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Will New Twitter Filter Hurt Small Businesses?

person typingOne of the things that made Twitter most attractive to marketers is the fact that it allows anyone and everyone to see your tweets for free. Unlike Facebook, which uses sponsored and promoted posts to expand a business’ outreach, Twitter allows everyone’s tweet to be seen regardless of its “value.” Most Facebook posts only get seen by a small percentage of fans or friends, unless you pay to promote them. 

For small businesses just starting out, Twitter holds a lot of responsibility in maintaining a solid social media marketing strategy. Small businesses use Twitter to engage and inform fans of new products or services witho
ut having to pay.

But this could change according to Twitter’s Feb. 13 blog post. Developer Arne Roomann-Kurrik said the company would soon be adding a filter field to tweets to determine values. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, Twitter’s filter attribute will appoint values to tweet, classifying them with “none,” “low,” “medium,” and, in the future, “high.” Roomann-Kurrik said the tweets valued at “medium” or “high” would equate to the top tweet results on Twitter.

This means that Twitter’s streaming API will be able to rank which tweets are most important and how high they will be placed in the feed for developers. Though Roomann-Kurrik doesn’t explain how each tweet will be judged and ranked, big businesses with a large following and a high frequency of engagement will probably take over these top spots. For a company that founded itself on the notion that anyone should be able to share short, intimate, important thoughts or anecdotes, this change could leave some Twitter users feeling worthless, especially small businesses. 

While some developers, and big corporations would deem this change useful because it weeds out “useless” tweets, small business owners could be at a terrible loss. Small businesses attempting to establish a reputable social media presence might be unable to achieve this due to a small number of followers. With this new filter, most developers won’t see tweets by small businesses even when they use a hashtag. Instead, tweets holding the most value will appear at the top of the feed under the hashtag search results (AKA the users who have hundreds of thousands of followers.) 

The new filter integration undermines the possibility to market to an endless pool of consumers, which was an action Twitter originally promoted. There’s no doubt that Twitter wants to make money, and understandably so, but this is going to hurt a lot of small businesses and possibly discourage individual users from using the site.

It’s also going to limit the amount of diversity in tweets. Instead of seeing different opinions from various users responding to a certain hashtag, you’re going to see big companies advertising their brands (as if they really needed to advertise more).

While this change is inevitable, small businesses need to make sure they know how to continuously engage followers. This might require hiring a social media agency, or it might mean vigorously tweeting using hashtags, mentions and links. Either way, small business expansion on Twitter is going to take a big hit.

Join The Conversation

  • Sep 24 Posted 3 years ago Serkan Yılmaz

    I use http://followerfilter.com/ for Searching User- Tweet RT and Favorite listing and deletion - Unfollower finding an deletion. Even the site is new, it works well!

    Site also allows you to see any twitter user's (included yours) unfollowers, followers and followings without login.

    Of course it's free and unlimited!

  • Jeremy Taylor's picture
    Feb 19 Posted 4 years ago Jeremy Taylor

    I think you've misunderstood what Twitter have said. I can't see anything to suggest this will affect the way tweets appear in the stream - you should probably clarify this because it seems to be causing some confusion.

  • StatusPeopleRob's picture
    Feb 18 Posted 4 years ago StatusPeopleRob

    I just read the post from Twitter and I'm not quite sure that this will impact in the way you suggest, All they seem to be doing is allowing developers to more easily filter content based on language and relevance. Not changing the wayTwitter works.

  • Patrick Cummings's picture
    Feb 18 Posted 4 years ago Patrick Cummings

    The post from Twitter is not about filtering at the top level for the entire audience. Twitter is offering developers a way to filter content through integration with their API. Twitter is extending an existing API for developers.

    I do not understand your correlation in term of impacting small businesses negatively. In terms of visibility, developers will now be able to filter streaming based on a Tweets value. (Value seems to correlate to already existing algorithm such as "Top Tweets" results for searches on twitter.com). My suspicion, applications which choose to implement this feature will improve visibility for small businesses as they are not the users adding noise but are the users adding high quality information about their industry or business. 


  • Matt Aster's picture
    Feb 18 Posted 4 years ago Matt Aster

    This is all very similar to Facebook's Edgerank. Small businesses, generally, are the ones that have resorted to buying followers/fans/retweets, this puts them at a disadvantage. People/Businesses/Brands that worked hard to build up a following and focus on engagement (rather than # of followers) shouldn't be impacted too heavily. 

    In my opinion of course.

  • Feb 18 Posted 4 years ago Techgain

    Nice post. Thanks For sharing the article!!

  • Feb 18 Posted 4 years ago Zach Y.

    This is unfortunate for small businesses.  The ever changing landscape of social seems to be continuously creating new opportunities and challenges for marketers.  Here's another speed bump for everyone to navigate for launching projects.

  • SLRupert's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 4 years ago SLRupert

    Exactly!! And Tumblr or Pinterest!

  • sociallysavvyva's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 4 years ago SAVVE_Support

    Wow, this is really going to hurt a lot of small businesses that use Twitter!  But this also highlights why it's important not to rely on just one social media platform.  These types of changes are really encouraging small businesses to explore other options like Google+ since it doesn't limit your exposure. 


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