Twitter To Make Suggested Users Feature More Like Twellow’s?

    November 16, 2009
    Chris Crum

Last month Twitter CEO Evan Williams made some comments at the Web 2.0 Summit, indicating that the company was strongly considering ditching the "Suggested Users" list. This is a list that co-founder Biz Stone once discussed as being a way to get new users engaged with Twitter. This has historically been an important thing for Twitter to consider, as user retention rates have suffered in the past.

"When you don’t follow any other accounts on Twitter the product is not as relevant as it could be," Stone said in an old post to the Twitter blog. "To improve the user experience, we started suggesting some accounts to follow. As a result, new users are much more engaged and active."

Twiter Suggestions

But since then, the company’s attitude towards this list has changed. Williams noted that the list was initially meant as a way to help new users, but it became controversial. The biggest problem with the list is that it is not personalized. If you are not interested in the specific people that Twitter thinks you should be, you will still find no reason to continue using the service (at least if you are the type of person who needed suggested users to find value in the service in the first place).


Our own Twellow service (shameless plug) recently launched a new feature, which provides suggested users for Twitter on a more personalized level, making it far more useful. The feature is aimed at connecting Twitterers with similar interests. It’s tailored to the interests of the specific user, rather than just one list for everyone.

It appears that Twitter is looking to offer its suggested user list in a similar way. Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb Google+Reader”>reports that Biz Stone told a crowd at a conference in Malaysia, that the current suggested users list "will" be going away, and "in its stead will be something that is more programmatically chosen, something that actually delivers more relevant suggestions."

That sounds pretty similar, but one difference is that Twellow’s feature is already available. There’s no telling how long it will take for Twitter to actually roll it out. We’re still waiting on the retweet feature.

Twitter’s Lists feature of course was recently launched after a significant wait, and it should go a long way in helping user retention moving into the future. It’s an incredibly valuable tool for Twitter users, for a variety of reasons. Between that and a more personalized suggested users list on the way, Twitter should be keeping more people using its service longer.

Do you think a personalized suggested users list would be beneficial to Twitter users? Have you tried Twellow’s version? Let us know what you think.

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