Twitter is Testing ‘Ice Breakers’ and Status Indicators to Promote Engagement

Twitter wants to make the platform an easier place to have conversations, and not necessarily just be a firehose for things that are happening around the globe.

In an effort to reach that point, the company is currently testing a few different features. The Verge had the features shown in prototype form recently, and it notes that while Twitter is testing the new features now, it does not necessarily have a timetable for when, or even if, they will see the light of day for the public. The sneak peek of what Twitter is working on also includes a brief look at Twitter’s tests for threaded conversations, which we first heard about back in August of this year.

As far as the threaded conversations go, the threads will highlight the tweets/replies that are sent by the original poster in a different color from the rest of the thread, making it obvious who started the conversation. The current design will also put the replies from other people you follow in a different color as well.

Twitter is testing status indicators

What Twitter calls a “presence indicator” is also being tested, which is basically a status indicator to let folks on Twitter know if you’re available or not. Twitter has noticed that some people change their usernames to tell people they are using the social network at the time, so they view this change as just an easier way to accomplish that goal. Twitter sees this as a way to show when people are on the platform at the same time, which may boost direct engagement on the platform.

Twitter's idea for starting conversations: Ice breakers

The next feature is a means to promote those potential conversations and hopefully get people to start talking. These are “ice breakers”, and it’s a twist on the pinned tweet users can stick to the top of their own timeline. This ice breaker can be used to let people know what they are interested in, as lead-ins for a conversation. You can see some examples of what that would look like in the image just above.

A few smaller details: That presence indicator could also be used as a separate status update. That means that users could simply type that they are at a specific event, like a tech conference, and then keep typing to post a separate status update, basically the bulk of their text. Two separate tweets, it looks like. In addition to that, Twitter is testing having a dedicated “reply” field to every single tweet. Which the company believes would make it easier to quickly dive into a thread and start up a conversation.

As mentioned above, there is no word on when, or if, these features are ever going to see the light of day. What do you think of the idea of a status indicator? Twitter isn’t the only one potentially going down this road, either. We recently heard Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, launched status indicators for its platform as well.

[via The Verge]