Mobile users relying on Twitter to stay in the know have just got a new town crier, personalized for their eyes and ears. A new push notification service has been rolled out for users with iOS and Android devices, said Venu Satuluri, a senior software
engineer in Search and Relevance at Twitter. Using mobile
alerts, the service recommends accounts and Tweets that the user might find interesting to follow.
"If you're like me you occasionally feel like you're missing out on some of the day's great Tweets, or that you're the last to find out when someone awesome joins Twitter," said Satuluri, writing in a blog post Tuesday.
Users of the new feature receive personalized recommendations when multiple people in the user's network follow the same user or favorite or retweet the same Tweet.
The push notification feature is the result of an experiment that went well for the Twitter team that focuses on platform experiments. The favorable user feedback in that experiment sent a signal of safe passage for the company to come up with a mobile notification service.
Namely, the recommendation system is built on Twitter's @MagicRecs, an algorithmic servant that Twitter uses as an experimental account to send personalized recommendations to followers via direct messages.
Test, Tune, Transform
Twitter users who follow @MagicRecs receive messages that highlight new accounts that people in the user's Twitter network recently started to follow. The stream-curating experiment was effective in calling out relevant notices and the algorithms were tested and tweaked for the Tuesday rollout.
Twitter is not banishing @MagicRecs; Twitter will continue to use it as an experiment for features and updates, according to the Tuesday post.
Based on feedback from @MagicRecs, Twitter appears confident that mobile notifications of filtered, relevant information is now the right way to move on. The assumption is that Twitter users are always appreciative of Tweets and contacts that Twitter believes they want to know about.
Human nature being human nature, however, the flip side of any notification service is a response that this is one more disposable in today's digital stream of information glut.
For those who balk, beyond Twitter, under today's optional pings of great deals, weather alerts, and stock market movements, even personalized push notifications of things to keep the user in the know might be bothersome. Twitter understands that no one feature can delight all. Twitter will allow the user to disable the push notification. (continued...)