The new year brings a mix of updates to X, notably the reappearance of post headlines on link previews - first on the web version, soon to spread to other platforms. However, the format tweaks bring both promise and a touch of dissatisfaction.
In this fresh X link preview format, a basic headline will grace the article image, a change Elon Musk, the platform's owner, claims will aesthetically enhance the in-stream experience. Yet, as showcased by 9 to 5 Google, this alteration doesn't sit well with everyone.
Previously, X's link previews encompassed the header image, title, and preview text, offering more context for clickers. Musk, in his personal preference quest, demanded the removal of all text from link previews in October, citing aesthetics.
However, Elon's own November post triggered a turnaround. Feedback from followers criticizing the format prompted a reintroduction of headlines, leading to this revised format.
Objectively, it might not win design awards, but the return of headlines eases social media managers' tasks within the app, sparing them from resharing headlines to guide followers to tap for more.
Nonetheless, it's a step backward from the previous link preview. Musk's lean towards native long-form content clashes with major publications' practices, leaving an unresolved conflict.
Despite its flaws, the return of headlines is better than a complete absence. The rollout schedule for all users and platforms remains undisclosed, leaving users waiting for the next update.