The Twitter strategy shift and what it means to you and your business

twitter strategy

Twitter is at a crossroads … and it might be leading down a controversial new path. Let’s look at a recent revelation about a possible Twitter strategy shift and what it could mean to you and your business.

At a recent financial conference, Twitter’s chief financial officer suggested that the service will offer algorithm-driven curation of feeds much like Facebook does, in order “improve the relevance for users.”

In other words, Twitter will start choosing what you see in your timeline based on what is trending, or what it thinks you might like to see.

This lines up with an earlier statement from CEO Dick Costolo. When asked whether the platform would ever implement a Facebook-style filtering algorithm, he hedged his answer by saying he wouldn’t “rule it out.” 

These clues are significant, because in the past Twitter management has “signalled’ major changes like this 12 to 18 months before something occurs. In essence, they are telling their stakeholders to “get ready.”

What’s going on here?

I mentioned that Twitter strategy is at a crossroads. This is what it is:

a) Twitter is under extreme pressure from Wall Street to increase the number of its active users. A hurdle to the adoption of Twitter is that it is can be difficult to understand compared to other social networks. One reason is that the velocity of an unfiltered news stream can seem overwhelming.

b) One of the most important advantages of Twitter over Facebook is that users love the fact that it is unfiltered. In fact, we can filter the stream ourselves and control the information flow our own way through apps like Twitter Lists and third party platforms like Hootsuite.

Breaking Twitter

This is a dilemma isn’t it? By making Twitter more accessible to the masses and appeasing Wall Street, it might alienate its most passionate users.

I would go a step further. By imposing algorithms to make Twitter more Facebook-like, it would be destroying a core point of differentiation for the channel.

Let me give you a small example of what I mean.

As any active Twitter user knows, news breaks on Twitter. In a famous example, an earthquake hit the Washington DC area. A Twitter user in New York City saw the news on Twitter before he felt the tremble.

In the new Twitter-filter world, the news probably would have never reached the person in New York until it was trending. In other words … too late.

There is something unique and awe-inspiring to see the chronological, raw responses of people as events unfold in the Middle East, in Ferguson, or in my hometown.

An unfiltered stream allows everyone I follow equal opportunity. A filtered stream could mean the “news” will be dominated by celebrities and the gurus with the highest Klout scores. Twitter’s beauty is that THERE IS NO ALGORITHM. It’s simply human and puts us in control.

What does this mean for your Twitter strategy?

If you love Twitter and use it for your business, this decision would be profound. Unlike Facebook, all of us have a real chance to connect with our followers based on our effort and our content. That is not the case on Facebook where their algorithms have depressed organic reach to the point that most companies have no choice but to pay to get their content seen.

An obvious way around this controversy would be to allow Twitter users to toggle between a filtered and unfiltered feed, right?

But did you know you can already do that on Facebook? How many people actually look at their whole news stream? Nobody.

(Correction: The “most recent” tab on Facebook no longer shows ALL posts. This was modified in November, 2012. There apparently is no current way to see your entire Facebook feed).

Unfortunately, here is how I think this will play out:

  • Twitter will have no choice but to appease investors by editing your news stream to make it more user-friendly.
  • A core group of passionate users will threaten to walk away … but won’t. And if they do, it won’t make much of a difference.
  • Our organic reach on Twitter will rapidly deteriorate and we will have to pay to be seen as the Facebookification of Twitter progresses.

For me, the depressing part of this change would stretch beyond business. To me, the beauty of Twitter is the majestic random synergy — the chance that any connection can happen at any time based on your good work — and you never know where that will lead!

With this strategy change, that opportunity would be diminished and perhaps even negated as mathematical formulas determine the destiny of your tweets.

That makes me sad. My head understands why Twitter would make this change but my heart is saying no, no, no!

What is your take on it? I would love to read your comments below!

Illustration courtesy of Flicker CC and Bert Kaufman.

