Twitter will launch a bookmarking tool in the near future

Twitter confirmed it’s planning to launch a bookmarking feature to save tweets for later reading. The addition will help users keep a separate list of items they want to refer back to, instead of using the heart (aka “favorite”) button, which can indicate more of a “like” – similar to the “thumbs up” button on Facebook.

The feature’s impending launch was first unveiled on Twitter itself, naturally, when head of product Keith Coleman announced that a new way to save tweets was in the works, as a result of a company HackWeek project dubbed #SaveForLater.

Other Twitter employees, including newly hired senior director of product, Sriram Krishnan, and PM Jesar Shah, also noted Twitter’s plans in this area.

Like Coleman, Shah said the feature was a popular user request – adding that many people, “especially in Japan,” had asked for this ability.

As Shah said in her thread, there are a number of ways people privately save tweets to reference later, including bookmarking them with the heart, DM-ing them to themselves, or even retweeting. (I’d also add we open them in new tabs, save them to our Notes app, email them to ourselves, Instapaper their links, or create private Twitter Moments or Storify collections, among other things.)

None of these methods are ideal because they’re not as quick as simply clicking a button to save the tweet, with the exception of the “heart” icon. However, the heart can be misinterpreted since it implies you feel positively about the tweet you’re saving, when the opposite could be true. Plus, for those who regularly use the heart to respond to tweets that don’t require a reply, those saved tweets you wanted to look back on again could be easily lost in your Favorites.

Twitter isn’t the first to realize that its constantly-updating feed needs a save button. Facebook, too, launched its own bookmarking tool several years ago.

A prototype built during HackWeek shows that Twitter’s bookmarking feature appears under the tweet’s “More” menu (three dots), where you then find a new “Add to Bookmarks” option. But this design could change by the time it’s released to the public.

According to Shah, Twitter wants to build the new bookmarking tool with the community’s help and feedback. That’s interesting, given that building “with” user input is how Twitter used to develop features borrowed from the community. For example, Twitter’s @mention and retweet functionality grew out of Twitter turning actions people were already taking on its network into useful product features.

But some of Twitter’s more recent product launches – like the controversial @reply format or decisions about what counts as a character – were developed more as an overly-engineered response to the problems with social network’s 140-character limit, rather than by a deep examination of user behavior.  (Twitter has since said it will test expanding character count to 280, which makes more sense than its confusing rules about character count.)

There are no details yet on how soon the new bookmarking tool will roll out or who will be able to test it. But a Twitter spokesperson confirmed the feature is not just an experiment – it will publicly launch soon. They also said the best way to find out more is to follow @jesarshah’s account, as this is where information about #SaveForLater will appear. Product designer @tinastsh will be tweeting as well, we’re told.