One of the most challenging things of being in this world is trying to keep up with constant change. Change really is the only constant in this world. There are new social networks popping up, ones going under, and lots of changes to the platforms along the way.
Few platforms have gone through as much change as Twitter has these past few years, and I’m sad to say that the changes, to me, have felt reactive. I think change can be good if it’s because the company is trying to keep ahead of a trend or get a handle on a problem before it really becomes a problem. But with Twitter, it seems like most of their changes have been because something went very, very wrong, and they were forced into action.
This most recent change is definitely in that column, but I feel like it’s important to bring up and tell you about because I think it will affect many of you. If you are a regular reader here, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of twitter agents–these are platforms that handle your twitter account(s) for you. Now, if you just manage one, you probably don’t need one. But if you manage 2 or more, one of these programs could save you time and energy.
First off, they allow you to easily toggle between multiple accounts, whereas with Twitter, you have to sign out and then sign back into your account every time you want to check it (it’s easier to do on the app, but this feature doesn’t exist yet on the desktop version).
Secondly, and to me, most importantly, these apps or programs allow you to create content for your Twitter feed in advance. I have been running my feed like this for years; I curate what I believe is valuable content for my followers and schedule it up to go out over the course of the week. I also add into the mix a minimum of two tweets per day that lead people back to one of my two blogs. These post are evergreen content that doesn’t expire. It’s my way of keeping my older content alive.
This practice is pretty standard in the industry. I see it a lot. And the difference between Twitter and say, Facebook, is that you can get away with posting a lot more often to the platform, and you can get away with posting similar/same content multiple times (I try to post on different days at different times) because you have different audiences on there at different times.
Well. This may be changing.
Twitter recently updated its TOS, specifically where it pertains to scheduling tweets. Now, let me be clear: Twitter has good reason for doing this. There is an estimated 48 million accounts on Twitter that are bots. Given that Twitter has 330M active monthly users, that’s approximately 15% of the population that is not real. And let’s not forget what those bots can do: threaten, frighten, create fake news, and apparently, get a D-list reality TV star elected President of the United States of America.
What are the new rules?
- No more sending the same tweet from multiple accounts. Hootsuite, Buffer and the like make it easy for you to send the same tweet from multiple accounts. Just write the tweet, check the accounts, hit “send” and voila! You’ve magically sent the same content from all three accounts. Expect to see these apps taking away your ability to do that in the very near future (if they haven’t already). You should still be able to RT your content from one of your other accounts, however, which could be a useable work-around.
- No more simultaneously performing the same action (likes, retweets or follows) from multiple accounts. Okay, so this is not ever anything I’ve done, so honestly I’m not too worried about this one.
- Scheduling same or similar tweets on one account. Okay, so this is where it gets grey. Clearly, creating the same content across multiple accounts is now verboden. Got it. But what about, say, creating the same tweet, multiple times on one account? I do this all the time using Agorapulse. I write a tweet and then get the service to push that tweet out again multiple times over the next week or so. I do it so the tweet goes out on different days, and at different times of the day, but it’s basically the same content. I do this to promote new blog posts.
According to a new blog post on the Meet Edgar blog (Edgar is another content-creation app),
Twitter is significantly increasing its existing limitations on recycling Tweets – a decision that will ultimately curb a lot of spammy and abusive behavior, even if it also means a shift in how marketers plan and share their content.
Twitter’s automation rules state:
Spamming: You may not send automated Tweets or Direct Messages that are spam, or otherwise engage in spamming activity. Some examples of spammy behavior to avoid with automation include:
- Trending topics: You may not automatically post about trending topics on Twitter, or use automation to attempt to influence or manipulate trending topics.
- Multiple posts/accounts: You may not post duplicative or substantially similar Tweets on one account or over multiple accounts you operate.
For me, personally, I don’t feel that, even though I’m posting the same content multiple times, that it’s spam. I only post the tweet 4 times, and I make sure to post it on a range of dates, and at different times of the day. I’m just trying to get attention to, and to drive traffic back to, my blog. I hate spam, and I’d hate to be thought of as a spammer. The method that I use is used my millions of other bloggers and marketers across Twitter.
Would this be a game-changer if I were no longer able to do this on Twitter? Yeah, maybe. I’ve had pretty serious concerns about the nature of Twitter and what’s going on with it over the last few years. This could be just another nail in the coffin.
Stay tuned to your platform of choice to see what changes are coming in the future. These apps must abide by Twitter’s TOS, so they will comply.