Twitter starts rolling out its algorithmic timeline worldwide but it is opt-in for now
Twitter has finally become like Facebook. After years of giving users ‘first as they come tweets’ the micromessaging service today began rolling out a algorithmic timelines for its users worldwide.
This changes come after years of debate and months of user testing. Earlier this week, BuzzFeed made it public that Twitter was following Facebook in pushing most liked tweets to the top of the page. The idea was not liked by twitterati around the world and they trended #RIPTwitter to show their protest against the change. So much so that Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter had to come out to clear the apprehensions of Twitter users.
The new feature is based on the algorithms that power Twitter’s “while you were away” feature, which show you a selection of tweets based on how popular they are, and whether you regularly interact with the person tweeting them. When you open Twitter after some time away, highly ranked tweets will show up at the top of your timeline in reverse-chronological order. The rest of your timeline appears underneath as usual.
The algorithmic timeline tweets may not be like by some so Twitter has not enabled the by default. If you are interested in the tool, you will have to enable “Show me the best tweets first,” feature in settings.
However, Twitter is looking to switch the new timeline on for all users, letting them know via a notification in the timeline. If you don’t like it, you can turn it off in settings.
The algorithmic timelines can be seen on Twitter desktop version as well as on Twitter App in Android and iOS devices. Strangely, TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac are not included in the scheme of things as of now.
People who have tested the algorithmic timeline have reported mixed feelings, with some saying they appreciate getting caught up more quickly, and others saying that the new timeline sometimes splits up conversations. Advocates for a ranked timeline say it always outperforms chronological timelines in user surveys, even when users say they prefer the latter. Which will prove true with Twitter users? With the company set to report earnings later today, there’s a lot riding on the answer.