Twitter has died over the weekend and now it’s attempting to come back to life. After a Buzzfeed report that said that Twitter was getting rid of its traditional feed, the platform fell victim of one of its own death hoaxes. Users, feeling that the company was betraying them by putting the real time feed to a rest, were outraged and the fury was so intense that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey had to appear to appease the nervous breakdowns sweeping through the site.
Dorsey said that Twitter was “live” and that the company is always listening its users feedback. “We never planned to reorder timelines next week” he said. But with investors putting pressure to make Twitter profitable and the company shares reaching an all-time low on Monday morning, the Twitter we now know is surely on a way for big changed. Ironically, those changes are starting today, when the company is rolling a new version of… yup, you’ve guessed – its timeline.
Though initially an “opt-in” feature, Twitter is finally graduating the new timeline from user testing to the general audience. With it, the tweets will now be ranked by “quality” in addition to timeliness. Basically, it’s an option based on the “While you were away” feature, which shows popular tweets based on their popularity and the tweeter’s level interaction with you.
The “Show me the best tweets first”, as the new feature is being called, isn’t the default option for now but it definitely will be in coming weeks. In other words, and like it or not, popular tweets are about to become more visible than ever which, in turn, will make a Twitter strategy a must for any company depending on the platform.
Why your small business should care
We’ve said it before – the Internet is changing towards a more filtered way to present content. While most of the platforms are adopting a clear “pay to be visible” approach, Twitter isn’t there yet. However, this new timeline will surely prove a new kind of filter that will leave out a significant amount of interactions. Basically, you’ll have to aim for popularity or get lost in an ever-growing crowd of irrelevant tweets.
This will prove very tough for small businesses with no particular social strategy, since they’ll be further and further away from ever scoring a string of popular tweets. The new timeline will “reward” the crowd pleasers and will do so at the expense of everyone else. In other words, the old timeline required you to have a great tweet at the right moment. Now, it’ll be more about a great tweet and how well connected your profile actually is to get more views.
This doesn’t mean people won’t be able to discover you via Twitter (the platform still has plenty of room for discovery, especially if your business knows how to maximize its hashtag use). But it will certainly cut you off to show the profiles that are already massive and popular among users. This will of course vary from user to user, but this scenario won’t change that radically.
In short, you should care about Twitter’s future, even if the platform userbase isn’t growing. There’s a huge audience there that is widely open to the messages shared on “their” platform and “their” code. Evolving with it, then, it’s key to reach them in a fragmented field where channels this big are pretty scarce.
Photo credit: Shawn Campbell