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How Twitter Decides What To Place In Your Stream


Twitter recently began adding content to users’ timelines, and it says it’s going to keep doing that. However, Twitter hasn’t really explained how it’s doing that — and the bits of information it has offered are confusing.

Recode breaks down what’s showing up on your stream, and what you will see in the future.

According to Recode, “When Twitter inserts a tweet into your timeline from someone you don’t follow, it offers a short header that tries to explain why it’s there. For instance, you might see a tweet from a stranger, along with a label saying that a friend you follow on Twitter favorited the tweet, or follows the account that generated the tweet.”


To provide these recommendations, Twitter’s algorithm searches for popular tweets in your “social graph,” marked by actions like favorites and retweets. But it’s not showing you those tweets specifically because of one of your friend’s actions — it’s showing it to you because lots of your friends have shown interest in that tweet.

This means that every tweet you favorite won’t appear in someone else’s feed — it would require engagement from a number of other people, too. Recode explains”

“Still, Twitter’s move might end up changing the way users treat the fave. Even if 50 other people favorite a tweet that Twitter surfaces, if your name is the one included in the label it certainly looks and feels like an endorsement, regardless of your intention. That’s one of the reasons people familiar with the algorithm say that Twitter is thinking about alternate, and hopefully less confusing, ways to indicate why you’re seeing one of the tweets it found for you.”

Social Media Week


After I write about ridesharing series cutting their prices to the bone, Lyft decides to go even further


Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.15.43 PMHow kind. I just received a text message telling me I’m a Lyft “pioneer” (whatever that means) and offering me ten free rides.

It’s a smart marketing move (although I don’t actually live in Los Angeles, so not terribly useful) — but the timing is ironic given all the reporting I just wrapped up for my piece on mobile price wars. Just this morning I called Lyft’s “bizarro economic calculus,” of cutting prices to below the bone “unsustainable” and “Silicon Valley’s version of The Hunger Games.”

Mobile web companies are playing a dangerous game, using venture to artificially subsidize their prices, both to grow at a rapid pace and to steal consumers away from their competitors. But when the service is a commodity — a la Lyft and Uber — the passengers won’t be loyal to the company. They’ll be loyal to the price.

Uber has previously offered free rides when they enter new markets. But, by cutting prices to zero for existing customers in existing markets, Lyft is going all out in the ridesharing price wars. Slashing twenty percent off fees? I imagine John Zimmer sitting back going, “Hell no. Why don’t we just give it away for free?”

As one of those lucky Lyft pioneers, I’m not complaining. If only I could use my free rides in San Francisco where I actually live.