Home Twitter Preparing “Shout Out” Feature (Corrected)

Twitter Preparing “Shout Out” Feature (Corrected)

Twitter appears to be preparing a new feature that will let you “contribute your shoutouts to peeps,” if the very official looking account @twittershoutout does in fact reflect a plan in the works.

Startup consultant Louis Gray discovered the account this evening and suspects the account will correspond to a method of vouching publicly for Twitter users. This theory sounds viable, all the clues point to this being real and the feature makes a lot of sense.

Update: Twitter HQ has emailed to say that our speculation was wrong and that this is in fact a tool for internal communication only. See that denial below, after we discuss why Twitter ought to offer a public shout out feature.

Gray also found the account @twitteronnotice, apparently a way to put users “on notice”, linked to the shoutout account. These accounts look very official, just like @earlybird did when we discovered it a week before it was officially confirmed.

Why an Endorsement Feature Makes Sense

A “shout out” or endorsement would make a good compliment to friends, followers and lists on Twitter. Endorsements offered in 140 characters or less could become a meaningful form of social capital online.

Scottish designer Sam Brown has been developing a startup called Endorse that allows Twitter users to endorse one another in particular areas of expertise. That service has been gaining some early traction and will be interesting to compare to Twitter’s own shout outs, presuming the official feature does in fact launch. See also ShoutWorthy, another related project.

Follower numbers as a form of credibility on Twitter quickly proved easy to game, with users of questionable moral quality spending $20, $100 or more to buy software that would artificially inflate their followers by tens of thousands. Official endorsements, from known entities like your friends, or perhaps friends of your friends, could be a great way to help build trust in new connections made on the social network.

Update: The next morning after reporting this, we’re hearing rumblings that this account is actually used for internal communication purposes and does not reflect a larger public feature in the works. We shall see…it sure seems like it would be a good public feature. Update X2: The NextWeb caught a failed private message from Twitter’s Sean Garrett that confirms that Shout Out is at least something official. “Louis Gray found Shout Out, can you handle?” he asked another member of the team.

Finally, Garrett just sent out this email, explaining that Shout Out is in fact an internal communication tool. We’ll see…

There have been reports of a Twitter Shout Out? product being launched on the market soon. We can neither confirm or deny a product at this time. Not even if you ask us really nicely*. However, what we can say is that we are always optimizing for user value and relevance. For example, just the other day Ev was saying that we should totally find ways to “give props” to users adding value on the system in a way that is organic to how people are already using Twitter. Someone told Ev that “give props” wasn’t something that people said anymore. Biz — or was it Jason? — then said that “shout out” was now a more common vernacular for a “kind mention of a homie” (Urban Dictionary). Anywho, where were we? Oh yeah, Twitter Shout Out? and that freakin’ leak. Or was it a leak? Or was it after-midnight sleuthing? You tell me. Or, maybe the this is all some sort of some special tease to later to be revealed during Dancing with the Stars or, better yet, at halftime of an exhibition football game.

*However, what we can say is that it’s not a product. It’s an internal account where Twitter employees “give props” to each other.

It sure would be nice if Twitter were to offer such a feature to the public!

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