Are Group Threads Killing Twitter?


Hello everyone. Today I want to talk about group threads on Twitter.

I’m a huge fan of Twitter. I’ve mentioned before that I used Twitter long before I started blogging. So for me its first and foremost a means of interacting with people.

Over the years I’ve seen many changes to Twitter. Some are useful such as reducing the character count for links. Others less welcome, for example replacing the ‘favourite’ star with a ‘like’ heart. The latest update is possibly the most controversial Twitter has ever introduced and is leading some people to question the future of Twitter.

Are Group Threads Killing Twitter?

Just over a month ago Twitter decided to remove the @names of people being replied to within a tweet. In theory this is a great move. It means the 140 character limit isn’t being used on names so people have more characters for their tweets. I thought the change would be really great. It took me less than 24 hours to change my mind.

In reality it’s a nightmare. Everyone tagged in a tweet subsequently gets notified of every reply, like and retweet generated from the initial tweet they were tagged in.  I’m not alone in disliking the new style Twitter.

In an attempt to gauge other users feelings about group threads I ran several polls last week about different aspects of group threads. The results were very interesting.

Q1 – Who Likes Group Threads?

The results of the first poll were easy to interpret. Over 40% of people who responded hate them and only 16% said they actually liked them.

What I found more interesting was the conversations generated as a result of the first poll about why people didn’t like group threads.

This reply from Vicky represents the views of many people I chatted to. The numbers of notifications from large group threads can easily run into hundreds, and often relate to  conversations people are not actively involved in.

A second reason for not liking the threads is its very easy to become sidelined. In real life if a person starts a conversation with friends and gradually more and more people joined in, eventually not everyone will be able to speak. Consequently the quiet members of the group are pushed out of the conversation.

Twitter threads are no different. Group  chats  can be unwittingly ‘hijacked’ by other people who join in and take over the conversation. In the first few days after the change was bought in I was reminded of what it was like to be at school. Where most people in a thread were on the outside watching the cool kids but not able to join in. Other people have said they felt/feel the same way about large threads.

Q2 – How many people is too many in a thread?

Its clear from this poll that huge group threads are not popular, although I did find some people who love them.

The majority of people however prefer to chat to smaller groups.  This goes back to the point that you can’t listen to, or reply to 20+ people at once.

I’ve seen a  thread recently with 40+ people tagged but only 3 or 4 people actually chatting.  Many people tagged within the thread (including myself) had muted it. I only became aware if it because someone tagged me again. This  indications people in large group threads often have no idea who they’re replying to beyond the people they’re actively chatting with.

Q3 – How long should a thread last?

The other week I was tagged in a thread that was over 2 weeks old (the same thread mentioned above). It was a thread I had initially started, then muted when it became too big. The conversation I was re-tagged in bore no relation to the one I started.

The results of this poll seem quite divided, but I asked a few people to clarify what they ment by ’till people stop chatting’. Most people said they ment on that day/evening/night.

They said it was wrong to reignite a thread the following morning/day with tweets such as ‘good morning, how are we all today’. They felt it would be better for people to start a new thread.

Q4 – What do you do you if you don’t like being tagged in group threads?

Twitter Poll. What do you do if you dont like being tagged in group threads

For a majority of people the answer was simple, just mute the thread. However I was surprised to find a number of people didn’t know how to do this.

I found out how to do this myself from a fellow Twitter user. I thought Twitter would advertise the mute features better.

To mute a thread click on the small arrow at the top right of any tweet in the thread ( this is in-line with the name of the person who has tweeted) this brings down a menu. One option on the menu is Mute This Conversation.

By using mute,  people can take responsibility for removing themselves from a thread. This is more effective than asking people in the thread to untag them.

Are group threads really killing Twitter though?

The short answer to that question is no. Twitter is far too big to  go the way of sites such as Myspace. However for many people it has changed how they use Twitter. People are less keen to engage in chats and some people are chosing to stay off Twitter altogether.

What can people do about group threads?

Twitter said the changes it recently made are work in progress, so there’s a chance they will at some point limit the number of people tagged in a thread. Until then there are simple ways to prevent these threads from being too annoying to others.

