Services & Software

Twitter tells you where the party's at with local alerts

Turn off the TV. The information network tests out a feature that spotlights what's happening near you, right now.

Twitter is alerting some people to events happening nearby.
Anthony Ha

Twitter is nudging some members when an event is taking place nearby.

The information network is selectively pushing local event notifications in the tweet timeline on iOS, a feature first spotted by TechCrunch reporter Anthony Ha.

In the accompanying screenshot captured by Ha, pictured right, Twitter is shown featuring Techshop's Girl Geek Dinner in San Francisco in a box atop the tweet timeline. In the box, the event is highlighted with a corresponding "#techshopggd" hashtag, a tweet with event details, and the event's time and distance from Ha. There's also an option to click to view other tweets tagged with the associated hashtag.

It's unclear what Twitter is doing behind the scenes to surface the happening-right-now event, though the alert seems to have been trigged by a combination of factors including tweet activity, time, and proximity.

Though the company declined to comment on the feature, the pilot seems to be the partial materialization of pending features we first heard about in April when Twitter was rumored to working on ways to alert members to news and events happening in their neighborhoods. At the time, AllThingsD cited sources saying that Twitter was interested in showcasing tweets from others within a certain radius of your location, whether you follow the people or not.

The news follows the sighting of another experimental feature alerting some of Twitter's iOS users to trending television shows, and points to the company's interest in figuring out how best to dish out timely information to its members.