Twitter wants to bring local discovery feature to your stream


While you can make the argument Twitter is local, the platform isn’t inherently built to find out what’s going on near you. What if you want to find something to do in your hometown, or locally while on vacation? Specific Twitter accounts can help you out, but the service doesn’t have a native feature to get you this type of information. For that, we turn to places like Yelp and Foursquare. But according to AllThingsD, sources say Twitter is working on localizing the service to address this very issue.

Based on reports, users will be able to discover tweets from people around them within a specified perimeter of your current location. And whether or not you’re following people may not really matter:  Regardless, you would see tweets around you based on location. For example, if you choose to use the purported location feature, once activated you would start seeing tweets within your zip code, or within a certain distance (say, all tweets within 60 miles). 

AllThingsD’s Mike Issac says that the localized feature was birthed out of Twitter’s Hack Week, an event where its employees gather around for an entire week and hack something together that may or may not make it into the final design. As for localization, apparently the feature has been experimental but something that has a good chance of making it into Twitter. It was even being tested in Boston last week.

The closest we have to discovering things happening locally is that “Trends” module that sits on the left side of your screen. You can change the trends based on location that you’d like to keep an eye on, whch Twitter has been adding more and more supported cities to. But all you really get to see are trending hashtags here. And these hashtags more often than not have nothing to do with your interests or for discovering real-life activities. If news about an election is big in your city, then that’s going to show up in trending – so if you’re looking for something to do, it’s not always a sure bet it will help you find it.

The service would help with local discovery, but it would also give Twitter a new healthy batch of contextualized user data. It could even help the service eventually serve you hyperlocalized tweets (and Promoted Tweets, or ads) based on what you’re tweeting. For example if Twitter thinks you’re a music lover, Twitter might show you tweets from upcoming bands announcing their set next week. Or it might be a sports event at the local stadium if you’re a sports fan. We’re already seeing a good amount of these types of tweets, so you might feel annoyed at the idea of more promotional content – but you have to take it with the good, which is certainly what a local discovery feature would be for the platform.