One of the things we’ve always liked best about Twitter is that there are no barriers to interaction. If you want to follow and interact with someone, be they celebrity, influencer or average Joe, you can. And even better, many awesome “heavy hitters” actively participate and engage with their followers.
Twitter’s changing it up, though. And while you can still follow anyone you want, Twitter released a new feature (on the same day that the company filed its IPO) that will essentially allow its big deal users (a/k/a those with verified Twitter accounts) filter out the hoi polloi. You know, the ordinary peeps, like you and me. Ostensibly, this filtering system is to help “verified users better manage the large number of conversations they have,” but really it’s a filter. And a barrier.
This upper echelon of the Twitterati now has a new Connect tab above their feed that divides mentions into three categories: all, filtered and verified. As the name implies, all mentions will be grouped under the all category. Under the filtered tab, they’ll only see mentions that Twitter algorithm classifies as not spam. And in the verified category, they’ll only see mentions that come from other, equally “important” and verified users. As a result, unless you, your company or your client has a verified Twitter account, it’s presumably more difficult to interact with verified Twitter users. As I was reading this paragraph in the final edit stages, it occurred to me that people (and brands) paying for verified Twitter accounts can’t be far behind, right? Ding ding ding. That’s how Facebook makes its money, charging for access. It can’t be far off base, especially in light of an impending IPO, that Twitter is looking for ways to charge users for access as well.
In a blog post, Twitter says the feature will continue to evolve. It’s not yet available on mobile, for example, and is only accessible on the desktop site. Imagine that—a social media network launching a new feature that’s not immediately integrated into the mobile experience? Shocker!
This is probably a move that makes sense for Twitter. And it’s likely a move that many influencers and celebrities will laud. I’m one of those “will talk to anybody” types, so I can’t help but lament the modification of the only social network that had absolutely zero walls. But we’ll wait and see how this plays out before passing judgment.
What’s your take on Twitter’s news? Does it make sense to cater to verified users in this way? Or do you see this as a non-issue or as a negative thing? We’d love to hear what you think.