Brands have been slow to embrace conversation settings Twitter began testing last month that enable accounts to determine who can reply to their tweets—everyone, only people they follow or only people they mention in that tweet—but Hulu is giving the feature a test drive Tuesday night as part of a watch party for its screening on the social network of the pilot episode of new original series Love, Victor.
The series debuts on Hulu Wednesday (June 17), but the subscription-video-on-demand platform is screening the pilot episode on Twitter in a first-of-its-kind initiative for a pay service (Fox debuted Ghosted on Twitter in September 2017, but it is not subscription-based).
The watch party for the first episode of Love, Victor kicks off on its Twitter event page at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET Tuesday, and tweets with the hashtag #LoveVictorWatchParty will be aggregated on that page, with tweets from the show’s talent appearing in a “Top Commentary” box atop the page.
The new conversation settings come into play at 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 p.m. ET, when Twitter handles including @TwitterOpen, @TwitterAlas and @TwitterTV will engage in a question-and-answer session with the cast of Love, Victor.
One of the Twitter handles will start the conversation by @ mentioning the handles of the other Twitter accounts and the cast members and using the option that limits replies to the initial tweet to those mentioned, keeping the focus on the voices of the cast.
Although Twitter users will not be able to reply, they can still view the conversation and retweet, retweet with comment and link individual tweets.
Twitter said when it began testing the controls last month that other than the obvious purpose of preventing replies by users who abuse the feature, the original tweeter would be able to conduct fireside chats, interviews and other kinds of invitation-only conversations with small groups or individual people.
Director of product management Suzanne Xie said in a blog post at the time, “One thing we know for sure is that you’ll be creative with this update. Maybe you’ll host a debate on the benefits of pineapple on pizza (#TeamPineapple) with fellow pizza pals, or invite a panel of distinguished guests for a fireside chat. You could even play a game of tic-tac-toe for people to follow along without messing up your moves. We’re excited to see what you do.”
Indeed, there was a mini-flurry of activity in the hours following the announcement.
And Recode co-founder Kara Swisher proposed a redo of her interview with CEO Jack Dorsey on Twitter in February 2019, which had to be cleaned up after the fact because all of the extraneous comments made it impossible to follow:
However, brands we spoke with, including some of the boldest ones on Twitter, either didn’t have access to the new setting or were preoccupied with more important issues, such as determining strategy in the wake of the ongoing protests regarding racial equality.
For example, while MoonPie had not been added to the test group for the new conversation settings at the time of this post, Tombras creative director Patrick Tice expects how they are used to evolve like most new features on social platforms.
“There’s the intended use, and then a slew of spinoff uses that either spoof or find unexpected ways to use the feature,” he said in an email. “It’ll go down the same way that location tags did. At first, people used them for their intended purpose (to tell their followers where in the world they were). But now people use them to make jokes about eating paint at a store even though they’re not actually eating paint—which, by the way, is extremely dangerous and, more important, a waste of perfectly good paint.”