Twitter Suggested User List Out; Twitter Suggestions In

Twitter listened to users’ suggestions and dumped its Suggested User List in favor of lists of Suggestions based on 20 categories, Josh Elman, who works on the product side with the microblogging service, posted on the Twitter Blog.

The categories are: Art & Design, Books, Business, Charity, Cuisine, Entertainment, Family, Fashion, Funny, Health, Music, News, Politics, Science, Sports, Staff Picks, Staff Picks for Haiti, Technology, Travel and Twitter. Clicking on a category brings up 20 related suggested users. The previous Suggested User List just generated 20 random users from Twitter’s recommendation list.

TechCrunch pointed out one feature that didn’t survive the transition: the ability to add all of the suggested users to Twitter accounts with one click.

From Elman’s post:

Two of the biggest challenges for new users have been finding accounts to follow that appeal to their interests, and finding their friends and colleagues who tweet. Over time, we’ve learned that by making suggestions of who to follow, we can help users get going more easily on Twitter. In our new design, we’re taking some steps to continue to improve this process. Once a user signs up and selects what they’re interested in, we show them some accounts that relate to that interest. Next, we help them find their friends and colleagues by checking their address books, and third, we give them a chance to search for anyone we or they missed in this process.

We’ve found that the power of suggestion can be a great thing to help people get started, but it’s important that we suggest things relevant to them. We’ve created a number of algorithms to identify users across a variety of clusters who tweet actively and are engaged with their audiences. These new algorithms help us group these active users into lists of users by interests. Rather than suggesting a random set of 20 users for a new user to follow, now we let users browse into the areas they are interested in and choose who they want to follow from these lists. These lists will be refreshed frequently as the algorithms identify new users who should be suggested in these lists and some that are not as engaging to new users will be removed. We also have a set of “Staff Picks” that are manually selected by Twitter employees as some of our favorites. Given the recent tragedy in Haiti, we’ve also created a special “Staff Picks for Haiti” to get updated news and content on what’s happening there.