Twitter’s trying out another way to improve tweet discovery in the app, with a test of a new topics bar above the main tweet timeline, providing a quick link to real-time discussions in the app.
As you can see in this example, posted by user Chloe Korzh (and shared by Matt Navarra), the new topic listings appear in bubble tabs above your main feed, which provides an easy way to tap through and immediately connect to the latest discussions on a given subject.
Those topics would presumably be linked back to your tweet activity, which, ideally, could get more people more involved in expanded discussion in the app, and help Twitter maximize engagement.
Which has been a key focus for the app over the past few years, with Twitter also adding in Topics that you can follow, in addition to individual users, inserting curated, topical tweets into your main feed, along with Communities to facilitate more specific, topic-focused discussion.
Content discovery has long been a challenge for Twitter, and is one of the most-cited reasons why new users don’t stick around. Twitter’s algorithmic timeline has helped to improve user engagement, by highlighting the most interesting, engaging tweets in-feed, with topics being the logical expansion of this, providing more tweets on your key areas of interest to keep you exploring and engaging more often, maximizing usage.
Though the results, in this sense, do vary. I personally don’t find Twitter’s topic recommendations to be anywhere near my actual interests, while in Twitter Spaces, its audio social platform, the Spaces chats highlighted in the dedicated tab are always massively varied and never aligned with what I want to tune into.
It seems Twitter still has a way to go in determining what each user might be most interested in, and if it can’t get that element right, the addition of topic tabs above the main feed probably won’t have a significant impact.
But if it can get it right, and highlight key topics of value to each user, it could be a great way to connect people into real-time, trending discussions of interest.
It’s a big ‘if’, but it is possible that this could be a good way to boost overall tweet engagement.
We’ve asked Twitter for more information on the test and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.