Twitter receives more than 500 million tweets each day. Volume can reach an astounding 143,199 tweets in a single second! So with these kinds of numbers, you can see why it’s really easy for tweets to get lost in space.
That’s why Twitter built an algorithm. An algorithm is a mathematical formula that works behind the scenes performing a task on data to present results. In this case the Twitter algorithm works on your behalf to show you the most relevant tweets at the top of your timeline when you log in.
So, basically speaking, you are going to get the tweets that Twitter thinks you most care about based on your activity on Twitter. Pretty simple, but really not. Which is why some people are confused about it and how to use it.
In 2014, Twitter introduced features called recommended tweet, accounts and topics from other timelines. This brought strangers into your Twitter living room. In 2015 Twitter introduced While You Were Away (WYWA). This was an advanced algorithm that looked at the top performing tweets of people that you follow and showed them to you, just in case you missed them. In 2016 Twitter “en massed” the algorithm that powered WYWA. Everybody lost their minds, threatened to boycott Twitter, but Twitter only grew. Good move Twitter.
So putting relevant information in front of people works. Information Science ROCKS! Curation makes information USEFUL and people respond to that en masse.
The Twitter algorithm continues to boost tweets to the top of your feed based on:
- accounts you interact with
- tweets you engage in
- hashtags you click
- links you click
- who you follow
- who follows you
- media engagements (opening pictures and video)
- much more
This gives what you see much more relevance to you, to what you do, what you think and what, presumably, you want to see. That is powerful.
Now the newest feature is called In Case You Missed It and this is for people who log in less often and is like an aggregator of all the WYWA tweets.
Twitter actually lets you shut this off, unlike Facebook and Instagram.
To recap, here is what we know about the algorithm and your awareness of these allows you to master it as you tweet. It will take time for you to become aware of these like second nature. But in time you will develop a mastery of Twitterese, the language of Twitter. So let’s review.
- Engagement – the more you interact the more you are rewarded with visibility
- Timing – the more you are aware of the best time to tweet the more you are seen.
- Rich Media – use engaging photos and videos
- Location – know where your best audience is and give them two nods
- Hashtags – Use hashtags that refer to your tweet content and channel vibe
- Experiment, experiment, experiment – Make sure that you continue to work with the algorithm and not against it. If the algorithm suggests, you know you are using the power of millions of aggregated data points relevant to you and your followers and their followers.
So the bottom line in mastering the algorithm is to
- be aware of it
- memorize what it does
- watch it work
- work with it
- let your relationship with the algorithm become second nature.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you did please like and follow us on Twitter
See you around the Social Universe!