Tools were suddenly disabled. Twitter’s technical support, which hadn’t been good, improved.
So, when news broke on September 24 that Twitter had already formally taken steps toward going public back in mid-July, Jeni wasn’t surprised. “The changes appear designed to make Twitter more appealing to investors when the initial public offering is finally made,” Jeni says. “In some ways, they’re also improving the experience for users. But in other ways, some will be disappointed.’’
1. No more automatic follow-backs — the size of your following will grow more slowly. Some applications, such as HootSuite and ManageFlitter, allowed Twitter users to set up their accounts to automatically become a follower of anyone who first followed them. That allowed audiences to quickly swell – but it also removed human oversight. The result: Some of your followers, and some accounts you followed, would be fake, inactive or otherwise non-genuine connections.
This change is generally good for most users, but those who want to build a large following quickly may be disappointed.
2. You can no longer remove fake or unwanted followers en masse. Twitter enforces limits on how many accounts you can proactively follow, so it’s important to periodically clear out the fakes, inactive accounts and other unhelpful followers.
Services like SocialOomph and ManageFlitter allowed users to detect and delete these followers in large bunches, which saved time. That function is no longer available, and now, you have to go through your followers one-by-one to delete them.”
3. Improved technical support – in some ways. Before the recent changes, if you ran into a problem with your Twitter account, you went to a help page, filled out a form describing the problem, and submitted it. Then you’d wait approximately 48 hours in order for your “case” to move forward.
Don’t get excited: That pesky process still exists, but the help page now also offers troubleshooting, which makes it easier to fix some problems. The downside? You’re forced to click-through multiple steps and take certain actions before Twitter agrees that you have a problem and allows you to send a request for support.
4. More advertisements. As Facebook did when it went public, Twitter is now offering users the option to pay for their posts to achieve increased visibility. So now, you’re more likely to find a post from an account you don’t follow at the top of your news feed.