Twitter no longer asks "What are you doing?"

In an unexpected move, Twitter has removed the "What are you doing?" question from the user interface, confirming a change in uses for the popular social networking site.

The official Twitter Blog had the following to say about the new changes:

"Twitter was originally conceived as a mobile status update service—an easy way to keep in touch with people in your life by sending and receiving short, frequent answers to one question, 'What are you doing?' However, when we implemented the service, we chose to leave something out. To stay simple, Twitter did not require individuals to confirm relationships. Instead, we left things open.

"People, organizations, and businesses quickly began leveraging the open nature of the network to share anything they wanted, completely ignoring the original question, seemingly on a quest to both ask and answer a different, more immediate question, 'What's happening?' A simple text input field limited to 140 characters of text was all it took for creativity and ingenuity to thrive.

"Sure, someone in San Francisco may be answering 'What are you doing?' with 'Enjoying an excellent cup of coffee,' at this very moment. However, a birds-eye view of Twitter reveals that it's not exclusively about these personal musings. Between those cups of coffee, people are witnessing accidents, organizing events, sharing links, breaking news, reporting stuff their dad says, and so much more."

The post continues to say that the "What are you doing?" message will now be replaced by the shorter "What's happening?". "The fundamentally open model of Twitter created a new kind of information network and it has long outgrown the concept of personal status updates. Twitter helps you share and discover what's happening now among all the things, people, and events you care about. 'What are you doing?' isn't the right question anymore—starting today, we've shortened it by two characters. Twitter now asks, 'What's happening?'

"We don't expect this to change how anyone uses Twitter, but maybe it'll make it easier to explain to your dad."

Thank you to Neowin member bangbang023 for the news tip.

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36 Comments

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"We don't expect this to change how anyone uses Twitter, but maybe it'll make it easier to explain to your dad."

I'm a dad and a granddad, I still don't get it.

A bit silly. I find it rather amusing though that they were able to write so much about such a minor / trivial change... LOL

This is not news, if you don't realize this... would it change the way a person uses their twitter? No. I don't care if you use twitter or not, this just doesn't matter.

To receive the very latest updates by people, developers, news sites, etc. that are relevant to your interests.

Most people mistake Twitter for being nonsensical updates that no one cares about. Of course, that will be very true if you follow people you don't give a damn about. Then again, email can be essentially useless just as well if you subscribe to a bunch of companies and websites you don't care about!

Only an idiot would do something like that and complain about it though. Why anyone feels the need to complain about a system that allows people to stay updated easily is beyond me. If you don't like it, don't use it. It's not really hurting anyone, except those who put themselves through their own frustration...

I hope Twitter will place a "Who really cares?" option right beneath the former "What are you doing?" box. This will give its users a chance to think about who in the world cares about their pointless ramblings. If you can think of a name to put in the "Who cares box?" then go right ahead and post something hopefully meaningful in your all-important update.

OMG, that's like, a FUNDAMENTAL shift in their entire system! What will happen? Will the world explode?

Seriously.... I think this is pretty insignificant to warrent such a lengthy statement..... But it is their own blog, so i guess they can BS all they want.... still, it's not as if they reinvented the wheel.

I agree with the earlier post - this is not news. Twitter changes one line on their page qualifies as front page news??

Your opinion(s) certainly don't disqualify this as news at the very least. Some find certain articles interesting while others don't. Opinions differ from one person to the next; we can't expect everyone to think or feel the same.

dead.cell said,
Your opinion(s) certainly don't disqualify this as news at the very least. Some find certain articles interesting while others don't. Opinions differ from one person to the next; we can't expect everyone to think or feel the same.

It isn't news. Although his opinion isn't absolute, I don't think anyone needs Neowin to tell them about twitter changing such a trivial part of their service. Twitter didn't increase their service or change it, really. It's asking the same question slightly different.

Saint Shiv said,
It isn't news. Although his opinion isn't absolute, I don't think anyone needs Neowin to tell them about twitter changing such a trivial part of their service. Twitter didn't increase their service or change it, really. It's asking the same question slightly different.

Well i didn't notice it until i read this article..

Someone is always complaining on here as to whether an article is news or not.. if you don't like it and/or not interested then why bother posting the pointless comment anyway?

Saint Shiv said,
It isn't news. Although his opinion isn't absolute, I don't think anyone needs Neowin to tell them about twitter changing such a trivial part of their service. Twitter didn't increase their service or change it, really. It's asking the same question slightly different.

+1 I agree.

Thank you, Joshua, for the credit.

As for whether or not this is news, I think it is. It definitely caught my eye. This is a case where people define what a service is instead of the service defining itself. It's actually pretty cool.