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Twitter’s New Feature Will Help You Understand This Hashtag: #oitnb

by Jacob Kleinman | August 4, 2014August 4, 2014 10:00 am PST

twitter hashtag definitions

Twitter’s biggest struggle right now is figuring out how to attract new people without alienating its diehard fans. A new experiment spotted by The Wall Street Journal in the company’s iPhone app does just that, adding hashtag definitions for anyone unfamiliar with the service or just struggling to understand the latest trends.

The updated iPhone app offers explanations for some popular hashtags ranging from Internet classics like #tbt and #smh (Throwback Thursday and Shaking My Head, respectively) to TV shows like #oitnb (Orange is the New Black) and sports teams like #manutd (Manchester United). The new feature doesn’t appear to have a definition for every popular hashtag, though for the most part you should see an explanation pop up near the top of the screen.

As Twitter continues to grow, the company needs to make sure it’s still accessible to both new members and first-time visitors. Recent rumors suggest the social network could be considering some drastic changes, like getting rid of its @ and # symbols or even adopting a timeline algorithm similar to Facebook’s Newsfeed. Offering up hashtag definitions is definitely a smaller change, but it should help new users feel at home while also offering a helpful service for anyone already on Twitter.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...