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#TwitterGoggles Allow You to View #Twitter Through the Eyes of Another

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Have you ever wondered what Twitter looks like through somebody else's eyes? Me neither, but now you can do it anyway. TV producer Rob Dubbin, best known for his work on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert created an algorithm for this on GitHub. He was inspired to do so when news broke that the feed would start to become more algorithmic than chronological. He wanted to be able to control his feed to the extent that he didn't have to worry about sponsored content which he wasn't interested in.

To use it, you have to have Python and access to Twitter's API. With that done, you just run the script and then you can switch seamlessly back and forth between your standard feed and one with somebody else's preferences in place. It does have applications beyond mere curiosity, it can help with finding new people to follow, market research, or guideline on how to better retrofit the preferences of your own account.

This isn't the first tool built to enable such snooping. An app called Being enables users to view Instagram as if they were a different person, for instance. TweetDeck allegedly also played around with a similar idea at one stage, but the feature quickly vanished.

It can be easy to forget just how tailored the Twitter experience is in this day and age, new data is being collected constantly and then applied to your account, changing what you see and the way you see it. The thing is, such algorithms might purport to know what you want to see, but that isn't always true. No social media platform is completely custom, and most of them are moving increasingly away from that, rather than towards. Facebook might claim to have a vested interest in showing you only the content that's relevant to your interests, but it also wants to throw as many ads under your nose as it can. Same with Twitter.

Twitter might not ever directly back something like this, but if enough marketers show an interest in it, it could become a vital part of audience research.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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#TwitterGoggles Allow You to View #Twitter Through the Eyes of Another Reviewed by Callum Davies on Sunday, February 28, 2016 Rating: 5

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