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  • Amanda Changuris

    If Twitter really has to take this (horrible, self-defeating) step, my fingers are crossed for a toggle option.

    While the change would have a tremendous impact on the accounts I manage at work – and not in a positive way – I’d be much more upset to lose the freedom to manage my personal Twitter feed.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, the lack of an algorithm is Twitter’s differentiator and why users like us are so passionate about it. I’d hate to see the platform’s best feature cast aside in favor of potential profits, however necessary those dollars may be for a publicly traded company.

  • Mike Power

    And they are doing it to make our Twitter experience better and more relevant. How very kind of them. Nothing to do with monetisation, oh no! It ruined FB (for users, that is) and now Twitter is going down the same route. Well done.

  • Kitty Kilian

    I wholeheartedly agree. Actually, 1. most of my clients and many friends I have met through Twitter. 2. I hate Facebook. I hate the clutter, the fact that it is such a time sink, the fact that someone else is deciding what I should see and that I really have to take care what I like or else my entire timeline will shift yet again 3. Sorry to have to say it in this place 😉 but I hate shareholder capitalism. In the end it destroys all that is good. Like, I would gladly pay for Twitter. If it stayed ad-free and gave me my own raw data. But I never even get the offer.

  • Yes, I think you have reflected my sentiments too, Amanda. Thanks for commenting!

  • This could be true Mike. But the irony is as Facebook kept dumbing down the interface and introduing ads, etc, its usage kept going up. I’m sure the Twitter investors are aware of that : ) Thanks for sharing your insight.

  • I would pay for Twitter too. In fact, I would pay for an ad-free option on Facebook. I am guessing they have run the numbers on that and it must not make sense. Still, we can hope, right?

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Certainly you have been a big part of my random synergy Kitty! In fact, this blog post would have never been written without you! : )

  • Kitty Kilian

    I am sure they’re run the numbers. Bummer.

  • Kitty Kilian

    But also the fact that Twitter gives you very concise messages is important. Twitter is for readers. For speed. The Twitter-cards were a bad idea too for that matter.

  • Mike Power

    That is true but how much of that is down to it’s natural growth and the wider global uptake I really don’t know. I can only speak from my own experience and it has been one of increasing exposure not to things that are ‘relevant” to me but things that provide FB with an income, one way or another. I find that irritating and cynical.

  • allarminda

    I think this is the saddest post you ever written, Mark.

  • Claudia Licher

    My vote goes to a very visible toggle button. People who can’t handle their full home stream probably followed the wrong people anyway… but it’s not up to me to tell them how to make sense of Twitter. However I don’t want to miss out on the full Twitter stream. By the way, I rate my home stream by the number of ‘BS’ tweets I see whenever I’m on Twitter. Anyone who spoils my Twitter experience is then reviewed and unfollowed if their account has turned into a spam machine.

  • dave

    Hey Mark, I expected this day would come for twitter – no one likes it but it’s needed to grow. By not changing they are leaving the door open for a new twitter-esque service with feed relevancy to jump in the game, and by filtering the feed, they also open the door to a new service. Best solution is offer a toggle defaulted to filtered feed and allow users an ‘un-filter’ feed switch.

    You mentioned users can currently view their facebook newsfeeds unfiltered – I’m curious how this is done? While you may or may not scroll through all 300 or so items in your filtered facebook newsfeed, the 1200 other items facebook has already filtered out aren’t accessible to my knowledge.

  • Yes, agreed. It will only get worse. As a public company they must increase profits each quarter without end.

  • Well said Kitty.

  • : (

  • I do the same thing. Zero spam tolerance : )

  • In the left hand column under your photo there is a button for “news feed.” If you click “most recent” you will see your news in chronological order.

  • Judith Gotwald

    I have already been turned off by Twitter sending me daily emails telling me that a bunch of people who are selling stuff want me to read their tweets. The fun is gone.

  • Charles

    I would hope some new start-up would develop a subscription-based and/or freemium version of raw feed without advertising for those of us who like what Twitter was like before it went public.

