After much hoopla Twitter has rolled out a new feature that lets users see the world through the perspective of other users.
My question is why? Is it more Twilight Zone or Twitter?
I love Twitter as much as the next guy, but we all know the Social Media platform has problems.
Why enter the Twilight Zone before solving these problems? After all the fixes are going to appeal to users more than new kitsch.
Twitter has begun rolling out a new feature that lets users view the world through another perspective, specifically through the perspective of other specific people on Twitter. The new feature will appear on the /following page of any profile on the site and will display the most recent messages from the Twitter users that a profile owner is following. The page currently just shows who they are following.
osophically it’s a big one. Two words come to mind: Empathy and Privacy.
This feature is quite like one called With Friends, which Twitter removed two years ago next week, for reasons of computational efficiency. It’s a good sign that Twitter is feeling confident enough in its scaling now to bring something like that back.
One notable difference between the new Twitter feature and News.me is that News.me requires users to opt-in to having their streams read inside the app. “If Sarah Palin has a tweet stream full of Justin Bieber articles, that’s not really anyone’s business,” Borthwick told me when News.me was under development. (He did say that Palin in particular might be an exception, but you get the idea.)
If you are following say Howard Stern, Britney Spears or @NaughtyPlayboyBunniesFromHell on Twitter – that was always publicly visible information. But now it’s all the easier for other people to see.
That’s something Twitter probably ought to allow users to opt-out of.
Either way, Twitter is a fascinating public stream of semi-structured information. Every link on the page exposes another pathway to slice and dice real-time social information. To expose the Tweets that a given account is following is just one more logical field of data to expose. It may have very interesting consequences, though.