Last year, Twitter’s head of product mentioned that his team has been assessing the potential of allowing users to restrict the audience of their tweets.
"I’m very interested in exploring how we might give customers more control. Where ephemerality is just one of those dimensions, I think there are other dimensions that, while we can get excited and talk about ephemerality because there are lots of other standards of how other apps do this, I think other dimensions, like control around who can see or control around who can participate, is really critical.", said Kayvon Beykpour on the potential of ephemeral messaging for Twitter.
And now Twitter seems to have made this possible. In a presentation at CES, Twitter’s director of product management Suzanne Xie displayed a process that’s currently under development. Through this, users can control the audience for every tweet from the composer window.
The new settings will include Global – everyone can reply to a tweet, Group – People you follow or mention would be able to reply to the tweet, Panel – Only the people you mention in a tweet would be able to reply to that tweet, and Statement – No one would be able to reply.
This new process is expected to be released later this year. According to Beykpour, since people have difficulty with live chats through tweets, this change would be of help.
"It’s actually quite difficult to have a fireside chat when you have a billion people screaming into your ear. Like, imagine we had tens of thousands of people in the studio with us right now, talking into our ear while we were talking to each other."
By limiting replied to only those who are mentioned, people would be able to have interview-style conversations that can be good for live chats or celebrity interviews that are mostly cluttered with spam responses. They can also restrict responses to the mentioned interviewee at first and then later open the conversation to other followers.
People who host Twitter chats can use these restrictions to their advantage. By limiting responses to followers only, they can get new people to follow them if those people want to participate in the conversation.
While many would say that this goes against Twitter’s ‘public square’ ethos, wherever gets to have a say in a conversation, but with all the secondary noise during conversations, the change can facilitate people to communicate better.