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Twitter starts showing tweets to mobile visitors even if they aren't logged in

A growth opportunity?

For the past year, growth-hungry Twitter has talked about the opportunity presented by what it calls the "logged-out homepage" — that is, the page you see if you visit Twitter.com and either haven't signed in or don't have an account. More people find themselves on it than you might guess: Twitter last reported 320 million active users, but says 500 million people visit its website every month. Last year, Twitter redesigned the page for desktop visitors; today, nearly a year later, they're rolling it out to mobile visitors in 23 countries.

Until now, visiting Twitter.com in a mobile browser would only bring up the login screen. The new homepage shows a scrolling list of popular tweets from high-profile accounts. A quick skim of mine showed tweets from Donald Trump, Kourtney Kardashian, ABC News, and The Weather Channel. Each tweet is also labeled with a category — "cute animals," "general news sources," "pop artists," and so on. A module inviting you to sign up or log in scrolls with you persistently as you move down the timeline.

It's all well done, but I wonder how much opportunity there really is in the homepage. On one hand, it's another place Twitter can put ads — but because the viewer isn't connected to an account, the ads are less targeted and therefore less valuable. Then there's the fact that the mobile web is in decline. And then there are the potential unintended consequences of the move — the better a logged-out experience you create for people, the less incentive they have to sign up for an account.

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All that said, there's no real reason for Twitter not to try. It's strange that it took the company nearly a year from the redesign of the desktop experience to bring it to mobile. But now it's here, and a quarter from now we'll likely get a sense of how many new sign-ups it generates. If you already have a Twitter account, you can still see the new experience: just open Twitter.com in private browsing (aka "incognito") mode on your phone's browser.