Teamwork, Twist  
New Feature – October 2021

Meet the New Twist: Work Async, Not ASAP

For teams burned out by real-time, all-the-time communication and ready for a new way to work together

Illustration by Margarida Mouta and Yin Weihung

If the past year and a half has made one thing clear, it’s this: Our current way of working is broken.

Our tasks get squeezed into moments between back-to-back meetings and endless pings and spill over into the rest of our lives. We spend more time and energy trying to keep up with the relentless pace of team communication than we spend actually doing our jobs.

This real-time, all-the-time way of working isn’t sustainable.

A new twist on team messaging

When Twist first launched in 2017 as “one of the only true alternatives to Slack”, no one was talking about asynchronous communication. But the pandemic has given us all an opportunity to question the status quo and chart a new course.

Fast forward to 2021 and asynchronous work has quickly become a buzzword in the business world, covered everywhere from the BBC to the Harvard Business Review to The Wall Street Journal. Companies are waking up to the consequences of communication fatigue and always-on work cultures. Workers are beginning to demand better.

Asynchronous means communication doesn’t have to happen in real-time — like meetings and instant messages — but rather on your own time.

Meaningful productivity requires uninterrupted time for deep work and complete disconnection to recharge. People’s natural biorhythms — not to mention their personal lives — don’t neatly align with a 9-to-5 workday. Flexible schedules make for happier, less stressed out employees.

Async work is better for people and for business.

Doubling down on async

With today’s completely redesigned Twist, we’re doubling down on our bet against real-time chat apps in favor of focused, async-first messaging for teams.

Image of the Twist UI on the web and mobile apps
Each element of the new Twist is designed to be efficient, focused, and async-first.

Threaded conversations still keep discussions on topic, easy to follow, and fully preserved for future readers. And there’s still a conspicuous absence of presence indicators (👀) so there’s no pressure to respond right now. But we went back to the drawing board on almost everything else.

Each element of the new Twist is designed to be efficient, focused, and async-first — so you can take back time to think, create, and (ultimately) disconnect. One user describes it this way:

“Being able to close Twist without guilt feels like a weight has been lifted. I can focus on my work and go back to my conversations when I’m ready.”

Here are the biggest changes:

Threads move front and center

Focused, threaded conversations are still at the heart of Twist, but now they occupy even more real estate in the app.

Skim through the new channel and inbox views and get a sense of what needs your attention now (and what can wait for later).

The new, more expansive channel and inbox views make it easy to quickly skim through threads and get a sense of what needs your attention now (and what can wait for later).

And once you click through to a specific thread, you can fully focus on one topic at a time without getting distracted by other conversations.

The new thread view lets you focus on one topic at a time without getting distracted by other conversations.

Experience the zen of Inbox Zero

Your Twist inbox shows just the new activity you’ve been tagged in, making it easy to catch up after a time block away for deep work or a completely unplugged vacation. That hasn’t changed.

But now you can mark those threads done as you go and experience the sweet satisfaction of Inbox Zero. It’s been beta testers’ favorite new feature. (You can always find your old threads in the new Done view.)

Never take your hands off the keyboard

Zip around Twist with full keyboard support. Type ? to pull up a shortcut cheat sheet.

The faster you can catch up on team communication, the more time you can reclaim for focused work. That’s why we invested in bringing complete keyboard support to Twist. You can now zip around the app without ever touching your mouse.

Type ? to pull up a cheat sheet of all the new keyboard shortcuts. (A Doist team favorite is hitting the E key to mark threads done all the way to Inbox Zero.)

Smarter, customizable options (with more integrations!)

Add your most-used tools to the options menu.

Maintain that speed with more options when you select the three dots icon next to threads, comments, or messages. In fact, you can now customize your options menu by heading to Settings & members > Integrations to add your most-used tools to the list.

For example, you can now turn a thread into a GitHub issue or a comment into a Todoist task — all from the options menu.

In case you missed it…

Since we launched the first version of Twist, we’ve made significant changes to make threaded communication even more powerful:

The start of a work revolution

For the past four years, we’ve seen time and again how Twist’s async messaging transforms teamwork.

A Y Combinator startup relies on Twist to expand access to high-quality coding education and remote job opportunities.  An innovative theater management company uses the app to bring Broadway shows to life. An education nonprofit uses it with hundreds of volunteers to make audio-learning accessible to struggling students.

“Asynchronous work is now essential to being part of a modern, digital economy.”

Harvard Business Review, August 2021

These teams and thousands like them are proving that you can collaborate at the highest level without sacrificing focused time for deep work and disconnection.

It’s time to let people work not just where they work best, but when they work best. Async, not ASAP.

Try the new Twist

Dig deeper into async: