Twitter Tests A Feature To Allow Users To “Subscribe To Conversations”

Twitter subscribe to conversation

In a bid to regulate the conversation that happens within its platform, Twitter once again developing a feature that would help users streamline their experience in the micro-blogging site as well as protect their privacy in the process. This time, Twitter is testing out an option to follow a specific conversation in a tweet thread without liking or commenting on the Tweet.

Jane Manchun Wong, a reverse engineer who often peeks inside popular apps to discover yet-to-be-launched features and beta updates, was the one who first found the beta feature and posted her discovery on Twitter.

“Twitter is testing “Subscribe to conversation” so you can get notified over a conversation without liking or replying. [popcorn emoji],” wrote Wong on her Twitter account.

According to Wong, the feature is tested on Android versions of the Twitter app, where it’s a user interface (UI) prototype for now. The button simply reads “Subscribe to conversation” and is position at the top right corner of a tweet view, she says.

Different users and social media experts believe that the new feature is helpful especially in regulating conversations since users don’t need to reply or like a particular tweet to join a thread or discussion.

In the existing user interface of Twitter, for a user to get notified if a new tweet has been added to the conversation they are following, they have to be tagged in the specific thread, and users are only notified regarding the activities in the subtweet that they were tagged. This tagging-replying function adds clutter to the discussion as it unnecessarily drowns the actual conversation within the tweet.

Twitter retweeted Wong’s post regarding her discovery but did not provide any further details aside from it being in the development stage. The retweet reads: “This is part of our work to make Twitter more conversational.”

The micro-blogging website and social media platform have become one of the world’s most dynamic platform for public discourse. It has become one of the most preferred social networks by Americans, and as a broadcasting platform, organizations use it for announcements and events to their followers. President Donald Trump even uses Twitter as a place for him to air out his thoughts. Because of this popularity, many crucial conversations around the world happen inside Twitter.

On May 2018, in a blog post, Twitter had vowed to improve its platform to serve more “healthy conversations.” The first step to achieve this, as Del Harvey and David Gasca from Twitter wrote, is to address their problem with trolls.

“Some troll-like behavior is fun, good, and humorous. What we’re talking about today are troll-like behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation on Twitter, particularly in communal areas like conversations and search. Some of these accounts and Tweets violate or policies, and, in those cases, we take action on them.”

Furthermore, as part of their promise, Twitter also rolled out an option for users to hide replies to their tweet to prevent abuse in the conversation thread. Although the new update will not allow users to hide a specific comment on a tweet permanently, it will make it hard for followers to see the said comment that was ‘hidden.’

“People who start interesting conversations on Twitter are significant to use, and we want to empower them to make the conversations they start as healthy as possible by giving them control,” explains Michelle Yasmeen Haq, a senior product manager at Twitter. “We already see people trying to keep their conversations healthy by using block, mute, and report, but these tools don’t always address the issue. Block and mute only change the experience of the blocker and report only works for the content that violates our policies.”

The new subscription feature will allow a user to follow a thread without directly signaling their interest, or having to join in the conversation themselves. The absence of the signals of interests makes the conversation more genuine as it will not be affected by other people agreeing or disagreeing, which means that the conversation between two or more users will remain to be between those users while allowing others to listen to the said conversation.

In retrospect, as the conversation that happens in Twitter becomes more and more relevant to society, Twitter is definitely in the right track on improving the environment where these conversations exist. /apr

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