Twitter Unveils New ‘Communities’ Feature (For Now)
So far, 2021 has been a banner year for social platforms trying to add features and phase out others. Furthermore, if you have read any of our last few social platform posts, like Pinterest’s new vertical feed and Twitter adding new co-hosting options, you are also aware of how each platform finds a way to make its own version of each others’ features as they start trending. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this trend, the sheer numbers of “newness” can make your head spin.
In September, Twitter announced the launch of a new “Communities” feature meant to take on Facebook’s popular Groups by providing a space where people can share discussions on a specific topic. Although this feature could be popular, their approach could leave some users a little confused.
Why Just “For Now”?
It is one thing to hold certain information from users during test phases when a platform is not quite sure how things will unfold, but Twitter’s announcement of its “Communities” feature wasn’t so much elusive as it was an awkward tease.
In a series of tweets, Twitter explained, “Let’s talk about how Communities will work (for now!)…Communities are invite-only (also for now!), but admins and moderators have unlimited invites, and members have five invites per Community (again, for now!) that are sent via DM…so choose wisely.”
In between the teasing, they explain that when users join a Community, they’ll see an option in the tweet composer to tweet to that Community. Those tweets will show up in the Community and on a user’s timeline (if they’re a member). However, they explain that Communities are not private—they can be seen by anyone on Twitter, but only members can participate within the Community.
Twitter has currently launched only a handful of Communities, but they expect new ones to be created every week.
“Our plan is to build and update Communities based on your feedback, so tell us how you *really* feel which honestly you’re already very good at doing,” they conclude in their tweet.
Similar to how groups on Facebook and Reddit’s subreddits work, each Twitter Community will have its own moderators who can set rules and invite or remove people.
According to Digital Information World, “If Twitter lets anyone create and easily promote their own Communities, the feature could make the app more compelling for casual users who haven’t put in the effort to heavily curate their main timeline.”
Despite the teasing, this is probably a good move for Twitter. Communities seem like an obvious move for Twitter, primarily since its users are known for forming niche groups around specific interests. Twitter aims to formalize that dynamic into a feature that will eventually end up on the main navigation bar of its mobile app.
Much like other platforms, Twitter has provided many features this year. Many of these new features are probably coming on the heels of the slowing Tech Boom social platforms experienced in 2020 and early 2021. As they slow, we will likely see features from all social platforms surge to keep interests moving up rather than flatlining (or dropping) into 2022.