Twitter Now Lets You Follow Users Without Joining

Twitter, the one social network that most people love to make fun of before they join it, has always had a problem explaining exactly why people would want to tweet.  There’s always the allure of finding out what others are saying on the site easily, but not everyone feels the need or actually wants to tweet themselves.  Twitter has finally launched a way to simply follow users without having to sign-up.

The service is called “Fast Follow,” and it lets anyone follow any Twitter user by simply sending a text message to 40404 reading “follow [username].”  You’ll then get that user’s tweets sent right to your cell phone, no signup required.  Twitter is encouraging people to use it to follow brand names they see in everyday life, though its likely Fast Follow would also be used for following celebrities or other public figures. {Mashable}

This is actually a smart move that could potentially cut down on the number of passive Twitter users, who join and maybe tweet once or twice, but use the service to keep up with what people are saying. As it stands, 73% of accounts have less than 10 tweets. {CNN Money}

Or, perhaps it could serve as a way for pre-teen girls to follow every move Justin Bieber makes without having to actually use the service themselves.  It would probably get a bit unwieldy to use Fast Follow with a lot of users, but Twitter does allow users to stop following tweets from particular people at any time by sending “off [username].” {Twitter}

It might not do much for getting more people to tweet, but the option to respond is always there. If nothing else, Twitter has become more popular than feed reader services, and easier for more people to use. Next generation RSS service may not have been Twitter’s goal, but it’s not a bad end result.

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