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Will Twitter’s New Conversations Hinder or Spark Conversations?


Twitter recently announced “Conversations,” a new feature that connects conversations via a blue vertical line. This new feature believe it or not has sparked a red line between love and hate. Ironically, this impassioned back-and-forth demonstrates the value of Conversations.

For years, Tweets appeared in a reverse chronological order. Now, you can see connected conversations in chronological order within your normal stream to follow real-time dialogue. To follow deeper threads, Twitter includes a clickable link to instantly  “view replies.”


ABC News’ Technology Editor Joanna Stern reached out to talk about the controversial update. While some of my thoughts made the cut, I wanted to share the entire conversation with you here.

For years, one of the most common search phrases in Google for Twitter is, “What is Twitter.” To this day, mainstream has yet to truly understand what Twitter is and where it fits in the world of social networks. Is it a social network? Is it an information network? Is it a public IM stream? The answer is yes to all of the above. Conversations are as important to Twitter as #hashtags. This new feature allows you to not miss out on important dialogue. And, when you think about it, Conversations extend the 140 character limit allowing people to share their thoughts while tethering them in a coherent and sequential flow.


There’s more to the story as well. Twitter is setting the stage to take the company public. Investors expect a return. Employees expect earn out. To do so, Twitter will need to make engagement more intuitive for the masses. Tweets have been asynchronous to date. Adding a conversation feature does just that, promote conversations beyond one-off tweets. If the lifespan of a Tweet meme is minutes, conversations theoretically would introduce longevity into the mix thus keeping people engaged in micro conversations within the greater real-time conversation.


As for pushback, we’ll have to get used to it. Twitter is headed from Main St. to Wall St. sooner than later.

My new book…#WTF

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20 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Will Twitter’s New Conversations Hinder or Spark Conversations?”

  1. in this fast-changing age it’s hard to get worked up about a little graphics tweak

  2. Patrick says:

    It’s just annoying really. You end up reading the same stuff over and over again! On my phone I’ve been savvy enough to be able to revert back to the last one and won’t be updating unless they make it optional. I equally hate seeing my timeline filled with moronic statements about what’s trending. If I want to know what’s trending – I’ll look it up! I don’t need that shoved in my face either! Or any of the other subheadlines that now appear above many timeline posts. It just distracts from the clean look of twitter and is a waste of time.

  3. Personally, I think the Twitter conversation thread was the next logical step.

  4. Jeff Judge says:

    I love it, it helps give me immediate context to a reply vs having to click on the tweet and fin the start of the conversation. It’s a big win for users.

  5. Kristen Williams says:

    I think the Twitter conversation thread will help Twitter. Right now, when I’m following two people who are tweeting back and forth to each other, they appear in chronological order. It’s a little annoying seeing their conversation spread out all over my news feed. I think I would much prefer to have it all in one place. This way I can also choose to skip over the entire conversation since it’s all in one place or I will be able to read it easily since it’s all in one place. This new addition will streamline Twitter and help the site in the long run. The only thing I would hope, is that it only does this when you know bother parties involved, otherwise it would be a bit too much.

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