  • dave

    I’m pretty sure thats just a sort option for the filtered newsfeed, not a toggle that lets you see an unfiltered story stream.

  • Amanda Changuris

    Follow-up question: does this open the door for a we-won’t-mess-with-your-feed startup? I’m skeptical about users making the jump in large numbers, but could it be sustainable?

  • You can turn those notifications off in the settings unless this is something new thatI haven’t seen.

  • Twitter has such a head start. MIllions plowed into technology. Would nto be easy to unseat them but I guess it is possible!

  • Mark I agree with you 1000% Chasing the “money” is never the right move, especially when it hurts the people that helped build your business/platform in the first place.

  • Michelle

    I’ve never liked that move with facebook and would be very disappointed twitter following the same path.


  • Bill Dorman

    I think it’s inevitable whether ‘we’ like it or not; it’s just the evolution of platforms with this type of reach. It is definitely a lot more main stream than it was just a couple of years ago, and that usually signifies main stream changes that aren’t necessarily good.

  • You’re right. I looked into this and the ability to see the entire feed through that button was discontinued about 18 months ago. Thanks for the catch. I have corrected the post!

  • Depends on how many people really care. We are kind of close to it, but if 95% of the people love a filtered feed, I guess they should go for it.

  • You are correct Bill, sadly.

  • UGH, no words, just ready for a new platform that “Listens to users”.

  • “Oh-give-me-a-home-where-the-buffalo-roam-and-the-deer-and-the-antelope-play”…
    Mark, I can’t help sense a bit of a lamentation like some shaggy bearded, Will Geer-looking pioneer in the Old West musing wistfully about “well, I remember when all we had was dial up but your content stream ran just as pure and unsullied as you please…” 🙂
    Not to make light of what is happening at Twitter (or to suggest you’re in need of a shave) but like those rolling prairies of the Great Plains sooner or later some damn yayhoo comes along and lays railroad tracks and then everything changes. That’s like what is happening at Twitter and while this change is not welcome in many circles for reasons you note, it also leaves a vacuum for some other enterprising bunch of visionaries to fill it with their brainchild.
    Shoot, it may even conjur a Twitter brand extension that includes a straight up, neat, no ice social media elixir from a group funded by Twitter for users who appreciate that, at least if they are as smart as we think they are they would.

    I’m reminded too that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure and that may prove to be the case here. So while change at Twitter may spark a migration to new country where the “land” is untainted, meanwhile back on the old stomping grounds businesses get built and commerce thrives. A big difference though between the Old West and the internet is with the latter the horizon goes on forever.

    Thanks Mark!

  • Aseem Jibran

    Your closing remarks say it all “That makes me sad. My head understand why Twitter would make this change but my heart is saying no, no, no!”.

    I wonder if there’s a way around for twitter? Any alternate through which they can keep the investors happy? or are we saying that the Facebook model is the only solution out there for social media channels?

  • Mark, I respectfully disagree. So many of us here feel like we’ve invested time into curating our newsfeeds that we don’t want that tampered with, but that’s a substantial investment of time and thought that most people aren’t willing to make. If you told me right now that Snapchat could change my life if I just spent some time figuring it out, I’d be hard pressed to find that time. I was fortunate to have more time back when I got started on Twitter, and even then I did so begrudgingly because it looked silly from the outside. Now if we all want the network to grow, if we all value new voices and new connections, then I think measures that lower that initial investment and shorten the path to value are a net win for the network and all of us as users. I cannot imagine Twitter would ever abandon real-time news entirely, they will just use an algorithm as a stepping stone to get new users into the boat more easily. And we’ll all be really glad once they’re in. What do you think of that theory?

  • Now just one darn tootin’ minute. Who you calling a gray beard?

    Yes, this is a lamentation, but I think it is not a lamentation constrained by older folks or the early adopters. The outcry on this issue has spanned the ages. Thanks for the great comment Craig!

