Platform: it’s the content you produce that matters

Twitter celebrated its tenth brithday this week. Picture: John Devlin
Twitter celebrated its tenth brithday this week. Picture: John Devlin
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TWITTER may or may not be morphing into a Facebook-style service but, says Alyson Pearson, the principles for brands keen to engage their audiences will remain the same come what may

Over the last 12 months the winds of change have been blowing through Twitter HQ. After numerous reports have shown the service isn’t adding new users, Twitter timelines will now be sorted by relevance instead of recency. This is what Facebook have been doing to your news feed for years: personalising content, personalising ads. Has Twitter caved?

For Twitter purists, the replacement of the favourite button to a heart shaped like button and a new “Moments” section was a sign that the social network was shifting towards the Facebook model.

The suggestion that tweets could have a new 10,000 character limit also raised eyebrows. Other less controversial features like the integration of Periscope livestreams into feeds have been given the thumbs-up. The ability to share videos in DMs was also recently introduced.

The relevancy model troubles avid users of the social network for a variety of reasons. Clusters of similar content could overload users with one subject, product or service. Users may regularly see tweets that they have seen before and there is a possibility that conversations could appear out of step after curation. “Tweetstorms”, a favourite of the twitterati, could also potentially be a thing of the past.

For CEO Jack Dorsey, these changes don’t signal a U-turn in the ethos of the social network. “What makes Twitter, Twitter,” he said in January, “is its fast, public, live conversational nature.

“We will always work to strengthen that.” One thing is for sure, this has certainly sparked conversation on the network – plug in the hashtag #RIPtwitter and wait for the invective. Twitter loves an angry mob.

For brands and publishers trying to elevate their Twitter output, the principles behind a good strategy won’t change. The most successful voices in the twittersphere have been concentrating not only on what they publish, but when they publish and who they target, for years. It’s no secret that producing timely, relevant content that is tailored to your audience’s interests is a key ingredient of success. Ultimately, it’s not the platform you use but the content that you produce that matters.

• Alyson Pearson is head of marketing at Caliber