Recommendations Working Like A Charm: Twitter Follower Growth Is Accelerating

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It’s been about a month since Twitter turned on its people recommendation engine, a set of algorithms that enables the service to automagically suggest people you don’t currently follow but may find interesting.

Twitter has indicated that these suggestions are based on a variety of factors, including the people you already follow and the people they follow. They are, for now, only visible on Twitter.com and the Find People section.

And based on my experience, the algorithms seem to be doing their job just fine indeed – I have most certainly discovered a lot of new interesting people on Twitter who I wasn’t following yet, and my own follower count has increased significantly in the past few weeks.

So for fun, I decided to use TwitterCounter to look up the counts for a couple of accounts I follow, to see if this is a general trend of something I’m noticing for my account only.

Watch with me:

Yes, that sure looks like a trend in my book.

Even dropping follower counts can get reversed thanks to recommendations served by Twitter, as we can see with GigaOm founder Om Malik‘s personal Twitter account:

And it’s not just media folks – check out the trend for angel investor Dave McClure and Googler Matt Cutts, for example:

Notably, even the accounts of celebrities, who already have millions of people following them, have seen a spike in new followers since the beginning of August 2010:

Now, I have to say these bumps in followers counts can not be seen with every single Twitter account. Gizmodo and Engadget are both growing, but linearly. Bill Gates’ account is showing steady growth, as is Twitter’s. No bumps like demonstrated above to be seen.

In fact, the Twitter account for Fake Steve Jobs and Google, for example, are both still showing growth, but clearly leveling off rather than increasing rapidly.

Neverthless, I’m going to go ahead and assume Twitter’s recommendation algorithms are working as advertised, and that they’re seeing numbers of engagement and followers across the board go up consistently ever since turning on the feature last month. With 145 million users and counting, that’s clearly a very good thing for them.

Now wait what happens when the company launches an API that will enables third-party developers to integrate suggestions for new people to follow into their apps and services (which they’re planning to release in the near future).

Have you seen your follower count go up in the past month? If not, you will soon I’d wager.

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