Twitter status indicators are a good idea
Those of you who read this newsletter every day will have seen over the weekend that Twitter has been sharing around some ideas for new features it might introduce.
You can see mockups here
, but essentially, there would be threaded replies to make it easier to follow conversations, and status indicators to show when users are online. It’s the second of these that has some up in arms.
I understand why people would be worried about status indicators. Twitter has enough of a harassment problem without trolls seeking out people who are online right now to attack in real-time.
But is that even what Twitter is planning? In a reply to venture capitalist MG Siegler’s concerns, the company’s Sara Haider says “Would want to give you full control over whether or not it’s showing. Don’t want to add pressure!”
In other words, this sounds like an entirely optional feature that would allow people who want more real-time engagement to get it.
Have you ever tweeted at a customer support account, not knowing if you’d get a reply in one minute, one hour, or three days? If they had an ‘online now’ indicator, you’d know when there was someone there to answer your query.
Given Twitter’s reputation for failing to handle abuse problems on its platform, we shouldn’t expect they’ll handle this feature the right way. But if they do, it could be a handy addition to the service.