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Twitter experiments with new features to encourage positive conversations

The social media company is testing conversation starters, color-coding conversations and status indicators.

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From bullying to harassment, Twitter isn't always the most friendly place to hang out online.

Now the social media company is experimenting with ways to make it easier to start more positive conversations. One of the features that company is testing includes conversation starters with questions such as "Who is the most inspirational person in your life and why?" or "Did anyone understand the last episode of #Westworld?" 

"Starting a conversation or joining a conversation can be hard. I don't always know what I want to say, but I want to say something,"  Sara Haider, Twitter's director of product management, told Fast Company at an event the media outlet held in New York this week. 

Haider tweeted in August that the company was testing features to make the site more conversational. 

Some of the changes Twitter has been experimenting with are more subtle. The company is looking at adding a status indicator so users can see whether someone is active online or what they're doing. It's testing color-coded conversations so users see tweets from people they follow in a different color, making it easier to follow more popular conversations. And it's considering a reply field below every tweet.

"As you scroll through your feed, you would see a new field with the word "reply" next to the heart and retweet button. One reason Twitter is exploring the idea is that many new users still don't understand that they can reply to tweets by tapping the conversation bubble in every tweet," according to The Verge, which saw early versions of the new features. 

CNET reached out to a Twitter spokesperson for more details. 

Twitter, which has 335 million users, reports its third quarter earnings on Thursday.

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