Twitter Gets into Gift Giving

TweespGetting into the gift-guiding spirit last month, Twitter tested out a service that suggested present ideas based on users' recent tweet history.

"Struggling to find the perfect gift?" Twitter asked. "Wish you could read people's minds to know what they truly want? Well, now you can."

In partnership with Amazon, used a keyword-based search algorithm - or what Twitter called "extrasensory perception" - to select gifts from the e-tailer's millions of offerings.

Better still, clicking through to Amazon from TweeSP-activated TweeSP's affiliate code and all the revenue was donated to Toys for Tots.

TweeSP's ability to predict the perfect gift was reportedly mixed, but bound to improve with further testing. And while neither Twitter nor Amazon would say so, the experiment no doubt pointed to potentially lucrative services going forward - particularly for Twitter, which has gobs of priceless behavioral data but no killer business model as of yet.

Twitter would do well to offer more practical services to consumers. Indeed, despite design overhauls, big media partnerships and more star power than a telethon, the micro-blogger service remains a largely niche American pastime.

Only about 6% of American adults (8% of those online) are Twitter users, according to recent research from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. What's more, only about 36% of Twitter users actively use the service, while 41% hardly check their accounts if at all.

Meanwhile, just for fun, encouraged visitors to search through a list of popular Twitter users, including Snoop Dogg, William Shatner, President Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

Turns out, Palin wanted nothing more than an AquaBourne shower radio, a Bowflex Series 7 treadmill and Niall Ferguson's The Ascent of Money, which attempts to demonstrate that financial history, including its involvement in politics and promising tech start-ups, is the essential backstory behind all history.

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