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Twitter Testing Reply Subscriptions to Streamline Busy Conversations

Tech

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In allowing subscriptions to tweets, Twitter hopes to center conversations that users badly want to follow along with.

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As Twitter threads and “tweetstorms” have surged in popularity, users have long lamented the intricate lengths one must take to follow a poster’s tweets. If Twitter’s latest test feature is adopted by the platform, that challenge stands to disappear.

If you see a tweet ending in a notation like “/1,” users will have the option to “subscribe to replies,” ensuring that later additions to the thread won’t go missing. You’ll also be able to see how other users are responding to the poster’s tweets. “While users can already get notifications for all tweets shared by an individual account,” The Verge reported, “users in the test can now choose to get notifications for replies to individual tweets, too.”

For social media managers wanting to monitor tweets calling for user-generated content, this could be an easy way to keep track of submissions. Similarly, if one wanted to track the replies to the similar tweet of a competitor, the feature could be similarly useful here. And for those curious about the reception that a prospective influencer might receive on certain tweets, this could be one of a few methods used to track their reported impact.

Lest you worry that such a move would inundate the subscriber with all replies indiscriminately, TechCrunch reports that responses would be algorithmically sorted, and “top replies will include those from the author, anyone they mentioned, and people you follow.” The move is one of several Twitter is making to allow conversations to be more focused, followable, and fun to be a part of.

This last trait is one that Twitter continues to work to provide, as accusations of hate, harassment, and toxicity continue to barrage Twitter’s support and developer teams. Tests like this and their also-in-testing option to hide replies, are all “focused on making conversations on its platform easier to follow, participate in and, in some cases, block.”

And while measures like this are designed to show that the company is listening to its most aggrieved users, fixes like this do more to isolate conversations of interest than they do crackdown on harmful behavior’s origins. Put another way, The Verge’s Jay Peters notes, “Twitter seems to be focusing on getting users to spend more time on the platform, but still isn’t doing enough to ensure a better experience while they’re there.”

The feature is currently being tested on both iOS and Android, with no official word on when the decision will be made to adopt the feature across all operating versions.

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