Georgina earlier today detailed the method she uses to find new contacts on Twitter, but if that doesn’t suit you — perhaps you’re looking for something a bit more automated — there’s 99Tribes, a fun “discovery engine” for people on Twitter. The idea behind the service is that you can expand your own “tribe” by finding people with similar interests and following them.
Start by entering a term into the site’s large search box (suggested terms pop up as you type) — hit enter and it returns a list of Twitter users who match your result. Hovering your mouse pointer over a user will display their bio information and number of followers, while clicking on a user takes you to their Twitter page.
If that was all there was to it, 99Tribes would be no more interesting than any of the many other Twitter directories that are available. But you can refine your search further, by adding filters to it. Down the left-hand side of the search results page, 99Tribes lists filters that you can use to find the people with interests who most closely match your own. For example, you could start a search with “tech,” then refine it to specify people who are interested in “tech,” “apple” and “iphone.” The results are dynamic, so you can keep adding filters until you find a group of people (a “tribe”) who closely match your interests.
The search part of the app is great — it’s quite a fun way to look for new people to follow on Twitter, clicking on different filters and seeing who pops up. However, there are aspects of the app that I don’t like. In order to add yourself to the directory, you need to grant 99Tribes read and write access to your Twitter account, then tag yourself with up to five interests. It’s unclear to me why it needs that access in order to add you to the directory. Plus, once you’ve joined, it sends out a tweet from your account without asking — a practice that I find objectionable, as I don’t like spamming my friends.
To be truly useful, 99Tribes will need to increase the number of users it has in its directory, as the search results are still somewhat limited. And annoying users by sending out tweets without asking them isn’t going to help. If, like me, you don’t like the idea of granting 99Tribes access to your account, I recommend sticking with the search part of the app, and not adding yourself to the directory.
How do you find new people to follow on Twitter?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Can Enterprise Privacy Survive Social Networking?