  • The people at Facebook are pretty smart. They have so much data. I think they are probably the model.

  • I am so glad you dissented. Good for you. This is a very logical thought process and probably the way Twitter is looking at it. Many thanks for the superb comment Marshall.

  • It would be difficult to take on an established comoany like Twitter with all their technology and partnerships but i suppose it is not impossible.

  • Steve Mielczarek

    Did you know that when moles spit on worms, they’re favourite food, the worms, are paralyzed. Still conscious, but frozen.

  • Jeff Reed

    When my mother cut my food up for me as a child and reminded me to chew each bite 40 times before swallowing it was because of her love for me and my well being. It was NOT to benefit her.
    Twitter doesn’t really care about my well being. That isn’t Twitter’s role. I am a big boy now and can ( and probably will ) seek another option.
    Whining won’t work for us. If it did we would still have Google Reader.

  • Craig, I can imagine your idea of an option or extension to allow unfiltered tweets would be a winner for heavy Twitter users if filtering does occur. The default could be filtered for new users with the option to switch this off.

  • We have a winner! The strangest blog comment of all time. Congratulations sir!

  • As you said, pressure from Wall Street ultimately drives one away from one’s ethics. I know how to solve their problems, and have said so for years. 1.) Teach people how to use Twitter via short educational videos. This is the basic reason WHY more people do not use it. So changing the algo and the feed is the wrong solution to the right problem. 2.) Allow one’s lists to become tweetable, and so turn Twitter into “social mail” giving these lists the same capabilities as email. This pragmatic use of the lists would drive new users and usage.

  • I love my unfiltered feed and the ability to see things as they are unfolding globally. The ability to toggle between the raw feed and Twitter 2.0 would be supreme, and I hope they consider this route. As for the worms…

  • christinegeraci

    This is actually very interesting to me, although not too surprising, honestly. On one hand, this makes sense: There’s so much content out there, and people simply don’t have the time or even the mental capacity to get to it all (no offense, I include myself in that mental category!). On the other, this sucks for businesses (much like the new Facebook algorithms suck for businesses that can’t pay to play) because their exposure will continue swirling down the proverbial social toilet.

    But when I think about how I make the decision to begin following someone on Twitter, it almost never originates from something I randomly see in the newsfeed. It’s from a blog post I saw, a person I met at an event, a presentation I found useful. When it does, it’s because someone I already know or follow retweeted it, or interacted with a tweet from that person/entity in some way. If you’re on Twitter completely cold, and you’re faced with a choice between giving your time to a business and a person you know, I think you’re going to want to engage with the person you know FIRST, and THEN decide to follow a business based on what that trusted person thinks.

    That said, two choices come top of mind when I think about how to change the strategy: 1) Dump more money into social advertising (which could work), or 2) Rely more heavily on the captive audiences of current customers and employees to spread my message.

    Both choices cost money. But I think there’s more of a potential return on the second choice. I think you’re going to see more businesses (at least, the ones that can afford it) take more ownership over the social experiences they provide people, and will begin to design their own online communities and rely less on platforms they don’t fully own. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter will no longer be “second” homes for companies’ conversations, but rather the roads that direct people to the homes the companies build themselves for those conversations. Then, customers and employees become catalyst audiences for building that community, using social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The onus falls on the user to decide which social networks they’d like to use to share what they saw in the community.

    My favorite example of this is the Barclay Card Travel Community. I think it’s brilliant. It relies on customers to share their stories, their photos, their recommendations, then rewards them for doing so. I’d love to know how many people decided to get a Barclay Card because of that social community. Just my two (or four) cents!

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  • Gary Schirr

    Bummer! I hate knowing that my Facebook feed is optimized for revenue.

    I suppose Twitter could go part way and filter (manipulate) the main feed but allow unfiltered lists? Don’t Zuck-up Twitter!

  • On a personal level, I hate the likely changes in Twitter.

