Tweeting at Twitter about changes Twitter might add to Twitter is an entirely new level of meta.
On Tuesday, Twitter began beta testing "Twttr" – a throwback to the platform's original name—with a select group of testers. The app, first announced at CES in January, allows Twitter to test features it's contemplating for its existing platform and get immediate feedback.
Twitter asked testers to share their reactions on Twitter with the hashtag #LetsHaveAConvo—and they werem't shy about sharing their issues and praise. A common refrain were testers cringing about a Reddit-like feed that would become difficult to read on mobile.
The feed is a potential new design for conversation threads. A rounded, color-coded layout indents replies, with messages from original Tweeters in gray shadows and people they follow in blue. With this design, the platform said in a message shared by several testers, original tweets are meant to become the focal point of conversation threads so users can see the original message they are responding to. At the same time, users see replies based on who follows who.
Here's what Twitter's new twttr app looks like when reading a conversation thread pic.twitter.com/qWMf8orGSQ— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) March 12, 2019
Several testers tweeted about their experience and while some were impressed, saying it makes conversations easier to read, others had their pain points. Some top concerns included the extent of the indentations. As conversations get longer, the indented text is squeezed to the side of the app, making replies more difficult to read the longer the conversation. It's something Twitter said it's already working on improving. Some testers compared Twttr's layout to Reddit's, which has its own indented comments.
This feels exactly like Reddit and one of the things I really dislike about their mobile experience is the indented comments— Connor Fowler ✏️ (@cfowlerdesign) March 12, 2019
It's an absolute nightmare when you get more than 3/4 comments deep on a thread
Took the idea from Reddit. But how feasible is it on mobile? Should run of space fast.— Anirudh (@VelamuriAnirudh) March 12, 2019
"It's hard not to make some comparisons to Reddit, but ultimately it's just threaded indented comments seen on various platforms," digital media consultant Matt Navarra tells Ad Age. "It's not like we have up and down vote buttons."
Some other prime concerns include missing the option to edit a tweet, the abilty to like replies and see the number of retweets and likes.
As testers were beginning to share their responses, others took to Twitter to complain about not yet having access. With too many applications, Twitter could not admit all applicants, including some journalists, to its "Twitter Prototype Program." Only a couple of thousand English and Japanese speakers were invited.