Twitter’s newest rollout lets users create tweets by talking. The audio clips feature gives users 140 seconds to record their tweet, just as users currently have 140 characters to type a tweet. Twitter users who speak beyond the time limit will see their audio be turned into a thread—or a series of connected tweets. Audio tweets will be displayed with a user’s profile picture, which other users can click on to listen to. Similar to a regular, typed-out tweet, users can still mention other Twitter users by including their usernames in the audio clip. Thanks to high activity rates, Twitter’s user base is primed for engagement according to a Gartner report, which could make tweeters more open to adopting a new core feature. For now, audio clips are rolling out to a select group of iOS users, before the service officially launches the feature to its 330 million global users.
When Twitter announced the new feature on, of course, Twitter, several users quickly replied to the brand with concerns about how audio messages could escalate cyber abuse. In addition to the moderating challenges Twitter could face with the feature, many users may find an aggressive audio message to be more threatening than a strongly-worded tweet. As such, Twitter plans to analyze these issues within its selected group of test users, before releasing the feature to all users. Furthermore, the microblogging brand assured users that audio clips cannot be used to reply to others’ tweets, which could possibly alleviate some of the abuse concerns. The audio clip feature arrives on the heels of Twitter enacting several misinformation labels to help stop the spread of false news. The labels have already been used on many high-profile tweets, including warnings of manipulated media on several of President Trump’s personal tweets. The new features could be interesting additions to the platform, as the brand looks to stand out from other rapidly-evolving platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Twitter has always been a place where users can speak their minds, but the brand’s newest feature will let voices be heard on a new level. As Twitter does not often add to its core features, the introduction of audio clips could represent a new phase for the brand as it moves beyond novelty features and focuses on usability and audience engagement.