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This article was published on November 29, 2013

Twitter account experiments with sending personalized ‘pictures’ to your timeline (Update)

Twitter account experiments with sending personalized ‘pictures’ to your timeline (Update)

UPDATE: @magicpixx has said that it isn’t a Twitter experiment — its updated bio states that it’s a “highly experimental bot” by Twitter engineer William Morgan.

Our original story is as follows.

Twitter has been rolling out a string of new experiments recently — and it seems like the latest one is to do with images: it sends “pictures” apparently personally selected by Twitter (or rather possibly an automated Twitter bot) to your timeline.

A new account @magicpixx has surfaced, and its bio reads as follows:

Follow me for house-curated, artisinal (sic) pictures delivered directly to your timeline

The way it works is pretty cool; here’s an example.

The “pictures” span a wide range — from photos to maps to slideshows to memes.

While we can’t be 100% sure that this is a Twitter-led initiative, there are (big) hints that suggest so.

Despite the spelling error in @magicpixx’s bio — which could contribute to some skepticism that Twitter is actually behind it — Twitter engineer William Morgan has been actively tweeting about the account and answering questions users have about how @magicpixx works.

The new account is also extremely similar to previous experiments @magicrecs — which sends users personalized suggestions about interesting accounts and tweets — and @eventparrot — which sends breaking news via direct messages to its users.

It also follows closely after another apparent Twitter experiment @magicstats — which predicts what tweets are going to go viral.

For Twitter to dabble in personalized images seems to hint that the @magixpixx experiment could also eventually lead to a way to send relevant ads to users when they tweet that they’re in a particular location or express their interest in buying something. Considering that Twitter recently became a public company, ads — which are its primary source of income — play a key role in growing its business and appealing to investors.

Twitter’s Vice President of Engineering Alex Roetter has said before that the company is constantly working on experiments to help “make it easier to follow what you care about, connect with people, and discover something new” — and coincidentally, pointing the press to this very post is Twitter’s standard response to questions about features that appear or disappear on the service.

Headline image via Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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