Twitter looks to give context to hashtags
We’ve all been there: You see a hashtag trending on Twitter or in something your friend tweeted...except you have no idea what it means or what’s going on. Twitter, it seems, has heard your cries of confusion, and is working on a new feature that should help.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter is testing adding explanatory labels to certain popular hashtags in its iOS app. For example, the Journal says, #TBT gets labelled as “Throwback Thursday” with the new label feature, while #OITNB becomes Orange Is the New Black.
Not everyone gets this new feature, though—not yet, anyway, Twitter periodically tests new features—such as the Mute tool and various interface changes—on a limited subset of users before it rolls them out to everyone.
In recent months, Twitter has made an effort to try and make its service easier for new users to grasp. Earlier this year, reports indicated that Twitter might eventually do away with hashtags and @-replies entirely. Meanwhile, the service’s updated photo sharing features, which rolled out earlier this year, lets you tag other users without having to eat up your alotted 140 characters—another win for simplicity.
The hashtag may be too ingrained into people’s habits to kill off entirely—even Hollywood and big business has caught on to the practice—but providing additional information for popular hashtags should help bring some clarity to the sometimes confusing Twitterverse.