In a move that will be the first time Twitter has changed their display of content on the site, the company has announced that they will be releasing new feeds to replace the old ones in the next few weeks.
Techcrunch reports that the mentions tab is being replaced by two new feeds soon. Specificially "@username" and "Activity." The @username feed will behave exactly as it does now, except it will also show social activity, such as a new follower, someone adding you to a list or retweeting your tweets.
The activity feed will show the same content as the @username feed, but will also show you content related to the people you follow on Twitter. For example, if a friend has a tweet retweeted or if they followed a new user.
The change is a major move for Twitter towards making the site a lot more social than it currently is. For the most part, the site currently leaves it up to the user to find new people to follow on their own, and only has very basic other social networking features, such as recommendations.
Techcrunch also points out that the changes could majorly change how users actually interact with the service, considering that favorites have been around since the service itself, and its extremely underused given the lack of feature exposure. The favorite button may become some sort of "like" button, a way to show appreciation of a users' tweet, without actually resharing it.
It's likely that many users won't like the changes, as it appears that there is now no way to filter the new activities from their feeds (other than using desktop applications, of course). However, as with most major site changes, after the initial user complains many are likely to adjust to the changes and find them useful.
The changes are beginning to roll out to a small set of users today, with many more to come over the next few weeks. The changes are currently only coming to twitter.com, not applications or the mobile site, although Twitter says it will come in the future.
Already the changes are getting bad feedback from users, with Sharon Hayes tweeting;
This is what has replaced mentions tab for those who aren't seeing the new Twitter UI yet. Just awful. *sigh* http://t.co/ffadzNz
@findingnewo I had to slow down tweeting earlier and hardly tweeted because it was scrolling too fast for me to even read :(
Because the new pages "live refresh" without queueing the tweets like the old methods did, users with large amounts of friends or followers on the service are having issues keeping up with the page scrolling.