Twitter is pushing for engagement, not conversation
Twitter Topics demonstrate what's wrong with the world's most popular microblogging platform.
Twitter is pushing its users to follow “Topics” to serve them tweets of their interest from across the platform, not just derived from people they follow. I love space exploration and so based on my tweets and timeline interactions, Twitter suggested me to follow the “Space” topic. I ignored it for a while but Twitter kept pestering me about it. I caved in and followed the topic, hoping it would allow me to discover more people in this space. But instead I found at least two major issues with Twitter’s implementation.
The algorithm serves you tweets largely from people who are already popular on the platform. Such a feedback loop only gives even more power to such people while suppressing unique voices and serving less diverse content to readers.
Their system to determine which tweets are relevant to a topic is laughably dumb, illustrated by the screenshots below.
Twitter is mistaking literal windows for Windows, the operating system.
It gets worse. It’s virtually impossible to avoid Twitter Topics. Twitter has pushed over a 100 topic suggestions in my feed so far and no matter how many times I hit the cross button for each suggestion, Twitter won’t stop suggesting more topics. There seems to be no way to turn the feature off. It’s as if Twitter is effectively saying, “Consume more, at any cost.”
Along with Spaces, Communities, and other new features, Twitter is pushing more than ever to drive engagement on its platform. Engagement, not conversation. Because, ads. Note also that Twitter’s recently launched subscription offering will take $3/month from you but still show you ads.
It’s not too late. Return to reading blogs directly. Choose who you want to trust and genuinely interact with them. Create content on blogs and websites. Reach your readers directly without an opaque algorithm in between. Let’s build a better Web.