To whom it may concern: Twitter’s Status feature is starting to look like a good idea

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter’s Status feature seemed a bit strange at first. When it first came out that the company was testing a way to attach Status badges to your tweets, Twitter explained it as a way “to provide more context for your followers.”

Context is all well and good, but Twitter’s uneditable list of choices didn’t make much sense. Adding a “Traveling” status might have made sense in the original what-you-had-for-lunch conception of Twitter, but no longer. And is there anything more cringe than tweeting your grumpiness with a “Case of the Mondays” badge?

Now, it appears Twitter’s statuses are becoming much more... Twitter-y. Jane Manchun Wong, an engineer and a notable internet sleuth, recently found a bunch of new Status options that make a lot more sense than the old ones. Testers can now put a “Don’t @ Me” badge above their spicy thoughts or drop a “So wholesome” right next to their next dunking quote tweet. “To whom it may concern” is a fun one, especially if you imagine it as the introduction to every public tweet ever sent on the platform.

A few other Twitter mainstays made the list, too, including “That’s it, that’s the Tweet,” and “Tweeting it into existence.” My personal new favorite is “Touching grass,” which you’re obviously not doing very well if you’re tweeting about it — but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.

The feature does follow a longtime trend on Twitter. From retweets to hashtags and links, the company has frequently found ways to turn the text people use in their tweets into extra information and metadata. Statuses appear to be the same: you don’t need to start your tweet with “Hot take” when the Hot take badge is right there.

In addition to providing an extra bit of flair to your tweets, Status also seems to be a new way of organizing Twitter. Some people have taken to using the thread emoji in their tweets, knowing people search for the emoji when they’re looking for the best tweetstorms. With Status, you can just click on the badge to see other tweets with the same one.

If Twitter can do it right, “Picture of the day” and “Pet of the day” could turn into Twitter’s answer to Reddit’s r/pics and r/pets, a never-ending scroll of good stuff. “Don’t @ Me” might be a hilarious feed of people’s spiciest thoughts. I don’t know what “Current status” would be for or why you’d ever click that one... but it’ll be there, too.

Of course, Twitter’s ranking system, especially for fast-moving topics, isn’t always known for being a bastion of good information. The “Breaking news” badge seems likely to be abused as often as it is useful.

The Status feature appears to still be in testing, and there’s no indication when or whether it will be rolled out to the whole platform. But it seems to be morphing into something that feels native to Twitter, not like a bolt-on idea from 2006.

Let’s be super clear here, though. If you tweet with the “Living the dream” status, and it’s anything other than deeply ironic and attached to a tweet about how you dropped your coffee all over your keyboard this morning, you’re doing it wrong. This is Twitter, after all. There’s no earnestness allowed here.



Source: The Verge

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