Twitter is an excellent resource for gathering breaking news or sharing in-the-moment experiences with friends but brand-new signees don't get to enjoy any of that. To remedy the situation, the microblogging platform is reportedly testing a new feature it's calling instant timeline.

The new feature, which recently entered public testing, is more or less an auto-populated feed designed to get newcomers hooked on the service right out of the gate. After all, starting out with zero followers and a barebones timeline can be enough to discourage some to walk away before even getting their feet wet. Here's how it works.

Newcomers will sign up for an account as they normally would. Once a username and password is selected, Twitter will ask for access to your mobile phone's contact list. From there, Twitter will scan to see if any of your contacts are already on Twitter and suggest you follow them to get started.

This is where instant timeline kicks in. Instead of being asked to follow your friends, Twitter will scan their feeds and create a custom feed for you based on the types of stuff they are into. For example, if some of your friends like football or food, you'll get NFL highlight videos and cooking recipes.

The idea here is that you probably share some of the same interests as the people in your contact list. If most of those people happen to be your friends, then yeah, this could work out pretty well for newcomers. In the event your phone is littered with business contacts, however, then maybe not.