After testing out a Tweetstorm feature for the last few months, Twitter has now officially announced the launch of ‘Threads’, a new, native option which will automatically link your tweets, enabling users to string together longer messages.
We’re introducing an easier way to Tweet a thread! pic.twitter.com/L1HBgShiBR— Twitter (@Twitter) December 12, 2017
As you can see, the process is fairly simple – you compose your tweet as normal, then click on the ‘+’ icon to add more tweets to your collection. You then click or tap ‘Tweet all’ and the thread will go out all at once.
Each tweet in a thread has the same 280 character limit as normal, and you can also add media in the same way. You can also go back and edit any of the tweets in your thread before you publish, and you can add more tweets to a previously posted thread, with an option to ‘Add another tweet’ appearing on your tweeted collections.
At present, there’s a limit of 25 tweets per thread, though Twitter notes that could change in future.
The option makes it easier to utilize a function that’s already in common use on the platform, while also providing more ways for users to add longer sets of text via tweet. In increasing the character count for each tweet to 280 recently, Twitter noted that users are engaging with longer tweets more than shorter ones, which may indicate that people are more open to longer messages. While Threads won’t give you more character per tweet, the fact that users are responding well to expanded messaging could also be part of the reason why Twitter’s rolling out the tool.
But then, of course, as with 280 character tweets, the risk is that your timeline will now be flooded with expanded messages, with users able to post multiple long tweets at a time. But Twitter has taken this into account – if the Thread is only two or three tweets, all of them will appear in your timeline at once, but any more than this, and they’ll be truncated, with a ‘Show this thread’ option to see the rest.
Functionally, the tool doesn’t add a heap, though it does simplify the Tweetstorm process, which will no doubt get more people using them. There’s always been some confusion with Tweetstorms (‘do I reply to my original tweet or quote tweet it?’) and the public, and unforgiving, nature of the platform has also no doubt kept some from trying it out. Now that it’s streamlined, with a dedicated function for the option, you can expect to see more of them.
Could this be part of a new shift in Twitter usage? As noted, users are already engaging with 280 character tweets more than they are with 140 or shorter, which will no doubt lead to more people trying to write longer messages already. And with the addition of Threads, there’s now more room than ever for longer, narrative-driven explanations.
It seems to go against what Twitter has always been about, but if users engage with these expanded options, you can bet more people will catch on.
That could provide a big boost for Twitter. More tweets alone is great, but more data is even better, providing more insight they can use for context. And if people can share more of their insights without having to refer their audience to their Medium blog or similar, maybe more of that initial posting and subsequent discussion stays on Twitter, boosting engagement and use.
As noted, longer messaging seems to go against Twitter’s ethos. But maybe that ethos is changing.
It’ll be interesting to see data on Thread use.
'Threads' is being rolled out to all users over the next few weeks.