Remember the epic, fingernail-biting tale of corporate intrigue where a man got his lunch stolen at the office and caught the thief by watching security tapes over the course of two days? It wasn’t easy to follow unless you were already following the user writing the tweets — but there may soon be a better way. Twitter is testing a feature to let you follow replies to individual tweets, so you can keep up with the next great Twitter saga.
Here’s what it looks like:
You probably have notifications on for your must-follows. Now you can get notifications when there’s a new reply to a Tweet you’re interested in! We’re testing this on iOS and Android now. pic.twitter.com/MabdFoItxc— Twitter (@Twitter) August 8, 2019
While users can already get notifications for all tweets shared by an individual account — which I could have done to follow the story of the lunch-stealer — users in the test can now choose to get notifications for replies to individual tweets too. That way, you won’t have to swipe away every well-meaning political comment if you’re only there for an extremely important discussion of precisely how long to steep tea.
Improving replies seems to be a recent focus for Twitter, as it has also introduced the ability to hide replies and is testing threaded conversations in twttr, its experimental app. The new focus seems to have followed the chaos of February’s live-tweeted #KaraJack interview between Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Recode’s Kara Swisher, where the embarrassed CEO acknowledged that the conversation was “not easy” to follow.
But changes to make it easier to follow conversations on Twitter doesn’t do much to address the huge problems with harassment and abuse on the platform, which is what prevents healthy conversation from happening in the first place. Right now, Twitter seems to be focusing on getting users to spend more time on the platform, but still isn’t doing enough to ensure a better experience while they’re there.