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Twitter tests out new features

Twitter tests out new features

Microblogging site Twitter is continuing to change aspects of the platform by trialling a couple of new features.

The first feature being tested by the site is one that will show users how many people are talking about an individual, popular tweet. This metric appears underneath some embedded tweets when they show up on a site other than the social platform itself, seemingly replacing the retweet, favourite and reply counters with a cumulative total.

According to a spokesman for Twitter, Dan Jackson, this is a small experiment that forms part of the company’s ongoing tests to explore new ways of providing people with more social context around tweets.

The simplification of the interaction counters is less likely to alienate people who are not familiar with Twitter and is a way to make internal success within the site more relatable externally. It is not known whether this particular feature will become a permanent fixture, but it is a different way to process the site’s popular engagement metrics.

The second feature in testing is called ‘Bookmarks’ and will allow users to privately save tweets to view at a later time. Bookmarks would become an option in the user’s navigation menu alongside ‘Profile’, ‘Lists’ , ‘Moments’ and ‘Follower Requests’.

Keith Coleman, Twitter’s head of product, indicated back in October that this was one of the top requests from users of the site. At present, the only way to essentially bookmark a tweet is to favourite it and view it using the ‘Favourites’ tab of your own account. However, this does send the tweeter a notification that their tweet has been liked. Social media rival Facebook already has a ‘Save for Later’ feature within its platform.

The site recently made one of the biggest changes to the network in recent times by changing its 140 character limit to double the amount – 280 characters – earlier this month. This was a massive change for the company as its 140 character limit was one of its iconic features. This new limit was introduced for the majority of languages, with the exception of the likes of Chinese, Japanese and Korean, which the company’s research showed did not need to have the upper boundary expanded.

Furthermore, Twitter also announced that it was reviewing its process for verifying accounts after facing scrutiny for verifying the account of an American supremacist rally organiser. Since then, the company said it was rectifying the process, which could involve some accounts losing their verified status and blue ‘tick’ badges in the near future.

Twitter continually tests new features in order to give its users the best experiences when on the site, without alienating them with complex jargon and functions.

Alan Littler

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