There's no doubt that Twitter is making its way back to the limelight in the new year.
Not only is the company turning around years of slowing growth, but this week it unveiled a new invite-only app that it's rolling out to a group of testers. Here, users will be able to test and discuss new features before they roll out to the public.
Interestingly enough, participants in the test program won't be subject to an NDA or other sort of contract, meaning that they can discuss the new features freely.
The features being tested aren't beta features, per se. Instead, the features are in their super early stages, and feedback given in the app will have a direct impact on what is (and isn't) added to future Twitter builds.
Think of it as a beta test before an alpha—the features are still experimental.
Twitter has officially announced the new app, but hasn't invited users to participate yet. However, the invite-only program should roll out over the next few weeks.
Thankfully for us marketers, TechCrunch sat down with Sara Haider—Twitter's director of product management—and took a look at the new app and some of the new features that it will test when the new app goes live.
Some of these changes are pretty huge too. In fact, some could fundamentally change how we use and experience Twitter as we know it.
That's a pretty big deal for us marketers, so in this article, we'll take you through some of the changes highlighted so far.
Use these to plan and future-proof your 2019 and 2020 Twitter marketing strategies. Because trust us, it's better to be early to the game than left in the dust.
So without further ado, let's jump in!
Responses sorted algorithmically
Alright, brace yourselves... this one is going to be met with controversy.
Twitter is experimenting with sorting replies algorithmically instead of chronologically.
The thought here is to make tweets with huge reply threads easier to digest. Instead of having to scroll through each reply, you'll be able to see the most interesting and relevant replies first.
This isn't a totally new concept. After all, we already see some algorithm-interaction with our replies (for example, you see replies from your friends first). But from the looks of it, this will take algorithm interaction to the next level.
Beyond this, there isn't much info as to how the algorithm will play into reply sorting, but we'll keep you updated if we hear more. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
No more engagement icons
This is an interesting one: Twitter is experimenting with removing all engagement buttons from the feed.
You read that right. Instead of being able to favorite a tweet right off the bat, you'll have to tap on the tweet to show engagement buttons.
We have mixed feelings about this. On the plus side, it'll make your Twitter feed look super clean on mobile.
On the other hand, though, it'll be more difficult to favorite and otherwise engage with posts from people you follow.
But wait a sec. Maybe that's what Twitter is going for here?
After all, removing engagement buttons from the feed means people need to think about their favorites, replies, and retweets before they make them.
If executed right, this could make for a more curated, less spammy Twitter feed for all.
Orrrrrrr it could be a giant pain. Only time will tell.
Speaking of UX changes, Twitter is also going to experiment with color-coded replies.
When looking at a chain of tweets, replies from the original poster, people you follow, and people you don't follow will be shown in different colors.
We're huge fans of this feature. It's a simple change but will make it much easier to find content you care about when perusing huge thread of replies on mobile.
Note that the colors shown above are purposefully saturated. According to TechCrunch, these will be dialed back when sent to testers—thank goodness.
An edit button... not quite
One thing not highlighted in TechCrunch's first-look at the new Twitter testing app is an edit button.
Twitter has gone back-and-forth about adding an edit button—and it's no secret. Twitter executives have publicly spoken about the feature, discussing its risks and benefits to the platform.
And while there's no edit button being tested yet, this new Twitter testing program will be the first place we'll see it being tested when the time comes. Now the only question is when will we see it?
There you go: the new Twitter features that might change the Twitter marketing game in 2019 and beyond.
Now that new Twitter features are rolled out to a test app, there's a good chance we'll see more beta features come to light before an official announcement is made. Oh, and don't worry: we'll make sure to keep you up to date if we hear anything.
Now it's your turn. What new Twitter features are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments—we're excited to hear from you.
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