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Twitter Tests New Profile Features, Including Presence Indicators And ‘Ice Breakers’

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In an effort to push positivity and cut down on hateful conversations on its platform.

Twitter is testing a number of new features and is already working on a new design for replies within the app, introducing a threaded UI. The company first showed off the feature a few weeks ago, and has refined the design to welcome more conversations.

Sara Haider, director of product management at Twitter, and Mike Kruzeniski, senior director of product design, discussed the new features this week at an event hosted by Fast Company in New York City. “We want the best conversation for you coming to you as quickly as possible,” Kruzeniski said at the event. “Can you tell us what you’re interested in? And [can] we quickly get you to that conversation?”

More importantly, Twitter is working on a new “status” feature. Soon, users will be able to set their availability — essentially showing if you are online or offline. Once you set your availability, you can set a status — and that could be a bunch of things. You could use the status feature to tell people where you are, what you are doing, or if you are just looking for people to talk to, for example.

Secondly, Twitter is considering making the reply option on a tweet more obvious. Rather than just the conversation bubble icon, each tweet might also have its own reply field—like showing a persistent reply box under every tweet on your timeline to let new users know they can reply to a tweet by hitting the chat bubble icon—In addition another feature the company working on is called “ice breaker” that will allow you to pin a tweet to the top of your profile to let people know you want to talk about something specific. This could help you get your followers to start a conversation, or simply help new people get to know you.

The bottom line is that all of these changes are designed to help users engage with other people who want to have a conversation about a specific topic, but they won’t help users already overwhelmed by the amount of conversation on the platform. Victims of harassment and targeted pile-ons on Twitter may not be thrilled about the idea of being encouraged to respond to every single tweet.

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