If you’ve been using social media to market your business, you’re likely already aware how Facebook uses a complex algorithm to control what content users see, significantly limiting the reach of the content you post unless you pay to have it promoted.
Rumors that a similar change may be coming to Twitter was enough to send the tech world into a tizzy, but Twitter CEO Dick Costolo called the allegations an absurd synthesis of what was actually said – that the reverse chronological order in which Tweets appear isn’t necessarily ideal for all users, and that there needs to be a way for people who log onto Twitter only infrequently to be able to see top Tweets at a glance. In other words, you’re not going to wake up tomorrow to find that Twitter has completely reconfigured itself – but you do need to know that change is coming.
What Does A Curated Content Experience Mean?
If you delve into the conversation surrounding the proposed Twitter changes, you’re going to see the phrase “Content Curation” thrown around a lot. Content curation, at its simplest, boils down to the social media platform deciding what end users get to see. This is not a new concept: editors at traditional newspapers (remember those?) had absolute control over what stories did or didn’t make it into print, and if readers didn’t like it, then that was just too bad.
Social media blew that dynamic right out to the water, allowing users to create wholly opt-in environments where they choose all the voices they want to listen to. Facebook’s move has been to prioritize content within that opt-in environment; it’s an effort that has been successful in driving businesses to pay for advertising, but has left end users mildly disgruntled at best, ready to abandon the platform at worst. The “Don’t Like Anything!” campaign on Facebook is a natural outgrowth of user’s unwillingness to have their social media experience manipulated; Twitter users have traditionally been even more fiercely protective of their space.
That being said, the vast majority of Twitter users (the folks who aren’t on Twitter nearly 24/7) have shown a marked appreciation for being able to find and follow Tweets that are of interest to them quickly. This was shown during the World Cup. Watch for Twitter to expand and build on what worked then – namely robust results for hashtag searches and prioritization of the most popular Tweets, with an ongoing emphasis on Tweets that include images – during the NFL season.
The single smartest way for business owners to capitalize on Twitter traffic is to participate in larger, ongoing conversations. If Twitter is making it easier for us to identify where those conversations are happening, that’s great news. However, if moves are made to silence entrepreneurial voices (unless we ante up for advertising!) that’s not so great. We’ll be keeping an eye on this situation as it develops to let you know what’s happening. Check back here for the news!