Twitter Launches 'Who To Follow' Feature

Suggestions for You is based on algorithms built by the site's user relevance team to help users find others with similar interests.
Twitter has started rolling out a feature that helps people find others on the site with similar interests.

The "Suggestions for You" feature, introduced Friday, is based on algorithms built by the site's user relevance team. The suggestions are based on several factors, most notably on the people you follow and the people they follow.

People can access the feature within the "Find People" area of the site. However, Twitter has also added a "Who to follow" section on the right side of people's homepage. The area lists people or organizations a user might be interested it, and provides the option of either following the suggestion or hiding it.

Twitter has also started showing recommendations to similar users when a person views another account's profile.

All the new features are available for developers. The company said it would be launching an application programming interface, so third parties can provide the suggestion features in desktop, mobile and Web applications too.

Twitter's new features resemble Facebook's "Friend Suggestions," which analyzes people's social networks to recommend others they can "friend."

Helping people continually expand their social networks is helpful for users, while also building a better platform for advertisers to meet larger numbers of people with similar interests. In separate studies released this week, Gartner and Deloitte found that Facebook and Twitter are increasingly emerging as important shopping tools for retailers and shoppers.

Gartner says sellers can tailor their online offerings to influence purchases, while Deloitte predicted that mobile phones and social networking platforms will have an increased influence in the upcoming back-to-school shopping season.

Deloitte found that nearly 30% of the respondents in its survey said social networking would likely play a major in their shopping decisions. On the other hand, Gartner said identifying and then targeting specific "influencers" in social networks can help drive sales.