    But on a business level, I think they could be good. Most people in business circles that I come in contact with see little to no value in Twitter. Reach on Twitter is already low since there are relatively few Twitter users who are active. Just 44% of those who sign up for an account ever send a tweet. Fewer than 25% have even logged in during the last month. Many who do login only do so once a day at most, meaning they now have a LOT of content to slog through (depending on how many accounts they follow). It’s not uncommon for them to only view tweets from the last hour or two and then move on. Curation gives you a chance for that user to see your content.

    Perhaps most damning for certain businesses is the inability of Twitter to make anything go viral on Twitter. A popular Facebook post often continues to be seen for at least a day or two by users logging in, and when they share it, their friends then see it as well. Moderately viral posts last a few days longer and VERY viral posts last for a year or longer. A popular tweet has a lifespan of an hour, maybe a few hours at most, before the RTs and favorites dry up. Additionally, a Facebook “like” means that post is being seen by friends of the person who likes it, while Twitter’s “favorite” doesn’t have that power.

    Again, I’m personally very against the changes Twitter is proposing and think I may gradually move away from Twitter with these changes, just as I’ve gradually moved away from Facebook over the last 9 years. However, from a business perspective, I have to reluctantly admit there are some appealing things about it.

  • This is too bad! One of the reasons I like Twitter is the unfiltered content. I don’t want anyone to dictate what I see. Even toggling to me seems like quite a hassle. Facebook is a company who got too greedy and is being abandoned even if their numbers show that they are growing. It’s sad that Social Media is not really about being social. It all ends up being about revenues, wall street, ads and money. I hope that Twitter follows a different revenue path and keep its differentiation strategy.

  • kingtappa

    I am with you on this one. Using facebook is really frustrating at times. It seems to be all about ads and money

  • I just don’t understand the business value (I know it is all about Wall Street) of undoing the one key feature of your product that differentiates you from your competition. If Twitter moves to the algorithm model then it will be just another social platform with nothing unique about it. Not to mention that the entire “Tao of Twitter” will be completely ruined.

  • Hi Mark. I personally am not a fan of the idea that someone else gets to choose what I am seeing. If I follow someone on Twitter it is because I want to see what they have to say! I do think like others have mentioned that the best solution would be giving users the option to choose a view.

  • Stellar perspective as always Mark. To me this is a bone head move by Twitter and it underscores the lack of creativity in their exec staff when it comes to product marketing. It parallels what/how they handled Tweetdeck acquisition: they sat on their hands for 18 months before they finally realized how popular the platform was and finally moved the UI and features forward.

    Like you and others, I hate to see Twitter joining the Facebook and LinkedIn “algorithm” club in order to drive more ad revenue and “automate” the feed. Twitter’s new strategy underscores the tangible value (or lack thereof) of social media; as you well know and am sure counsel clients Mark, core content that brands and business own and control is becoming more important. Social is moving to algorithmic curation by the few for the many and “democratization” is in the rear view mirror!

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  • Love this wisdom sir!

  • Don’t know about those worms. Still puzzling over that one too.

  • Brilliant comment Christine and a wonderful blog post in its own right. Your comment is a gift. Thank you!

  • Now that would have been a great headline!

  • BOOM. This is a fantastic perspective. Thanks for this insightful contribution sir.

  • It is always about money. Of that we can be sure! Thanks Hoda!

  • I don’t think the Tao of Twitter will be ruined. But it will be different. And let’s face it … for MOST people this is probably going to be a huge improvement. They know Facebook and are used to the edited timeline. Most people still don’t really use Twitter.

  • Let’s hope. Thanks so much for commenting Kostas. I am glad to see you becoming a “regular!”

  • Very important point about ad costs. I also expect that they will be rising. Good for them. More difficult for small business.

  • Doug Bedell

    No changes to Twitter for the sake of bucks. Stay away Wall Street, Twitter is fine as it is!

