Known for subtly testing out new features on a small group of users; Twitter is currently testing a new feature that could see your timeline filled with tweets from accounts you don’t even follow.
This time, Twitter is testing out its core function; the follow system. Flagged by a user, reports were abound with users seeing tweets in their feed from an account they didn’t follow, because that account was followed by someone they did follow. According to reports; one user saw a tweet from the viral news site appear in his timeline on the mobile version, along with a “follow” icon embedded in the tweet. Not an ad – no “promoted” tagline was visible – above the tweet was a notification that a friend follows BuzzFeed, implication? He should do likewise.
It is unclear whether Twitter plans on rolling out this feature to all users, but past experiences have proven that Twitter experiments do eventually make their way into the mainstream experience.
The “who to follow” question is one we’ve all grappled with, displaying tweets from accounts followed by friends could help new users in navigating a platform that they may not be too familiar with. For the Twitter novice, however, this little tweaking of the beloved timeline may prove a bit of an irritation. Twitter wants to keep growing, and is catering for new users who sign up for a Twitter account but don’t get what to do with it. But Twitter also needs to strike a balance as not to alienate existing users who understand how Twitter works and can utilise the service to make valuable contributions.