Your Twitter timeline was previously populated with almost all of the tweets from accounts you follow, with the most recent updates at the top of the list. Now, you’ll see some tweets from accounts you don’t follow. Twitter selects those tweets based on a “variety of signals,” the details of which are immaterial to my argument. You can read all about the changes on Twitter’s blog post.
I suspect some longtime Twitter users will bemoan the sacrilegious tampering of the sacred timeline. We like a pure social stream. We like to see every drop of tweeted information as it makes its way down that stream. We don’t want Twitter littering the stream with unrequested junk.
So why am I glad for the change? One word: Netflix.
Netflix shares dropped 26.4% late Wednesday. Why? Because, according to The Wall Street Journal, the company failed to meet expected growth of new users. It didn’t lose customers. It actually gained 980,000 streaming customers in the U.S. and 2.04 million foreign customers. But those numbers fell short of the expected growth of 1.33 million and 2.36 million customers here and abroad, respectively.
I use Twitter every day. It’s a great tool. I want it to succeed. Since it’s a publicly traded company, that means that it has to keep its shareholders happy, it has to continue to grow.
In it’s most recent quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twitter stated that if they were “unable to convince potential new users of the value and usefulness of our products and services,” that could “negatively affect user growth and engagement.”
The impetus for Twitter to filter is obvious: the service needs to show growth in both number of users and engagement in order to satisfy investors, and finding relevant content as a new user can be a challenge, which is why the company recently updated its so-called “on-boarding” process.
Through its years of consistent growth, Facebook has constantly changed the algorithm for its News Feed. Users complain, but new subscribers continue to sign up.
I haven’t detected any negative impact to my Twitter timeline, and tweets – all the tweets from the accounts I follow - are still showing up in reverse chronological order.
If Twitter needs to attract new customers, changing the timeline might be one way to make the service more appealing than it was to me when I first looked at it seven years ago. I don’t mind a timeline tweaked so slightly that I haven’t noticed a difference, if it means that Twitter can continue to grow.
Preparation is key for live events. Organizers plan ahead. Speakers and performers rehearse. If you plan to use Twitter to cover a conference, set aside time prior to the gathering to prepare to live-tweet. It will make the process easier for you and more fruitful for your followers.
I will be tweeting from the TEDxOrangeCoast conference tomorrow and Saturday, as an audience member @ksablan and as a volunteer @TEDxOrangeCoast. I’ve done this kind of work for years, and have learned quite a bit from the mistakes I’ve made. I’m providing these preparation tips to help you get ready for the next conference you attend. Continue reading →
Since this blog is about linking, it’s pretty important (to maintain some consistent branding with all five of my readers who also follow me on social networks) that I use Twitter to share links. Since I started using BufferApp to schedule my tweets, I get a friendly reminder via email whenever I have no tweets scheduled to post, and I think it had improved my tweeting.
BufferApp is basically a button on my browser. It’s a button I press whenever I come across a web page that I think my followers might like. Pressing that button brings up a window in which I compose a tweet with a shortened link. Instead of going out to the twitterverse immediately, the message is added to a “buffer” that BufferApp will send out one of the 9 times that I’ve already chosen in my settings. If BufferApp runs out of tweets to send, it sends me that email to remind me to add more tweets to the queue.
For me, that email might be the key to BufferApp’s success. It really annoys me. It annoys me like my boss annoys me when she bugs me about an overdue project (that polling page is almost done, Terry). It annoys me like I annoy my children when I have to remind them again to do their chores.
I hate that email so much that I work harder than ever to scan my Google Reader in the morning and fill my BufferApp with links. That’s right, that annoying email has basically made me a more consistent tweeter.
If you aren’t too proud to see if being treated like a child can sometimes be an effective time management tool, give BufferApp a try and let me know what you think.