Twitter is addictive, and you can spend hours on it. But it’s hard to focus on one topic when your timeline could be talking about movies, news, and horrible food opinions at the same time.
To address that, the firm is rolling out a feature called Communities — think of it as a subreddit for Twitter. You can join a community of dog lovers, Indian food enthusiasts, or plants to talk about that specific topic.
It’s important not to confuse this with Twitter Topics, which are are automatically tagged tweets under interest labels such as crypto, funny tweets, football, cricket, and startups.
Once you join a community, you can tweet to that specific group instead of all of your followers. Check it out in action below.
The feature will kickstart with pre-created communities around dogs, weather, sneakers, skincare, and astrology. Twitter says that at its inception, the community creation is “limited.”
We don’t know if it means only a select people can create communities, or your can create communities within a bunch of focused categories. We’ve asked Twitter to specify, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.
Currently, if you’re interested in creating a community, you can reach out to Twitter through this form.
If you want to join a community, you’ll have to be invited by a moderator or a member. I can totally see people vying for invites on their timeline for popular communities. More engagement for Twitter, right? When you first join a community, you’ll see a pop-up card displaying its rules and regulations.
The social network is putting the onus of managing these communities on moderators — just like subreddits. Those mods can create a community’s own specific rules, but at the end, all communities have to adhere to Twitter’s rules. Which means Twitter’s own moderators will refer to those rules when someone reports a community tweet.
Twitter says Communities will be open for everyone to see, so there won’t be any closed groups for now. This also reduces Twitter’s moderation headache by a notch, as there’s more transparency.
I have mixed feelings about this feature. Yes, I can switch to a football-related community while watching matches on the weekend. Plus, I can discuss new recipes and learn food tricks in the cooking-related community at the same time.
However, Twitter has had a tough time dealing with politicians and governments of the world in the last few years. There might be a scenario in the future where moderators of a community might think of a post as harmless, but the local government might have different views. In this kind of situation, Twitter will find itself in hot waters again. So the mixed moderation model might face many tough tests in the future.
Communities is Twitter’s answer to Facebook Groups and Reddit for more focused conversations. However, communities are just focused timelines — just like a Twitter list of news organizations — and you might lose track of the conversation if there are too many members tweeting at a time. But hey, there’s no harm in experimenting.
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