With an unfinished new Status feature, Twitter is giving users a taste of the past.
Statuses were once commonplace. For instance, Myspace used to be primarily status updates while the “s” was still capitalized, and AOL Instant Messenger allowed users to choose a status message that appeared next to their screen names. The “status” is currently just about as pertinent as those services.
At the very least, Twitter is experimenting with the idea of bringing status updates back.
According to a Twitter spokesman, “expression is crucial to it” as they always look for new methods for users to participate in the dialogue. “In order to provide your followers more context for your Tweets, we are temporarily testing a feature that enables you to add a status topic from a predetermined list to your Tweets. So your Tweets can better express what you are doing, whether you are about to unleash a hot Tweet thread, share your ideas in the shower, or are having a rough Monday.”
The functionality is reportedly “being tested for a short period with a small group in the US and Australia” on iOS, Android, and the web, according to the spokesman. (Note that users of websites will only be able to view the Status of other people’s tweets; they cannot choose a Status for their own tweets.)
The available statuses are rather inconsistent. Some of them almost seem to be designed to give Twitter users a means to filter out some of the most grating types of tweets from their timelines—”Hot take,” “Unpopular view,” and “Traveling” being the most obvious examples.
Some, like “Case of the Mondays,” “Vacation Mode,” and “Working hard, scarcely working,” would fit in better on a private social network than one that is open to the public. The majority of the other options are essentially merely methods for classifying tweets.
Twitter’s help article(Opens in a new window) regarding the Status feature supports this idea of categorization. After choosing the Status, you will be able to see Tweets connected to it, according to Twitter. “You can tweet the same Status as well.” (Accordingly, they are essentially enhanced hashtags.)