WHAT'S CHANGING ON TWITTER
Twitter is rolling out a "while you were away" recap, pulling tweets to the top of your feed based on your actions and preferences. Kind of like how Facebook shows you the posts it thinks you'll like most. So, after a restful slumber or an elongated break away from the Twittersphere, you'll be enthusiastically welcomed back by the presumed interesting stories that you might have missed.
This feature is rolling out slowly, and has so far received mixed reviews. But we can expect that it will soon be premiering on smartphones everywhere.
WHY IS TWITTER CHANGING?
This past October, Twitter changed it's Head of Product. Which means Twitter will be trying out some new tactics to impress the executives and stakeholders. Twitter currently has about 284 million active users, and it's aiming to catch up to Facebook's 1.3 billion user base. This change seems to be held in higher favor than other recent changes - like Tweets popping up in your timeline from people you don't follow and sponsored suggested accounts. When it comes to new ideas, this change is definitely more useful.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS
This is a first for the Twitter brand--taking a step away from it's faithfully chronological timeline. It is not completely unexpected though, brands everywhere have been bracing themselves for the addition of a Twitter algorithm for quite some time.
We've all felt the emotional undoing that comes from a perfectly executed tweet going unnoticed. Confidently pressing the "Tweet" button--full of hope, certain of our impending popularity--only to sink slowly back down from our clouds as the minutes tick by without a single Favorite or RT. With a purely chronological timeline, good content can be lost in the onslaught of a continuously moving feed.
The "while you were away" function will now keep the hope alive, even as the clock keeps ticking. Now, those of your fans who do engage with your content are more likely to be exposed to your content with the 'recap' feature. So, in the same way your brand posts are weeded out through clever little algorithms on Facebook, your most faithful tweeps--the ones who engage with you regularly, the ones Faith Hill wrote the "The Way You Love Me" song about (Note: Fact unchecked), will see your posts, even hours later.
The catch here is that Twitter is taking into account your inactivity. Which presumably means tweets posted at mostly inactive hours will--in a way--be rewarded. We could all be bombarded with midnight brand Tweets in the race to be displayed in the coveted morning recap. Eggs just taste better with a side of subliminal messaging.
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