Twitter’s Algorithm is Open Source (What Does It Mean for NFT Artists?)

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Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira is a photographer from Massachusetts, USA. She captures the beauty of the world around her, favoring Nikon cameras and lenses. She is drawn to shooting landscapes, wildlife, flowers, and people enjoying time together.

Twitter’s Algorithm is Open Source (What Does It Mean for NFT Artists?)

The Big News about Twitter's Algorithm

Twitter’s algorithm went public on Friday, March 31, 2023.  This is big news for computer programmers and aspiring social media influencers alike. Keep reading to learn what has been uncovered so far, and how NFT artists can leverage this information to gain a wider Twitter audience

My name is Lauren McDonagh-Pereira. I am a photographerNFT artistNFT collector, and web3 blogger. I have been fully immersed in the NFT art space since February 2022 and I spend way too much of my day on Twitter

A Pinterest-style graphic adverting a blog post on nftartwithlauren.com. It features an AI-generated image of a blue book with magic pouring out of it.

Disclaimer

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ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2013

Before we get into it, please consider a few quick DISCLAIMERS.

  • Do your own research before investing in web3. 
  • This post represents my personal opinions and is NOT financial advice.
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What Happened with Twitter's Algorithm?

At 12:00 PM EST on March 31st, Twitter made parts of its code publicly available.

The parameters used  to decide which Tweets go viral and which Tweets eat dirt was published to GitHub for anyone to read.  

Twitter released a blog post detailing the key takeaways of the algorithm’s decision making model, and the Twitter Engineering Team hosted a Twitter space with Elon Musk to take public questions. 

I am not a computer engineer. I am not particularly interested in the nitty gritty details of the code. I am however, an aspiring Twitter influencer, and I am very interested in how the code affects the performance of my Tweets.

As an NFT artist, Twitter is a vital tool for my business.

The NFT art community spends most of its time connecting with one another, marketing their art, and learning about new technological developments in the web3 space on Twitter.

An NFT artist’s performance with the Twitter algorithm currently has the power to make or break a career.

© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

What Has Twitter's Code Shown Us?

I may not be a computer softwarre engineer, but I am smart enough to be a member of the 1% Better club by NFT God on Discord. 

Members of the club; Asuna, Piros, and NFT_God put their computer coding knowledge to work to comb through the code and decipher it for the rest of us. 

They are all busy dropping knowledge directly on Twitter.

The key takeaways these:

1/ Your ratio of followers to following should not exceed 0.6. So, if 1000 people are following you, you should only follow 600 or fewer people. (credit: Asuna)

2/ Twitter ranks users based on the quality of interactions that they have with other users. (credit: Piros)

3/ Likes have the largest effect on whether or not a tweet is seen by more people. Likes are more important than retweets or comments for improving a tweet’s visibility. (credit: NFT_God)

4/ Verified accounts are more likely to show up in the “For You” feed than unverified accounts. (credit: NFT_God)

5/ Tweets with no text will be demoted. (credit: NFT_God)

6/ Tweets with outside links will be deprioritized. (credit: NFT_God)

7/ Your account’s visibility hinges on your account’s reputation.  Your reputation depends on your follower count, the age of your account, whether or not you have been suspended in the past, and whether or not you have paid the $11 ransom for a blue checkmark. (credit: NFT_God)

5/ The quality of the accounts you interact with matters. If you engage the bots, you will be deprioritized. (credit: NFT_God)

What Did Twitter's Blog Post Tell uS?

According Twitter’s official release on the algorithm, the “For You” feed that you see when you open Twitter is made up of 1500 candidate Tweets curated and ranked for your scrolling pleasure.

Roughly 50% of these Tweets were published by people you follow (in-network users) and 50% of these Tweets were published by people who you do not follow (out-of-network users).

The Twitter algorithm uses millions of data points to determine which Tweets it will show you, and how soon you will see them after launching the app.

Which In-Network Tweets Do Users Get to See?

Whether or not you see a Tweet that was published by someone you have chosen to follow depends upon whether or not the Twitter algo thinks you are going to interact with the Tweet by liking, replying, or retweeting it. 

The algorithm bases this determination on your past behavior. Have you interacted with similar Tweets in the past? Have you interacted with this particular Twitter user in the past? Do you often engage with Tweets about the same topic? 

If the algorithm believes that you are likely to interact with a Tweet, it will give it a higher ranking on your feed.

AI-generated image of two small children, dressed as wizards, strolling through an Autumn forest while holding hands
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2022

How Can NFT Artists Boost their In-Network Twitter Rankings?

I need my friends, fans, and followers to interact with my Tweets. I need them to like, reply, and retweet so that they continue to see more of my Tweets.

There are two things I can do, as an NFT artist, to achieve this goal.

1/ Post authentic, high quality tweets. Don’t spam your followers. If you are tweeting, make sure it is something that your followers would want to see and would want to engage with.

2/ Make a Twitter list of all your favorite accounts. This list should include your friends, your favorite influencers, and the people in your professional web3 circle. Take some time each day to scroll through that Twitter list to read, like, reply, and retweet what those people are publishing. 

