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A new change to Twitter will affect churches whether they know it or not. Here's what you need to be aware of.

Narcissists everywhere just experienced a pang of fear as Twitter announced a new initiative to “rate” all tweets. All kidding aside, Twitter really will be using special algorithms to begin placing a value (rating) on tweets. Far from adding a gold star to tweets they deem worthy, I think the goal is simple and two-fold: 1) By trying to figure out the context of tweets and the value of them, they’re making their search feature much more accurate and powerful; 2) It’s another step towards the goal of monetizing Twitter.

What this means for everyone is that when you tweet great content, more people will engage with you. Twitter thinks that has value. Churches need to heed this because it places even greater emphasis on tweeting with your community rather than mostly tweeting at your community.

RANKING ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK

Far from making their users self-conscious about the worthiness of their tweets, this is a behind-the-scenes attribute (meta data) that will help both Twitter and third-party developers (such as HootSuite, UberSocial, Twitterific, et al.) organize content that is more accurate for searching and organizing metrics. Here’s how Twitter’s developer blog described it:

The new streaming-only “filter_level” attribute is intended for applications which display a selection of tweets from a stream. Its values may be one of “none,” “low,” or “medium,” with a reserved “high” classification for future use. The “medium” (and eventually “high”) entries will roughly correlate to the “Top Tweets” results for searches on Twitter.com. This will allow applications to more easily surface certain types of content from otherwise noisy or high-volume feeds.

In common English, they’re trying to make it easier to find what you search for on Twitter (and, presumably, Google and Bing), and offer ways to more easily filter what you are looking for in the information noise equivalent of Niagara Falls.

IT GETS BETTER

For the average Twitter user, this won’t change anything. It will get interesting when Twitter adds the “high value” in the near future, because, similar to Sponsored tweets, there’s a revenue potential for both Twitter and the third-party apps that want to get the right targeted (ads) tweets in front of the right audience. Some may see this as an “invasion of privacy,” and they’d be wrong on two counts: 1) No one is under compulsion to use Twitter; 2) Our private information is only as private as our level of inconvenience, as I discussed in my post about the scare tactics of “Scroogled.”

Think about just a few years ago, when searching on Google could be a huge hit-or-miss for even relatively simple searches. Over time, the search juggernaut has improved their search to be far more accurate, making it much easier and faster to find what you’re looking for. That’s really the big boon of this development by Twitter.

So, relax: Big brother isn’t going to eviscerate your ego by telling you which of your tweets are deemed lame; your “unfollows” already tell you that.  

Anthony Coppedge Anthony has worked in the secular world of A/V, the ministry world of church staff and the para-church ministry of three companies that serve the church space (Auxano, Fellowship Technologies and Worlds of Wow!). Today, his consultancy focuses on helping churches and para-church ministries leverage appropriate systems, processes and technologies for more effective ministry. Anthony leads out of his strengths of effectively caring for people, efficiently managing resources and enabling scalable growth. He has been consulting, teaching, writing and speaking to church and business leaders for nearly 20 years.

More from Anthony Coppedge or visit Anthony at http://AnthonyCoppedge.com/problog

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