Twitter rolled out a new feature on June 17 that takes tweeting to another level. The platform has added audio to tweets, so users who are tired of typing can just record their message instead.
The ability to record audio snippets and attach them to tweets is currently only available on iOS devices, but only for “a limited group of people” while this feature is still being tested. Once polished, it will be made available to everyone in the coming weeks.
“[Starting] today, we’re testing a new feature that will add a more human touch to the way we use Twitter – your very own voice,” said Twitter’s Maya Patterson and Rémy Bourgoin in a blog post.
After all, 280 characters are sometimes not enough “and some conversational nuances are lost in translation.” Each tweet only records up to 140 seconds of audio.
However, Twitter users can keep talking and a new voice tweet automatically starts if they reach the time limit, creating a tweet thread. “There’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike,” the blog post said.
According to the Twitter help page, audio can only be sent on original tweets, not in replies or retweets. Also, the user’s profile picture is always attached when tweeting an audio clip.
“Your current profile photo will be added as a static image on your audio attachment and will not refresh if you update your profile photo,” Twitter wrote in the help page.
A new waveform icon can be seen beside the camera icon. Tap on the icon when composing a tweet, and then select the red record button that appears at the bottom of the screen to start recording.
Users just need to the hit play button to listen to audio tweets. A dock will appear near the bottom of the app on iOS devices which lets users listen to audio tweets while scrolling through their timeline. These audio messages will continue to play in the background even if users switch to another app.
How to record a voice tweet
Meanwhile, audio tweets could pose new moderation challenges for Twitter, so it is important to remember how to access it. Twitter users who are deaf and hearing-impaired are worried they won’t be able to access this feature.
Twitter user Alyssa Klein urged people to write a caption if they will use the voice tweet since captioning is still not available.
When asked how it will make be easier for deaf or hearing-impaired people can access audio tweets, a Twitter spokesperson told The Verge in an email that “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.”
Perhaps once it rolls out in public then these issues have been resolved. “We can’t wait to see how people will use this to make their voices heard and add to the public conversation,” Patterson and Bourgoin wrote.