Social media

On the mercy of Twitter algorithms

This is not the key subject of this blog but I made some observations about Twitter. I might be wrong at some point, but it’s not likely. So, here comes 5 things that affects your visibility on Twitter.

1. Twitter’s own algorithms

Admit it or not, this is what really matters. If you follow, let’s say, more than 10 people only some tweets will be shown to you. Twitter algorithm chooses. Had some suggestions who to follow? Twitter algorithm. Had several users following you even if you didn’t do anything special? Twitter algorithm probably suggested you to some users.

2. Bots’ algorithms

We all know there are lots of bots out there. Sometimes they attach to some hashtags you used. Some obviously register new users and start to follow them. If you’ve registered (relative) recently, maybe you noticed that some social media marketing “persons” started to follow you out of the blue? We may also include some bot & human co-operated users here.

3. Change

Who will see your tweet? After all algorithm involving, who is even online at the right time? Who will type the right search word, who happens to retweet?

4. Networks

Yes, there are some nice networks boosting other users in the same specialized field, but there is only so far it can go. Social media marketing and blogs are the most active network boosters I’ve seen. And for some odd reason, wrestling.

5. You said something ingenious

Sometimes accidents will happen and someone sees what you’ve written. World would be nice place if this was the first on this list.

To sum up, algorithms don’t usually get me. If one day I like something, that subject will be shown in large scale the next day. But for person who is interested in various subjects, that’s restricting. It would be really valuable to know how these algorithms work, but I bet it isn’t public knowledge. Or, if there is even roughly similar platform that doesn’t do picking for you, I’ll give it a try.

By thebrigh

Hi! My name is Jenni and I used to be a math teacher in Finland. I have a master's degree in math and also studies in computer science and pedagogy. Talented students are close to my heart, hence the name of the site. But I also might write about other stuff.

3 replies on “On the mercy of Twitter algorithms”

Saw your invitation for comments on Twitter as well as your recently joining Twitter in July.

My thoughts on how to prevent Twitter’s algorithm from ruining your experience.

One, you are correct that polymaths with wide ranging interests get “penalized”. The more you stick to one interest, the more you and your content will get promoted by Twitter.

Two, like any algorithm the larger the sample size of data it can analyze, the greater the accuracy. It’s hard for the algorithm to optimize your experience when you currently have a relatively small number of tweets and likes. For comparison, I’ve tweeted over 6,000 times and liked over 3,000 tweets of others. So the algorithm does a fairly accurate job of suggesting me to people who would enjoy my tweets.

While I can’t suggest a better social media channel, I did recently do a thread, for those new to Twitter, of ways that I’ve found helpful to maximizing your Twitter experience:

Twitter: @autismplusmath

I mostly agree, but (here comes the but)

Let’s say I follow 200 parenting bloggers, which are somehow alike. Right after following many of them appear in my feed. Then, when I comment one of those tweets, it seems like all that person’s tweets suddenly appear to me and the other 199 more or less disappear in the dust. Maybe this will get better as time passes, but based on experiences with other platforms (not with this name) this phenomenon is here to stay. Therefore I sometimes hold back comments to avoid this.

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