Twitter’s third column

Friday, 9 May, 2014

As Twitter rolls out a new look that adds a third column for users accessing the service with a web browser the message is clear: your tweets are front and centre. The new, full-sized layout centralizes tweets and moves secondary information to the sides. The “Who to follow” widget has been moved from beneath the profile bio on the left to the right, where it sits above the Trends block.

Twitter

Language note: Ernest Hemingway included the word “column” in the title of his only play, which he wrote in Madrid while the city was being bombarded during the Spanish Civil War. It was published in 1938 as The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories. It is said that Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General, told a journalist in 1936 that as his four columns of troops approached Madrid, a “fifth column” of supporters inside the city would support him and undermine the Republican government from within. The term spread then beyond the borders of Spain and came to define any group of people who destabilize a larger group, such as a movement or nation from the inside.

Political note: In an address to Parliament on 18 March this year, Vladimir Putin “raised the spectre of ‘a fifth column’ — a ‘disparate bunch of national traitors’ — sowing discord inside Russia.”


Comments are closed.