Twitter's Event Parrot account experiments with personalized news alerts
Twitter is renowned for being a go-to resource for real time information about news events such as thepursuit of the Boston marathon bombing suspects or moments of civil unrest in Egypt. Hoping to capitalize on one of its strength, Twitter appears to be testing personalized news recommendations to its users in 140 character bursts.
A new Twitter account called @eventparrot recently popped up, and it appears to be owned by the company and modeled after its recently released @magicrecs account. Magicrecs is an automated service that sends Twitter users direct messages recommending other people to follow on Twitter.
Twitter’s approach with @magicrecs is pretty simple: if a significant number of people you follow suddenly start following or retweeting another users, like Apple exec Phil Schiller, then @magicrecs lets you know. How often you get notified from @magicrecs depends largely on how many people you follow and how active they are.
With @eventparrot, Twitter seems to be following the same idea. Instead of helping you figure out who to follow, @eventparrot will send you links to news items that are getting noticed by the people you’re connected to. “This is a Twitter experiment,” the account bio reads. “Follow me to receive direct messages that help you keep up with what's happening in the world.”
TechCrunch writer Matthew Panzarino, who first reported on the new account, received his first @eventparrot direct message late Wednesday. The recommendation was a repackaged version of a tweet from CNN’s breaking news account.
It’s impossible to know for sure if Twitter is actually behind the account, but it seems to be a real possibility—though @eventparrot has yet to be verified like @magicrecs. The account is currently being followed by major Twitter executives and founders such as Dick Costolo, Evan Williams, and Jack Dorsey. Twitter’s third founder, Biz Stone, does not appear to be following along. As Panzarino pointed out, most of @eventparrot’s earliest followers work at Twitter suggesting company employees were participating in the service to see how it works before a larger release.
Assuming @eventparrot is a Twitter experiment, it shows the company is hard at work developing ways to increase and retain its user base as Twitter’s initial public offering looms.