It is up to you to teach the algorithm whose Tweets you want to see. And hopefully, these Tweeters will return the favor, engage with your content, and start seeing you pop up in their timelines more often. 

How Can Fans of NFT Artists Help Boost In-Network Rankings?

Public engagement is the best way to support your Twitter community. 

Stop spending most of your time in DMs, and have conversations out on your favorite artists’ timelines. 

Engagement leads to more engagement.

The algo is hungry. Feed the beast. 

A snowy owl has just taken off in flight.
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2022

Which Out-of-Network Tweets Do Users Get to See?​

Out-of-network Tweets are displayed in your “For You” feed based on social graphs, embedding spaces, and ranking calculations. 

What are Twitter's Social Graphs?

Twitter’s social graphs show users Tweets from people who they do not follow, but who post content similar to the content that the user’s Twitter network likes to engage with.

To quote Twitter’s blog post

"We traverse the graph of engagements and follows to answer the following questions: What Tweets did the people I follow recently engage with? Who likes similar Tweets to me, and what else have they recently liked?"

This nugget explains why we so many Tweeting trends emerge within the NFT community. The GM posts, the “Drop Your Art” post, and the “Reply if you are still active” posts get a lot of engagement because they are all so similar.

If everyone in the NFT community engages with “GM” posts, the algorithm will keep showing “GM” posts to people in the NFT community.

Most days, my “GM” post gets multiple times the engagement of anything else I post on Twitter. Now I know why. 

How Can NFT Artists Use Twitter's Social Graphs?​

You need to embrace the silly Twitter trends that pop up. 

Keep posting your daily “GM’, work the popular web3 lingo into your Tweets, and start the occasional shill thread.

Be yourself, be authentic, but make sure to give a nod and a wink to the NFT community, so that Twitter will serve them your content. 

What are Twitter's Embedding Spaces?

Embedding spaces calculate the similarities between two Twitter users, and shows their Tweets to each other if their interests are closely aligned. 

Twitter said that one of their embedding spaces is something called SimClusters. According to the blog post, “SimClusters discover communities anchored by a cluster of influential users using a custom matrix factorization algorithm.”

Once the community is outlined, Twitter “can embed Tweets into these communities by looking at the current popularity of a Tweet in each community. The more that users from a community like a Tweet, the more that Tweet will be associated with that community.”

Web3 nerds say “It’s all about the community” so often that it has become cliche. However, it seems like we had the exact right idea. If you are in the NFT community on Twitter, you support yourself by supporting and boosting others on Twitter. 

How Can NFT Artists Use Twitter's Embedding Spaces?

You need to establish yourself as a member of the NFT community in the eyes of Twitter’s algorithm.

Since SimClusters base their communities on the most influential accounts about a particular topic, you need to follow, and engage with the biggest accounts in the NFT art space. 

Make a Twitter list that includes people like Beeple, Gary Vee, and Cozomo de’ Medici. Spend a few minutes each day scrolling through your list and engaging with the content that these large accounts put out.

It is not about hoping to get a response from these celebrities, because you probably won’t. It is about interacting with a major account that lots of other people in the NFT space also interact with. This should help Twitter identify you as a member of the NFT community, and will encourage Twitter to show your content to other members of the NFT community. 

© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

How Does Twitter Rank Out-of-Network Tweets?

Once Twitter has determined whether or not you are likely to interact with a Tweet from someone you do not follow, it uses seven factors to rank the Tweet to decide whether or not to show it to you.

1/ Visibility filtering – Twitter hides Tweets from accounts you have blocked or muted.

2/Author Diversity – Twitter avoids showing you consecutive tweets from the same user.

3/ Content Balance – Twitter tries to balance the number of tweets you see from people you have chosen to follow and from people it thinks you might enjoy.

4/Feedback-based fatigue – Twitter lowers the ranking of tweets that people have responded negatively to.

5/ Social Proof – Twitter shows tweets that someone you already follow has interacted with.

6/ Conversations – Twitter shows tweets within context so you understand what is happening in the conversation.

7/ Edited Tweets – Twitter prioritizes the edited version of a tweet over the original version.

How Can NFT Artists Improve their Twitter Rankings?

1/ Don’t be annoying or abusive. The more people that block and mute you, the lower your Twitter rank will be.

2/ Tweet less! Focus on publishing fewer, high quality tweets that will attract engagment.

3/ Grow your follower count! As people follow you and engage with your tweets, your tweets will be served to those people’s followers. This is why Twitter growth is often exponential.

4/ Encourage deeper interactions with your followers. Don’t just post “GM”, post “GM” and ask a question, tell a joke, or drop some knowledge. 

Conclusion

The Twitter algorithm has only been public for 10 hours and we have already gained a lot of new insights and confirmed many folk theories about the algorithm.

Arm yourself with knowledge, curate your tweets, and get ready to take over the NFT art world!

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More to explore

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MEET Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira is a photographer from Massachusetts, USA. She captures the beauty of the world around her, favoring Nikon cameras and lenses. She is drawn to shooting landscapes, wildlife, nature, and people authentically enjoying life.