You may not have noticed the link, but it’s there in the footer of Twitter’s home page if you’re logged out: “Directory.”
It’s a link to Twitter’s unannounced user directory, an alphabetical collection of all Twitter account holders from A to Z that also includes profiles with non-Latin character names.
Twitter launched the user directory “a few weeks ago,” according to a spokesperson, but hasn’t made a formal announcement about it. That’s likely because it exists more for search engines than for Twitter users — a topic that I cover today in my Search Engine Land article, Twitter’s New SEO Play: A Profile Directory Of All User Accounts.
The directory page says you can “browse public Twitter profiles,” but it includes profiles that are protected, too. Clicking through from the directory to a protected account, however, doesn’t show the person’s tweets; they’re still private.
It’s sorted alphabetically by what’s indicated in the “Name” field of Twitter profiles, not in the “Username” field. The first account in the directory is @006034132, an account that goes by the name “a,” while the last account in the directory is @TOIS60, an account using the name “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.” (Actually, as I write this, that’s the second-to-last account in the directory; the last one is @onedsof, which uses the same “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” name, but points to a deleted/removed account. That makes me wonder how often Twitter processes account changes and updates the directory.)
Oh, back to that “Directory” link in the footer of Twitter’s home page: I’ve also seen it on and off this weekend in the Twitter menu that shows up in the left column when I’m logged in, too.
In aiming to attract more search engine traffic, Twitter is surely looking to grow its advertising business. More search engine traffic means more page views, and that means more opportunities to display ads — and to have users click on them.
(tip via labnol.org)