Twitter responses have traditionally served as public spaces. When a tweet is out, almost anyone can respond to it. In some cases, it gives good discussion. In others, it can lead to disaster, abuse and harassment. Twitter wants to change that by giving you more control over who can respond to tweets.
The feature, announced in January 2020, is called “Conversation Participant.” Since then, things have changed a bit. In Twitter’s latest post on the subject, as well as in a help page for conversations, the company does not name the option directly. More importantly, however, it originally contained four different answer options and now we look at three:
- All: All Twitter users can respond to your tweet. This is the default option. If your tweets are protected, only people who follow you will be able to respond as usual, so that does not change.
- People you follow: Only people you follow or mention in the tweet can respond.
- Only people you mention: Only people you specify in the tweet can reply.
Twitter originally included a “statement”; option, which would allow no one to respond to the tweet, which in you would make a statement and not a conversation. However, it may make a comeback, as the entire feature is still being tested.
When it comes to testing, Twitter has driven the participants’ function to a small group of Android, iOS and web app users. So if you do not see the options shown below, you have not received the update yet. But while some “users” see it, they may not see it on all of their devices, making the testing phase even more random. For example, I have the feature on my iPhone 8 Plus, but not on an iPhone XS and Pixel 4 signed in to the same Twitter account.
If you have the feature, it’s a piece of cake. Just start a new tweet and then tap “Everyone can reply” with the earth icon, the default option. Then click on one of the three options, discussed earlier.
When you do, you will see “Everyone can answer” replaced by the name and icon of the option you select. Now just press “Tweet” and only the people who match the description of the option can reply. You can not change after you publish the tweet, so be sure to choose wisely, otherwise you will have to delete the tweet completely.
Anyone who can respond to your tweet can do so without any problems. But if they can not see the answer button gray, as you can see below.
It is important to note that although you can restrict who can reply to your tweet, the feature does not prevent people from retweeting it, retweeting it with a comment or voting. To prevent people from doing this, you need to set your account to private. However, all replies to the tweet, as well as retweets, will inherit the participating options you chose.
If you do not want to go through the hassle of shutting down your account from the rest of the Twitter world, this feature is a nice compromise.
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