There was a time when the trajectory of Twitter was at least somewhat uncertain, like it could shoot off in any direction. But it seems quite fixed now, as the Twitter stream flowing down your screen congeals into a sludgy mix of photos, videos, and other media.
The message from Twitter, consistently, is that Twitter is going to be richer and more media-centric. And so it looks more and more like Facebook in some ways than Twitter, which was simply zigzag slashes 140 characters long or so, neatly contained in a single lane of traffic.
The Discover tab has been a harbinger of the next Twitter for some time; with the Discover updates launched on Wednesday, it seems like an ideal time to consider what that Twitter will look like. Well, quite possibly something like this.
The Next Twitter, Maybe
As media like photos and video and Twitter Cards become more important to Twitter, it seems obvious that Twitter will have many of those tweets expanded, like it does in Discover now. Not all of them, but probably any of the ones it thinks will be most interesting to you. (There's also a heavy incentive here, advertising-wise: Imagine how much Oreo would love it if you didn't even have to open a tweet to see its acclaimed Super Bowl blackout image.)
It's probably not ridiculous to imagine, either, a new kind of optional home timeline that is more like Discover and Facebook's newsfeed in another respect — rather than showing you every tweet from the people and things you follow, it'll just show you the ones it thinks you'll be most interested in. Twitter already does something like this now — it sends users a newsletter every few days or so, filled with tweets it doesn't want them to miss, because it thinks they'll be super interested in them.
I'm not sure it's the Twitter I want, but it's probably the Twitter millions of others do. So I suspect it's the Twitter we're going to get.