Twitter’s New Follow Recommendations Needs Some Work

Yesterday, Twitter announced a new feature: recommendations for who you should follow. While the concept is in the right place, it could use some assistance in being properly implemented. The recommendations are calculated based on people you follow and whom they follow and several other factors. From my brief experiences with it, there are three things that drive me nuts about the recommendations.

You will find the recommendations in three different places:

  • On the Find People page linked at the top of Twitter, under Suggestions For You
  • When you follow somebody or view their profile
  • On the right column of your timeline and mentions.

My first annoyance falls into the operational category. I use a modern browser and I use my tabs to their fullest. Middle-clicking on the profile recommended to me on the right sidebar opens the page in the current tab. I’d prefer it do nothing over doing that. Right-clicking, also opens the profile in the current tab (no context menu presented).

Speaking of Twitter operational inconsistencies, have you noticed that recently the back button stopped working. Let’s say you’re looking at any website, you click your bookmark to Twitter and view your timeline, you then click your @Mentions link. If you want to get back to the timeline, you have to click Home. If you use your back button, you’ll end up on the website you were viewing previously.

The second annoyance is that the sidebar recommendations show the same account twice. You land on the timeline page and it will show two different accounts. If you click the X to hide the top profile, it consistently seems to show the exact same profile as the one beneath it.

The third annoyance has to do with the recommendations themselves. I’ve been recommended accounts with 0 posts. Zero! What benefit do I get by following them? I’ve also been recommended accounts that haven’t been updated in over a year. Again, same question. I think account activity should heavily be weighted in the recommendation equation. If there hasn’t been an update in 30 days then consider them less than a more active account. 53% of Twitter users never post any updates, so give me the other 47% minus bots, spammers, and Justin Bieber fans.

Despite its problems, I’ve found some more people to follow because of the recommendations and hopefully the new feature will be updated to correct the annoyances I listed above. Do you use Twitter? Do you like the recommendations? Any other complaints?

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