Twitter has been quickly and quietly evolving new features right from the start of its short and happy life. Now there’s a rumor swirling that the site is about to implement a “shoutout” feature–a new way to give praise to a specific user.
The rumor has popped up at Louis Gray’s Silicon Valley blog. Gray discovered an odd and official-looking Twitter feed called @twittershoutout. While 175 people are following the feed, it’s private–and many of those 175 are people officially connected with Twitter. The logo, a silhouette of a bird on a gold medallion, also looks pretty official. The feed is listed under “official accounts operated by Twitter.”
It’s possible that this feed is purely intended for Twitter employees, a public reward scheme for doing fabulous work at Twitter HQ. But we like Gray’s speculation that some kind of official shoutout system for the rest of us is en route. Indeed, check out the slogan on the feed home page: “Contribute your shoutout to peeps on Twitter.”
Here’s how it might work. We’re picturing it as a new piece of code akin to the official retweet mechanism, itself less than a year old. A pop-up button would let you send a “shoutout”–similar to Facebook’s “like,” only for people–to all your followers. This would let you give props to people without having to reply or retweet (which repeats the entire tweet text). It would also supplant the user-generated Twitter phenomenon #followfriday, where people broadcast the names of particularly interesting feeds to their followers. A shoutout would do the same job with a single click–and you don’t have to wait until Friday.
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