Even with Twitter’s stock price on an upward climb after impressive Q2 results, the service still needs to attract more users into the fold if it’s to continue to satisfy shareholders. A new update to the iOS app is looking to do exactly that, explaining the meaning behind some of the most popular hashtags to keep everyone in the loop.
Not everyone knows what #tbt (Throwback Thursday) or #smh (shaking my head) refer to, particularly those who’ve just dipped their toes into the Twitter waters, so the new feature should make the network less daunting and more accessible to the average user. For now the feature is only being tested with a small group of participants, so you may not see the streamlined hashtag interface in your own app.
The new hashtag explainers were first spotted by the Wall Street Journal though Twitter itself has refused to comment on the test run. It also appears that you’ll be able to search for hashtags nearby, which will come in handy for everything from music festivals to local emergencies. Of course this is just a trial run for now — we don’t know if Twitter will decide to officially implement it across its mobile apps and the Web.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has publicly admitted that the platform needs to do more to attract casual users who aren’t glued to TweetDeck all day. There are plans to improve the way Twitter handles events and major topics, and this change could be part of that upgrade. The Android and iOS apps recently received improvements to their direct messaging capabilities too.
Earlier this week Twitter reported its second quarter financial performance, with revenues up significantly to $312 million. Monthly active users have risen to 271 million from 255 million in the first quarter of 2014. Those are good numbers for Twitter, but it’s a long way away from Facebook.