How Beyonce Showed Me That Twitter’s New Algorithm Change Is The Perfect Move

This past weekend, the day before the Super Bowl otherwise known as the stuff before Beyonce and Coldplay’s concert, Queen Bey dropped a new track. While its not her strongest stuff, the internet lost its collective mind as they tend to do.

Hot sauce is now gonna be a thing as well as the fact that Blue Ivy Carter has more swagger at the ripe old age of 4 than many of you have in the decades you have been alive. One interesting thing that bubbled to the top was a line that Beyonce dropped on her song.

While it is quite the name drop and the instant street cred that Red Lobster now has the possibility to gain, I really feel for the poor community managers that had their Saturdays turned on their head as they had to furiously figure out what the hell to do which is perfectly illustrated by this gif.

And because all the social media experts/PR folks say, real-time marketing is the holy grail, Red Lobster must absolutely come up with the perfect response that captures exactly how hip they are to the Twitter’s jive, they sent this out…

Of course the People of Twitter hated it. They really, really hated it. I don’t blame them. It does really suck. It screams of some agency head — who now must approve the tweet because there is so much riding on it — rewriting the original one which was probably the right one. But that is a post for a social media expert to dissect, this one is about Twitter itself. More specifically the tool I stumbled across that the service is testing in beta right now that could quite literally change the game – Twitter Moments.

Twitter has two fundamental issues that it needs to fix in order to get the masses to adopt it as an everyday tool – harassment and how to navigate the sheer volume of data that is available. After experiencing the Twitter Moment that was put together for what was happening, I feel that Twitter has nailed the solution for the second problem.

While these challenges have been around for a while now, the tension around navigating the noise was top of mind as of late as last week when Buzzfeed “broke the news” that Twitter was going to fundamentally change its core experience from one that presents tweets in chronological order to one shaped by an algorithm. Every social media expert I know lost their collective minds and it was the funniest thing I have seen in a while for the simple fact that no one knows a) what that would look like b) if it’s even true.

Now the word algorithm immediately harkens us to Facebook and the fundamental change that it made to how it presents its information. Some would say that is how Facebook became so dominant and won the social media wars. I actually believe that while its stock is doing very well, the introduction of the algorithm was the beginning of a very long march to irrelevelance for the Social Network.

Which means that there is still hope for the conversation network that has become the pulse of society connecting us together into Marshal McLuhan’s Global Village. The tweets that power it are the real gold mine. A fact that Founder and recently re-installed CEO Jack Dorsey understands only to well (which he took great pains to clarify on Twitter).

The conversations around Twitter as of late have been driven by the stock market guys and elevated by the tech media which is why Twitter’s stock is getting pummelled. But the reality is that the stock market conversation is not the important one, its the conversation that is actually happening with those who use it. So it becomes a question of relevance as a recent informal survey of the over 100 students in the Advertising Program I teach that showed that there was an actual hatred for Facebook while Twitter was relied upon right after Snapchat. These are hardcore millenials shaping the digital landscape saying that they don’t use Facebook unless they have to.

The thing that people don’t seem to understand is that with Facebook you are stuck with basically one experience, the one they force down your throats. And more often than not it is an experience that comes at the cost your privacy, the battery life on your phone, in some cases your real-life friendships and in most cases your sanity.

So with this “announcement”, there is reason to be concerned. A friend recently said in a discussion about this “I want live twitter, not filtered twitter.” The concern is valid because we have been burned by Facebook already. And the result is a disjointed user experience where we have to deal with Trending Topics such as “X celebrity was wearing a bikini while on holiday”. With Twitter you call the shots.

Live Twitter is your Twitter. Whatever that may be.

After getting caught up to speed on Red Lobster/Queen Bey drama pretty much instantly while sitting on my couch watching TV, Moments is the perfect tool or mechanism or whatever you want to call it that will take Twitter from this thing that nerds use to something my non-tech inclined friends will feel comfortable using.

A recent survey I ran for my startup Poptalk, found that 86% of respondents have used Twitter while watching TV with 75% of them doing so during a live event like The Super Bowl or The Oscars. The survey, which was filled out mostly by those who receive the Poptalk TV Minute newsletter seems to indicate that a proper implementation of Moments, which they seem to have nailed, will be embraced.

It is a great service however it is still very new. As such it struggles with bad UX in that it’s hard to find and there is a real lack of understanding what it really is. My job is to counsel big brands with huge budgets as well as being tasked with teaching my students these exact things, and I didn’t really have a handle on it until I experienced it this way.

Now that this tool is beginning to take shape, I very much look forward to seeing the types of campaigns that will come from this. I am not talking about some real-time marketing crap. I am talking about something that can truly elevate a narrative that is being created. I would have loved to seen this in action for the recent Deadpool or Zoolander 2 campaigns.

It also sets up Twitter to be able to manage its biggest problem right now, trolls and harassment. Controlling who gets to see what is the perfect way to make the Twitter experience better for people who aren’t nerds. It doesn’t solve it outright but there is nothing that ever well.

And those images above that help me explain this what was happening, I got them all from the Moment that Twitter made.