Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Twitter’s main feature is that everyone’s updates mingle in one vast, public stream, even if each person has a filtered view of it. But two experiments being run by the company suggest it is dabbling with the idea of offering people private and personalized feeds alongside the public one.

The experiments may provide a preview of how Twitter will further expand a service that started out simple but is now becoming more complex (see “Facebook and Twitter Are Converging”).

Opting in to the experiments involves following two special Twitter accounts, which then send personalized messages using the service’s direct message function.

The first of these experiments, @magicrecs, was launched in June. Its followers receive direct messages containing recommendations for other Twitter accounts and tweets that may be of interest. The account’s profile says that it will also recommend “content,” although I’ve not seen any reports of that happening yet.

A second experimental account with a similar design appeared earlier this month. Called @eventparrot, it sends its followers personalized updates on breaking news via direct messages.

Making these services regular accounts that people follow to opt in to is a clever way to introduce this new kind of function without changing Twitter’s overall design much. Twitter could build many more of these services—they’d inevitably be referred to as “apps”—and even make money by using them to push targeted ads.

Perhaps we’ll see @eventparrot joined by @weathertoucan (local weather forecasts), @musicloon (song suggestions based on the accounts you follow), and @dealshawk (personalized offers near your current location).

3 comments. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Web

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »