When it comes to social media, perception is almost as important as reality. Google+ is a good example of this; I've seen it referred to as a ghost town too many times to count, though when I go to Google+, as a member who has spent some time developing my circles, it's a wonderfully active community.
Twitter has never been called a ghost town but if you're a new user it can be a bit bewildering. You'd be forgiven for thinking it's a service used for nothing but random, mundane things like what some stranger is having for lunch. Of course those of us who've taken the time to sign up and develop a list of interesting people to follow have a very different view of the service.
Yesterday Twitter made a change to its homepage in an attempt to make it more welcoming. If you go to http://twitter.com and you're not logged into an account you'll find a variety of topics like "Business News", "Actors & Actresses," and "Politicians, Pundits and Parties." Clicking on one of these will open a list of tweets from a curated group of users associated with that topic.
It's a really nice system, so I have one question for the folks at Twitter: why are you limiting it to people who aren't logged in? I found myself enjoying my time poking around these categories. Some of them, like "Space News and Publications," were full of accounts I already follow since I'm interested in the topic. But others like "Travel Guides, airlines and hotels" or "Celebrity Chefs & Personalities" were new to me and had some interesting stuff. When I found someone new to follow it was a real chore to do so since I had to (of course) log in to follow them, then log out again to go back to browsing.
How does this make any sense? Yes, it's a great system to expose newcomers to all the good stuff in Twitter, but it seems silly not to share the new feature with long-time Twitter users as well. Now just to be clear, I don't want this to be my new homepage; I like having my feed front and center when I hit twitter.com. What I want would be a link under the Trending list, or maybe next to the #discover tab (as far as I'm concerned it could replace the #discover tab). Just give me the option to check out these curated lists when I'm looking to explore a section of Twitter outside my usual stomping grounds. Seems like a no-brainer.