Science and Tech


Twitter Tests New Feature That Explains Hashtags

The Wall Street Journal caught Twitter testing out a new feature explaining hashtags, but who knows if it will actually stick around.
Posted at 10:53 PM, Aug 02, 2014

#oitnb. #tbt. #ctfu. #mcm. #wcw. #wtf. What do those even mean? Well, if you're having trouble deciphering Twitter's enigmatic pound-sign-trending-topics, help could be on the way. 

The company hasn't announced anything just yet, but the Wall Street Journal caught a glimpse of what could be a new feature for the social media site: explanations appearing for commonly used hashtags.

For instance under the hashtag "oitnb" it would show that the label applies to Neflix's "Orange Is The New Black."

However, CNET writes that it's simply not feasible for Twitter to identify the meaning of every hashtag because any user can create a hashtag at any time. 

The Wall Street Journal writes that the feature is likely designed to make Twitter more accessible for new users. The site has had trouble growing it's user base in the past but reports strong growth in recent months.

This is just one of many things Twitter has done recently to build its service.

A non-functioning "buy now" button briefly appeared that would have allowed people to make purchases directly from twitter. (Via Re/code)

Twitter also redesigned the user profile page to make it more photo-friendly. (Via The Verge)

And it rolled out a "mute" option for those annoying friends who seems to have an opinion on everything. (Via CNN)

The profile page re-design and mute button seem to be here to stay but the "buy now" button hasn't been seen since June. So, who knows if the hashtag explanations will ever be fully implemented. 

But we can say that Twitter doesn't plan to stop testing new features based on this blog post from 2013. "... It's rare for a day to go by when we're not releasing at least one experiment."