Perhaps I expected too much from Twitter’s CoTweeting feature. It’s easy to use, but it offers a lot less than I expected.
When CoTweeting appeared on my Twitter mobile app a day or so ago, I put it aside as a curiosity to be dealt with later. At the time, I didn’t know it was a limited test. In other words, I was among a small group of Twitter users who had access to the latest Twitter collaboration tool.
It’s a little surprising that, in the face of a legal battle with suitor Elon Musk, Twitter is still working on new products rather than beefing up battle lines with sandbags.
CoTweeting is obviously not editable Tweets, a feature I would rather try. But it’s interesting, unusual… and a little disappointing.
I decided to give it a try when I noticed some other Twitter users taking the plunge. Creating a CoTweet is easy. When I compose a Twitter tweet on iOS, there is a new icon next to Tag Location that looks like a small person. I can start by composing a tweet and then select CoTweet to initiate an invite to other Twitter users as long as it’s a public account that also follows me. So no, you can’t invite Elon Musk to CoTweet if he’s not following you.
You search for an account in the CoTweet interface, select one (the limit is currently one contributor), and then go back to composing the CoTweet. However, the Tweet will not be published until the invited CoTweeter accepts the collaboration invitation.
For my first CoTweet contributor, I chose my friend, Canadian comedian, influencer, and media star brittlestar (Stewart Reynolds), who received a notification in his DMs that he had been invited to “tweet together”. Brittlestar immediately agreed and we went to do…something.
The CoTweet looks like a regular tweet, but with a distinct difference: Mine and Brittlestar’s handles and profile pictures appear at the top with an “&” between them.
Co-tweeting is now one thing. We will try. What could go wrong…..?July 14, 2022
This co-created tweet now appears in our two timelines as an original tweet. That makes sense, but everything that happens afterwards doesn’t. All my replies to the original co-Tweet look like replies to myself. There is no interface where cotweeters can manage the replies, reactions and additional tweets in the thread. I think all the replies in the thread are part of the cotweet, but it’s unclear if they come from Brittlestar and me; in fact, I don’t think they’re purposely set up to look that way.
The question is whether the replies from each of the tweeters should be attributed to both parties or, as they are now, remain attributed to the original tweeters. Twitter may have made the right choice here, but I suggest an option that asks if you also want to “twitter” an answer.
I also don’t see a way to get rid of a cotweet other than deleting the tweet.
We had a lot of fun with the concept (Brittlestar is a comedian, after all), but I just didn’t get the point of tweeting. I guess there’s that “speaking with one voice” thing, but isn’t it so easy to like something someone else has tweeted, or better yet, retweet it?
I can see the benefit for brands that want to have guests, perhaps celebrities, cotweet promotional tweets, and people that perhaps want to simultaneously share good or bad news as a pair, but even then, the interface does little to support this new form of conversation. on Twitter in addition to the first tweet.
Twitter should keep trying experiments like this, but I hope it’s also listening to the feedback. CoTweets seems half a good idea – maybe we can fill in the rest by tweeting about it.