Velvet ropes

There's a chance that you signed up for Twitter to catch what your favorite celebrities are saying. However, a lot of famous people either do little more than self-promotion, or are reluctant to sign up in the first place -- are you really going to come back if these luminaries aren't as interesting as you'd hoped? Twitter is worried you won't, so it just gave its verified users a pair of new features to help get them talking. The site now gives these privileged folk an alert in the Android and iOS apps when another verified person follows them. They'll also get to see a list of their verified followers if they're using iOS. If all goes according to plan, it should be easier for superstars (and, yes, the media) to strike up conversations, giving you more to read when you're not chatting with your friends.

The strategy makes sense on that level. However, it won't be surprising if the move rubs a lot of regular Twitter users the wrong way. Many argue that the company doesn't do enough to serve the bulk of its audience, such as taking a more active approach to fighting harassment. Upgrades for the verified camp may give the impression that Twitter only cares about members who attract large crowds and thus generate lots of ad revenue. The approach could well improve the quality of what you see on the service, but it's not going to help your interactions with others.

[Image credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The Mint Jubilee]