  • Mark, I think you’ve “hit the nail in the head” with the way things will play out. I hope you’re wrong of course, as I know you do. However history shows us that the likes of Facebook and Twitter very often don’t listen to the core of passionate users and plough on with their money-making strategies.

    It reminds me of when Twitter changed their API last year. They made it much more difficult for app developers to use and switched off RSS feeds. There was an outcry, but Twitter didn’t care because it was a business decision.

    Speaking of the API, I wonder whether this will provide a way round filtered posts or whether Twitter will pass on filtered posts to the API. If they don’t, 3rd party apps such as HootSuite, SproutSocial and Sendible could offer unfiltered Tweets?

    To be honest, I am really concerned about this. It could be the end of an era and the end of Twitter as it is. I feel helpless because, defeatist as it is, there isn’t anything I can do about it.

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  • We need to find another digital frontier “app” – try WeChat, try Weibo…

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  • Pauline Baird Jones

    NO!!!!!! 🙁 Sadly, I think you are right. Twitter is, ultimately, a business. They have to run their business their way. It confirms advice I’ve heard about building your own platform, having a place that you control.

  • Emily E. Williams

    I can already hear the complaints and annoyances”Twitter is just like Facebook now”…makes me sad

  • Jon Ferchen

    Wow! Great piece and this will be sad if it happens. We need to teach more newbies how to make Twitter Lists. It’s the only way to go!

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  • “My head understands why Twitter would make this change but my heart is saying no, no, no!” I’m with you. I’d be really bummed to see feeds change but can understand why they might want to go that route. I’ve always considered Twitter my favorite but a change to the algorithm would definitely change my opinion.

  • Social media is increasingly becoming a paid game, dominated by a handful of paying players that were early in — the rest can’t get over the cultural hump. This is the beginning of the end of “viral” as we’ve come to know it over the last few years. The Facebookification of Twitter as you say, is the dawn of the fabrication of viral. It will call into question the very democratizing effect the web was founded on. Those purist voices voices of yesteryear are are aging and fading and that’s a damn shame. A little bit of purity keeps the web honest.

  • Just 44% ever tweet? Whoa. Where’s that data come from? Hurts to read that.

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  • Hi Mark, this is a really great overview to help folks understand what is happening. I’m very sad that the path seems to be the “Facebookization of Twitter”. The Twitter management are smart people and I’m hoping they’ll come up with something that keeps Twitter unique in the market and continuing to provide value to it’s user community. Of course they have to “monetize” to survive, but does that really mean copy something else? I hope not. Facebook is currently under threat for not providing value to it’s advertisers so why follow that path? G+ tried to follow that same path and who talks about it anymore? I truly believe Twitter will do something unique and different to “make ends meet”.

    Facebookification of Twitter

  • Hi Mark,

    Yes, this would be scary. Hopefully Twitter will retain an all-feed option.

    I believe Facebook still does have one, though it is getting harder and harder to find it (especially on mobile). I use the “all news” option in Facebook — never the “top news” one. Yeah, FB must hate me b/c I am an outlier in oh so many ways. 🙂

  • BINGO! Thank you Jeff for reminding us that these companies are businesses and not our caregivers – Twitter, Facebook, Google – they are businesses – successful businesses. A business isn’t successful if it doesn’t make money. And whether or not ‘we’ believe the changes they make are mistakes, is irrelevant because it’s their mistake to make, not ours.

    We need to stop getting so comfortable in other peoples houses because they can remodeled them whenever they want and in whatever way they want.

  • Since the filtering would be presumably done by individual preference I am guessing that would not affect an API feed. Thanks for commenting Ian.

  • They need to get The Tao of Twitter!

  • Hopefully we will gave an option to keep it the same if we want to!

  • “Fabrication of viral.” Interesting idea. Almost like it could be controlled, right? I suppose it could be.

  • No problem, Mark. I would like to be more involved with your wonderful blog- must remember to actually leave more comments!

