Twitter announced it will soon introduce two new meta-data fields for their API: language and filter level. “Language” will identify the language the tweets are written in and “filter level” will segment tweets into four filterable categories: (none, low, medium, and high). In plain English, your tweets can now be segregated by language, and by an unknown hierarchical algorithm.
Businesses using Twitter should take note. These changes will inevitably affect how users are able to interact with their followers on the platform.
The State of Twitter
The Guardian U.K. ran a story last week postulating that Twitter isn’t making money. Though this is contrary to what Twitter implies, the Guardian uses some pretty compelling information to make their case (like the reported January 2013 net income of £16,500 for Twitter U.K., which is about $26K USD). They go on to recount all of the branded activity (Oreos in the Super Bowl, other stuff) that happens on Twitter without Twitter receiving any revenue.
Twitter is also largely expected to go public within the next year. With a Facebook-like need for advertising revenue and a means to decrease reach similar to EdgeRank, the likely progression is that one of the advanced filters will become the default display for Twitter. It should be noted that Twitter’s announcement of this change said initially that “none” would be the default setting. Users would opt-in to more advanced filters.
What it makes sense for them to do eventually is to make one of the advanced settings default and make users opt-out of the settings. Doing this would emulate Facebook’s set-up where users can see all of a brand’s posts if they take the time and effort to opt-in. The vast majority don’t.
Does the future look bright (for Google)?
Once default filters are implemented, this will essentially make Facebook and Twitter vehicles for (enhanced) interruption marketing. When businesses understand the necessity to commit dollars to social platforms for advertising and reach, I wonder if AdWords (and to a lesser extent AdCenter) will benefit? So far as tangible results, Facebook and Twitter can’t consistently match the results of Google’s ad product. I’m curious if the tendency for a lot of businesses to look for return on investment might send dollars down a more risk-averse path?
I also wonder how users will respond to the changes. It’s difficult to judge how filtered results will look, and my initial reaction to these changes was that Google Plus might be a more appealing microblogging site. But also recall that Google Plus has their slider filters that work more or less the same way.