Are Twitter considering adding filters to newsfeeds? | Miratel Solutions

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How might Twitter adding news filters impact nonprofits?

When it comes to social media for nonprofits I’m still a huge advocate of  the power of Twitter to broadcast your updates and messages. Overall your Twitter audience are typically more in tune with your specific feed items than Facebook for example and by audience I mean potential supporters. No matter how many changes Facebook make to their newsfeed it’s still infinitely quicker to search for content you find relevant on Twitter in addition to your feed generally working in better harmony with your interests.

The bad news is that this could be moving towards a model of filtered feeds such as you currently see on your Facebook page, a change on Facebook that many, myself included have found to be very annoying. The problem with filtered feeds is that the social media tool tends to emphasize your most ‘obvious’ interests but omits those that might be on the periphery or indeed news that you might find really interesting but are no longer even being exposed to. If that sounds confusing its because it is, filtering feeds is performed via a complex set of algorithms which are designed to enhance your online experience but in reality it becomes much like being delivered a Sunday newspaper with half of the sections missing entirely.

Twitter CFO Anthony Noto made comments this week that lead many to think what we see on our Twitter feeds might be set to change dramatically. He said:

“If you think about our search capabilities we have a great data set of topical information about topical tweets. This opens up the opportunity for an algorithm that delivers the depth and breadth of the content we have on a specific topic and then eventually as it relates to people.”

The unfortunate piece of this if it does happen is that it could mean that Twitter are about to change one of the things that makes is most enjoyable by creating a filtered view, set by Twitter, of the content that you’ll likely be exposed to. In theory the idea sounds refreshing and designed to provide greater relevance in what we see and read but if it works in a similar fashion to Facebook it becomes a filter that actually ends up excluding information at the cost of this apparent refinement.

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If the implementation of filtered tweets turns out to be as arbitrary as the recent addition of ‘favourites’ (featured tweets that Twitter thinks you’ll like) then I fear it can only be a negative change. If you’ve paid attention to the favourites feature it includes tweets that might not seem particularly relevant to you or even more strangely frequently turn out to be tweets from people you’re not even following.

For nonprofits it means that better use of Twitter – or following a fairly rigid set of protocols becomes ever more important.

To combat the changes as someone who tweets the best solutions are taking the time to further refine your use of hashtags. Adding hashtags to all updates and working harder to ensure the hashtags have real value/interest and are pertinent to your content is an important task, as is including certain keywords within the body of your tweet whenever possible and appropriate. Ideally these are practices you already employ when using Twitter but this is a great time to improve your methods for the sake of consistency and ultimately to help your tweets to be discovered. Hashtag research does take some time but definitely impacts the likelihood of your content being seen.

Another important consideration if algorithms are set to kick in is your followed/follower list. Your network will become an important part of how any algorithim works so if for example your nonprofit is focused on healthcare or helping the homeless the more accounts that you follow or who follow you in your specific field will help to raise your profile in terms of this data crunching which in turn adds volume to your voice and would help your content show up in the feeds of others.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Twitter to see if these changes are rolled out – if they are the steps above can help your content continue to find new donors and even if nothing changes these are important best practices on Twitter. If you have any comments or questions whatsoever please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including PCI compliant inbound telephone fundraisingoutbound telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery fundraising servicesdonation processing and receipting and direct mail fundraising services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all our business decisions  and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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