Twitter was designed around the idea of something like a public bulletin board where people can post short snippets the length of a normal SMS. It has definitely grown out of that shell quite a while back and has given birth to use cases and concerns that some users might have developed that went beyond the platform’s core functionality. It seems that Twitter is experimenting with a few features that give users a bit more control over their posts and replies to their posts but at the expense of a bit more mental overhead for those same users.
Twitter does offer some control over the privacy of tweets, but it’s an all-or-nothing situation. A post can either be public or protected, but nothing in between. According to TechCrunch, Twitter is experimenting with a Trusted Friends feature that will let users choose specific people who will be able to see tweets and no one else. Instagram users might be familiar with something similar in “Friends Only” Stories.
Another feature the social network is testing is Reply Language Prompts, basically reminders or nudges about the kind of language or words that a user doesn’t want to see in replies. Unfortunately, these don’t actually stop people from going against the poster’s request but just serve as a visual reminder and an implicit request to be nice.
Facets is the alias feature that was leaked just a few days ago. Rather than limiting who can see tweets, it would let followers keep tabs only on specific topics based on the aliases or facets that the user makes. This could help keep work tweets separate from personal tweets, at least for those that want to follow just specific aspects of a person’s Twitter timeline.
These are definitely powerful controls, but they do come with drawbacks for some uses. It could create a mental hurdle in trying to decide which facet a tweet should be posted in or whether it should be public or for friends only. That said, Twitter makes no promises any of these will become final features, but it will definitely be disappointing if they don’t.