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  • MaryGrace Lerin

Twitter Is Experimenting With New Audience Controls On Tweets

This could have a major impact on how you use Twitter in the future, as well as how you grow Twitter audiences.

Twitter is working on a new option that would allow users to share their tweets with specific audiences rather than all of their followers with each post, as part of its faster development process after years of relative standstill. The idea is that this will allow users to get more out of their Twitter experience and eliminate the need for several accounts for different audiences and interests.

Twitter initially indicated that it was working on the feature at its Analyst Day briefing in February, when it showcased a groups-like feature called 'Communities,' which would allow Twitter users to share their tweets with certain sub-groups of individuals rather than the entire Twitter community.

Twitter has now released some more glimpses of how the option would operate.

A configurable audience control toggle within the tweet composer, as well as a remark on relevant tweets indicating who can see them, is one of the new processes Twitter is trying.

As you can see, tweets shared with a specified audience, such as 'Trusted Friends,' will have a special label, and users will be able to have tweets from their chosen lists appear first on their timeline.

This option is quite similar to Instagram's 'Close Friends' option for Stories (down to the color choice), which allows users to have more private chats with a chosen group of people rather than publishing everything with all of their followers.

This could be a significant benefit. There hasn't been a shortage of scandals sparked by resurfaced tweets from the past, but many of these debates, you'd assume, are now taking place in private DMs, so the practical utility for this application may be little.

Another alternative is something Twitter is dubbing 'Facets,' which allows users to establish multiple personalities within a single profile.

That means users would be able to post in several topic areas rather than needing to express all of their ideas on all of their interests in one, and followers would be able to follow different sections of your profile based on their interests, as shown in the second screenshot (or they could follow all of your tweets as normal).

For instance, if you want to tweet about 'digital marketing' and 'NFL,' you could create two separate elements of your profile to share tweets about each topic with - instead of boring your NFL fan connections with your work tweets, or creating a separate fan account in addition to your main profile, you could keep all of your discussions and engagement in one, and keep them isolated from each other.

Which would be convenient, but would it help Twitter increase or improve engagement?

I mean, Twitter must gain some usage reporting benefit from users who have multiple active accounts. Wouldn't Twitter's overall user count be reduced if everyone with a secondary profile (which is a lot of people) only needed one?

And, given Twitter's goal of increasing its active user base by 123 million over the next three years, it appears that this isn't the best way forward, at least from this vantage point.

In a practical sense, allowing users to have more, varied types of discussions in the app and leaning into popular usage tendencies makes sense - but it seems that this would not be very beneficial. Instead, it may end up fragmenting and complicating the Twitter experience, which Twitter has been working hard to avoid for years.

However, if Twitter goes ahead with it, it might revolutionize how you use Twitter and how you create specialized, focused audiences via the app. To restrict ad intrusion in regular user feeds, a business may develop a distinct 'Help' feed, a 'Customer Service' handle under their main profile, and another stream for 'Sales and Specials.'

There are other choices to examine, and while it will take time and testing to see how this works and how users react to it, it has the potential to cause a big shift in user behavior.

Alternatively, it may prove to be too difficult. We'll have to see where Twitter takes it from here.

Twitter has stated that it is not currently creating these mock-ups.

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