Twitter’s new text formatting options are a step closer, with the updated, native text display options now moving through to the pre-deployment stage in the app.
#Twitter is working on text formatting for tweets ???? pic.twitter.com/niJxFtWhPi— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) March 20, 2023
As you can see in this tweet from app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, tweets will soon have bold, italic and underline options within the tweet composer window, providing new ways to dress up your words.
Twitter chief Elon Musk flagged the coming addition back in January, when he also noted that font size would soon be another optional consideration. That doesn’t appear to be part of this initial launch, at least at this stage.
Twitter designer Andrea Conway shared a preview of what impact the update could have on tweet timelines last month.
Which doesn’t look great – but in all likelihood, most people won’t use these formatting options, so it probably won’t spark a huge shift in usage, and won’t lead to a tweet mess like this.
The main intention of the update is to provide more ways for users to share longer messages in the app, with Musk aiming to facilitate long-form content, in order to get more creators posting more of their material via tweet, as opposed to linking off to another third-party site.
Twitter has already extended the maximum tweet length for Twitter Blue subscribers to 4,000 characters, and is considering upping that again to 10,000, while it’s also working on a new in-app keyboard display that would enable users to add line breaks into their longer tweets to make them more readable in-stream.
Within the context of super long tweets, text formatting makes more sense – and really, you can already utilize these types of formatting functions in tweets right now anyway, as Twitter supports Unicode functionality.
It’s just not native, and not intuitive. Making it more immediately available will definitely see more people using bold and italics, which could be a mistake - but maybe, as noted, in the context of more creative options, particularly for longer tweets, maybe it makes sense.
It seems we’re going to find out either way, with Twitter moving to the next stage of experimentation with the option, which could see it shifting to live production soon. It’s not 100% clear yet if this will be generally accessible or a Twitter Blue exclusive.