There’s very little going on in the world which escapes Twitter. From TV to current affairs, Twitter is used primarily to “discover something new and interesting”. So, what if there was a way of making this easier? Luckily for users, Twitter is rolling out ‘Topics’ – a new feature aimed at highlighting more relevant content to users.
After months of testing, it started being rolled out last week and it was fully launched yesterday. Has the notification hit your feed yet?
So what exactly can we expect from the feature and how will it affect the way we use Twitter for news consumption on a daily basis?
The main aim of Topics is to boost tweet discovery, hide excess or irrelevant noise and make it easier for users, intermittent or frequent to find and follow specific conversations that they are interested in.
Initially, there will be around 300 topics that you can follow. However, due to its sensitive nature, politics won’t be included in this list.
At its most basic, the Topics feature will push content recommendations to users, based on their interests, profile and past activity (such as likes and retweets). It then allows users to ‘See more about this topic’ and follow it at the click of a button.
Once you follow a topic, content related to that subject will be sent to your feed from other users, experts and Twitter accounts, some of which you may not even be following. This takes away the long process of following individual accounts or searching relentlessly for the same hashtags.
Topics are selected by a mix of human curation and AI technology. It is hoped that this will keep the subjects relevant to each user and will filter out insensitive topics.
This combination also means that individual users will receive the right amount of content on their feed. As a general rule of thumb, the amount of Topics related content sent to a users feed will depend on the number of accounts they are following. So, the more people you follow, the lower the number of Topics content you will get sent to your feed.
This isn’t the first time that Twitter has tried to introduce a feature which makes it easier to find the content you’re interested in. Remember Moments?
It was initially launched to help increase tweet discovery and allow users to tap into trending and relevant topics around the world. While this gave users the opportunity to follow specific Moments, it lacked the element of human curation to keep the topics relevant to the users. Unfortunately, they missed the mark with this feature and it never gained the traction they hoped for.
With Topics, Twitter has abandoned the algorithms that were in place for Moments and hope that this will deliver a better result. The addition of human curators will hopefully mean that users are provided with a consistent, relevant stream of information relating to subjects they are interested in, that will improve their feeds.
In their official blog post introducing the feature, Twitter claimed: “If you’re a person and you love things, you are going to love this” – Bold statement Twitter, we’re looking forward to seeing if you’re right!