    Time will tell with the API. The problem is, now that Twitter requires you to authenticate yourself when you connect to it (i.e. prove you are who you say you are), it could very easily pass on the filtered tweets via the API. Despite that, I am sure app developers could re-order them by date and time. Sorry to be a little techy, but I am thinking about ways we can keep our Twitter streams pure and unfiltered! 🙂

  • I’m not so sure it’s a matter of copying or that there are just so few options. Not much room to maneuver.

  • Christine Webber

    As usual financial gain predominates! I know that’s the way of the world but I want to be in control of who communicates with me and that’s what Twitter offers. We need variety of approaches from our social media platforms or else we face being bombarded with information we do not want wherever we turn.

  • I’m sure there are lots of options, they just haven’t figured out what they are yet. But, I believe they will (or not survive).

  • Christine, IMO that is an intriguing point. You want to be in control of who communicates with you. I agree, so do I. So, could that be the key? Perhaps an advertising service based on your real choices not something “algorithmically” calculated and fed to you in an overbearing way?

  • Christine Webber

    That would be just perfect. I’ll be the first to sign me up for it!

  • Money will drive all decisions here. Unless Twitter thinks the change is going to have dramatic consequences we should expect them to make the change. I am not happy about that at all.

    The way it has turned into more of a broadcast channel has already made it more challenging to use.

  • Todd Lyden

    Mark, if the concern is getting more folks they need to do something don’t they? You think the draw is the unfiltered feed… maybe a user-designed filter is the solution?

  • Kristin Austin

    I’ve loved twitter (and facebook) BUT frankly I’m getting so sick of having my communications choices limited by what a platform thinks I should see, I’m almost at the point of unplugging. Twitter seriously WTF!!!! Leave my feed, as created by me, the hell alone.

  • Pure and techy always welcomed here!!!

  • Why do we need short videos when we have The Tao of Twitter, the official user manual for Twitter? : )

    This does hit directly at the problem. If you need a tutorial to learn how to use something, you have a problem on your hands. That is exactly Twitter’s problem.

  • Yes, as I stated in the article I totally understand why they need to do it. We already have a user-designed filter — Twitter Lists. : )

  • Agree Jack. Follow the money and you will see where it is going.

  • I am talking from Twitter’s perspective. If they want more people consuming and engaged with their services, they should reach out and teach the average user (not me) how to leverage their platform. The average person is more likely to watch short videos than read any book.

  • Dave

    Very interesting, and I agree with you, Mark!

    I noticed months ago that Twitter “follow suggestions” and “discover” things started looking eerily like sites I had visited. I found a Twitter that would allow this observing my web surfing for generating suggestions. But it was unchecked! And clearly still happening.

    With their tepid stock value, they must have people harassing them for mo’ money all the time. So things have been creeping slowly towards the pimpin’. 🙂


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  • Its and absolute fact. If you love something on the Internet one day, it will change the next day to your disliking. I’ve given up trying to adjust and get to like anything because soon as I grasp and enjoy something it changes and usually gets worse or meaningless. It seems like when something good is out there it will eventually sour. It must be a fact of the Internet and Twitter.

  • Sigh. When I look at social media or professional sports or collegiate sports, I can’t help thinking that money ruins everything.

  • Mark, you’ve confirmed my fears when it comes to Twitter. And it plays to what we have always known, that the value lies in our connections, across multiple platforms, and with our own blogs and business websites. The fact is, no matter how much we like, or dislike a social network, it will inevitably change. I appreciate you and your articles here because you speak with an honest voice, and provide value to us, your readers, with posts like this that get me thinking about my next moves. Thanks for your friendship and invaluable blogging insight.
    All the best,

  • That’s true, Mark, but Lists are pretty obscure. I’m an active Twitter user, and I still can’t fit lists into my way of thinking. It takes a lot of work and maintenance, like organizing bookmarks.

