Home Twitter Exposes Intersections in the Social Graph

Twitter Exposes Intersections in the Social Graph

Twitter is testing a new feature tonight that will provide users with a widget in the profile sidebar which displays mutual follows. According to a status posted by Twitter developer Nick Kallen, 10% of users now see a “You both follow” section on user profiles that will showcase a handful of users that are followed by both that profile and the user visiting it. So if user A follows B, and user C follows B, then B will show up in this section when user A visits user C’s profile.

Previously users relied on third-party tools to determine relationships such as these, but now Twitter seems to be testing their own version of this functionality. It’s not surprising that Twitter is attempting to better leverage their millions of users, as their network lends itself to these types of inter-user features. The connections that can be made through mutual follows on Twitter far outnumber those that can be found on Facebook, where users keep friends lists at a much smaller amount than they do follow counts.

In a hyperlinked world, where our activities, interests and social connections are naked to the world by interlinked web document, the factorial of that number of connections represents the universe of possibilities for analysis, feature development and added value.

Is this just the tip of the iceberg for Twitter? Should third party app developers be concerned that Twitter is slowly going to replace popular add-on features with tools of their own? It wasn’t long ago that Twitter snatched up atebits, developers of the Tweetie iPhone app, which has since been rebranded as Twitter’s official app. As Twitter expands it’s base functionality to include more tools, some third-party developers may be nudged aside.

It is unlikely, however that Twitter would go to the trouble of over-developing on its own platform. Twitter has prided itself on its simplicity since its launch, and by creating too many tools it could ruin that delicate balance of simplicity and functionality. This is precisely why the mutual follow feature, like many before it, is being tested on a small sample size before being rolled-out to the entire population of users.

The same public link connections that make this new feature possible is what makes more advanced social graph analysis possible using tools like Mailana or Twiangulate. Those 3rd party services, while incredibly useful, will likely remain outside the realm of what Twitter would ever develop itself.

Photo from dacort on Twitpic.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.