Twitter is seemingly set to change your timeline forever.

Known for its live stream of thoughts, feelings and opinions in a reverse chronological order, Twitter is renowned for its real-time approach. Opposed to Facebook and their ‘what’s relevant’ rather than ‘what’s recent’ timeline, all of this is about to change because Twitter is rumoured to be engaging in an algorithm.

The hashtag #RIPTwitter has been used frequently in tweets over the weekend in protest to Twitter changing who, what and how you see your so called ‘live’ feed.

What’s changed?

The way Twitter displays your feed is changing. To date Twitter has shown you content based on when it was tweeted. It’s being suggested that interaction is how your new timeline will be ranked, showing only content relevant to you depending on what you like, retweet or interact with most commonly. These brands and people will be brought to the top of your timeline discarding the time or date of the post and instead favouring its relevancy.

What are people concerned about?

From a user perspective following people and brands generally means that you like the content of their profile and would like to see more of it on your timeline. However the option to simply follow somebody will become less important due to tweets being buried underneath the posts that Twitter thinks you want to see.

From a brand and business user perspective the challenge of gaining interaction through social users is already high. The proposed changes will only add pressure to people and brands to increase interaction and engagement in order to be noticed by Twitter. The only way a brand or business will be relevant to somebody’s timeline is through popularity or frequent interaction. Perhaps a move by Twitter to increase the quality of content that its users share?

What does this mean for companies starting out?

Twitter as a social media platform is used in many different ways: brand awareness, traffic to your site, to promote apps and content and so on. If your business is new and you want to utilise Twitter to help grow your business and build relationships with your customer, it will be increasingly difficult to get people to interact with you without paying for ads which are forced into people’s feeds. The new algorithmic timeline is going to make it more difficult to be noticed – not only do you have to capture the attention of social users generally with your tweets; you now need to hit certain criteria by Twitter to appear on timelines too. The only way to solidify appearing on timelines is by ramping up interaction with your customers; replying to all mentions, direct messages and retweeting and liking brand relevant tweets.

Many people think that this is a bid for Twitter to monetise the platform further. Forcing brands to have to pay to promote content into people’s Twitter feed – just like Facebook have successfully done. But it will also force Twitter accounts to up their game, improving the quality for all users.

Changes are due to take place in the next couple of weeks, if they go ahead against the dispute of its users and the hashtag #RIPTwitter. You should seriously think about how this will impact your brand and what you can do to keep your content in your followers feeds.