Twitter launches recommendation feature on mobile

Steven Loeb · September 25, 2013 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/322b

Social network will use MagicRecs account to predict who its users will want to follow

For years, Facebook has been trying to show me people I should be friends with. And I have never taken their suggestions, not one single time. And that's because its always someone I know tangentially, but don't want to actually friend (for example, my mother's accountant will pop up as a recommendation all the time). Or it is someone I used to be friends with but dropped at some point. Point is, I find it to be kind of creepy and annoying and I can't make it stop!

So when I heard that Twitter was doing the same thing my first thought was, "Ugh, not again!" But, the more I hear about it, the more I'm willing to give this a chance.

Twitter is all set to release a new recommendations feature for its Android and iOS apps, it was revealed Tuesday. 

“If you’re like me, you occasionally feel like you’re missing out on some of the day’s great tweets, or that you’re the last to find out when someone awesome joins Twitter,” senior Twitter software engineer Venu Satuluri wrote in a blog post. “With this new feature, you’ll receive personalized recommendations when multiple people in your network follow the same user or favorite or retweet the same tweet.”

The way it works is that it will send out notifications for recommendations of accounts and Tweets and they think their users will be interested in. These notifications can be turned off if so desired.

So why is this any different than the Facebook feature I was talking about earlier? Because Twitter is basing these recommendations on its experimental @MagicRecs accounts.

MagicRecs does what you would expect it to do: it sends out personalized recommendations for users and tweets via direct message. And, from everything that I have been reading about it, it seems to be pretty awesome.

If Twitter can pull this off without being obtrusive, or giving terrible recommendations like Facebook often does, this could be a great feature for the network as it tries to go public. Pointing the right people at the right followers, and the right tweets, will be great for engagement.

This follows the announcement last week that Twitter was experimenting with a "related tweets" feature, which will provides a box underneath a tweet that will produce other tweets that correspond with similar words and links in that tweet.

If the feature sounds familiar that it because it is very similar to another feature recently introduced by Twitter, called "related headlines," which did the same thing, except link articles in which that tweet had been embedded.

(Image source: https://www.collegefootballzealots.com)

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.

 

What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.