It's been all over the news this past week and for good reason – Twitter has changed its algorithm and businesses, brands and individuals alike are all wondering what this means for the social media platform and how it's going to affect their timeline.
Having amassed a significant Twitter following ourselves (@digitaltripuk if you're interested in following...) we naturally also wanted to find out all we could about this latest development and how it might affect us.
Firstly let's cover the basics: what are the changes? Well, instead of building a Twitter timeline based on the most recent tweets first, the new algorithm will showcase tweets it believes a specific user will be most interested in. Now, this may seem like a potentially popular development, but as Newsweek points out it undermines one of the most spellbinding qualities of Twitter: its real-time, reverse chronological feed.
Basically, the new algorithm is designed to highlight popular tweets first that you may have missed. These will be from people you follow and tailored to match your activity on the site. So, more tweets from users you commonly interact with.
However, once you hit the refresh button the timeline will revert back to its reverse-chronological order as normal. This means it won't be immediately obvious to users whether a tweet is new or slightly older, unless close attention is paid to the time stamp. Of course there is an option to opt-out for users who really aren't interested; but it has caused a major backlash online with the #RIPtwitter hashtag trending.
Jack Dorsey, the head-honcho at Twitter, has said posted a tweet to users claiming that the company is "always listening" to their feedback but also said that this new algorithm will hopefully make Twitter "more Twitter-y." He summarised the changes as: "[the] fastest way to get back to live without missing any of those tweets that you really wanted to see."
If that's how it's going to affect individual users, what does it mean for brands like us? This new algorithm means that high-quality content will be rewarded on the site by being given preference. While all content is treated equally, the content that garners the most interaction and is the most relevant will gain the top spot under the rearrangement of this new algorithm.
And this is where the change has flipped Twitter on its head; as The Drum points out, content will now be ranked based on its relevance, rather than 'recency'. But it is noted by Jerry Daykin, the global digital partner of Carat, that this change could well "help established brands who can use larger audiences or promoted spend to give their content a head start." Brands will need to keep a closer eye on their reach, frequency and organic metrics, however, if they are to benefit from this algorithmic update.
It is hoped by many brands (us included) that ultimately, the best content will continue to shine through, and it seems that this will continue to be the case.