A new update released today by Twitter alters the service’s standard format in an effort to dispel the potential fear of missing out on important tweets buried in timelines.
This past weekend, news surfaced that the social media platform had plans to shift away from displaying Tweets in a reverse chronological order, to an algorithmic format, organized by the most relevant accounts each user follows.
As a result of these rumours, users were quick to create the #RIPTwitter hashtag, but CEO Jack Dorsey took to the social platform and denied the report, stating his team will “continue to refine it to make Twitter feel more, not less, live!….more Twitter-y.” At the time, though, it was unclear what the head of Twitter meant by this statement.
Today, iOS and Android users can opt-in to a feature the social network believes will give users more control over their timelines. Twitter’s new algorithm is designed to target casual and part-time tweeters, highlighting content through a new “Show me the best Tweets” system.
In an email statement sent to MobileSyrup, Twitter Canada said, “Global user research shows that a lot of Twitter users aren’t satisfied with their home timeline for a number of reasons including that there’s too much content and it’s hard to find the good stuff.”
With the new timeline feature, which is similar to the platform’s previously released “While you were Away” option, users are able to select the accounts they interact with the most or feel are important to catch up on. Tweets from these accounts appear at the top of the timeline’s stream before the standard reverse chronological Twitter format shows up on the device. Twitter says that this new feature is designed to keep users engaged with Tweets that may have previously been missed.
Twitter also notes that in order to quickly access real-time Tweets, users only need to refresh their timeline. According to the social media platform’s statement, testing revealed users who have used this feature tended to retweet and tweet more frequently.
If this new algorithmic timeline isn’t something you’re interested in, it can be turned off in the social network’s options. Twitter has over 320 million users worldwide with “35-40% of Canadians online are active users.”
While Twitter’s new algorithm-focused timeline option may help casual and new Twitter users become more familiar with the platform, power users who use the social network multiple times a day will likely find it frustrating. An algorithmic timeline makes live-tweeted events, as well as public conversations, more difficult to follow, destroying one of the key features many people use the service for.
The new update is set to rollout on both Android and iOS today.
Related reading: Big names leave Twitter, including head of Vine for Google’s VR team