“If you get that top spot for five or six tweets each day, then that’s about 2 million impressions,” he said. “And it’s an effective way for people who might be considered trolls by some people to get their message out and to build their brand. That’s why there’s fierce competition for top spot.”
But just being first doesn’t assure you a top spot in Trump’s replies, thanks to Twitter’s algorithmic “conversation ranking.” Until November 2016, when Twitter revamped its replies on mobile, Twitter replies were largely ranked by who was first to respond. Now, according to Twitter, “Replies are grouped by sub-conversations” that are ranked differently for each user by “factors such as if the original Tweet author has replied, or if a reply is from someone you follow.” Ostensibly this means that different people will see different top replies, but on Trump tweets, a select few still dominate.
Even though Twitter’s reply ranking algorithm is largely a mystery — when asked, Twitter did not provide any concrete explanation of how it weights tweets in large reply chains — those who’ve managed to beat the algorithm suggest there are a few tried-and-true strategies. Speed is important, but so is being a verified Twitter user — almost all the top replies to Trump tweets come from verified users, which Twitter argues improves the quality of the top replies.
If you can’t get there first, top repliers suggested it’s better to reply to the top reply, instead of to Trump
Friday, June 9, 2017
"Inside The Chaotic Battle To Be The Top Reply To A Trump Tweet"