Twitter’s month-old prototype app twttr — its testing ground for platform tweaks — is exploring some significant changes to tweet engagement.
In addition to providing Twitter with a playground for whatever zany ideas it wants to give a whirl, twttr is also how the company collects user input about those tweaks or changes. TechCrunch reported Thursday that some more recent updates to the prototype app include a swiping motion to engage with tweet replies as well as new designation tags to help clarify who is who in a thread, including “author”, “mentioned”, and “following”.
The latter are also currently being tested on Twitter.
Twitter’s Director of Product Management Sara Haider tweeted this week that some of the tools twttr has been testing recently—including nesting tweet replies and hiding engagement—were intended to “make conversations easier to understand.” According to Haider, the twttr team received mixed feedback about its replies tweaks, particularly with respect to longer threads:
Some felt that replies can get crowded, especially in long conversations. Lengthy threads become harder to read due to indentation and too many “Show more” buttons.
— sara haider (@pandemona) April 8, 2019
In twttr’s current build, TechCrunch said, tweet engagement tools are still hidden, but users can now “swipe to the left on a Tweet in order to like it.” In addition, in order to like or retweet a reply, a user must tap it. According to TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez, this is how it looked before:
— Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa) April 4, 2019
Haider added that despite the kinks, the majority of those who provided feedback about twttr “prefer the prototype over the Twitter app, a pattern that is consistent across regions surveyed. We’re excited about this — it shows us that we’re on the right path but still have more work to do before launching to everyone.”
So from the sound of that, it’s possible we could be looking at a wider rollout of some of these twttr features on Twitter down the line. And to be honest, we’ve heard worse ideas for this platform.
But as for the new tweet tags being tested on both platforms? Who knows. Maybe they’ll go the way of the Original Tweeter.