Chuckling to myself, I went on Twitter and wrote a tweet. I cleverly included a hashtag and clicked the “Tweet” button. Damn, but I’m funny.
I was now a content producer. Please, no autographs.
Excited, I clicked the hashtag which had magically transformed into a link to bask in the glory of my newfound celebrity status.
My eyes scanned the page. Uh oh, trouble! My tweet was nowhere in sight! “Alas, what’s happened?!” I cried out to the universe.
Long story short, the Twitter search results page had defaulted to its “Top” view.
Problem: You’ve got a mountain of data but what good is it? That’s where programmer ejaculation rides in like John Wayne to save the day. Solution: Algorithm.
The top view uses that dreaded beast, the algorithm, to put content in something other than its natural order. Some tweets get higher priority and more visibility. Some tweets, namely yours, get the shaft.
Welcome to the Darwinism of social media. Or, as I like to call it, survival of the shittest.
In the blink of an eye my tweet had been deemed unworthy. It didn’t have enough interactions (like retweets and favorites). How could it? It had never been seen. The poor little bastard was doomed from the moment I birthed it.
My tweet didn’t have “velocity.” It didn’t exceed “beyond expectations.” It just sort of laid there like a dead fish. Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. And death rattle.
In that moment of pure realization and utter despair, what could I do? What would you do? My hand shaking uncontrollably, I moved the mouse over to the “Live” button and clicked.
What is Live? That’s the Twitter way of saying, “Here’s other shit that you DO NOT WANT.” It’s tweet results for your search term sorted first. It’s raw.
Guess what? My tweet wasn’t there, either. With visibility that good I decided to hang myself. That’s when things went black and my memory gets spotty.
Today Twitter announced that all views will begin working this exact same way. All tweets will be subjected to algorithms.
Ever go on Facebook trying to find something you saw before only to fail spectacularly? You’ll die before you ever see it again. Algorithm. That’s the Facebook way.
Soon that same phenomenon will be my entire social media presence. It sure was nice not knowin’ y’all.