Twitter is launching “instant timeline” for new users

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Can’t decide who to follow? Then don’t worry, Twitter is planning to figure it out for you.

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One of the biggest challenges for Twitter as a company is the “on boarding” process – in other words, how you get people to not only sign up to have their own account, but then make them want to interact and return again for more. The sign-up process has been changed a number of times over Twitter’s lifetime, but a forthcoming change could be the most audacious change yet.

“Instant Timeline” will help you build your new account by first going through your phone contacts and finding which of your mates are on Twitter… but then some intelligence will get to work, and Twitter will analyse what it is your friends like by looking at who they follow… and then automatically following some extra accounts for you in the process. So if you sign up and your friends all follow, say, the same comedian, Twitter will make the assumption you’re a fan, and have you follow too.

According to this New York Times reporter, who had a go with the new setup procedure, it was so scarily in-tune with his interests that he thought of dumping his existing Twitter account and going with the new one.

The feature is still in the testing phase, but we’ll let you know when it is rolled out to everyone.

James O’Malley