Monday, October 25, 2021

Twitter looks to the future with new features

The social media landscape is in a perpetual state of change. Societal aspects such as culture and political trends shift how users engage with one another in a big way. But although it’s supposed to bring people together, social media seems to have the opposite effect, dividing rather than uniting. Additionally, more and more people are turning to social media to earn an income. In response to today’s social climate and growing interest in monetization, Twitter has announced several experimental features to make the platform more friendly for all.

Improvement to Spaces

Twitter is planning on introducing Fund for Space Hosts specifically for audio content creators. Twitter says this new program is “designed to give financial, technical and marketing support for emerging audio creators who are passionate about the live audio format and are interested in creating recurring programming on spaces.” The company promised that it will release more information about this feature soon.

Moreover, Spaces will get recording and replay functions in the coming months. While that’s underway, Twitter will continue to roll out access to ticketed spaces. Hosts will be able to set how many tickets they want to sell and set their own prices for them.

Monetization improvements and…blockchain?

Super Follow allows a creator on Twitter to set a subscription price for access to exclusive content. The feature has been in the testing phase with a group of creators in the U.S., but now Twitter is ready to expand the test base. Now, both U.S. and Canadian users will be able to Super Follow these select creators, with more regions on the way.

To help manage the Creator’s income via the myriad of payment methods on Twitter, the company has built a new dashboard to provide a centralized summary of the channel’s earnings. This is timely, because, in conjunction with the Dashboard announcement, Twitter Tips will now accept one-time payments through third-party services like GoFundMe. It will now also accept Bitcoin. To Tip using the cryptocurrency, both the user and the creator need to add their Bitcoin Lightning Wallet or their Bitcoin address to their Twitter profile.

Twitter also announced that it’s experimenting with NFTs. Similar to Bitcoin, NFTs use a blockchain to establish proof of ownership. The NFT is managed using the same Wallet or Bitcoin address as Bitcoin transactions.

The motivation behind adopting these technologies is reducing barriers to transactions. Outside of the U.S., Twitter is exploring ways to pay creators in “dozens of additional countries.” It’s also looking for ways to help facilitate payments for creators and users without traditional bank accounts.

There’s still work to be done, however. During the briefing, a Twitter spokesperson explained that the company is still working on how to visually convey the authenticity of a profile with a bitcoin wallet. The person said the company is looking into a badge system or a different shape for avatars.

The Tips feature is now rolling out globally on iOS, with Android coming soon.

More safety features

With change comes new challenges to keep users comfortable, and Twitter announced that it will be focusing on three areas to enhance user safety on its platform: flexible controls, more context, and letting the user set their own norms.

To give users more control over what content they want to see, Twitter has introduced Word Filters. As its name suggests, users can create their own list of blocked words that they find harmful or offensive, or simply don’t want their audience to see. Twitter explained that this could be used to stop targeted name-calling that’s offensive but doesn’t break the rules.

The company also noted that users are very clear on the type of content they want to see, but they have been wanting more context around the accounts they engage with. Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate automated accounts from real people. To mitigate this, Twitter will be introducing Profile Labels to show which accounts are automated. Eventually, it hopes to expand the label to differentiate between people, businesses, and possibly memorialized accounts.

Another feature Twitter is testing out is Heads Up, a feature that warns a user when the platform thinks they’re about to join a heated discussion. The company hopes that this will reduce the chance of a user stumbling upon trigger words, and still leave the choice of engaging up to the user. In the brief, Twitter said that this feature is still in its “early days” and that it will likely go through many iterations to nail down how it determines the vibe of a conversation.

Lastly, Moderated Communities will let users set their own norms. Twitter says that this elevates moderators’ control above Twitter’s own rules and is a step towards decentralizing moderation. For example, they can manage community participation based on the member’s interests. Currently, Moderated Communities is only available to a select group of creators, but Twitter plans on opening it up to a wider audience soon.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
As an avid technology enthusiast, Tom loves to fix, break, and talk about electronics. Now he gets to write about them. Talk about a dream career.

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