New York -- Having trouble judging who to follow on Twitter? Well! The micro-blogging outfit Twitter today announced that it wants to advise new hatchlings as they venture out of the virtual nest with its experimental customized suggestions of whom to follow.
This customization initiative comes on the heels of the company's confirming that users also have the option to call-for having their online movements followed for such personalization. Conceivably, this move should help to improve the amount of new accounts that people follow as they will be more inclined to like their choices, rather than the 'generic' ones provided before.
“Currently, when new users flock to Twitter, we offer them all almost the same suggestions for what or who to follow,” Othman Laraki, Twitter's director of global growth, wrote on a company blog.
A screenshot of the new look for those just starting with Twitter. (Twitter / May 17, 2012) Click to enlarge...
“Today's experiment in delivering these tailored suggestions are based on accounts followed by other Twitter users and visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem,” explains Laraki. “These suggestions lets novice users move from zero to pro faster and more easily than ever before,” he added.
In fact, this is only the first in a series of experiments Twitter intends to run. Newbies and seasoned users alike will soon have a glimpse of personalized suggestions in Twitter's “Who to Follow” section based on the service's knowledge of users, including the Web sites they visit.
Click to enlarge...
Twitter will present new users a big list of suggested accounts on one side of the screen, and a timeline of tweets followed by other Twitter users and visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem," Laraki wrote:
“We receive visit information when sites have incorporated Twitter buttons or widgets, similar to what many other web companies--including LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube--do when they are integrated into websites. By recognizing which accounts are frequently followed by people who visit popular sites, we can recommend those accounts to others who have visited those sites within the last ten days.”
In fact, new users will automatically find an option in the startup process called “Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits” and existing users get a “Personalization” section in their account settings. Both can be disabled at any time.
So there is a choice here, as with most online outfit, for privacy or personalization. And, if you are interested in taking part in the ongoing experiment, you can see what they are up to by opting in here. Twitter will collect information based on the sites that you visit which have Twitter buttons or widgets, so if you feel uncomfortable with that, do not do it.
Finally, as Twitter continue to expand from a role as a “nerd watercooler” into an information pipeline and social media service, it is trying to make the transition from hundreds of millions to billions of users, and the recent unveiling of digest is another smart move it has accomplished.