Twitter’s Presence Feature Test is Completely Unnecessary


Companies usually beta test some features they think could be beneficial to their audiences and these usually end up getting rolled out later on when it is ready.

Social networking companies are this way and Twitter is no exception. We have seen them try out new features on the beta channel that end up being released to the masses later on and this next one is rather odd.

A few days ago, Twitter’s Director of Product Management, Sara Haider, announced two new features that they were playing around and were looking for thoughts from the public.

The features were Presence  and Reply Threading and according to her, they are meant for Twitter to be more conversational. I’ll be focusing on Prescence since it is quite unnecessary and I’ll explain why.

Via Sara Haider, Twitter

From her screenshots, Presence is very familiar. It shows you a person is online by having a green light on their avatar. This is something that we have seen being implemented by Facebook for example in their chats, Messenger and more recently on Instagram Direct.

In Facebook, this makes a lot of sense. Facebook’s News Feed is regulated by algorithms and it is hard to know if someone is truly online from their posts. This is the same case with Instagram where thanks to the algorithm powered timeline, the only way to know if someone is online is by checking the direct messages and looking at that indicator light.

Back to Twitter, this is a totally different case and it is thanks to how Twitter works intrinsically. Twitter is a site that you would generally know if someone is truly online, since you will see such activities like the timeline generating new tweets or people retweeting and seeing people replying to each other. It used to be more current before the algorithm-powered timeline was introduced but still, you can know when someone is online.

That is why this feature seems completely unnecessary for the general timeline. However, someone could argue that it could be beneficial in some ways like knowing real accounts from fake ones and that still won’t work since they’ll all light up green.

However, one place that could benefit from Presence is the DM and this is due to the fact that it is not as busy as the timeline and you wouldn’t immediately know someone is online by checking the DM exclusively.

Its cool Twitter is testing out features to make the place more conversational but when will we get the ability to edit tweets? We are still waiting, Twitter.

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