Twitter is thinking about new ways to share tweets with specific groups of people. The company showed off two concepts for new features that would allow users to target tweets toward specific audiences without having to switch accounts or change privacy settings.
The first would enable people to designate “trusted friends” so some tweets would only be visible to that group. The idea is similar to Instagram’s “close friends” feature for Stories. According to an image shared by Twitter designer Andrew Courter, Twitter’s version would allow users to toggle the audience much like the way you can choose who is able to reply to you.
He added that “perhaps you could also see trusted friends’ Tweets first” in your timeline, which would offer another alternative to the chronological or algorithmic “home” timelines Twitter currently offers.
Another feature would allow people to take on different personas or “facets” from the same account. For example, a user could have a professional identity, where they tweet about work-related topics, and a personal one that’s meant more for friends and family. According to the images, users could have the option of making any one persona public or private, and new followers would be able to choose which “facet” they want to see tweets from.
Finally, Courter showed off a new concept for filtering replies that would allow users to choose specific words or phrases “they prefer not to see.” Then, if a user who is replying or mentioning the user tries to use one of those words or phrases, Twitter will let them know the words go against that person’s preference.
According to the images shared by Courter, the feature wouldn’t prevent anyone from sending a tweet using the offending words, but it would make it less visible to the person on the receiving end. The idea is similar to other kinds of anti-bullying nudges Twitter has employed in the past, but would go a step further as each user could set their own conversational “boundaries.”
All these features are still just ideas — Courter noted that “we’re not building these yet” — so they may never actually launch. But the company is looking for feedback on the designs, so they could inform future tools Twitter does decide to build. At the very least, it sheds some light on how Twitter is thinking about issues like identity.
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