  • If you enjoy a large group chat, only tag other people who you KNOW will appreciate it.
  • If you want to  chat to certain people in a thread the following day, start a new thread.
  • When you come across a thread in your timeline you want to comment on,  maybe only reply to the people who are actively chatting. To do this after you have clicked on reply,  click on the list of people you are replying to and untick all those who you don’t want to reply to.
  • Mute conversations you don’t want to participate in any more rather than ask the group to untag you.

These are just my suggestions for twitter thread etiquette. Would you add to or change any of my suggestions? Are you a lover or a hater of these type of threads?

Scientific Fact ~ Bloggers feed on blog comments. Please help keep this blogger well fed♡

Thank you, Mrs A Xx

55 Comments

  1. Rich Sayers

    June 7, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Great post and I agree that large threads are a pain. A new thread should definitely start the next day

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 7, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I certainly won’t be continuing any of todays threads 😂😂

  2. Pickinguptoys

    June 7, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Was really interested in this, I don’t mind being tagged in large conversations but quickly find myself annoyed with the notifications.I prefer a thread of 5 or so where you can have a and actual conversation & then leave it rather than resurrect.I have been tagged in really big threads and it drove me nuts as well as killed my phone.I didn’t know how to mute until recently either.No prizes for guessing which know it all told me how to do it 😀
    Pickinguptoys recently posted…Dear Diary 1st June 2017My Profile

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 7, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Mr Kitney has his uses (or was it me? )

  3. Rach

    June 8, 2017 at 7:33 am

    You know my thoughts on them love, I’m not a fan. It’s ok for the first minute or 2 then it starts getting a bit much. Mute is a wonderful feature, not just for large scale convos but also for those arseholes I come into contact with on a daily basis. It’s like they’re shouting at me but I’ve put my hand in their face and I’m going LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA I’m not listening to you. #coolmumclub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 9, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Pahahahaha, I bet it is your hand with the middle finger extended 😁

  4. Kristie - Mammaprada

    June 8, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Love this! I’m really new to Twitter so still understanding how all the replies, retweets and etiquette works! #coolmumclub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 10:48 am

      I think as long as people are polite and use a bit of common sense they wont go far wrong xx

  5. Bear and Cardigan

    June 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Like you I joined that thread and at first it was great. I could reply to everyone with a sentence rather than an emoji as I had loads of characters left. Then I wandered away and my notifications were at 99+. I scrolled through, caught up, said my pennies worth and left again. I lost other notifications because they were hidden in the mega thread so I muted the conversation. It may still be going for all I know except it drove me away from twitter. I am slowly coming back as I love a good chat but will be muting all megathreads from now on.
    Bear and Cardigan recently posted…It’s called Messy Play For A ReasonMy Profile

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

      I saw one on my timeline last week, possibly the same one that had over 2000 replies. You can always chat to me 😊xx

  6. Talya

    June 8, 2017 at 11:22 am

    An interesting post I only do a large group thread when someone has genuinely contributed to a post I have written or for #coolmumclub notification posts I don’t know if that makes me a group sinner then? Otherwise I agree they can be largely annoying and I try not to hit “reply all”! Thanks for linking this up to #coolmumclub x

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Oh, tagging people of linkies etc doesn’t count. Not in my book anyway x

  7. justsayingmum

    June 8, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Ah interesting! I get overwhelmed sometimes with the notifications and like someone tweeted you I worry that I’ll miss something. I’m struggling to keep up and also rarely have the time to either so am probably missing heaps! Then people think you’ve been rude and ignored – never my intention! #CoolMumClub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      I think most people find it a bit much at time and understand when people dont always reply xx

  8. Michelle

    June 8, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I have not heard of this until now LOL. Maybe that’s because I only use twitter to promote my blog posts as well as others but most of my communication is done through Facebook and even then I have to sometimes turn off my notification on Facebook because of all the negativity that it seems to generate. This is good information to have though because I am starting to blog again and if I suddenly showed up in a thread, getting umpteen notifications I’d be livid LOL. Thanks for sharing this Tracy! Popping over from #ablogginggoodtime

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      I think people are slowly getting better at regulating group threads. Will be lovely to see you back over on twitter xx

