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Twitter Halts Test of Threaded Replies, Shuts Down Experimental twttr App

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After what seems like a very long testing process, Twitter has today announced that it won’t be going ahead with threaded replies on tweets, which it had hoped would make tweet interactions easier to understand.

Twitter began testing threaded replies back in 2018, first internally, then within its experimental ‘twttr’ app, before rolling it out to selected iOS users back in February.

The idea was that by more clearly defining which reply was in response to which tweet, it would make conversation threads easier to follow, and therefore improve engagement. But in practice, Twitter found that wasn’t the case. According to user feedback, the updated reply format “made convos harder to read & join”.

Which is fair enough, but the learning and development process here is very broad. 

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As noted, Twitter has been testing variations of this since 2018, and has been live testing it since February, so that’s a full 10 months of testing to come to this conclusion. I guess, Twitter’s just being thorough – and in fairness, it has had a lot of other issues to deal with that would’ve taken priority over that time.

But it still feels like Twitter is struggling to innovate and come up with fresh ideas. For all its various new features and updates, the Twitter experience is still much the same as it was when the app first launched back in 2006.

That’s in variance to Facebook, which now has Stories, Marketplace, business Pages, groups – there’s a range of ways in which Facebook has evolved to cater to new use cases and user needs. Or Instagram – Instagram now has Stories as well, along with IGTV, Reels, while Direct is also a more prominent feature in the app. The leading social apps have added major new elements that have changed user habits, and kept people engaged – while Twitter has just spent 10 months working out whether people like threaded replies or not.

Really, it was always a minor update, and the impacts of its implementation, or not, were minimal. But if you were a fan of the threaded format, it’s now gone.  

As has its twttr test app:

Twitter launched the test app in March last year as part of its effort to be more collaborative on product updates and tweaks. Twitter invited all users to apply for access, and to share their feedback on features in testing, but it hadn’t updated the app for some time, and to be honest, most users likely forgot they even had it (note: I did).

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But now, it too is gone, and that may also mark a new point in Twitter’s testing process, where maybe it doesn’t seek to be so collaborative, and invite mass feedback on changes, which then get more focus than they likely require.

Or it’ll try something else – either way, the main point of note here is that Twitter still hasn’t worked out the best way to implement real, significant changes to its app, or what those changes should even be.

I mean, it added Fleets. That’s something, I guess. Though I still feel like Fleets are just the second coming of Twitter Moments – a heavily hyped new addition, that users get excited about for a few weeks. Then it just slowly dies out, till Twitter acknowledges that no one was ever really into it.

Twitter Moments

‘Oh yeah’, I hear you say, ‘Moments, yeah I remember that.’

That’s the same thing you’ll be saying about Fleets about this time next year, along with audio tweets, the Twitter camera, audio rooms, etc.

Twitter remains an essential platform in many respects, but innovation is just not its thing.  

Socialmediatoday.com

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WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

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WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new Call Links feature, which, as it sounds, will enable you to share a link to invite others to join a group chat in the app.

As you can see in these examples, you’ll now be able to create dedicated URL links for WhatsApp group video and audio chats, which will make it easier for others to join the discussion in the app.

When available (the option is being rolled out this week), you’ll be able to see the Call Link option within your ‘Calls’ tab, enabling you to create a shareable link to get people into your chats.

It could be an easy way to help enhance community connection, and facilitate engagement, while brands could also use the option to better connect with influencers and advocates, in a more direct, intimate way.

For example, you could run an exclusive chat to discuss your upcoming product launch, or seek feedback on potential updates. Meta’s says that it’s also working on secure, encrypted video calling for up to 32 people as well, so there could soon be a range of ways to use the option as a means to spotlight specific audience segments and engage with them direct.

And with more engagement switching to messaging tools, that’s definitely worth considering.

Indeed, as part of a recent product announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that:

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Most people use feeds to discover content and use messaging for deeper connections.”

As such, it may be time to start considering how you can lean into this shift, and better align with how users are now connecting, in order to maximize community and engagement.

Feeds are increasingly being overtaken by entertainment, so if you want to tap into the connective benefits of the medium, that may no longer be the place to be to reach your fans.

Messaging, and messaging groups, could be an important consideration going forward, and these new tools provide more options on this front.



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