Taking Suggestions from Social Media: Twitter Tells You Who to Follow

BlogHer Original Post
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06:  In this photo illustration the Twitter website is displayed on a mobile phone on July 6, 2009 in London. The social network site started in 2006 in California as a sideline project, but has grown into a global brand becoming one of the fastest growing phenomenas of the Internet.  (Photo Illustration by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

With the new "who to follow" feature, Twitter let the world know that things were changing in Twitterland

The change is the addition of "Suggestions for You" to the Twitter "find people" menu. The suggestions are personalized and based on the people you follow as well as the people they follow. Recommendations also come from account profiles.

Twitter has had a "browse interests" tab in the "find people" menu for quite a while. In fact, I've found some people I wanted to follow that way. But Twitter thinks it has a better way to help me find exactly the right people to follow. Hmmmm ...

When news of "Suggestions for You" first appeared, only about 10% of Twitter users got to try it. Apparently, The Bloggess was one of them. See Oh twitter. I don't know whether I should feel touched or insulted., but keep in mind that The Bloggess is really good with Photoshop. Just sayin'.

Quite a few of the 90% of Twitter users who didn't get it right away went on Twitter asking where it was. Others found it a good idea and helped spread the word.

Twitter apes Facebook with Suggestions for You - Sounds like a pretty good idea for those looking for friendship http://bit.ly/daonJk #EFCGMon Aug 02 17:20:02 via HootSuite

Early images of how it would all work appeared at Mashable in Twitter Starts Offering Personalized Suggestions of Users to Follow and TechFemina in Twitter adds the 'Suggestions For You' tab.

A few days later, Twitter temporarily suspended the "Suggestions for You" testing so that it could be rolled out for all users. A few people encouraged Twitter to keep it gone, gone, gone.

Dear @Twitter I want NO "Suggestions for ME" ! RT @TweetSmarter Twitter Has Disabled TheNew"Suggestions for You"Feature:http://j.mp/d5Yxm1Wed Aug 04 10:45:43 via Seesmic

By now, it has popped into your Twitter account. When I noticed it in mine, I looked to see who was suggested for me. The first four suggestions were an Albuquerque local (my profile says I'm from Albuquerque), a music site (I follow several musicians), and a couple of web development guys (I follow lots of webdev people). On the mark for me, I thought. As I dug deeper into the recommended people, I found a few BlogHers, a few more Albuquerque folks, some more webdev people. Most suggestions were a good match for me.

twitter suggestions

Some were not anyone I'd want to follow. They were suggested because people I follow followed them. If you're sure you'll never follow someone, you can use the hide link, and you'll never see that name suggested again.

I thought the interface was easy. The account bio is there to help you, and a follow button is right there. The only missing piece for me was that you can't assign someone you decide to follow to one of your existing lists right there on the page.

Based on the suggestions, I decided to follow Nick Finck, Scott Fegette, Tim Berners-Lee and Lisa aka scenariogirl. And I'll keep looking at the list of suggestions, because I thought they were accurate for my interests.

Have you tried it? What did you think? Is it useful or is it another big publicity drum roll over nothing special? Do you agree with the sour grapes tweeter I quoted above or are you a convert?


Virginia DeBolt
Web Teacher|First 50 Words

Recent Posts by Virginia DeBolt


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