Isn’t is time Twitter changed the question in their tagline ?

I wanted to elaborate on  a couple of tweets I posted earlier about Twitter itself :

Isn’t is time Twitter changed their tagline “What are you doing? ” to something that reflects what most tweets are about ?”  (the original tweet is here )

and also

” Ironic that what makes Twitter interesting is most tweeps NOT blindly answering “What are you doing?” ”

I signed up for Twitter in early 2007 because the year-old website has created a buzz and I was intrigued to find out what it was about.   At that time it was pitched as a way for a way for friends to stay connected with each other by being constantly updated on “what they were doing” via short, 140 character, SMS-compatible updates or “tweets”. Great idea, I thought, but was not sure if I wanted to be updated 24×7 with the trivial  minutiae of my friend’s lives, as much as I loved and cared for them.  The reaction of most people was the same – why would you want to be constantly  updated on what someone had for lunch or how boring it was to be stuck in traffic.  No one’s life could be that interesting – at least to others, with the possible exception of Linday Lohan and Barack Obama !

Anyway, in the meantime Twitter kept growing and I kept reading rave reviews about it. So I had a sneaky suspicion that I must have missed something the first time around. So I logged in to my dormant twitter account almost a year later.  And this time around, I think I understood what Twitter was all about:

Although the Twitter tagline pointedly asks  “What are you doing ? ” and wants  you to answer that question in 140 characters or less, most users I notice blithely ignore that question for the most part.  Rather they use  Twitter mainly to broadcast everything that they find  interesting or important enough to be shared with any0ne willing to listen.  It is seldom a mundane description of what they are  doing.  Sure there are the occasional inane  “Sipping tea on the verandah”  type of tweets which address the original question and clog the twitter stream.   But more often it is either a link to a breaking news story, or a great website they found, or a quote they read, or their 140 character solution to global warming or the decline of western civilzation ! Now we are talking, I thought.

I mean can you imagine how very boring Twitter would be if everyone indeed blindly answered the question “What are you doing ? ”  It would surely be a death knell for the microblogging platform as users leave in droves.

Twitter, I suddenly realized is succeeding and becoming so popular precisely because it is not being used for its original design purpose !  In fact, I even think that this has been  a stumbling block in conveying what Twitter is all about to newcomers and possibly kept potential new users away.  My son and daughter who are both avid Facebook users do not have  Twitter accounts because  they don’t get  why anyone would need to broadcast and listen to updates on what they or their friends were doing all day.  Ironically, to get Twitter you have to get past this mental stumbling block, and once that happens you are hooked.

So Twitter is doing itself a great dis-service and mis-representing itself to potential new users.

Which is why I tweeted  : Isn’t is time Twitter changed their tagline “What are you doing? ” to something that reflects what most tweets are about

And here are some suggestions which I tweeted earlier as well :

#TWITTER Alternative Twitter Taglines “What’s happening?” , “Let us talk”, “Can we talk”, “Tweet away” Any other suggestions?

I particularly liked the first one – What’s happening? as it captures the essence of twitter.  I have thrown this question into my Twitter stream but so far no suggestions have poured in.  I did try to send a message to Biz Stone and Evan WIlliams – but there was no response.

So what do you think  – @ev / @biz / @twitter ?

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