Hey, have you noticed that your tweets are getting a lot less reach and engagement of late?
You’re not alone - apparently, a heap of users have noticed a sharp decline in engagement ever since Twitter launched its swipeable ‘Following’ feed, and started pushing a lot more recommended tweets into each users’ main ‘For You’ timeline.
Nobody knows, and Twitter itself is at pains trying to work out what’s what at present.
In a tweet thread, Dave Rubin, whom himself had seen a big drop in tweet engagement, has outlined how Elon Musk recently invited him to Twitter HQ to see the work that they’re doing, and get a better understanding of their algorithmic improvement efforts.
Spent last two days at Twitter in SF talking to engineers, product managers and yes, @elonmusk. Learned a ton about what’s going on. Before I share, want to note that after couple hour meeting I asked Elon what I could share and he said, “anything that’s true.”— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) January 26, 2023
Rubin explains that Twitter’s engineers have been struggling to work out how to get all of their newer updates into line with the app’s existing codebase.
“As they fix the code more problems arise. A delicate balance [Musk] likened to a Jenga tower. One wrong move the whole thing collapses. They’re working nonstop, and both times I met him were after midnight.”
Indeed, Musk and his Twitter 2.0 team are apparently poring over lines of code to try and iron out issues.
I met with several engineers who were doing a deep dive on why my account and so many others seem to be absolutely crushed after that two or three week return to normalcy when Elon first took over. They still have more questions than answers, but they did learn a bunch of stuff.— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) January 26, 2023
Rubin further notes that Twitter’s engineering team has found many back-end account penalties and moderation elements, which are also restricting tweet reach, some of which appear to have been amplified by recent updates.
But they don’t know which, or why exactly.
Apparently, Musk is now considering tearing down the entire codebase and starting from scratch. Not sure what that means from a functional standpoint - and I’m not sure that Elon does either - but evidently, things are not going great at Twitter HQ, and there’s much to do in order to get things moving in the right track.
Will that harm Twitter engagement long-term?
Right now, Twitter engagement has apparently declined significantly from the ‘record highs’ that Elon was bragging about back in November, and if they can’t identify the issues at play, maybe these issues will keep impacting reach and engagement, and subsequent tweet visibility.
That could result in users tweeting less and less, or maybe, Twitter will get things back on track soon. Either way, it’s worth noting that if you are seeing a decline in tweet engagement right now, there might be a reason for that.
Or your tweets are bad, and getting worse. That could also be true as well.
In other news:
Just met with @SpeakerMcCarthy & @RepJeffries to discuss ensuring that this platform is fair to both parties— Mr. Tweet (@elonmusk) January 26, 2023
So Elon’s taking steps to talk about how to better align the platform’s algorithms with American political discussion. Or it would be, if anyone could work how the code actually functions.
Expect more changes to be incoming at the app.
NOTE: Some former Twitter staff have speculated that the impacts relate to code updates designed to amplify tweets from Twitter Blue subscribers. The theory is that with Twitter Blue accounts getting additional reach, that's then artificially influencing the algorithm to weight their tweets in a different way, which is causing confusion in future ranking.