Twitter is going local, but still with 140-characters. The micro-blogging service is reportedly testing a new feature that shows users’ nearby tweets. The new native app includes a map that shows tweets occurring near the user in real time. Fittingly dubbed “Nearby” this feature appears as a separate column in the app, while it shows tweets from other users regardless of the “follow” relationship between the users. As of now, it shows nearby tweets, regardless of whether the user is following the tweeter or not. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Nearby timeline has appeared occasionally in recent days on handsets of those users who allow Twitter to see and use their location. As reported, Twitter has allowed users to add location to tweets since 2010, but that feature is turned off by default. This feature could be a way for Twitter to get more users to share their respective location, which could make the short-messaging network of Twitter locally relevant. That in turn could make
Twitter far more attractive to potential advertisers with more precisely targeted campaigns. With Nearby, Twitter users can scroll through the map and pull in tweets local to that area. It is not clear, however, if this will be widely rolled-out or when. ZDnet reported on Monday, “Twitter has declined to comment, but the social network has a history of trialling features with small groups of users before rolling them out more widely.” The still-in-testing Nearby feature was also dubbed by Slashgear as being “somewhat reminiscent of Foursquare, a location sharing social media app that has shown nearby posts for years.” This feature could also make it easier for the millions of tweets to become more locally relevant for users and solve the long standing problem with the Twitter’s “discover” tab and current search functionality. “Maybe they’ll come across something that will be incrementally interesting to some advertisers,” Brian Wieser, an analyst at the Pivotal Research Group, told the
Wall Street Journal. This is just the latest news for the micro-blog, which saw a successful IPO last month. Share price at opening for the social media site was valued at about 22 times the forecast for 2014 sales. This was despite the fact that, to date, Twitter has yet to turn a profit. It has also made a number of high-profile changes to keep the 140-character message broadcasting service relevant. It is apparently testing the waters for how tweets and even messages can be seen. In October the micro-blogging service changed the restriction for the sending of direct messages between users. Twitter introduced an option that allowed users to opt to receive direct messages from anyone who follows them, even if that user doesn’t follow them back. Last week the company made changes to its blocking functionality however, and reverted back to the old rules whereby users would be unable to follow an account after being blocked. This latest change was apparently a response from user feedback. “We have decided
to revert the change after receiving feedback from many users – we never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe,” Twitter VP of Product Michael Sippey wrote in the blog post last week.