Ever wish you could tell what someone is doing the very moment they tweet? Well, soon, you will be able to find out.
The popular social network hasn't changed much since it launched a decade ago. Sure, you can now see "Moments", which are curated tweets with a theme, and you can do tweetstorms with new tweet threading, but those are probably the biggest features to ever come to the service. The core way the site works and functions has remained the same. However, that's about to change in a big way: Twitter is testing status updates.
In an interview with Engadget at CES 2019, Twitter announced it'll be giving select users access to new features. One of those features is "status availability". It's a green bubble that will appear beside a user’s photo. The hope is that, if other users notice someone who sent a tweet is online, they’ll then be more likely to respond, which would lead to more conversations. These will work in tandem with another feature called ice breakers.
With ice breakers, Twitter users will be able to connect through the shared experience of TV shows or events like CES. Users will post an ice breaker tweet, which can link to something like a new Game of Thrones episode or a sporting event, and other users will be able to respond, hopefully sparking conversations. Twitter is hoping this will also improve the discourse on the site by connecting people through shared interests.
It’s easy to imagine this generating just as many arguments. Imagine someone posting an ice breaker tweet about something like political debates or Donald Trump’s nationally televised addresses. It’s hard to see how these features could make someone less likely to post something harmful.
Still, they're slated to begin rolling out in the next few weeks. If you’re interested in trying them out, you’ll apparently be able to apply, but only a few thousand users are expected to get access to the beta.
Here’s hoping Twitter's next big feature will be a tweet edit button.