Twitter Testing "Who to follow" feature

In a move that could make it much easier for people to find and follow Twitter users of interest to them, Twitter is testing a new “Who to follow” feature that suggests users to follow, and makes it easy to follow those users with one click from an account’s home page.  The new feature first became active on the @TWTRCON account on Sunday 8/1, but it is not currently active on my @tonia_ries personal account.

The new section, which appears at the top of the right bar (where the ‘Suggested Users’ used to be), links through to a whole new section called “Users you may be interested in,” which has five tabs designed to help users find people to follow:

  • Suggestions for You – this is the third tab, but the default one that’s open when clicking through to this page. Judging by the list we get on the @TWTRCON account, this list combines accounts from users that are topically relevant (@brett, @chrispirillo) with a few (@katyperry, @britneyspears) that harken back to the look-at-the-Twitter-celebrities approach of the old Suggested Users feature.

  • Browse Interests – a directory of accounts, organized by category.  This is where things get really interesting, as it allows users to search for accounts relevant to topics they’re interested in.  The list includes 21 categories:  Art & Design, Books, Business, Charity, Deals & Discounts, Entertainment, Family, Fashion, Food & Drink, Funny, Health, News, Politics, Science, Sports, Staff Picks, Staff Picks: Tour de France, Technology, Travel, Twitter.  Clicking on a category reveals a list of accounts in that category, highlighting the ones that you are already following.

The other three tabs link to pages with features that are already familiar:  “Find on Twitter” (same search bar as the old “Find People”), “Find Friends,” and “Invite by Email.”

Using the directory, I’ve already found a number of accounts I’m personally interested in following.  This has the potential to be a very useful tool, and it’s good to see Twitter adding features that will make the service more accessible and more user-friendly to a broader range of people.  That said, there’s sure to be a lot of the debate and additional reporting on how Twitter is selecting the accounts to include.  The categories themselves need some additional work (no media or marketing categories for me!), too.

Let us know when you see the feature activated on your account!