How to become the pied piper of Twitter

How do you get on Twitter’s suggested follow list? It all comes down to a gut check, according to Twitter.

In a post on Twitter’s official blog, co-founder Biz Stone explained Twitter’s process for selecting its list of 100 personalities and products the company thinks will help new users acclimate to the Tweeting community.

If you are a prolific Tweeter, getting on the list comes down to a simple two-step process: 1. Fill out your profile and 2. Get famous or be Oprah Winfrey.

Here’s a breakdown of Twitter’s method:

Step 1

Algorithms. Twitter’s chief scientist came up with a program that scans the Twitt-o-sphere and makes a list of accounts that are active, interesting, and have their profile filled out (C’mon people, your profile can’t go past 160 characters! I realize that’s longer than a Tweet, but fill it out anyway!).

Step 2

Twitter Committee. Members of the Twitter product team then take a look at the list and review the suggested tweeters based on some basic questions. Is this tweeter a good source for newbies? Does the account have mainstream appeal? Is this a real tweeter or a phweeter (phony tweeter)? Twitter rule: if you phweet, you can’t compete. Sorry Darth Vader.

Step 3

Gut Check. After all those questions have been answered, the Twitter bosses run the list past “a couple folks” and then just go with their instincts.

Twitter says it is always reevaluating the list, and that it displays twenty random suggested users during the initial signup process. However, Twitter members can see the entire 100 suggested users here.

Suggested follows include Jet Blue, CNN Breaking News, Shaquille O’Neal, blogger Heather B. Armstrong, Star Trekkers Brent Spiner and Levar Burton, Britney Spears, Lance Armstrong, Jimmy Fallon and Heidi Montag. Stone says no one pays for the privilege to be on the suggested user’s list, and the list only exists to make Twitter “more relevant and valuable to users.”

“We may very well change the way we populate this list or stop using it altogether,” Stone said in the post. “If there is some other way to get the job done.”

Despite being at one-time the most popular Tweeter in the world (CNN is tops now), Barack Obama did not make the list; while, John McCain-who was characterized as being out of touch with tech during the 2008 presidential race-earned a spot. Perhaps in an effort to reclaim his former glory, Obama today issued his first tweet in almost two months.

Stone also hinted that if Oprah Winfrey joined Twitter, she would be a shoo-in for the list. If Oprah does show up, maybe she can use her clout and put in a good word for the president.

Twitter taught to British school children

Primary school children in the UK could find themselves studying micro-blogging service Twitter and online encyclopedia Wikipedia under proposed changes to the curriculum.

The plans, outlined by former Ofsted Sir Jim Rose, call for teachers to be given a greater flexibility in the subjects they teach. Rose has suggested the six core ‘learning areas’ currently covered by the curriculum should be overhauled.

As well as continuing with the chronology of history and mental arithmetic, the new ‘learning areas’ would also cover modern media and web-based skills such as blogging, keyboard skills and even podcasting.

John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, told The Guardian: “It seems to jump on the latest trends such as Wikipedia and Twitter. Computer skills and keyboard skills seem to be as important as handwriting in this [the proposal].

Traditional books and written texts are downplayed in response to web-based learning”.

The proposals are due to be published next month.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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