On Tuesday, Twitter launched a new app called Twitter Engage. The app, a companion to the site's main platform, is designed to give "creators, influencers, and public figures" a streamlined way to "quickly understand, engage, and grow your audiences," with "real-time data and insights," according to a Twitter press release.
Though every Twitter user theoretically has access to Engage, its appeal is likely limited to those whose interest lies in brand management over actual, well, engagement. Twitter Engage doesn't focus on your timeline the way Twitter proper does—making it easy to see how people are responding to your tweets and videos, but difficult to see what they are saying about anything else.
The new app lets you toggle between three tabs. There's "Mentions," which surfaces mentions from "influencers," (verified users and users with high follower counts and engagement rates, probably) and your "loyal fans," as Twitter put it. Then there's "Understand," which tracks your account's performance and offers a real-time feed showing what the aforementioned fans are tweeting. Finally, there's "Posts," which offers metrics on individual tweets.
Media outlets have so far pointed out that Twitter Engage may prove to be useful to Twitter's most famous users, but that it won't change much for the rest of us. Over at Wired, David Pierce wrote that Engage is "meant for Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, and the rest of the celebrities on Twitter who have really never been able to engage with the platform because for every interesting tweet there are 65,000 people just tweeting 'dad.'" Pierce added, "Twitter is the same chaotic mess for Taylor Swift as it is for you—except Taylor has way more followers than you do."
The problem, however, is that many Twitter users—usually women—don't have the celebrity status of a Justin Bieber or a Taylor Swift but are also dealing with upsetting, threatening content in their mentions. And Twitter hasn't done an awesome job figuring out how to cope with harassment directed at users who aren't necessarily creators, influencers, or public figures.
That blind spot was not lost on users discussing the launch of Engagement:
Tech blogger Anil Dash saw it as a more complicated issue, but one that should be addressed nonetheless.
Others were less generous:
You should have seen this coming, Twitter!
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.