Remember Twitter Fleets? The Instagram Stories clone allowed users to post ephemeral "fleets" that lasted 24 hours, could contain text, photos, or videos, and are now gone forever because no one actually used them. Twitter has been on a roll lately when it comes to adding new features, with things like Safety Mode, Super Follows, and the ability to remove followers all starting to undergo testing over the last couple. Now Twitter is adding another feature to this list, Twitter Communities, but what are the odds this one might be headed right down the same unceremonious path that Fleets just followed?
Twitter Communities will work similarly to Facebook's Groups feature, but maybe a little bit more open in nature. Users will be able to join different Communities and post tweets there instead of tweeting directly to their followers. Only members of the same Community can respond and join the conversation, keeping it personal and relevant. The Communities themselves and their timelines will be open to the public, so it won't be a completely private, top-secret group either: anyone will be able to read, quote, and report Community Tweets.
imagine an alternate timeline where everyone just gets you
say hi to Communities—the place to connect with people who Tweet like you. testing now on iOS and web, Android soon! pic.twitter.com/TJdKwUa4D2
— Twitter Communities (@JoinCommunities) September 8, 2021
Twitter wants you to think of this as a gathering place where people who share common interests can distribute cool content and have meaningful conversations between themselves. To keep things on track and focused, moderators are tasked with coming up with the Community's focus, writing up the rules, and inviting potential members. Users will also be able to freely join, as well.
The feature is now in testing on the iOS version of the app as well as the website, and it's also gonna get rolled out to Android "soon." As always, we could be wrong, but this sounds like it's going to flop, and hard. There are already some Communities created, but the number of people joining them isn't too impressive just yet, and we're not seeing a ton of interaction.
At the time of writing, you also can't freely create Communities. If you're interested in creating and moderating one, you'll need to fill out a form with your Twitter username, email, and intended focus for your Community. Not being able to create Communities on your own will probably harm adoption, since you'll be limited to the ones Twitter creates and approves. For what it's worth, though, Twitter says on its support page that it's working on opening Community creation access, so that might change soon.
Do Communities have a chance? This is a just-announced feature, granted, but given Twitter's track record and the less-than-impressive debut we're seeing here, let's just say it would be an uphill battle.