Twitter is testing out a couple of new features that may or may not make their way out to everyone on the social network: online status indicators, so you can see who's online, and threaded replies to tweets, to make them easier to read on screen.
Announced by both director of product management Sara Haider (opens in new tab) and CEO Jack Dorsey (opens in new tab), the new features are very much still in the prototype phase – Twitter is asking for feedback on how they work, and they might well change form before they're finished (if they ever get introduced at all).
According to Haider, the online status indicators are a way "to signal specifically that you're online and looking for conversation" as opposed to, say, being in a meeting or asleep. Presumably, you'll be able to turn this off if you don't like it.
Testing, testing, 1-2-3
Twitter is of course testing new features all the time, and they don't all make it to the platform. Most recently, engineers have been playing around with suggesting accounts that you might want to unfollow, which seems a bit anti-social.
There's also the ongoing battle to fight trolls and abuse that Twitter management have to deal with, in the middle of rolling out new features. Most recently, Twitter had an account purge to remove about a million accounts a day run by bots and shady users. It doesn't sound like the great Twitter clean up of 2018 is finished yet, either.
With the online status and threaded reply options only available to a few users right now, it's unlikely that you'll see them in your own timeline at the moment – we'll keep you posted on whether or not these features are going to be properly added to Twitter.