There is an old joke applied to software which I first heard from Microsoft. It’s a simple, one sentence excuse that pops up often.
“It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”
Twitter announced (via a support article) that they are working “to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.” They are doing this by adding posts from strangers to your feed. Specifically they say, “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. ” You can read the full support article here.
What are the real implications for users and brands? For users it can potentially keep them informed of important info and news. If the algorithm is smart enough we won’t mind at all because the content will be useful. For brands, this is a call to write “popular or relevant” content in hopes we’ll be exposed to new users.
While we always recommend “popular or relevant” content, not it is more important because you may be promoted to strangers. Remember, both good and bad news gets shared online. You may have written a tweet that became popular for all the wrong reasons.
Thanks to Flickr user kooroshication for the image.