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What does Twitter think you’re interested in?

Man using Twitter
Social snooping: does Twitter think you're into weird stuff?

You can find out a lot about a person from their Twitter profile. It turns out you can find out a lot about yourself too, if you delve deep into Twitter’s settings.

I know, because while I was digging around in Twitter’s setting this week, I stumbled across an intriguing looking link claiming: “You have 71 interests from Twitter”.

Now, you could write down my interests on the back of a bus ticket: technology, football, making a pittance from witty blog posts… did I mention the football? Turns out I’m a lot more interesting than I thought. Here’s just a screenshottable snapshot of what Twitter thinks I’m into:

Twitter interests

I’ll square with you: a few of these worry me. My so-called interest in ‘DJs’ probably means I’m loitering on the suspect list for Operation Yewtree. Is ‘HaHa’ some sort of drug the kids are snorting in bus shelters? And my (off the screen) interest in ‘weird’ isn’t about to earn a place on my CV, either.

How to find your Twitter interests

How do you discover what Twitter thinks you’re into? Go to the Twitter website, click on your profile pic at the top right of the page, choose “Settings and privacy”, pick “Your Twitter data” from the left-hand menu and you should find a link some way down the page that will reveal your so-called obsessions.

As you can see from the screenshot, Twitter lets you untick the items that “don’t look right”. I can already feel my interest in Jimmy Saville and Kid Jensen waning…

Presumably, the net effect of tweaking your interests is that Twitter will thrust more relevant ads into your timeline.  In fact, if you scroll further down the Your Twitter data page you can be sent a list of which Twitter advertisers are targeting you. One of the 607(!) targeting me is @hairspraylive – a TV show about “a teenage girl living in Baltimore in the early 1960s who dreams of appearing on a popular TV dance show”.

Targeted advertising’s still got some way to go, kids.

 

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About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day.

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