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  • Writer's pictureedbaig

140 second audio tweets come to Twitter: A benefit or a path for abuse?

Never mind what the current occupant of the White House may think, for many people crafting a “perfect” tweet in 280 characters can be a challenge. These are the people who might possibly benefit from the upcoming “voice tweet” feature that Twitter announced this week.

You’ll be able to capture up to 140 seconds of audio that any of your followers can tap to listen to, with the voice tweets showing up on a person’s timeline next to other tweets.

But is there a potential dark side? I’ll get to that.

On the plus side, recording your voice may help you better get across what’s on your mind, including the nuance that might otherwise get lost in a concise text communication.

At the start, voice tweets will only be made available to a limited number of people on Twitter for iOS before the feature will be cast wider.

No word yet on Android availability.

How it works. As Twitter explains it, voice tweeting isn’t all that different from using text. You open the tweet composer and tap the wavelength-shaped icon. You’ll see your profile photo with the record button at the bottom – tap it to record your voice. 

If you are one of those folks who—how to say this gently—can’t shut up past two minutes and 20 seconds, a new voice tweet starts automatically, creating a thread of up to 25 tweets. When done, tap Done to stop recording. You’ll have the option to add text to your voice.

“There’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike,” wrote Twitter staff product designer Maya Patterson (@mayapatterson) and senior software engineer Rémy Bourgoin (@rmbrgn) as part of a blog post announcing the new feature.

Worth noting: On iOS, when you tap play, it will automatically minimize in an audio dock at the bottom of your screen so that you can continue listening as you scroll through other tweets and when you leave the app. 

And for the moment, anyway, you can only record your voice as original tweets, rather than adding audio to your replies or retweets. That presumably goes for the President too.

Now, about that possible dark side, it would seem the new feature opens up a path for abuse with the onus on Jack Dorsey & Co. to closely monitor the impact. We know all too well the chilling side of social media.

Jason Koebler on Vice rightly asks: “How is Twitter going to moderate voice recordings” especially when you consider all the harassment and white supremacist propaganda that is already spread on the platform?

I'm asking too. Are voice tweets on Twitter a good thing or bad?


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