Twitter is globally launching its feature that allows users to send tweets to a private following, the company announced Tuesday.
The Twitter Circle feature allows a user to add up to 150 followers to a private group that receives tweets sent only to the Circle.
Jay Sullivan, general manager of Consumer and Revenue Product at Twitter who leads the team that developed Twitter Circle, told TODAY in an exclusive interview that the group had brainstormed ways to make the platform more "approachable" — and this new feature emerged.
"We know that tweeting can sometimes feel a little intimidating and overwhelming, especially for new users of the platform," he said. "So one of the things that I've been focused on leading our product team is making Twitter more approachable for people. And the way I think of this is this idea of experiencing Twitter on your own terms, meaning the way that you want."
Sullivan said Twitter Circles can do that in allowing users to add certain followers to an intimate group for more personal conversations that they may not want to have on the public timeline.
Circles are created in users' settings. Users then send tweets to their Circle by following the prompt that pops up when drafting a new tweet. Tweets sent to a Circle are denoted with a marker at the bottom and appear on the general timeline of the Circle follower. Only fellow Circle followers can reply and see new replies.
Sullivan said this new feature can help with anxiety that may be associated with tweeting by giving users the privacy to have more private conversations with trusted friends.
"You have feelings and thoughts that you want to share, without having to second guess, 'Is some random person going to make me feel badly about this?' Or, 'They don't know me that well, so they don't know my humor and my nuances,'" Sullivan said.
"The thing that we were hearing about this is people really felt like they were finding their groove when it came to tweeting without the pressure of doing it on the public timeline," he said. "And that really told us, wow, there is something to this idea of giving people that choice and control and Twitter on their own terms. So we felt really excited to bring it to everybody."