Twitter has recently added a new suggest feature that helps get you started with your new Twitter account as soon as you register. After choosing your username and password, you’ll be able to import contacts from your email accounts. Nothing new there. But the new Step 3 of the Twitter registration process now recommends several high profile Twitter accounts that cover the gamut of social media topics and personalities, from CNN to mommy bloggers, tech publications to fashionistas.
There are several apparent benefits to Twitter’s new recommendation system, for both Twitter and end users. For Twitter, the added feature makes it easier for newcomers to get started on Twitter’s service, and gives them a good idea of the type of content to be found on Twitter. For new users, there’s an immediate reward for signing up on Twitter, and it’s one that isn’t solely reliant on connecting with existing friends. For power Twitter users, their power just got greater.
While we’re unable to determine how Twitter chooses these recommendations, it’s clear that the microblogging platform is pushing out a lot of profiles that were already widely recognized and were being added as some of the first profiles new users followed anyway. The concept isn’t entirely new. Google Reader, iGoogle and other start pages like Netvibes follow similar formats for suggesting content. This is of significant benefit to content providers that get an automatic boost from being a default for new users.
And for Twitter to continue to roll out new features at a seemingly quickening pace, it’s clear that Twitter is looking to bring more value directly to its users, and keeping them from having to rely on third party applications such as MrTweet for their recommendations. Such ongoing development indicats that Twitter is enabling more socially-oriented capabilities directly on its platform and makes it more competitive given Facebook’s plans for taking on Twitter with its open status API. Twitter’s new feature roll outs also mean that some of the developers that have created value-added applications on top of Twitter’s platform may be left out in the cold.
So far, Twitter’s suggestion step in the registration process is still pretty basic and far from customizable. It would be helpful (and more democratic) to provide recommendations based on keywords instead of pre-selected defaults. And adding a similar recommendation feature under the search tab would be of greater benefit to all users–not just new users. Taking a more personalized approach would also curb any disdain certain users may accumulate as a result of favorable treatment towards certain Twitter users, especially when you consider how Twitter cracked down on spam accounts that merely seek out followers for undesirable reasons.