Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Twitter removes original tweet function

By Morning Wood Staff

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(Early Morning/Morning Wood)

By Samuel Butterman

In an effort to streamline its interface and address a number of recent concerns expressed by users, Twitter has removed its original tweet function – from which the social media platform takes its name ­– according to an announcement released this week.

Effective immediately, users will no longer be able to send new tweets – the 140-character posts that has made Twitter a household name – from their respective handles. The “Tweet” button has been deleted from the site at the time of this reporting.

All other aspects of the site are so far unchanged. Users will still be permitted to explore Moments, send direct messages and follow other accounts. Existing tweets can also still be liked, retweeted or categorized into lists.

Any tweet-related functionality, however, will be phased out from the platform over the next several months. Twitter will remove tweets sent from all verified accounts first – starting with popular celebrities, then politicians, corporate higher-ups and other public figures – and will erase all tweets from regular users afterward.

Tweets will be purged in reverse chronological order, from newest to oldest, Twitter noted in its statement. “All of us at Twitter see this as the opportunity to take users on a trip down memory lane, allowing us to remind them of the best moments in their tweeting experience as we make this substantial transition,” the company said.

“We think that users will welcome this change,” Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, said in the announcement. “Blocking and muting others has given people the means of screening out tweets that they don’t want to see, but this solves the entire problem. If there aren’t any tweets at all in the timeline, then users will find nothing to take issue with.”

Dorsey noted the importance of maintaining Twitter’s reputation as a venue for quick, open communication. “Twitter was always meant to be the place where you could share your thoughts with the world. But we grew to realize that our original idea for how users could share those thoughts wasn’t exactly the best choice,” he said.

When pressed for comment about hashtagging, the practice that has historically allowed popular jokes or even news to spread quickly between users on the platform, Dorsey aired some personal frustrations.

“I never liked hashtags,” he said. “None of the serious ones that I started ever caught on. I once sent out #TwitterSucks as a joke from my secret alternate account, but when that became a worldwide trending topic it just felt like insult to injury.”

The Twitter CEO made sure to clarify the difference between his intentions behind removing tweets and his frustration with hashtags.

“As the leader of the company, those hashtag debacles took a toll on my morale. Was that the reason for my decision to remove tweets from Twitter? No. Did it make it easier? Of course it did. I would never again have to feel the pangs of rejection that come with a failed hashtag.”

In the absence of tweets, Twitter plans to shift its focus to user bios and direct messaging, emphasizing the “yet-untapped value” in those elements of the site. The character limit on bios will be lifted, and both bios and direct messages will receive greater emphasis in the new Twitter interface, which the company plans to roll out within the next three years.

“We’re taking everything that people loved about Twitter and focusing it so that users’ experiences will be more intimate,” Dorsey said. “Expanding personal bios and streamlining communication into direct messages will hopefully facilitate a much more nurturing communal experience for users.”

Some users began to update their bios with criticism of the new changes, but Twitter removed these accounts from the site before The Morning Wood could collect direct quotes.

Samuel Butterman is a literal stick of butter in the small drawer in your refrigerator. He is still salty from that one time Regina George asked if he was a carb.

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