The way you use Twitter could soon fundamentally change.
The company is now starting to roll out its latest feature designed to make Twitter a more friendly place to its users: the ability to follow specific topics the same way you might follow individual accounts.
Twitter previously revealed that it was working on the feature earlier this year, though the company has experimented with variations of the concept for much longer. But it’s now ready to start pushing it out to all users, according to The Verge, which reports that the feature will go live for all Twitter users on Nov. 13.
Twitter is starting with about 300 topics, which span sports, entertainment, and gaming (notably, the company is intentionally staying away from politics for now). When you choose to follow a topic, Twitter will then pull tweets from relevant accounts into your timeline in order to give you a more expansive view of a topic, like a specific sports team.
For Twitter, the move is part of a wide-ranging effort to improve conversations on its platform. By making it easier for people to follow their interests, better conversations will likely follow, the thinking goes.
But the change will also address one of Twitter’s most longstanding problems: that it’s just too confusing for newcomers. This a challenge the company has long grappled with. Marketing missteps meant that, for years, Twitter never really knew how to properly explain what it is or who it’s for.
This was only exasperated by the fact that Twitter’s most prolific tweeters tend to be celebrities, politicians, and members of the media. A study earlier this year found that 80 percent of tweets come from just 10 percent of Twitter users. All that contributes to the fact that Twitter often feels like one big echo chamber with the same groups mostly talking to each other, while most Twitters users sit back and watch.
Whether or not the ability to follow interests will actually change these dynamics isn’t clear. Twitter has tried to solve these problems before with Moments and, later, the addition of the “Explore” sections. But topics could prove more compelling because it exists in users’ main timeline, without the need to swipe to a separate section of the app.
At the very least, it will introduce Twitter users to a number of new accounts they don’t yet follow, which could be the first step toward bursting open Twitter’s filter bubbles.