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12/16/2013
12:28 PM
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Twitter Tests 'Nearby' Tweets

New Twitter mobile app capability displays tweets from people based on their tagged location, users report.

Twitter wants to follow your location and is testing ways to share it with your neighbors.

According to reports, some users have discovered a new feature in the official Twitter apps called "Nearby." Nearby is a separate timeline that displays tweets from people within a certain distance of you who have the location tagging option enabled. Users must have location tagging enabled in order to see the Nearby feed.

According to screen shots from the Wall Street Journal, the new timeline shows a map of your location at the top and a feed of tweets from people nearby -- whether you follow them or not -- below it. Users reportedly can manipulate the map to show tweets from other nearby locations.

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If Twitter makes this feature a permanent fixture, it will be a more intuitive and accurate way to surface tweets based on location. Presently, users can search for location hashtags or browse trends based on location, but can't pinpoint conversations happening nearby. Such a feature could also mean more location-based advertising.

Twitter's Nearby timeline shows location-based tweets.

Although Nearby might be new, location tagging is not: Twitter launched it in 2010. Should the social network roll it out to everyone, it's unlikely to cause a stir among privacy advocates: The location-tagging feature is off by default and requires you to opt in.

To add location tags to your tweets, visit your Twitter settings page and click the "Security and privacy" tab. Find this option below the Privacy section.

Enabling this setting will append latitude and longitude coordinates to your tweet when you use the Twitter mobile app, or append a place such as a city or neighborhood if you are using Twitter.com or other clients that allow you to add a general location.

If you opt in, you can still choose not to share your location for individual tweets, depending on the application you use. If you have enabled this option and no longer want it, uncheck the box on your "Security and privacy" page, then click the "Delete all location information" button.

AllThingsD first reported in April that Twitter employees tested a similar feature in Boston, around the time of the marathon bombings. The feature reportedly came out of the company's "hack week."

Twitter has rolled out a number of features in the last few weeks. Most recently, it announced a mobile app redesign that supports sending and receiving photos in direct messages, helping it compete with overseas rivals Kakao, Sina Weibo and Line.

Last week, Twitter made news when it retracted changes to its blocking policy just hours after announcing them. Under the short-lived changes, blocked users were still able to retweet and favorite your posts. This meant that the only way to prevent someone from following you would be to change your account to private.

Senior Editor Kristin Burnham covers social media, social business and IT leadership and careers for InformationWeek.com. Contact her at Kristin.Burnham@ubm.com or follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 1:16:34 PM
User benefits?
I get that location based advertising makes sense here. But what is in it for the user? If I am in Boston's North End, why do I want to see tweets from other people who are there at same time? Except in the case of an emergency.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
12/16/2013 | 1:24:11 PM
Re: User benefits?
@Laurianne I suppose they think that perhaps you'd want to connect with them based on common location -- that is if you also find their tweets of interest.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 1:27:04 PM
Re: User benefits?
I can see it being similar to Foursquare: So-and-so was just at X restaurant and had a great meal. Store Y is having a big sale. That sort of thing. Sure there'd be some noise, but I'd check out the feed in those "in between" moments like waiting in line, on the train, etc.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/17/2013 | 6:56:08 AM
Re: User benefits?
Interesting, I am assuming that a day will come when a customer turns backs after reaching a restaurant's front door and reads a tweet "been waiting for 20 minutes to get a table" or "the food was cold!" I guess the age of live reviews is upon us.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 1:24:14 PM
Would you use it?
I like the idea of this feature and can see it being useful for situations like a widespread power outage  or a big backup on the highway. Because Twitter only requires that you enable the feature -- and not necessarily append a location tag for every tweet -- I think people would be willing to use it. Would you find this feature useful? Do you hope Twitter rolls it out to everyone?
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 3:41:10 PM
Re: Would you use it?
"Nearby tweets" seems like a longer way to say "shouting."
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/24/2013 | 2:43:16 AM
Re : Twitter Tests 'Nearby' Tweets
Thank you for sharing this article and taking the pains to pinpoint the exact security settings. I am also of the view that privacy should not be a concern with Nearby because of its voluntary nature. Unlike some other apps, users have the liberty to opt out if they want to. What's better about it is that it is not opted in by default as is the case with other apps.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/24/2013 | 2:43:24 AM
Re : Twitter Tests 'Nearby' Tweets
@ Laurianne, Advertising itself can be very useful to users. Well, it is useful for users on paper at least as touted by the advertisers that they want to make life easy.Location based advertising makes greater sense than general advertising. That is more concerned to users than general advertising. It gives users chance to avail themselves of good deals.
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