Twitter and information management 

Enrique Dans
Jan 20, 2014 · 3 min read

I have already written on a number of occasions about Twitter’s experiments with accounts set up to extract value from recommendation technologies, with the aim of combating so-called FoMo (Fear of Missing Out), or for sending information to users through direct messages, and as time progresses, they seem increasingly useful.

The accompanying photograph shows three experimental messages from Twitter. The first is the most recent, called Achievements, a protected account with just three tweets: if your request to follow it is accepted, you begin to receive direct messages with statistics that compile data about the number of retweets, favorites, mentions, and follows that you have received in the last 24 hours, along with alerts for those tweets that have received an abnormally large number of one or any of these variables. Basically, this is stuff that can be extracted from the statistics platform that the company puts at the disposal of its users, but sent through a different channel that in many ways increases its value.

The second, called Magic Recs, started in September 2012, and already has more than 47,000 followers, and also sends, via a direct message, personalized information based on social recommendations that kick in when a certain number of people that you follow do the same thing at the same time. The illustration shows three of the most common: Accounts that have been followed by several of the people that you follow (along the lines of “Tom, Dick, and Harry have begun to follow this account… it is possible that you might want to follow it as well”), conversations identified by hashtags about things that several of the people that you follow are twittering (Tom, Dick, and Harry have RT’d this, perhaps you want to know what it’s about, or do it as well)

The third, Event Parrot, was launched in October 2012, and has more than 36,000 followers, and also uses a direct message to send news alerts that it considers important or of interest to you. So far, I have been told about an upcoming Barack Obama speech, a shootout at a school in Nevada, the iPad Air launch announcement, another shootout in Pittsburgh, a NASA mission to Mars, or the death of Nelson Mandela, all with their corresponding links to the most common news services, which for the moment include ABC News, Breaking News, Associated Press, CNN, NBC or the BBC.

There are other Twitter experiments out there, such as Magic Headlines, which was developed during one of the hack weeks that the company occasionally organizes, promising to notify users when one of their tweets are embedded on a web page.

These Twitter experiments would seem to point to a use model that reinforces the idea of information management: Twitter reimagined as a place where you find out what is going on, or where those who you are following—a list that will include friends, interesting people, media, or news agencies—are your filter or alert to be up to date about what is going on in the world. They are a way of developing early warning systems, or to delegate to Twitter something that before, generally, reached us via the television or the radio. Now, when something happens anywhere in the world, what usually happens is that there is usually a pair of eyes watching, and that person has a smartphone in their pocket, and they can tell the Twittersphere about it. This can also help with the evolution of the relevance of what you are doing with your account in the form of push analytics.

This is without doubt an interesting development, perhaps some useful tools you might not be aware of, and definitely a way of assessing the possibilities of this network that connects the world more and more every day.

(En español, aquí)

Enrique Dans

On the effects of technology innovation on people, companies and society (writing in Spanish at since 2003)

    Enrique Dans

    Written by

    Professor of Innovation at IE Business School and blogger at

    Enrique Dans

    On the effects of technology innovation on people, companies and society (writing in Spanish at since 2003)

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