Twitter Is About to Test a Bunch of Features for People and Publishers

Conversations may soon be easier to follow

Some of the tweaks to conversations that Twitter will test Twitter

Twitter used CES to detail some new features it will begin testing, for both users and publishers.

Karissa Bell of Mashable reported that Twitter will establish a beta program in the coming weeks for people who want to test its new experimental features, which could change the way conversations appear on its platform.

One of the features to be tested is a new design for threads on Twitter with the goal of making conversations easier to follow. The social network is experimenting with threaded tweets, similar to Reddit posts, in which replies to a tweet will be nested so that it is easier to see which replies are directed at which users. Color-coded labels were also part of the mix.

Twitter director of product management Sara Haider told Bell, “We’ve spent a lot of time on making sure that people can find what they’re looking for when something is unfolding in real-time. We’re now asking ourselves the question: How do we make this experience even deeper and richer? So, we decided to focus on conversations.”

Twitter will also test Facebook-like statuses and indicators informing followers when people are online.


Haider told Bell the goal is to give users more flexibility and enable them to add more context to tweets, adding, “It’s kind of a help-wanted sign that they’re hacking around the product (such as by changing display names) to express something that they want to express and give context to what they’re tweeting. And so, we want to pay attention to that.”

On the publisher side, vice president of product Keith Coleman said at CES that Twitter is working on concepts for a dashboard providing insights and analytics, as well as an events dashboard, Sarah Perez and Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch reported.

The idea behind the publisher dashboard is to give them access to data on who is reading and engaging with their content, when they are doing so and which content is performing the strongest.

And the events dashboard would give publishers information on upcoming events, including breaking news, helping them craft their approaches to those events.


Coleman said the events dashboard will make it easier for publishers to learn about events without knowing hashtags or who to follow, and events will be pinned to the top of their timelines, as well as appearing in Explore and being accessible via search.

He added, as reported by Perez and Lunden, “We know people want to come to see what’s happening. And particularly, they want to come to Twitter to see what’s happening when events are unfolding in the real world. If you think about the experience of actually following that, it’s hard. You have to follow the publications, you have to follow the journalists, you have to follow the attendees whose names you don’t even know. You don’t have all the hashtags.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.