By Rachel Kaser
Twitter today announced an upcoming addition to its suite of mobile notifications. Namely, it will soon offer users personalized news updates, generated based on their interests.
Currently, Twitter offers news notifications, for those who want to be kept up-to-date on what’s happening around the world. Now the company is expanding on that with personalized updates. This could offer a better option for all those people — including me — who have opted out of news updates due to them cluttering up their phones with stuff they don’t find interesting.
These notifications would ping you with news based on the kinds of accounts you follow and things you tweet about. Tapping on one will take you to a curated page with related tweets and video on the topic, same as if you found the story on your Explore tab.
Similarly, you’ll also see curated events on the top of your timeline. These “Happening Now” panels are already used for live sports, but now Twitter is expanding that to include the same personalized news it proposes to notify you about: “At the top of your timeline, you’ll see news that’s relevant to you along with the surrounding Tweets and videos.”
More updates, to roll out in the coming months, put further emphasis on the site’s news credentials. Twitter is also updating its Explore tab to include topics instead of just content type — meaning you could potentially sort your tweets by entertainment, science…dare I hope for a “tech” tab?
At the moment, the greatest drawback of the basic Twitter timeline is the inability to sort tweets into different categories. If you follow certain accounts for news, and some for gossip, and others for humor, then it all gets jumbled together into a big tweet stew. That’s always been both a source of charm and mild frustration. But if the new Explore tab is actually in-depth enough, it’ll be more relevant for most users.
Personalized news notifications will roll out in the coming weeks, while the new Explore tab and Happening Now tweets will roll out in the coming months.
Rachel Kaser is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas.
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