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Twitter icon mystery revealed; early adopter advantage

Picture 2.pngThis may not be news to many of you, but it was bugging me and I had to find out authoritatively from the powers that be at Twitter. (Thanks to Alex Payne for helping me out.) Have you ever wondered how that little cluster of icons is ordered on your profile page? I've heard lots of speculation from "the top influencers are higher on the list" to "It's the order they added you as a friend".

The truth is simple. They are displayed in the order that the person joined Twitter. Early adopters have an advantage here in that many people find new people to follow by surfing through those clusters. For example, Twitter's founder @jack will be at the top of your list if you follow him. If you just joined, you may never make it unless the person who is following you isn't following many other people.

As it is possible to sort people by ID through the API, it would be a cool experiment to create a Twitter user timeline in Flash using the profile images. If you're game, take that idea and run with it!

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