It’s a group of approximately 500 Twitter users who are “suggested” to new users when they create an account. The stated purpose is to provide people to watch when you’re starting out. But are there other purposes? Could it be used to reward positive coverage and punish negative coverage? I think we now have some data on that.
There’s no doubt that Twitter has received a lot of help from the press, and much of it is genuine enthusiasm for a communication tool that at least hints at the future of news.
Many of the suggested users are news organizations, reporters, columnists, marketers, and as a result, most have over a million followers. Almost all of the top tech news organizations are on the list. And TechCrunch was one of them until something happened in July as is evident in this TwitterCounter graph.
Dave Winer kind of goes on and on about Twitter using their Suggested User List to their own advantage. The smoking gun is that TechCrunch ran some leaked internal eyes-only Twitter documents on their site in July, and were subsequently dropped from the SUL after enjoying a stint on the list for months.
This is a non-story to me. Why would Twitter freely promote someone who knowingly does them harm? Would you? Twitter is not a public servant. They’re a self-interested company.
Anyway, what I thought was really interesting about this post was the chart showing TechCrunch’s meteoric follower acquisition stopped dead in its tracks once they were removed from the SUL. Michael Arrington bit the hand that feeds and got bitten back- it was a hell of a bite.