One of the reasons social media outlets are popular is because it allows the user to control who they interact with. Violating this very important component of this medium greatly upsets users who in essence have made these companies international organizations with multibillion-dollar evaluations. Making changes that result in the loss of control for the user can and will eventually results in a large rate of attrition. Twitter (News - Alert) has made a change in its definition of its timeline, which will allow it to, as it states on the company's site, "When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that's popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don't follow."
Twitter is going to make these decisions based on, "We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting."
Additionally, "Timelines can also consist of collected Tweets from users in lists that you've curated or as search results. When you click on a list, you will see an aggregated stream of Tweets (a timeline) posted by the users included in that list."
What an algorithm thinks is interesting to a user, and what the user thinks is interesting can be two very different things, and no matter how much big data analytics and artificial intelligence has advanced, at the end of the day the option should be left to the user.
A report on the Guardian highlights an example of a Tweet that was pushed on Matt Saywards account from his step father Peter Timms, who passed away last June. Mr. Saywards knew his stepfather had passed away, but the algorithm that made the decision to push the tweet obviously did not. Once again, pointing out the very obvious to Twitter.
Before it announced its 2014 Q2 earnings report, the company was facing increasing pressure to perform, even after it had a stellar performance during the World Cup. The Q2 numbers blew away all earning expectations with revenues of $312 million, up 124 percent and a profit of $0.02 per share that beat analysts' expectations, which forecast revenue of $283 million and a loss of $0.01 per share.
The growth was also seen in the company's monthly active users, which hit 271 million with a 24 percent year-over-year rise.
With so much going for it last quarter, Twitter should not alienate the hard to come by users it has accumulated thus far.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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