With a test of a new topics bar above the main tweet timeline, Twitter is attempting to improve tweet discovery in the app yet again. The bar provides quick access to real-time discussions in the app.
The new topic listings are displayed in bubble tabs above your main feed, as seen in this example from user Chloe Korzh (and shared by Matt Navarra), providing an easy method to tap through and immediately link to the newest discussions on a certain subject.
Those subjects would presumably be tied to your tweet activity, which would ideally encourage more people to participate in the app's enlarged discussion and help Twitter increase engagement. Which has been a major focus for the service in recent years, with Twitter providing Topics to follow in addition to individual users, allowing you to see curated, subject tweets in your main feed, as well as Communities to enable more focused, topic-oriented debate.
Content discovery has long been a problem for Twitter, and it's one of the most commonly mentioned reasons why new users abandon the platform. Twitter's algorithmic timeline has aided user engagement by highlighting the most interesting, engaging tweets in-feed, with topics being the obvious extension of this, offering more tweets on your major areas of interest to keep you researching and engaging more frequently, optimizing usage.
Though the outcomes vary in this regard. Twitter's topic recommendations don't always align with my actual interests, and the Spaces discussions displayed in the dedicated tab of Twitter Spaces, its audio social platform, are always immensely different and never linked with what I want to check into.
It appears that Twitter still has a long way to go in detecting what each user is most interested in, and if it can't get that right, adding topic tabs above the main feed is unlikely to make a major difference. However, if it gets it right and highlights key issues of interest to each user, it may be a fantastic way to bring people together in real-time, trending discussions.
Although it's huge if, it's feasible that this may be an excellent approach to increase total tweet engagement.