Twitter had a busy maybe even historical day.

There was a little something for everyone today from big-brand advertisers to hashtag happy tweet ninjas.  While some changes were obvious even confusing, Twitter’s crew hit the mark with a few zingers.

Take a look.

New Twitter User Screens

Go take a look, they redesigned your user home screen.

Now all the information previously scattered about on the right sidebar has been organized and moved to a new left sidebar. They also narrowed the tweet column giving the entire layout a crisp look.

One advantage of the new narrower design is that custom backgrounds broken on the last redesign now look great again. W00t

The rub for Twitter is that power users rarely spend time on Twitter proper. Most tweeting is done from apps like Hootsuite, Cotweet, Argyle, and Tweetdeck. I’m sure this is the first of many attempts to lure users back to the Twitter portal; we’ll see if it’s successful.

Brand Pages:

Twitter gave its deep-pocketed brand partners and select individuals access to spiffy brand pages. Now brands have a dedicated area to cajole, plead, and incentivize twitter engagement. I wonder if this benefits Twitter’s bottom-line more than it’s brand partners reach and engagement. We’ll see.

Unfortunately, everyone has to watch the big brands get a head start, us peasants have to wait to play with the new brand pages.

By the way, does anyone believe that consumers will flock to a new place to see advertising? Again, we’ll see.

Embed This Tweet

This one is very interesting. Now you can embed any tweet without using a third-party app or taking screenshots. Just click on the tweet details, click on the “embed this tweet” button, grab the HTML code and paste into your blog post or website.

Voila you’ve got your snazzy tweet, with reply, retweet, and favorite enabled. Check it out below:

I already love this feature and plan on testing it during my weekly wrap-up posts. Try it yourself and let me know how you plan to use it.

New Buttons:

Twitter users also have a few new buttons to use on their websites and blogs:

#Hashtag:

Twitter has been trying to tame the hashtag for quite a while now and the hashtag button is it’s latest attempt.  Users can embed the hashtag button just like the follow button anywhere on their website.  When a user clicks it, they will get a pop-up tweet already pre-populated with a user-selected hashtag.  The intent is to make it easier for publishers to self-categorize and publicize their hashtags.

This makes a lot of sense especially for bloggers who are keen to use keyword-optimized hashtags for SEO.  Another one to watch and test.

Mention


The button is as simple as it sounds.  Configure the mention button with a custom message and place it wherever you choose.  Readers can click the button and tweet-out a quick mention to their followers.  This button is the closest thing to a “shout out” that Twitter can do.

I see interesting uses for nonprofits seeking to generate awareness and reach around a cause or message.  What do you think?

Share a link


Essentially, twitter created a button to make it easier to share a link.  This is a waste. Most twitter users like to add comments to their links before they tweet them and RTs are almost universally preferred.  Not sure what Twitter was thinking here other than throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

Where to Start

As a social publisher, I’m intrigued by embeddable tweets and the hashtag button.

Anything that makes engagement portable and organized makes sense for my readers.  Embeddable Tweets is a brilliant feature that I’m sure will get intense usage.   Hashtags will finally make it easy to attach blog categories and even keywords with specific posts.  I can easily see mega publishers using the hashtag button as their new retweet button.

What are your thoughts?