Twitter is about to roll out a new Topics feature to help users find a greater selection of content across a range of subjects.
Following several months of testing, Topics will launch globally on November 13 and for the first time will give users a way to follow tweets on specific subjects, rather than just accounts.
The feature will kick off by offering more than 300 topics covering sports, entertainment, and gaming. Users can hit the follow button on any topic of interest, with associated tweets appearing in their feed.
But Topics won’t include any old tweet linked to a particular subject. According to The Verge, Twitter’s algorithms will select relevant posts by searching for accounts that regularly tweet on the subject, and also by analyzing the amount of engagement that occurs with tweets from that account, which should suggest that others already find their content interesting.
Twitter hopes that the new feature will make it easier for users — both new and experienced — to find new accounts to follow, which should lead to increased engagement on the platform.
So if you’re a big fan of, say, the New York Yankees, you probably already follow the team’s official account. But say you want to see more posts about the team, rather than by the team. That can sometimes be tricky, with endless searches and the following/unfollowing of numerous accounts failing to deliver what you’re after. By following the Yankees as a topic, you’ll see a whole range of relevant and hopefully interesting team-related content, which should help you find some interesting accounts to follow.
“We know that the main reason that people come to Twitter is to keep up on the things that they’re interested in,” Topics team leader Rob Bishop told The Verge this week. “The challenge is it’s really quite difficult to do that on Twitter day-to-day.” Bishop hopes the new Topics feature can help solve the issue.
Currently, the only way to find content linked to a particular subject is by tapping on a hashtag in a tweet or by using hashtags in Twitter’s search box. But, unlike in photo-sharing site Instagram, Twitter doesn’t let you follow hashtags. In that case, the Topics feature looks like a neat solution that many in the Twitter community are certain to find useful.