Like most changes to social media platforms, there is an element of panic about imminent changes to the way Twitter works. Fortunately for us here at LikeMind Media, there is very little extra to consider for Friday 23 March 2018, when the latest set of changes are implemented across what is my personal favourite platform. Here’s why: we don’t automate.
Two key things, really. Firstly, Twitter plans to change the meaning of verification, by making it available to everyone. Actually it was potentially available to all, but the process was more about identifying people who had some kind of reputation or public audience (journalists, sports people, celebrities).
Unfortunately, when you have ultra right-wing organisations get verified, it can appear as though it looks like an endorsement when they say something stupid. Soon, everyone will be able to be verified if they are proved to be a real person. This will make it easier to identify fake accounts, bots and the like. Users will know whether they are talking to a genuine person and whether the response they receive is a piece of automated content, used by darker forces to sow discord (which is genuinely happening).
Secondly, and most importantly in my opinion, is the decision not to allow duplicate content across Twitter – a real gamechanger in terms of content creation.
It has to be said, that there appears to be a certain lack of clarity about exactly what will be permitted but, in essence, identical tweets posted to multiple accounts won’t be allowed. Neither will duplicate content from the same account.
That means you’ll see less recycled tweets, dragging up old links to old articles.
Personally, I’m thrilled by this last one. I hate clicking a link, expecting to see the latest developments in, say, Facebook, only to find that what they say is ‘working now’ is an article from years ago. I feel cheated and I lose trust in the author.
We have tried these tools that recycle ‘evergreen’ content, and I’ll admit, we tried it in one strategy for a client, but they’ve never felt right to me. Evergreen content soon becomes mouldy content (I coined this phrase whilst discussing this issue with Cathy Wassell of Socially Contented) that feels irrelevant. Why would any brand want to damage the trust it has built up with its customers?
Which brings me to the point of automation as a whole. I’ve never really liked any of it. To me it feels cold. It’s rare for an auto-DM to sound anything other than spammy (exceptions being when you make clear it’s automated, like Andrew and Pete’s). “Thanks for following” becomes disingenuous because the account isn’t actually thinking about how they feel about the new follower.
We do use scheduling tools to publish content. This is to plan what we will post, and to provide our clients with a portal to see the planned campaigns. Although the process of publication is, of course, automated (we don’t click a publish button every time), we don’t schedule content weeks in advance – that’s because we want to know what the current mood is and make our client’s content relevant to the moment. We’ve all seen how quickly moods can change these days.
Social media, indeed marketing as a whole, is about the connection with the audience. You can’t automate that. You can’t automate engagement and expect to have high quality dialogue. So we don’t automate for us, and we don’t automate for our clients. If that means it takes more effort for us, I’m happy with that.