On Tuesday, May 3, Twitter announced that it is testing a new feature called ‘Circle’. The new feature will allow users to create a ‘circle’ of up to 150 people who follow you, or whom you follow, and selectively tweet to them only. The feature is being tested among a select number of users right now, so you may or may not see it crop up in your app right now.
Twitter Circle is essentially like a private group on any social media platform, which lets users form an admission-only forum to host closed discussions. However, unlike such groups, there would be no way for a person to apply to be a part of a Circle on Twitter – unless you choose to personally message someone and request them to add you in their Circle.
Twitter explained in a blog post that the feature will disable the retweet button, for obvious reasons. Tweets made within a Circle would remain invisible in public, so users won’t be able to see any tweet activity that happens within your Circle until they are a part of yours.
The feature is fundamentally different from Twitter Lists or Communities. The former lets users create lists of people to follow on Twitter, and keep a track of their activities on the platform. Twitter Communities works similarly, allowing users to track a topic – and users who are prominent within that particular sector.
Circle, meanwhile, gives users a private corner on the platform. Upon initial setup, you will be able to select up to 150 people who could be a part of your Circle. You can edit this list at any point – Twitter said that people who are removed from your Circle would not be notified about it. However, you would not be able to create multiple such groups and selectively share tweets across various such groups – it’s either ‘everyone’ or ‘your Circle’.
The feature is presently being tested among selective users across the world on Twitter’s desktop, Android and iOS apps, so it’s largely randomized selection for now. Such testing is typically followed by a wider rollout, so unless Twitter retracts on the feature, you should see Circle rolling out for all in the coming months.