    I only use one list, which is curated by someone else (Random House). There could be a good business model in transforming lists into a more extensive feature that more people could use. And it could have options that included “Don’t modify my experience!!!

  • Hope you don’t mind me entering this conversation. Jonathan, I think you’re right in saying Twitter lists are pretty obscure – at least with the average Twitter user and in fact with quite a few professionals. However, I can’t see how I’d cope without them. Once you start following over 1000 people, you need to start segmenting these into different lists. For example, I have my “cool geeks” list (of which Mark is quite obviously a member) which has all the marketing or geeky people I want to keep a close eye on. Then I have my “local” list for all the people who live near me- and who I want to interact with regularly. I don’t often bother with my timeline because these two lists are my timeline. Having said that, when I do want to zoom out and see everything, I use my main timeline- and occasionally I see something interesting. They might even make one of my lists!

  • christinegeraci

    Really appreciate it Mark! Your blog is so useful and insightful.

  • I say they should go with the toggle, but then they would probably phase it out just like FB. I miss the FB toggle, and am thinking of moving my focus beyond the Tweeterverse.

  • God point.

  • It’s not the money, per se. It’s having no other motive for the entire economy but quarterly profits for stockholders.

  • It’s having no other motive for the entire economy but quarterly profits for stockholders. It ruins everything that acquires value. The more rapid and expansive the value acquisition, the faster and more complete the ruination.

  • Harder to monetize custom filter.

  • Sure could, at least for the many unexamined lives. Methinks Frank just hit upon a viral phrase, or what would have been one, back in the days before “fabrication of viral”.

  • Great ghost! now I have to look up “twitter lists”, while I’ve already strayed too far from, “find work”. Meanwhile, “find work” will be around much longer.

  • Lasting value must be owned, not given away. Yepperz!

  • Here’s hoping…

  • Most people are, in these regards, frogs being slowly brought to a boil. Took me months to notice the lack of “Recent News” (or whatever) on FB.

  • ’bout time someone pointed out the kids aren’t signing up for FB anymore.

  • Bravo+! Early adopter actually takes a stab at answering the question. I don’t like these answers, but at least she tried, and they may well work for most readers here.

  • Pingback: October Best of the Web: Launch Your Learning()

  • Hi Ian,

    Sorry to be so late responding to you. I haven’t logged into Disqus for a while, so I didn’t see your comment. Thank you very much for the advice. I’m starting to use lists.

  • That’s great to hear! What I love about social media is that we’re all learning together! Ian

  • Aniketh

    Mark, I believe that this is just an announcement. I have observed a pattern where Twitter is already showing filtered view by default. In an attempt to personalize, Google Search & Facebook have already adopted a ‘bubble’ approach. However, they had openly announced it. Twitter on the other hand hasn’t. I follow a lot of users Internationally for my news feed including you. I see very few updates from people that I really wanted to hear from when compared to 3 years ago. Time to enable a network that doesn’t filter so much. 🙁 eg: I follow a brand that I manage. I tweet from the brand profile. I switch to my profile to see it on my feed. Never get to see it even after a refresh!

  • I say, “If it is not broke don’t fix it”. I love the randomness of Twitter. You never know what you will learn or with whom you will connect. I don’t like Facebook as much because of their new ALGORITHM. It is the revenge of the Math Nerds on the kids that are more socially adept. As a marketer, I understand why Twitter might consider this. However, why be like Facebook?

  • medianmarketing

    As I can see Mark, Twitter has already started doing this. I manage two accounts from my mobile, one personal and another of my firm and both follow each other. But I cannot see the tweets of one on the other, so I have to search from the account after tweeting.

    In my opinion, Twitter audience ( unlike Facebook) is not diversified enough for this experiment. By which I mean, that, if the passionate users ( as indicated by you) decide to walk out, Twitter will suddenly start making less sense and will have less relevance. After all, people don’t get on Twitter to stay in touch with friends but make meaningful dialogues with strangers and acquaintances alike.

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