Here’s how Twitter is explaining hashtags to newbies

Do you ever get stumped by mysterious sounding hashtags such as #oitnb and #manutd showing up in your Twitter stream?

For the culturally ignorant among us,Twitter is coming to the rescue with a new explaining feature for hashtags.

First spotted by The Wall Street Journal, Twitter’s mobile app for iOS will explain what a hashtag stands for if you search for it within the platform. For example, if you type in #OITNB, it will display what the hashtag stands for, which is Orange is The New Black (the hit Netflix show.) And in case you’re unfamiliar with the show, Twitter will helpfully display images related to the hashtag, such as screen shots, actors and memes to help you understand what it’s all about.

Although this new feature is currently only in its test phase, it’s consistent with Twitter’s new goal of getting regular social media users to get on board and quickly understand how its platform works. Long seen as the social media network for techies and the media elite, Twitter has been dealing with a growth problem. It’s addressing the issue by making itself more attractive to regular social media users (i.e. the Facebook crowd.) This year it added images and videos to its user streams and also changed its display to be more intuitive when it comes to navigation.

Another part of getting more users is to position itself as the communal hub for topical conversations, especially those centered around real-time entertainment events such as TV shows and sports. Twitter had huge engagement levels during the World Cup, during which the hashtags were coming hard and fast across everyone’s streams. With the new explainer, he goal is for new users to not feel so left out of those conversations anymore.

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