There has been a lot of talk in the past weeks of Twitter changing its algorithm and reordering its timeline. Twitter denied the changes and told users not to worry, but despite all that, a new algorithm went live Wednesday, February 10. The new algorithm mirrors one currently used by Facebook, highlighting important tweets from those you follow instead of updates posted the most recently. This new timeline will be a learning curve for those used to seeing the timeline in chronological order.
Quick skim of what’s going on:
- The New Algorithm
Twitter users are used to seeing their tweets in chronological order. But with accounts tweeting multiple times a day, the average Joe doesn’t have time to read through thousands of tweets. Twitter’s solution to this is their new algorithm and timeline. The new timeline has a “show me the best tweets first” feature. This feature chooses top tweets that it feels you would be most interested in based off of your past interactions with other tweets, including things like retweets, likes, and replies.
- The New Timeline is Opt-In
The new timeline isn’t the apocalypse everyone thought it was going to be. It is completely opt-in and can be easily changed in the user settings. See below:
“If you want to try the new timeline, go into settings and choose ‘show me the best tweets first’ in the timeline section. When you open the new Twitter timeline, you will see tweets ‘you’re most likely to care about’ at the top of your timeline in reverse chronological order,” Twitter said in a recent blog post.
- Twitter Users Are (Still) NOT Happy
#RIPTwitter is the hashtag Twitter users came up with while rumors of the new timeline were circling. The new timeline is now out and the hashtag’s momentum isn’t slowing down. Users do not like reading their tweets based on “relevancy over recency”, and even though they can opt-out of the new changes, they continue to voice their opinion. The upset users may have an effect on Twitter’s bottom line, and the recent update is such a flop that investors are speculating on Twitter’s future growth. Many believe that Twitter has hit its peak, and say not to expect any more major growth from the company.
- How Does This Affect Me?
From a personal standpoint, one can choose not to let these changes affect you at all. You could simply opt-out and continue using your Twitter account the way you had before. But, the new timeline does have some perks. The new “show me the best tweets first” feature doesn’t only apply to those you follow—it also includes any relevant tweets. This is a great way to find new accounts as well as stay current with topics you find interesting, even if those you follow aren’t the ones talking about them.
From a marketing standpoint, this update opens many doors. The new algorithm shows the audience important messages without them getting lost with hundreds of other tweets. Impression levels should see an increase, messages will be better received since they will be relevant to the user’s interests. Engagement rates will also rise. Since the new timeline also shows your tweets to those not following you, this means marketers are no longer bound by how many people follow them, messages can be served outside followers. In order to fully capitalize on this update, marketers need to increase signs that followers want to see in their updates. The more users engage with your content, the more likely it is that it will show up in the new “show me the best tweets first” feature.
By Amy Spurgeon
Image credit: Al Arabiya