Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Ali Hamza
There’s a new edition of Twitter. Sort of. This week, Twitter launched a prototype app for preliminary chosen customers to test. The app referred to as “Twttr” in connection with founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, suggests some modifications to the social media platform we’ve all come to like-hate read more.
One of the maximum exciting is a tweak to how likes (or “faves”) and retweets are displayed on the app. On Twitter, the variety of likes, retweets and replies a tweet has obtained isn’t always right away displayed.
When scrolling through the feed, you see just the phrases of the tweet; the name, cope with and picture of the account that tweeted it; and the date. The little coronary heart, retweet and share symptoms we’re conversant in seeing underneath each tweet are hidden.
They haven’t completely disappeared, however, they may be now “behind a faucet”, which means you need to in reality click on a tweet to interact with it earlier than you could see how many likes, retweets and replies it has acquired.
Interactions which include likes and retweets have become a defining function of most social media structures and, consciously or not, are regularly one of the first things we use to choose a post.
See a tweet with masses of likes or RTs and you can deem it extra really worth your interest than one that has gone in large part overlooked;
See a tweet with greater replies than likes or RTs – a situation regarded in internet slang as “The Ratio” – and you can likely expect that it is arguable (or simply plain horrific). How should hiding these signals change our behaviour?
Twitter says the motivation behind the changes is to make it less difficult to “examine, understand and be part of conversations”. In a tweet, the organization’s communications team said:
“Putting likes and retweets in the back of a tap is just a concept to assist make conversations less complicated to examine.” A Twitter spokesperson said the exchange aimed to “[put] the replies in cognizance”.
Presumably, the idea is to inspire people to reply to a tweet in place of simply hitting “like”, and to answer to tweets they’re interested in as opposed to judging them based totally on their popularity.
Hiding engagement counters in the back of a faucet ought to assist degree the playing area extremely among tweets that are extraordinarily popular and people that are not famous at all, by way of nudging customers to converse greater with those that haven’t.
Obtained an awful lot of attention and discouraged them from just leaping on a viral bandwagon. But does this in reality make for higher communication?
Bernie Hogan, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, is sceptical. Hiding the engagement counters, he shows, removes context from tweets and gives human beings fewer signals to assist arbitrate among all the content of their timeline.
“This shows an actual difficult turn in the direction of algorithmic curation to me,” he says. “It looks like it’s giving even much fewer indicators for people to determine upon, because of this a person else goes to use those alerts in a distinct way.”
Like maximum social media websites, Twitter makes use of algorithms to choose what to promote on your timeline, and these are in part motivated by means of the variety of interactions a tweet has acquired.
As an end result, hiding engagement counters may also make it extra tough to determine why you are seeing a tweet in the first vicinity.
Hogan rejects the basis that giving users an excessive amount of records is a hassle – for years, he points out, people have complained approximately social media stripping out the context from conversations.
The Twitter app is a prototype nonetheless under development, and Twitter says that the brand new capabilities it incorporates may additionally change and that now not the entirety will get released.
Other modifications encompass a new way of displaying lower back-and-forth replies in threads, the usage of colour-coding and nesting to make it clearer who’s responding to whom.
By prioritising replies and ongoing conversations, Hogan suggests that the prototype app might also nudge humans towards posting “low-effort” content material designed to reap likes and RTs as opposed to beginning the verbal exchange.
This includes jokes or memes, which he shows could be an strive to differentiate the platform from different social media apps including Instagram. “I assume what they’re looking to do is take away ‘bad’ conversation as an awful lot as selling ‘right’ communication,” he says.
The concept of what counts as “suitable verbal exchange” on social media has been a warm topic in different systems too.
In 2018, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg claimed consciousness of “meaningful interactions”, which he additionally characterises as “starting conversations” as opposed to “passive” reviews inclusive of studying news or watching videos.
It’s doubtful, however, why those sorts of interactions have to be taken into consideration as extra “meaningful”, and one latest have a look at wondered the basis that “active” customers advantage more benefit from the website online.
Hogan, in the meantime, does see a cynical cause for why Twitter might opt to inspire replies over likes and RTs: “More replies method more content. More content manner greater content for advertisers and data miners.”