Biz Tips: Twitter’s algorithm is super useful. Why give that up?

Biz Tips: Twitter’s algorithm is super useful. Why give that up?

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Twitter’s algorithm is super useful. Why give that up?

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Twitter’s been innovating a lot for a while now. Limiting profile customisation, removing the favourites button (about which I’m still fuming), increasing the character count, introducing Moments, Lists, and Bookmarks-phew-and all the while making flash news with gossips about its imminent death.

But we all know Twitter’s far from the end.

Ask the thousands of users who swear by its relevance and usability, and you’ll hear a unified voice in support for the platform. And it’s this crowd that’s going on and on about the latest change on the Twitterverse-the return of the reverse chronological order of tweets.

Back when Twitter made the drastic change to its algorithm, people didn’t understand what it was up to. All of a sudden, we received tweets and messages from people we didn’t know. Not only were we missing latest tweets from our networks, but a lot of content disappeared under the wave altogether.

And now, after months of trying to make sense of it all, we’ve made peace with the new algorithm. We’ve found ways to keep up with accounts we want and search for conversations whenever we needed them.

Just when we thought we’d got it, however, Twitter announced that it’s bringing back reverse chronological order of tweets. So now, if you want, you can go back in time and have your feed appear just the way it did before the flashy algorithm update.

Would you, though?

This is a milestone in the platform’s lifetime. Going back from such a significant update would mean we lose a lot more than we gain. Of course, it’s all subjective, but I don’t think I’d go back to the reverse chronological order.

You can now go back to seeing tweets in reverse chronological order of their posting.

Here’re five reasons to stick to the current algorithm.

Ever relevant

The current algorithm works in funny ways. Yes, you see tweets from your network, but you get more. Based on your network, Twitter shows you tweets from people in your extended circles as well. This means that if you’re following five marketers for their posts about strategies and solutions, you’ll see suggested tweets from accounts those marketers follow, even of you’re not following them.

https://medium.com/media/7b22862ce2fa352d8b3cb5dc24bcbe48/href

Priority: usefulness

Twitter teases the time element. Relevant, high-quality tweets, ones that get high engagement, go on a loop on your feed. So the algorithm boosts well-performing tweets more, resulting in increased impressions and engagement. And all this happens even if you miss the exact time your audience is online. I love this particular aspect of the algorithm because it eliminates time zones as a problem. No matter which time zone you post on, the relevant audience still has a chance of seeing your tweets-which is more than what you can say for chronological tweets.

New, mutual audiences

This is, by far, the best outcome of this algorithm. Twitter now shows tweets from accounts similar to people I’ve engaged with before. I participate in many Twitter chats, replying, liking, and retweeting people I’ve never met before. And even if I don’t follow these people, I get updates every time they engage with someone else I’ve never interacted with. In other words, if I reply to X, Twitter remembers and based on the sentiment of that interaction, it shows me tweets from others X engage with. This way, the platform puts me in touch with a pool of like-minded people even without me trying.

https://medium.com/media/35bc5b56747f4bbfe2b42f24eb20ef7a/href

Likes have meaning

For the first time in Twitter’s history, Likes play a role as similar to other social media. The only — and the critical — difference is that instead of showing you all the tweets that everyone in your network likes, Twitter filters quality likes. So you see liked tweets from people you’ve engaged with the most. And this happens whether or not you follow that person. In other words, I’ll see relevant tweets that X has liked because I’ve replied to X on a different occasion, on a different conversation.

https://medium.com/media/4746f91f54e1bff907454b7711aec84a/href

Notifications are sensible

And to ensure you don’t miss any of these high-quality, tailored content, Twitter also sends you “In case you missed it” notifications. And if you’ve enabled mobile push notifications, the platform keeps you updated of every interaction that it thinks matters most to you. And guess what? Most often, Twitter gets it right.

Conclusion

Twitter’s updates and experiments over the years have seen both tirades and wave of love from its audience. And sure enough, I remember when people wailed about this smart algorithm when they rolled it out. However, like most of Twitter’s radical changes, we’ve got used to this. Yes, a lot of people quit Twitter because they felt it was reading too much into its users’ behaviour. But I’ve been using Twitter for the last 7+ years, and I know its algorithm is far more sensible and safe than GMail reading our communication.

I might try revisiting the reverse chronological feature, but I wouldn’t give up the current algorithm that’s made Twitter such a valuable channel for me.

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