Technology is always evolving. The changes often can happen in the blink of an eye. And this week we’re seeing yet another example.
Twitter recently announced important modifications to its API guidelines last month – ones that have mostly flown under the radar. The popular social network platform is cracking down on “bots” by limiting how users and apps can automate tweets. Starting Friday, Twitter will ban the simultaneous posting of “identical or substantially similar” tweets from multiple accounts.
Essentially, Twitter wants to prevent bad actors from gaming the platform to shape public opinion. You can read Twitter’s explanation for the changes here. Also, there has been some good media coverage of the coming changes.
- Twitter is trying to crack down on spam bots by CNN
- Twitter bans bulk tweeting and duplicate accounts in bot crackdown by The Verge
- Twitter is (finally) cracking down on bots by TechCrunch
In recent months, the news has been constant about Russian bots and fake followers. These new guidelines are intended to both reduce the amount of spam in our Twitter feeds and give us greater confidence in the veracity of what we’re reading.
This is great news. Kudos to Twitter for taking action to purge the platform of fake accounts and reduce improper bulk tweeting.
One consequence, though, is that this effort also impacts how organizations legitimately use Twitter for employee advocacy to boost awareness of their businesses.
For instance, our employee communication and engagement platform enables organizations to mobilize their workers to become powerful advocates for their brands. We empower employees to share the great work of their organizations with their personal social media networks.
But we had to make some adjustments to our platform to ensure our customers won’t accidentally violate Twitter’s new rules. Our engineering and product teams worked overtime to meet that tight deadline of March 23, when the guidelines would start being enforced. Just as important, we had to communicate with our customers about these changes – which many didn’t even know were coming.
That’s why we saw this as an opportunity for us to fulfill our role as a trusted partner. In other words, we can confidently tell our customers: We are monitoring all these developments and we’ve got your back.
When it comes to technology, too often the focus is only on platforms, software, and code. But the real currency is knowledge. Of course, technology has to be able to solve the problem you’re facing. But you also need people who can help you use it to your best advantage by acting as advisors, coaches, and trainers.
The best technology partners understand that value. They stay abreast of industry trends. They identify and fix problems before you even knew you had them.
In this case, we adjusted our platform so it seamlessly meets Twitter’s new guidelines. Customers don’t have to wonder if they are compliant. In addition, we’re using this as a teachable moment. This is a chance for us to share best practices about what represents genuine and authentic employee advocacy while explaining why these changes on Twitter actually are a good thing for organizations.
Employees can be the greatest ambassadors for an organization. They’re passionate about the company mission, and they want to share it with the world – through their social media followers.
But that advocacy is best when it happens in the authentic voice of each employee. Organizations shouldn’t want automated messages being posted by workers that sound like they’re coming from robots. When Twitter reduces the amount of spam we all see, sincere advocacy will stand out.
This won’t be the last change for a social network platform, of course. Changes are inevitable. Whenever they occur, we’ll continue to adapt quickly, advise our customers on best practices, and help them navigate the new terrain.
Today, you can’t just be a technology platform. You must be a partner in the truest sense. That’s what brings real peace of mind for customers in a technology world where the only constant is change.