For eons, people described Twitter as an application that asked, "What are you doing?"
When you first hear that, you might think it's invasive. I've always wanted to tweet, "None of your business," or "What's it to you?"
When a computer program prompts you to answer a question about yourself, it invites participation.
But when you are asked something so general as "What's happening", you are more likely to share something.
Just a thought. It's interesting that Twitter changed this.
Designing Social Interfaces (Crumlish, 2009) states:
Pose suggestions in the form of inviting questions. Write copy in an in- quisitive way so that the site visitor feels compelled to reply with an answer...Twitter asks you, “What are you doing?” Some people get hung up on whether or not to take this literally, but the point is that Twitter asked, it prompted. It’s starting the conversation. It’s inviting you to respond.
Jack Dorsey's original mockup of Twitter didn't have any questions:
Although this is a minor language change, I still think it has merit. Twitter is switching it up, and it feels more comfortable to post my thoughts there now.