Twitter Joanna Gearyoremus Onezero: In today’s busy digital world, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the amount of content we are exposed to. Where do we go to find the good things that matter? That’s exactly what Twitter is trying to figure out. At their headquarters in San Francisco they have an entire team dedicated specifically to tweetstorms and trending topics on the site, but how do they decide which trends deserve a tweetstorm summary? In an interview with Inc., Senior Director of Curation Joanna Geary shared the secrets behind their selection process.
The first step is about discovering what’s actually trending in the first place. Geary and her team get to work around 7:30 am each morning and begin by skimming through the trending topics, looking for anything that catches their eye. It might be a hashtag that’s suddenly blowing up or an event that is currently generating a lot of buzz. Geary said, “We’re looking for freshness, but we’re also looking for things that really push the boundaries of what it means to be relevant.
” The next step is to curate that content. Instead of just sharing a hashtag or a viral video, Twitter looks for a way to tell a story that has never been told before.
Now, the team is able to select one tweetstorm topic that they find most interesting and reflective of what’s currently trending on Twitter. The team then goes back and forth on the concept, trying to create something informative and also engaging enough to keep us glued to our screens for longer than two minutes.
These tweetstorms are definitely not your conventional tweets and they usually have no photos at all. Usually, it’s a series of text, pieced together in a way so that you can easily understand what’s going on in the story. Geary shared that there actually isn’t a set time limit on how long these tweetstorms can be, but the team tries to keep it under 2,000 characters. Geary explained, “We’re trying to do it where it’s not a chore, but it’s engaging enough that you want to come back and see what’s happening next.”
When asked about the purpose behind these tweetstorms and other trending topics, Geary said, “It really is about highlighting real-time conversations happening on our platform. What we’ve been trying to do here at Twitter is get ahead of the trends. We’re seeing things maybe a week early and we’re sharing those stories like a news outlet would. We’re trying to introduce stories about what’s happening in the world today, so that people can be better informed and more engaged in the world around them.”
Though these tweetstorms might not be the most conventional way to pass time on Twitter, we can’t help but appreciate their goal to create a platform for better engagement. I’m sure most people have seen a tweetstorm in their feed at some point and vented internally about its unnecessary length. However, considering the amount of content we are exposed to every day, we can’t help but appreciate anything that works to make our internet experience more meaningful.