  9. Papa Tony

    June 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I think the function is a great idea in order to allow you to have the full 140 characters. If you’re replying to 5 people you can only write about 3 words before you run out of space. The problem isn’t the function, it’s the people abusing them. It’s very simple to change the number of people you’re replying to, but I see people deliberately tagging in 50 people just for shits and giggles, and because they can. Those people add no value to the conversation, and should be allowed to join in as and if they want to. As with many things in the world, it’s not the technical capability that’s at fault, it’s people who abuse it or don’t know how to use it properly that ruin it for the many.
    Papa Tony recently posted…To Barbecue Or To Grill Indoors? That Is The Question This SummerMy Profile

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Oh I totally agree with you, I love being able to chat in a small group with a full 140 characters at my disposal. And yes, it is people that are the problem. X

  10. Nicole

    June 8, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I kind of like the large group threads. They’re fun. But it’s true that they can eventually get tiresome, and if I’m not part of the conversation anymore, I don’t want to see all those notifications drowning out the ones I really need to see. But at that point, I just mute it. So for me, it’s really no problem. If you don’t want to see it, mute it. If you do, enjoy! #coolmumclub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      I think the problems arise when people are tagged in threads when they are not on twitter so they come back to hundreds of notifications

  11. Imperfect Mum

    June 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    I just don’t have time to trawl through and try and follow these large threads. I do mute. I’d rather DM for a proper conversation 💙 Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Whatsapp is my go to place for group chatting

  12. Lucy At Home

    June 8, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t particularly mind big group chats as it can be interesting to see what people are talking about, but it’s hard to catch up if you miss anything, and you can come back to it later and have over 100 notifications! Then it’s time-consuming wading through it all to make sure you’ve not missed anything important.

    I was quite surprised to hear that some people think it’s okay to re-initiate the thread the next day with a different topic / opener. That’s just weird to me! Much better to start a new thread for a new topic.

    Thank you for your research – very helpful and got me thinking #coolmumclub
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Feeling Out Of Sync With Everyone ElseMy Profile

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Getting people thinking is my thing 😁 xx

  13. Aleena Brown

    June 8, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Oh I’m glad I know how to mute now! I must admit the ten-thousand notifications are a pain in the bum, and I’ve kind of avoided Twitter because I find it a bit overwhelming in that respect..! #ablogginggoodtime

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 9, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      I know a lot of people that are doing the same. Its a shame as I love it as a place to meet and chat xx

  14. Jaki

    June 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    I did see one the other day that did irritate me slightly, it kept appearing on my timeline because I follow some of the people in it and there was in excess of 30 twitter handles in it. The app I use shows them all so you can imagine the size of the tweet. It seems excessive but I haven’t seen one like it since. #coolmumclub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 8, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Yes, several people have said they use apps where you can see everyone who is tagged in the tweet and just how weird and annoying that is.

  15. Alana - Burnished Chaos

    June 9, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Long threads are so hard to follow. I didn’t know about the mute option. Thankfully I haven’t been tagged in many that went on more than a few hours and the number taking part was quite small so I didn’t mind, but if I got tagged in too many long ones I’d get really fed up I think.
    #coolmumclub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 9, 2017 at 10:03 am

      They are very annoying xx

  16. Feeling Mum Yet

    June 9, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    True, I make a comment, somebody responds and suddenly we have 2-3 other topics included with more people tagged and it just explodes into one big chaos. Thanks for the mute tip! 🙂 #Ablogginggoodtime

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 9, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      Glad to be of some help xx

  17. Anne

    June 10, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I only noticed them recently, I’ve had a competition running on my blog so I’ve been getting hundreds of tweets from that every day. Then someone tagged me in a thread and I ended up with tons of notifications!

  18. Heather Keet

    June 12, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I love the threads but I totally understand people who don’t. The hardest thing for me is your advice to only tag people who I know will like them. Sometimes I tag people in what I think will be a quick conversation that then grows into a much bigger thread. So do I then never tag that person again?! But then what if it’s a topic I know they will be interested in? I want to add them to the thread, but they may actually hate me for it and never tell me. The only way to avoid that problem is the person would just have to mute the conversation. I think that by giving us the mute button Twitter made it easy for us to decide what we want to get notified about and we can control how much info we get. #bigpinklink

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 15, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Oh I think tagging a group of friends in a chat that may or maynot grow bigger is cool. Or like tagging people in your polls (which are fab) is fine too. There are some people however who by design will try and tag 20+ people in a thread to start with and that is where people need to think more about who they are adding xx

  19. Kate

    June 12, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    This is a really useful post. You have raised some really good points. I didn’t know about the possibility of ‘mute’ on Twitter so will definitely be trying that- thanks!

