Twitter in the era of sound, of the ephemeral …

Twitter launched its “fleets” on Tuesday, messages that disappear after 24 hours. The social network is preparing in the wake of the launch of various features, live audio and new forms of moderation of the platform which emerges from a year of particularly tense exchanges because of American policy.

The social network has been testing fleets or “fleeting thoughts” since March in Brazil, India and other countries, to verify that this ephemeral format encourages shy users to express themselves, without feeling pressure to the idea that their formulation is not perfect and remains forever etched in digital stone.

The experience turned out to be conclusive: “People feel more comfortable sharing things that come to their mind, opinions, feelings,” Joshua Harris, Director of Design, said at a press conference.

“You can copy and paste a tweet into a fleet, adding a comment or not, knowing that there will only be 24 hours left” – unless, of course, you take a screenshot of the “fleet” which can thus be shared anywhere.

people feel more comfortable sharing things that come to mind, opinions, feelings

Joshua Harris, design director

The platform comes after its rivals. The fleets look like the “stories”, the ephemeral visual thumbnails created by Snapchat in 2013. Ultra popular, they have already been copied on the various platforms of Facebook, such as Instagram, and, more recently on LinkedIn (Microsoft).

“It can give the impression that we are entering a bit late in the game, but we wanted to be conscientious and explore the format,” said Joshua Harris.

Listen to each other

Twitter is also working on the launch in 2021 of voice tweets. “Sometimes 280 characters is really not enough. And sometimes that’s not the right way to communicate, ”summed up designer Maya Gold Patterson.

His team explored the hypothesis that “hearing empathy, emotion, and nuance in someone’s voice might help people connect with each other differently.” These audio messages have been tested since June on iPhones, in particular by brands. The rollout has been delayed, as Twitter decided not to generalize them before having developed automatic transcriptions, so as not to exclude people with hearing loss.

Alongside the threads of tweets and fleets, the Californian group would one day also like to offer “audio spaces” for discussion, a bit like “dinners organized by very good hosts”, where “everyone can easily take part in the discussion. conversation, ”even without knowing the other participants, said Maya Gold Patterson.

This project evokes Facebook’s “Messenger Rooms”, which allow you to meet friends in a kind of virtual and informal lounges, on video, or even Clubhouse, an audio conversation application launched by invitation in Silicon Valley in the spring.

New in moderation

Twitter recalled its efforts to pacify the debate, with the ability to hide offensive comments and inducements to read an article before sharing it just on the strength of the headline.

“It works”, welcomed Christine Su, product manager. “40% more people read the content before spreading it.” The algorithms now also make it possible to “remove 50% of tweets that break the rules before they are even reported”.

She announced that her business was working on other ways to “help people be more respectful and kind,” such as “nudge” notifications to remind someone to behave better, or the ability to behave better. apologize in private.

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