It looks like Circles could be the next functionality on the Twitter 2.0 chopping block, with Elon Musk and endorsing the suggestion that it should do away with the enclosed group tweeting option entirely.
Circles, which Twitter launched a year ago, was one of Twitter’s various projects that aligned with the broader shift of social interactions to more intimate groups, as opposed to public posting. Given that an increasing amount of users are now interacting this way, Twitter added Circles, Communities and audience control options on tweets in the hopes of sparking more discussion in the app.
But even at launch, there didn’t seem to be a lot of practical value to the Circles process.
As I wrote at the time:
“Part of the problem with Circles, as I see it at least, is that most users likely conduct the discussions that would fit into this offering within their DMs already, maintaining group chats with their close friends in a more private space. That privacy enables people to feel more comfortable sharing, and there doesn’t seem like much reason for them to switch those conversations to the potentially more exposed Circles option instead.”
Amid the various sharing options already available, I agree with the sentiment in the tweet Elon’s responding to above, there’s just no need for it – though Twitter was, at one time, experimenting with a related option that would be much more useful.
Back in 2021, Twitter showed off an in-development feature called ‘Facets’, which would enable users to follow each user/profile based on different topic interests.
That’s somewhat similar to Circles, but topically aligned. And while it would require users to also specify a topic focus whenever they tweet, it could provide a more practical option for those looking to stay aligned with more niche discussions.
And given Twitter 2.0’s propensity for rehashing old projects, it seems likely to resurface again at some point, which could provide a more beneficial replacement for Circles, if indeed Elon follows through and shuts down the option.
I’d say that’s very likely, but there’s nothing definitive to go on as yet.