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 12, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Its surprising how few people are aware of the function. Twitter should advertise it more x

  20. Sam - StressyMama

    June 13, 2017 at 8:10 am

    What a great read. I don’t mind threads like this really but it can become rather confusing and annoying if you are being notified all the time. The mute idea is a great option I hadn’t thought about to be honest. #TwinklyTuesday

  21. Lisa (mummascribbles)

    June 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Twitter seems to get more complicated as time goes on. Have they never heard of the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?!” Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday – have a great day 😁
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…Twinkly Tuesday {13/06/17} | Featuring Four Princesses and the CheeseMy Profile

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 15, 2017 at 9:48 am

      If only they would heed that advice 😊

  22. Mama Grace

    June 13, 2017 at 11:37 am

    New to Twitter so never knew this. Noted re mute #TwinklyTuesday

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 13, 2017 at 11:38 am

      Mute is a really useful twitter function x

  23. Natalie

    June 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    This is really interesting,in very new to blogging and also twitter, so it was a great read, thank you.❤️X
    #twinklytuesdays

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 13, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading it x

  24. Jenny Eaves

    June 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I didn’t really know about the group thread thing, I don’t chat on Twitter as much as I used to as people never replied. I only use it for promoting blog posts and replying to comments on those. Thanks for linking up to #BiginkLink 🙂 x

  25. Heather Keet

    June 20, 2017 at 6:08 am

    I love group threads! But for those who don’t I highly recommend they use the mute button. #DreamTeam

  26. Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    June 24, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I’m so glad I got the chance to read this post! And so glad to hear that it’s not just me that gets overwhelmed with so many notifications. Were you in that huge name tag twitter thread a couple of weeks ago? It was fun to begin with, but after a while I got completely lost and had to mute because I was missing important notifications. If only there was another way to group those particular notifications together, and separate them from the ones you need to see. Thought provoking. Thank you for sharing with the #Dreamteam x
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…The Sound MachineMy Profile

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      June 24, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Err…..yeah……. I unwittingly started that thread. I expected people to quote the original tweet with their replies like I had done, but instead everyone replied to the tweets they were tagged in and so it got very silly very quickly!!

  27. Oldhouseintheshires

    October 30, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Oh I do agree with you! It’s v v frustrating. I tend to forget what I originally said if anything! #mondaystumblr
    Oldhouseintheshires recently posted…Letting go of the challenges of parenting.My Profile

  28. sharon brison

    October 30, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Yep def. agree! I dont mind a twitter chat with a couple of people but I remember getting totally lost with a couple of big ones, ending up not actually knowing what everyone was talking about, I had to keep checking what I had said when people were responding to it!! #mondaystumblr

  29. Michelle

    October 30, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Yeah I have been apart of some of those lately and it’s definitely annoying. Most of the time I just ignore it though but getting notification after notification all day long, especially when I am focused on something else can be really distracting and then it gets annoying because it isn’t a notification that I really need. Thanks so much for hosting #MondayStumble Tracey!

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      October 30, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      The mute function is my best friend these days when it comes to long threads and too many notifications xx

  30. Susan Mann

    October 30, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I had noticed this but hadn’t paid much attention. I wondered why I couldn’t reply as there was so many notifications and ran out of characters. I do love twitter and enjoying chatting with people. I’m not a big fan of this though. x #mondaystumble

  31. Chloe

    October 30, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Hi, I get about the new reply all version, it sure can be a pain when you get lots of notifications and it is not related directly to you. I still use it a lot though #mondaystumble

  32. Lisa Pomerantz

    November 1, 2017 at 9:45 am

    It appears I have some research to do! Your post (has me thinking) has sparked some things for me that I must figure out? Mute? Threads? Oy vey… This blogger is just doing what she can to stay connected with her peeps! <3 #mondaystumble xo

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