Twitter now asks, 'What's happening?'

Company announces that the familiar "What are you doing?" is being replaced with a new question atop the status update box.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced on Thursday that the familiar, "What are you doing?" tag line that has sat atop the service's status update box since its launch has been replaced with "What's happening?"

"Twitter was originally conceived as a mobile status update service," Stone explained on the company's blog. Therefore, Stone continued, it made sense for Twitter to make it easy for users to receive "short, frequent answers to one question, 'What are you doing?'"

But as Twitter grew, that question's importance waned. As Stone pointed out, "people, organizations, and businesses quickly began...ignoring the original question, seemingly on a quest to both ask and answer a different, more immediate question, 'What's happening?'"

Realizing that, Stone said that Twitter has decided to ask users what's happening to reflect the real nature of tweets. It makes sense. While there might be those who still answer questions related to what they're doing, the vast majority of users are, as Stone pointed out, "witnessing accidents, organizing events, sharing links, breaking news, reporting stuff their dad says, and so much more."

By changing Twitter's question to "What's Happening?", Stone doesn't expect anyone to use the site differently. But it is a major step for the company.

For years, "What are you doing?" has been a staple on Twitter as it grew from a niche community to a major social network. At the same time, Twitter's users have largely ignored it. And so, if Twitter insists on asking a question for users to answer in their status update box, maybe it really is appropriate for it to ask "What's happening?"

What do you think? Are you happy with Twitter's modification? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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