Friend / Follower Suggestion Features: Twitter vs Facebook

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Not too long ago Twitter has introduced a “Who to follow” feature. Here’s how the suggestion box looks in my Twitter account today:

Twitter "Who to follow" function

When I first saw it, I thought I had seen it somewhere before. Of course! Facebook’s “People You May Know” function — which they’ve been running for over two years already — is the same both in principle, and in its location (near the very top of the right sidebar) too:

Facebook "People you may know" function

These functions are very similar, but both social networking platforms have room for improvement here, and especially Twitter.

Here is why:

  1. Yes, these suggestion boxes are catchy, and well-positioned to grab my attention. But this strength immediately becomes a weakness (read: distraction and irritation) when I have no way to remove it. Well, on Facebook, there is a way, but an extremely inconvenient one, as it’s only when “you “x” all of the suggestions” they have for you, “eventually the box will disappear.” Twitter offers no way of removing it, and unless you hide it through your browser’s interface, you’re stuck with it.
  2. Even if the I were happy with the function, it should have been programmed to remember which users I’ve decided not to follow/friend, and not be showing them to me over and over again. It seems that Facebook is better on this component too. Twitter just doesn’t remember my preferences and keeps suggesting the people I already x-ed out.

Moral: When you’re introducing a tool, it has to be thoroughly thought-out, and made convenient in use. User-friendliness is still one of key principles to remember.

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