Twitter explains why you and your friends may see different site features
When you use Facebook and Twitter, everyone's looking at the same website and has access to the same set of tools, right? Wrong. In the case of Twitter, users who have verified accounts have access to different tools and options and the same is true for different levels of users on other sites and social networks. But it seems that even two average Twitter users could find that they have a different experience from each other on the site.
In a blog post entitled "Experiments @ Twitter", Twitter's Vice President of Engineering, Alex Roetter, says that experimenting with new features and options may mean that two people see different versions of Twitter. Roetter explains "it’s rare for a day to go by when we’re not releasing at least one experiment", referring to both the website and mobile clients.
Providing access to different options is nothing unusual -- it's something that Google and Microsoft frequently indulge in. Where you are in the world is most often the determining factor in which version of a site you see, but it does not sound as though this is the case with Twitter.
When Roetter says "you may see some features that your friend doesn’t see, or vice versa", there is no reference made to countries. Tests are carried out with small groups of users to help to decide which features should be officially released. I contacted Twitter to find out what criteria they use when selecting testers for experimental features, and Carolyn Penner told me that selections are random rather than being based on location.
In the meantime, I'm interested to hear if anyone has been granted early access to a feature that was later made public, or whether you got to try out some great new options that were dropped.