Max Fleishman (Licensed)
Today, Twitter is making it easier for you to find people to follow, and providing reasons why.
The company rolled out Connect on Tuesday, a new tab on its mobile apps that serves up suggestions for which accounts you should be following based on your activity and the people you already follow. The Connect tab is accessed from the person icon in the top left on iOS and along the menu bar on Android.
Connect is only on mobile, but it's similar to Twitter's "Who to follow" suggestions on the Web. In a blog post, Twitter product manager Ricardo Castro explained what signals Twitter uses to show you certain accounts:
[W]e look at who you already follow, Tweets you like, popular accounts in your local area, what’s happening in the world right now, and more. We’ll also let you know exactly why we’re showing you each recommendation.
You'll still be able to find friends and family on Twitter via your address book if you choose to sync it automatically. Twitter will notify you if anyone in your address book joins the service.
Connect is meant to encourage people to find and follow and engage with accounts they find helpful or interesting. It's Twitter's move to make the service more accessible to users who may be flummoxed about its purpose.
In the post, Castro admitted the service hasn't always been clear about how and why to follow people: "Finding new accounts to follow used to require jumping through a few hoops and a dash of luck."
Now on mobile, people will be given more insight into how to grow their personal bubbles—many of the suggestions I saw included people from the tech or media industries, which makes sense given how many people I already follow who fit that description.
Recently, Twitter has struggled to appeal to new users, and its growth is somewhat stagnant. Earlier this year, CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at changes that would be coming to Twitter to make it more appealing to the uninitiated, or those who get thrown off by the noise 140-characters can create.
Thus far, users seem to like the changes Twitter is making. Just two percent of people who have the new timeline—the algorithmic-based feed some claimed would kill twitter—have opted out, and those who have it are engaging much more with the service. Additionally, efforts like Twitter's Safety Council and new harassment reporting measures are putting a focus on safety and harassment, an issue that deters many people from using the service.