May 04, 2011

Twitter Launches @twittersuggests for Follow Recs

Twitter really wants you following more people. The company launched a full-on assault to users' mentions tonight with the unannounced introduction of a new account called @twittersuggests, which recommends people to follow by way of a dedicated tweet, just for you. This extends the service's preexisting features that have brought recommended connections, including "who to follow" and joint following and followed by lists when you browse new accounts.

As Twitter describes it, "@twittersuggests is an experimental feature that helps you find interesting new accounts to follow by tweeting Who To Follow suggestions, personalized just for you! This feature was created by Twitter, and it looks like a normal Twitter account – it will Tweet recommendations which you can reply to, retweet or mark as favorites."

One Example Of @TwitterSuggests At Work

It might look a bit like the famed Follow Friday phenomenon, but instead of being broadcast from one individual to their stream in hopes that others will follow your friends, this is targeted at a single user with names that may top the recommended list.

Twitter Suggests Has Posted Almost 100,000 Times Today

Given the vast amount of Twitter users on the network today, numbered in the millions, there's no way that @twittersuggests is guaranteed to give your account some love right away. As they mention, there's no way for you to opt into the experiment, but you can block @twittersuggests if the mention spam bugs you. They write the recommendations are being sent to "a small percentage of users, as an experiment."

Pankaj Describing the New Feature

The service was first described by Twitter's tech lead, Pankaj Gupta, who said, "It's a dead simple experiment with success uncertain, but I'm proud of it." Pankaj's bio says he is focused on user relevance, personalized recommendations and ranking. It's a hot topic these days.

Interestingly, the service name listed for the @twittersuggests account is called "Real Time Who To Follow". Clicking that link takes you to the description of the @twittersuggests help page. That's it. The incredible part? Twitter Suggests has already posted almost 100,000 tweets and new ones are going out every few seconds. Membership drive indeed. It's like the reply spam firehose has been unleashed. Watch and see if you get recommended to anyone. You're likely to hear people talking about this account quite a bit.