Considering that Twitter’s defining characteristic is brevity, the company is lately doing a lot to encourage users to keep on writing. After increasing the character limit for tweets from 140 to 280, Twitter has now launched a feature that allows users to publish multiple tweets at once through Twitter’s native desktop interface. The difference compared to doing this via a scheduling service like Buffer is that all tweets appear linked as a thread.
This animation from Twitter shows how it works:
Unfortunately, creating threads does not appear to work on iOS mobile devices yet, but I’m sure that is just a question of days.
More disappointingly, embedding Twitter threads does not work properly, either as can be seen in my attempts to re-publish parts of Little Red Riding Hood:
— Timo Luege (@timolue) December 13, 2017
Since threads don’t get their own unique URL, you only ever see one or two elements of the thread when you embed it. So if you are looking for a replacement to Storify on Twitter, then Moments is still your best bet.
These technical problems aside, is there a point to this?
Spontaneously, I have to say that I fail to see many genuinely useful applications for Twitter threads, unless you are NPR and you want to tweet your country’s constitution.
For NGOs and other non-profits it could be useful for sharing Q&A sessions – by linking questions and answers in a thread – but I never felt that this was a truly burning issue that had to be solved.
Having said that, I would not use threads for something like rumour control or #mythbusting, because then people might only see the false information you are trying to correct and not the second tweet with the correction. In these cases, I’d still stick to one long tweet or I would use a text image.
In summary: Twitter has given us another feature to play with. It’s good to know that it’s there, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it.