Twitter today killed its “suggested users” feature (which Ev said he’d do way back at Web 2 in October), and replaced it with a more sophisticated approach. In a blog post explaining the move, the company elaborates:
We’ve found that the power of suggestion can be a great thing to help people get started, but it’s important that we suggest things relevant to them. We’ve created a number of algorithms to identify users across a variety of clusters who tweet actively and are engaged with their audiences. These new algorithms help us group these active users into lists of users by interests. Rather than suggesting a random set of 20 users for a new user to follow, now we let users browse into the areas they are interested in and choose who they want to follow from these lists.
Yep. Back in May of last year I wrote:
It strikes me that a few more structured steps in the sign up process could really pay significant dividends for Twitter. Perhaps a “follow wizard” that asks a few questions, and makes suggestions based on input from the new user. Let us drill down by category: Business:Technology:Internet, or Health:Diseases:Cancer. The ontology isn’t very complicated – mapping users to it is a bit more complex, but not impossible.
It took a while, but it looks like Twitter is doing just that and even more, if the algorithms they’ve cooked up prove robust. I look forward to seeing how this changes newbies’ impressions of the service.
But here’s what I wonder – why can’t everyone do this? Is it limited to just new accounts? To my mind, it shouldn’t be. All Twitter users would benefit from this new feature….so hopefully Twitter will open it up to all of us.
Update: You can use the new features by navigating here.