Reflecting its status as de facto broadcast service, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced yesterday the company had changed its signature question from "What are you doing?" to "What's Happening?"
"The fundamentally open model of Twitter created a new kind of information network and it has long outgrown the concept of personal status updates," wrote Stone on the company blog. "Twitter helps you share and discover what's happening now among all the things, people and events you care about."
I'm guessing the Twitter folks probably didn't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire a corporate image firm to come up with its new question. But you figure they must've kicked around a few ideas before settling on the not-so-sexy "What's Happening?" Maybe, "What's going on?" No, Marvin Gaye owns that. "SUP?" Appropriately brief but too text-messaging. "WTF?" Too vulgar. "Waazzup?" Too last decade.
Whatever the company chose as its new slogan probably wouldn't do much to dampen the buzz around Twitter. In fact, it's going against the current branding zeitgeist highlighted by Yahoo's "It's You!" and HTC's "You" campaigns emphasizing personalization. Twitter is saying "enough about you." Its rephrased question acknowledges no one cares you just had a bad airline meal, but if you just saw a plane go down in the Hudson, that's what the microblogging service is about.
And Twitter's "rebranding" cost a lot less than the $100 million Yahoo is spending on its own marketing makeover.