A new feature has been rolled out a new feature on Twitter Monday, which gives users the ability to add their birth dates and share them on their profiles. If you decide to add your birth date to Twitter, it’ll trigger a steam of colorful balloons to float up through their profiles when your birthday arrives.
This birthday feature only works on the desktop version of the network. You’d think that this would seem like a fun little addition and gimmick cooked up by Twitter to make things more fun, but there’s an apparent motive for adding the new feature that is more serious. If people begin sharing more personal information, the better ad targeting Twitter can do with its users. The language on the support page is clear:
If you choose to add your birthday to your profile, it will be displayed to the audience that you’ve chosen. It will also be used to customize your Twitter experience. For example, we will use your birthday to show you more relevant content, including ads. You can learn more about how Twitter Ads work here.
This looks like a way for Twitter to do what Facebook’s been doing when it comes to capturing personal data about its users. For Facebook, who began displaying more biographic info on personal profiles back in 2010, this encouraged more users to share more information about them, which allowed Facebook to deepen the pool of data they had on its users. Because of this, Facebook was able to create an advertising juggernaut that earns them more than $3 billion in quarterly revenue.
By increasing their own user data (which is pretty shallow, especially in comparison to Facebook), Twitter could really begin targeting their users more specifically when it comes to advertising, and possibly make things more personal to each user if they’re creative enough.