With an update to its internal search function, Twitter claims to have made it easier to find new people to follow based on your interests. Instead of visiting Twitter's 'Who to Follow' page and wading through various suggestions grouped by theme ('Art & Design,' 'Food & Drink,' 'Voices in Egypt,' etc.), you can now use the site's search fields. Either use the search field found at the top of the page to look up a particular subject and navigate to the 'People' section or visit the 'Who to Follow' page and search from a separate field found there.

"This new approach helps you find the Twitter users that will best help you follow your interests," according to the official Twitter blog. "For example, if you're interested in hip hop, chances are that you'd like to follow hip hop artists. Searching for 'hip hop' now surfaces accounts like @common and @questlove. (Previously, we typically showed accounts that have 'hip hop' in the name.)"

I have robots on the mind thanks to a presentation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History this morning. Previously, querying Twitter with 'robots' would have only returned a list of users with that word in their handle: @Robot_Magazine, @RobotGrrl, @robots_dreams. Now, Twitter promises, a similar search will return a list of users who are interested in robots as a topic. When I searched 'robots' just now, the results included @MissySB, the self-described head honchette at Suicidebots.com; and @heatherknight, a roboticist affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University.

Twitter won't reveal the new algorithm it's using to pull together these searches, but it seems to be a step in the right direction.

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