Monday, 23 November 2009

On Twitter prompts

A correspondent from Valleywag wrote last week to ask if I saw anything interesting in the Twitter decision to change its prompt - from 'What are you doing?' to 'What's happening?'.

I do think this is interesting. My impression is that Twitter has become steadily more discursive over the past few months, with people maintaining threads and introducing a great deal more interaction, rather than posting isolated tweets. As a result the focus has shifted from the individual to the group, and a more open question is required to capture this emphasis. 'What-doing' looks inward. 'What-happening' looks outward. It's a natural development, it seems to me.

I love one of the reactions to the Valleywag post. Someone suggests that a much simpler prompt will emerge one day: 'Sup?'


Darren Elliott said...

Are you, yourself, a tweeter? It is very much a group activity, and a very important part of my teacher development these days.

lau said...

Interesting topic. It seems to me that by simply taking off the "you" pronoun from the prompt they change the individual aspect of Twitter to a social one. At the beginning they attract people by placing them as focus (the need of personal expression is a human one) and then turning the issue towards the social. I agree with you this may be a natural process since Twitter is a social network and as all social networks, it starts with the invidual (that gradually becomes a group thing).
However, they keep the progressive aspect, which highlights the relevance of the dynamics of the actions (statics is usually related to futility).

DC said...

No - life's too short. I find it difficult enough keeping pace with this blog! I do keep an eye on what's going on there, though.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. i see same thing happened on facebook too. Facebook changed from something which i don't remember now to "what's on your mind?".

Jake Miller said...

Do you think the prompt may also be changed to influence the length of posts? Perhaps an attempt to keep posts shorter?