Twitter Uses Curation to Make the Noise Bearable

When people ask what curation is, one of the most common examples used to explain the concept Pinterest. Multiple pieces of content from different sources are organized and filed onto boards and presented in a unique way.

shutterstock_130911593However, there’s another social network that’s becoming equally adroit at curating content: Twitter.

Most recently, Twitter started curating with the @MagicRecs account. The handle was created back in April and Twitter developers have been playing around with the system over the past few months. The account sends recommendations to users via DM about who to follow and what is trending.

Now the @MagicRecs experiment is heading to the big leagues. Twitter will start sending out push notifications when something exciting is happening. If multiple people who you follow start following the same account, you’ll receive a notification suggesting the account to you. Similarly, if a particular tweet receives multiple favorites and retweets, Twitter will let you know what everyone is talking about.

For example, Alec Baldwin regularly tries to quit Twitter. He’s tried the patch, he’s tried the gum, but he always ends up back on the network. When he reactivates his account and tweets that he’s back, thousands of new users follow him and share the tweet. That’s the type of news that will be sent to your phone. All of your friends are already having a conversation about Alec Baldwin, don’t you want to join in?

shutterstock_148587965This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Twitter curation goes. Filing fans and followers into top news stories and accounts – especially through the @MagicRecs account – is just one piece of the puzzle. When that piece is added to other recent updates, a clearer picture starts to appear.

In August, select Twitter users started receiving alerts and noticing bars popping up highlighting popular TV shows airing at the moment. It was Twitter’s polite way of saying, “Everyone is going to be talking about The Walking Dead tomorrow, you should probably be watching it right now and joining the online conversation.”

After that, they also tried to go local and direct users to popular events happening in their towns. Tweets with information (Come to ABC event at XYZ place, tonight at 8 pm, #eventhashtag) were featured and highlighted to grow the community. Users who are at the event can talk to each other with the hashtag, and people looking to get involved locally can find places to go.

Most of these curation updates are meant for user retention. The accounts of current users are starting to age and they’re following more people and brands than ever. Their feeds are starting to get noisy and cluttered. The social network has made it a priority to find ways to cut through the irrelevant noise and further curate popular topics.

In its awkward puberty days, Twitter was known as the network to post inane updates about what you ate for lunch. Now it seems to be growing into its adult form as the go-to site for breaking news. They want to be a discussion hub for global news, pop culture, and even community events. The key to becoming that hub is curation.

About the author

Amanda Dodge