Social networking platform Twitter is currently testing out new audience controls on tweets, making it easier to engage around various topics. This could have a significant impact on tweeters and their usage, and the way Twitter audiences will be built moving forward.
The new option would enable Twitter users to share their tweets with chosen audiences, opposed to all of their followers with every tweet. Twitter previewed a groups-like option called 'Communities' at its Analyst Day briefing back in February 2021. The ‘Communities’ feature would enable Twitter users to share their tweets within selected sub-groups of users.
One of the new methods Twitter is testing out would be a variable audience control toggle within the tweet composer. Tweets broadcasted to a particular audience like 'Trusted Friends' would have a special marker, while users would also be able to change their timeline display to tweets from their chosen lists first.
This option is very similar to Instagram's 'Close Friends' feature for Stories. 'Close friends' already enables Instagram users to maintain a more private line of communication with a selected group of users, as opposed to sharing everything with all of their followers.
Another option could be something Twitter's calling 'Facets'. This would enable users to create different personas under a single profile.
‘Facets’ would enable users to post in different topic areas, without having to share all of their thoughts on all of their interests on one feed. So if you want to tweet about 'Musical Theatre' and 'Formula 1 Racing', then you could create two separate parts of your profile to share tweets about each topic with. No more boring your Formula 1 fan followers with your tweets about your favourite new Broadway show.
The variable audience control toggle feature could have many benefits for Twitter users in 2021. There have been many occasions when re-surfaced tweets have become the centre of controversy. Meaning the new feature to control your tweets audiences could eradicate this problem and tweets may be set to a specific audience.
For Twitter, we’re not exactly convinced of the benefits. The new features could mean everyone with a secondary profile would only need one, therefore reducing twitter’s overall user count. Given that Twitter is aiming to increase its active user number by 123 million more users within the next three years, the new features wouldn’t support this!
There are also worries that the new audience controls could just end up fragmenting the Twitter experience and making it more complex. However, it could change the way individuals use your Twitter profile. A business or brand, for example, could create a separate 'Customer Service' feed with a general ‘Marketing’ section of tweets within their main profile.