Twitter can be a confusing place for those used to services like Facebook, given its limited content discovery options. Such shortcomings have held the platform’s user count to a few hundred million, while its peers are sailing in the billion-user territory. The Explore tab tries to address this, but we all know how useful its suggestions can be. With Topics, the microblogging service wants you to take control of the subjects you wish to follow, without having to go through the tedious process of finding individual accounts.
Following a Topic from search
Following Topics will show you top tweets from multiple accounts related to a given subject, which makes the new discovery option clearly different from following an account on Twitter. These tweets will appear in your timeline with a badge of the related topic to help easily identify them. You may be randomly suggested to follow a topic, either within the timeline or in the search section. Twitter has curated a list of some 300 topics that are relevant to the US market, while local interests for other countries may be added in the coming months. A new Topics head is also being added to the app's sidebar menu, where you can find all your followed topics.
Left: Topics in the sidebar menu. Right: Topics section itself.
The stable Twitter app for Android was recently updated to version 8.21.0-release.00 that brought the Topics feature, but the implementation has been hit or miss for me, possibly due to my location. I followed a Topics suggestion that showed up in search, but I couldn’t see a single related tweet in my timeline. This update with the new Topics feature is already rolling out via the Play Store.
Topic-based tweets show up
A couple of days after following some topics, a few related tweets finally showed up on my timeline. Each tweet is badged with its respective topic, as the included screenshot points out. Maybe Twitter flicked a switch somewhere and the posts magically started appearing.