RIP Circles, the latest feature to be shut down as part of the transition of the app into X.
Which is no surprise. X owner Elon Musk has been talking about getting rid of Circles for months, so really, it was just a matter of time. But now the X team has set an official end date.
As per X:
“X is deprecating Circles as of Oct 31st, 2023. After this date, you will not be able to create new posts that are limited to your Circle, nor will you be able to add people to your Circle.”
Circles, which previous Twitter management first launched in May last year, was one of various projects that sought to better align in-app engagement with the broader shift of social interactions to more intimate groups, as opposed to public posting. Given that an increasing amount of users are now interacting this way, Twitter added Circles, Communities, and audience control options on tweets, in the hopes of sparking more types of discussion in the app.
Though even at launch, there didn’t seem to be a lot of practical value to the Circles process.
As I wrote at the time:
“Part of the problem with Circles, as I see it at least, is that most users likely conduct the discussions that would fit into this offering within their DMs already, maintaining group chats with their close friends in a more private space. That privacy enables people to feel more comfortable sharing, and there doesn’t seem like much reason for them to switch those conversations to the potentially more exposed Circles option instead.”
Evidently, Elon felt much the same way:
We’re deprecating Circles in favor of improved Communities & DM group chat
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 8, 2023
So this was coming, and really, the impact should be fairly minimal, given that usage was clearly low (hence X removing it), and there are various alternatives for the same type of interaction.
But if you have been using Circles, it’s time to update
X says that users who want to keep their Circle contacts will have to unfollow, then refollow those profiles, which will effectively remove them from their Circle, then add them as a regular contact. You can learn more about how to manage the deprecation of Circles here.
And soon, Circles will join Fleets and Moments in the graveyard of failed Twitter projects. Which makes sense, but it is also another small part of the former platform that’s being chipped away, as it’s carved into its new X shape.