Twitter isn’t the only company thinking about how to help users find accounts to follow according to interest. While the company announced yesterday that it had updated its search to do just that, today Twitter list-generating service Formulists announced a product of its own.
Forumlists says that it will be “publicly incorporating the curating technology offered by Sulia to allow all users to create ‘Topic Lists’ – Twitter lists that will help users discover and engage experts on a specific topic of their choosing.”
Formulists is a dynamic Twitter list creation service that builds Twitter lists according to a set of preset or user-defined variables. You can use it to create lists according to who you reply to, who unfollows you, who your friends talk to and other variables. Sulia focuses on “filtering Twitter into compelling, high-quality content Channels from just the best experts.” The two companies are partnering up to this sort of topical focus to Twitter lists.
As we pointed out yesterday, Twitter has been pushing to make its service more palatable to the average user ever since the site redesign last September. According to the Huffington Post, some users are reporting a redesigned landing page today on Twitter.com, which immediately urges new and unsigned-in users to follow their interests. While the improved search functionality will help the average user find accounts to follow according to a topic, Formulists and Sulia take finding topical accounts one step further.
“Using Formulists,” writes marketing manager Natalie Michelson, “users can take advantage of the Formulists filtering options to fine tine their discovery of experts on a topic. These filters include filtration based on location, bio keywords, number of followers, ratio of followers to following, last date tweeted or average number of Tweets a day.”
How does this compare to Twitter’s new and improved interest-based search? A Twitter spokesperson explained that, “when you search for a topic or interest, we return users based on an algorithm. That algorithm looks at a variety of factors, including your profile information, engagement on Twitter, who you follow, and who follows you, among other things.”
The primary difference is that Formulists puts the control into the users’ hands, rather than working in the background. Is it for everyone? Likely not. Some users will want to simply type “gardening” into the search box on Twitter.com and get related accounts. Others, however, will want to limit those results to a particular geographical region, with specific keywords, follower numbers and so on.
Should Twitter stick with its plan and keep it simple? Is this fine-grain level of control something we should see on Twitter.com or should Twitter stick with its more broad level approach?
The feature is set to go live today at 4pm PST in the “experimental” lists section.