Digital Dash: Twitter’s shock timeline news & more

1. Twitter shocker! You’ll soon be able to switch back to a reverse chronological timeline

One by one, practically every social media news feed has changed from reverse chronological (with newest posts first) to curated by an algorithm (which essentially decides what you’ll like on your behalf).

Algorithms are ultimately designed to enhance your experience and keep you engaged. And although their introduction is rarely met with shrieks of joy from users, most do eventually adjust. But does that mean they wouldn’t switch back if given half the chance?

We’re about to find out.

A Twitter update announced this week means you’ll soon be able to revert to a reverse chronological feed filled only with content from people you follow, by simply flipping off the “Show the best Tweets first” feature in your settings.

So no more “In case you missed it” or recommended tweets from accounts you don’t follow.

Here’s what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had to say:

It will be interesting to see how many people take advantage of the update. And of those who do, how many actually still prefer it.


2. Instagram launches shopping channel in Explore

Last week, we let you know about a rumoured standalone shopping app from Instagram.

And while that’s probably a little way off yet, you might like to know about another shopping related update that’s rolling out as we speak.

Instagram has announced a new personalised Shopping channel in Explore, which will sit alongside the other topic channels including Art, Travel and TV & Films.

The Shopping channel will feature a gallery of shoppable posts from brands you follow and brands you may like.

Photo: Marketing Land

If you ask me this is clearly a warm-up to the standalone shopping app mentioned above. Instagram is getting people used to scrolling through a feed of products that can all be shopped – quite different from scrolling through a regular feed with a mix of post types.

The channel will encourage users to get into a “shopping state of mind” while using the app.

With Shopping in Stories also rolling out globally this week, we’ll be watching closely to see if this content also plays into the new Explore channel.


3. Top secret Instagram test revealed! Will hashtags break free from captions and comments?

A handful of incredibly clever and inquisitive people don’t wait for social media updates to be spotted in testing or announced by the platform itself. Instead, they go scouting around in the code of each app, searching for in-development features that nobody knows about yet.

Jane Manchun Wong is one such code hacker, and she’s regularly the first to lift the lid on new features, tools and tech.

This week, Jane discovered an “Add Hashtags” field within the post composition process on Instagram.

Photo: Jane Manchun Wong via Social Media Today

You know what this means, right? The days of where-to-put-hashtags dilemmas could soon be over! Crowding your captions, adding a ton of line breaks or invading your own post comments might soon be a thing of the past.

It doesn’t look like there’s a limit for how many hashtags you can add, which is odd because the max for posts is usually 30.

I can practically already hear the collective gasp of joy from social media users (including businesses) that this feature would follow if this feature rolls out. Many people limit the number of hashtags they use just because there’s currently no non-awkward place to put them. This can limit discoverability and reach.

Now obviously nobody wants the opposite extreme to happen, with spammy hashtagging becoming the norm. But a feature that allows a bunch of relevant hashtags to be added without taking focus away from the image or caption would be really useful.


4. You’ll soon be able to like and dislike on Twitter (just with arrows instead of thumbs)

I honestly don’t remember the last time we had two Twitter updates in one Digital Dash, which is mainly down to the relative lack of exciting/important updates the company comes through with.

But after already letting you know about the return of the reverse chronological algorithm, there’s another new feature in testing that’s earned Twitter a second spot on this week’s roundup.

As recently spotted by Matt Navarra and reported by Social Media Today, Twitter is testing upvote and downvote buttons.

This would essentially be Twitter’s version of Facebook’s iconic Like button – but with the addition of an option to express negative or disapproving sentiment.

And this is what makes this test really noteworthy. Because although you can choose from a range of reactions on some other platforms, there’s never before been a straight-up downvote despite it being much debated and requested by users.


5. Pinterest opens content marketing API to help connect brands and influencers

Pinterest has officially opened its content marketing API to third-party influencer marketing platforms – including AspireIQ, Open Influence and Mavrck – to help businesses find influencers and view key stats about their Pinterest performance.

As well as the monthly viewer and follower counts already visible on profile pages, businesses will now have access to things like the number of impressions, clickthroughs and saves achieved by each influencer.

The move will also help the influencers themselves find brands to work with.

In addition, the API update will help marketers track and measure the success of influencer campaigns.

This is especially helpful on Pinterest where content gains traction quite differently from almost every other platform.

As opposed to having maximum visibility immediately after publishing or following initial high engagement, pins take longer to build momentum and can drive engagement for 120 days or more.

The announcement will be of interest to most brands or agencies (us included!) that view Pinterest as one of their key platforms.

It can be difficult to find quality influencers on Pinterest, and even when you do there are only limited stats about them to work with.