Tag Archives: Twitter Feed

Twitter's New Filtered Feed Policy

Twitter is about to ruin itself.

I’m convinced that the people who made and run both Facebook and Twitter don’t have a clue as to what Facebook and Twitter are for. And by “for” I mean how the users use them. I know, I know, if you are not paying for the product than you are the product. I get it. But it is also true that for a service to be successful it should meet a need or two, and knowing what those needs are is ultimately linked to success or failure. It seems like on line services like Facebook and Twitter are too big to go away or fail. And that is exactly how we humans tend to view established institutions right up until the day the go away or fail.

Twitter’s CFO has said that Twitter will start to filter your twitter feed in a manner like Facebook does. This probably means that your feed will contain a subset of tweets that you normally would see depending on who you follow, or what list of tweeters you are looking at. There may be a technological way around this, but any fix provided by an updated API will not be helpful because Twitter has a reputation for changing the API (the way programmers use to interface with it) in such a way as to stifle development of applications that actually use twitter. Any larger scale or longer term investment in Twitter requires using the simplest interface, with few bells and whistled, or the rug may be pulled from underneath your project.

One of the great uses of Twitter is shared conversations (like this one) or shared not taking at conferences. Other uses include data collection and communication of ongoing processes. People have used twitter to record the catch by fisherfolk in marine conservation projects, for example. If Twitter Facebook-i-fies the Twitter feed, none of that will be possible because those projects and others like them require reliability of the flow of tweets.

Mathew Ingram of Gigaom notes:

An unfiltered stream is a core feature: This might seem like a small thing, similar to Twitter’s move to insert tweets that other people have favorited into a user’s stream if there aren’t any recent tweets to show them. But as the controversy over that feature shows, the Twitter chronological-order model is at the core of what the service offers for many users — and a number of them have specifically said it is the thing they like most about Twitter when compared to Facebook.