Twitter is set to publicly launch a new program where users can have better conversations on the platform through status updates instead of just plain tweets.
It's not yet clear how radically different this new way of conversing with other people is from regular Twitter replies, but the company has long promised it would improve ways of engaging with other users on the site, and this is one result of that initiative.
Twitter Status Updates And Ice Breaker Tweets
In an interview with Engadget during CES 2019, Twitter confirmed that a lot more users will be able to try out new organization and context features with their followers. Twitter is referring to status updates and "ice breaker" tweets that were reported to be in testing last year, designed to encourage people to talk to each other about certain topics.
Twitter is set to launch the program in a matter of weeks. Participating users would be able to post their own ice breaker tweets which other people can respond to. An additional feature would let them attach tags to their tweets to better narrow down the discussion.
A person could, say, start an ice breaker tweet about Black Mirror's latest Bandersnatch episode. Then other people who want to expand the discussion can jump right in. Twitter is also considering letting users pin their ice breaker tweets at the top of their profile for more chances of sparking healthy conversation.
Anyone will be able to join the program, but only a few thousand users are actually going to get in. Twitter will start accepting applications in the upcoming weeks to participate in the beta program.
If chosen to participate, expect Twitter to ask for feedback on the new features in question. The company will then use that to determine what works and what doesn't before rolling them out to everyone else.
Healthy Conversations On Twitter
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has stated that his main focus is to "increase the health of public conversation" on the platform. Helpful as it's been for connecting people, Twitter has turned into a venue for hate speech, racism, sexism, and other forms of malicious, ill-intent attacks. A number of people have slighted the company for failing to remedy this particular characteristic of the site. Status updates and ice breakers likely won't solve all of Twitter's problems, but it's a start.
"We're making some pretty big changes to the way conversations look and feel on Twitter, and we don't want to just unveil that one day and what if you don't like it or it's not working for you?," said Sara Haider, Twitter's product management director. "We really want to bring our community along for this journey and be a part of this. We want to this kind of thing more often."