Everything you need to know about Twitter’s new audio feature

18 Jun 2020

Image: © Mangostar/Stock.adobe.com

Twitter has introduced a new feature that enables iOS users to communicate on the social media platform through 140-second audio clips.

On Wednesday (17 June), Twitter began rolling out a new way for users to communicate on its social media platform.

Since the company was founded, it has gradually introduced new forms of communication for users, including photos, videos and gifs. Now the company is also allowing users to upload voice clips.

In a blogpost announcing the new feature, Twitter staff product designer Maya Patterson and senior software engineer Rémy Bourgoin wrote that “sometimes 280 characters aren’t enough and some conversational nuances are lost in translation”.

They said the Twitter audio function aims to give “a more human touch” to the way users behave.

Using the feature

If you have access to Twitter’s new voice clip feature, all you need to do is hit the button to compose a tweet and then select the new wavelength icon. Users will be able to record up to 140 seconds of audio. If they go over that limit, Twitter will automatically create a thread with a sequence of tweets featuring the audio recording.

“People will see your voice tweet appear on their timeline alongside other tweets,” Patterson and Bourgoin wrote. “To listen, tap the image. On iOS only, playback will start in a new window docked at the bottom of your timeline and you can listen as you scroll.”

The feature will first be rolled out to a limited group of iOS Twitter users, but the company said that in the coming weeks, all users on iOS should be able to tweet with their voice.

Twitter did not mention when the feature would be available for Android users.

A rendering of an iPhone screen showing a user recording a voice clip.

Image: Twitter

The feature can only be used in original tweets and not replies or retweets, and will always feature the profile photograph of the user who recorded them, as demonstrated by The Verge’s senior editor, Tom Warren.

The Verge raised some concerns about moderation, as well as accessibility for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Twitter replied: “This is an early test of audio for us and we’re still exploring the best ways to meet the needs of people with different abilities.”

Patterson and Bourgoin said Twitter hopes voice tweeting “will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike”.

“Whether it’s #storytime about your encounter with wild geese in your neighbourhood, a journalist sharing breaking news, or a first-hand account from a protest, we hope voice tweeting gives you the ability to share your perspectives quickly and easily with your voice,” they added.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic