily think they’ll take away from the user experience; but, rather, that I use the social network so often, that little changes seem to be more distracting than beneficial. Most of these, though met with resistance on the part of active users, haven’t really changed the way we use Twitter. So, while they may be annoying, they don’t get in the way of the product too much.

However, Twitter’s latest “test” — removing the “Discover” tab on mobile entirely, and replacing it with an “Activity” tab on desktop — is completely, utterly foolish.

There’s been nothing published on Twitter’s blog about the Discover tab’s demise; though, if you’ve been paying attention (as I clearly have), you’d notice that while the desktop UI still says “Discover”, you may be one of the ones directed to twitter.com/activity instead (which, confusing as this may seem, looks more like the old “Discover” tab on iOS).

Twitter’s new “Activity” tab

Interestingly, I still have access to the legacy “Discover” tab from the Chicago’D profile (which, is several years younger than my own personal account).

Twitter’s legacy “Discover” tab

For those of you iOS users, you may have noticed the new way Twitter is handing trending topics (through the search feature) — this change-over, including the app dropping “Discover” entirely, happened when I updated iOS to version 8.3 late last week.

Trending Topics on iOS 8.3

While I think the new Trending Topic descriptions are an improvement for Twitter, forcing everyone to go to the search bar — along with forcing the focus back on Timelines — seems like a step backward for a company that is looking to grow their userbase.

Am I just making too big a deal about this? It’s been known to happen; though, as someone who could be considered a “heavy user” of Twitter, I’ve found this latest “test” (if that’s, in fact, what is is), to actually lessen my use of the social network.

What about you — has the update been a welcomed change, or a distraction? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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