clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Twitter just killed off the most useful Twitter account

RIP MagicRecs

So much happens on Twitter that it can be impossible to keep track of, even if you're staring at it for hours a day. That's what made MagicRecs so useful. It was an account Twitter created that sent you custom alerts based on the people you had chosen to follow. If 10 of them all followed the same person suddenly, MagicRecs would send you a direct message with the name of the account and which of your friends followed it. If a bunch of your friends all retweeted the same tweet, MagicRecs would let you know about that, too. Anyway, MagicRecs is dead now, TechCrunch reports. This makes me sad!

MagicRecs were born in the spring of 2013, a period of truly glacial product development at Twitter. It was a time when the ability to upload a second photo with your tweet qualified as big news. (Just kidding — that feature didn't arrive until 2014.) And so it was very exciting when, simply by following an account — a bot account, no less! — you could meaningfully improve your Twitter experience. It was so powerful that organizations had to tell people not to follow high-profile new employees before the news became public, lest MagicRecs blow their cover. Some 112,000 people followed MagicRecs in the years that followed, and no one ever criticized it, because it was perfect. Twitter even tried to take it a step further with EventParrot, an account that offered to DM you breaking news. (It never worked quite as well, and was abandoned long ago, and no one cared.)

The only useful bot in my life is now dead

In the fall of 2013, Twitter said it would use what it learned from MagicRecs to improve push notifications, essentially integrating it into the main app. Three years later, this is Twitter's excuse for killing off MagicRecs. "Recommendations that were previously shared via direct message are now delivered via push notification," the company told me in an email. "Users can control recommendation notifications in their mobile notification settings."

MagicRecs stopped sending me notifications in February. When I asked Twitter about it at the time, the company told me MagicRecs were still active. But I never received another message, and despite having every mobile notification switched to "on," I've never gotten a MagicRecs-style push notification in the app, either. (Twitter tells me this may be a bug.) It's a shame. Twitter is as hard to follow as ever, and the one useful bot in my life is now dead.