Signing up for Twitter can be a tedious and confusing process for new users. Normally, creating an account means being nudged into listing areas of interest, following some relevant accounts suggested by Twitter — and hoping some of the content that pops up as a result is compelling.
But the days of that lengthy sign-up process may be numbered. As The New York Times reported Monday, Twitter has been testing a new feature called “Instant Timeline” on a subset of Android users since last week.
Instead of manually checking off categories you’re interested in, or selecting people to follow, “Instant Timeline” scans your contacts — presuming you grant it permission to do so. It then analyzes those contacts and who they follow, and populates your stream with tweets that Twitter thinks may interest you.
Apparently, it doesn’t require users follow those accounts — a first for the social media company. Twitter did not return our requests for clarification.
The goal is to make it easier than ever for new Twitter users to sign up, dive in and stay engaged. That Twitter is now rolling out Instant Timeline shouldn’t come as a surprise to some, given the company announced the feature last November at its first-ever Analysts Day.
“We believe that anyone should be able to come to Twitter and immediately feel deeply immersed in that world,” Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, said at the event. Indeed, the move comes as Twitter accelerates its development pace following a year marked with criticism by some analysts and investors over slow user growth.
In late January, the company introduced the ability for users to create private group chats, as well as record and edit video from inside the service. Instant Timeline marks another potential weapon in the war to win over new users. Read more…