Sometimes you just want to tweet your reactions to the “Love is Blind” reunion without bothering your 4,333 closest friends, who probably follow you because they work in tech, and not because they care that you think that Shake is the most infuriating reality TV villain of all time. Or maybe that’s just me.
Since last year, Twitter has been teasing a feature that would allow users to customize the audience to their tweets, letting them post to only a small subset of their followers. Similar to an Instagram close friends story or Google Plus Circles (RIP), Twitter is also calling this product Circle.
This morning, we encountered a pop-up on Twitter prompting us to set up our Twitter Circle to share with a “smaller crowd” of up to 150 people. The onboarding screen also indicated that circles can be changed at any time, and people won’t be notified if you remove them. These were the same screens already leaked last week by app researcher Nima Owji, but when we navigated to the second screen of the onboarding process, we were unable to proceed past the “got it” button.
We asked Twitter about this, and a spokesperson indicated that we likely received the pop-up as a result of a bug, so we couldn’t actually set up a Twitter Circle since the feature hasn’t rolled out. But if Twitter is working on this actively enough for an accidental bug to slip through to the real world, it might indicate that we will get our close friends story circles soon. Of course, testing a feature, or even rolling it out, doesn’t mean that it’s here forever — remember Fleets?
Already, through newer features like Communities and the option to limit replies to your tweets, Twitter is giving users more control over who sees their tweets, and who can engage with their tweets. You can even paywall your spiciest content through Super Follows. In some ways, part of the joy (and horror) of Twitter is that it’s like a public square of the internet, and introducing more of these features might make public Twitter feel like LinkedIn, where it would be weird to share your feelings about the “Love is Blind” reunion, just to throw out a random example. But users already know (or at least we think they do) that when they post, they’re making their innermost thoughts public. Historically, tweeters who have wanted to make a more private space to shout into the void have created “alt” accounts set to private, which they only share with their inner circle. So, a feature like circles would make it easier to toggle between those two audiences on just one account. Still, the Instagram close friends feature didn’t necessarily end finsta.