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Twitter is considering a host of new features, including the ability to tweet in “personas”.
The company’s latest plans include a range of possible designs, which are focused on limiting who can see and interact with tweets, and how.
The company has in recent months become keen on sharing its planned updates before they are released, with the ostensible aim of gathering feedback from users.
As part of the new plans, users would be given options for when they want to restrict who can see their posts. That might include giving people the option to choose from different “facets” of their personality and only sharing the posts with those people.
It gave the example of someone who might have different personas for when they are at work, being a father, or their interest in cycling, for instance. Users would be able to pick which of those personas they were tweeting as, and have their tweets only delivered to the people they had chosen would be relevant.
The feature is intended to avoid people having to undertake the various unofficial ways that they can control who sees what they tweet – switching their accounts from public to private, or managing separate “alt” accounts on which they can share more private and personal information.
Similar features were central to the design of the shortlived Google+, which allowed people to create “circles” of contacts that they could share updates with.
Twitter is also considering new ways for people to impose boundaries on conversations they are having. Describes as being “like spellcheck, but for not accidentally sounding like a jerk in the replies”, users would be able to turn on a preference to have profanity banned from replies, for instance.
An automated system would then pick up replies that violate those rules, inform the people posting them, and allow the original tweeter to have them automatically put at the bottom of the conversation, for instance.
When Twitter began, it focused on simplicity and having all posts public by default, allowing it to function as a messageboard. But as it has grown – and amid increasing and intense criticism of its failure to protect users from abuse and other negative behaviour – it has restricted those options, letting people ban others from replying to their tweets, for instance.