What if I told you that your Twitter timeline can not be filled with algorithmically chosen tweets from three days ago? In fact, it has been a while – Twitter created a reverse chronological timeline available in September. But now it removes the permanent option to choose how the timeline appears and replace it with a "Sparkle Button."
Among the top requests for changes to Twitter is that it should return the timeline to the way the founders decided: Latest Tweets at the top. This means that when someone follows tweets, it will appear in my feed and when the next person i follow tweets, it should be the next thing that appears in my timeline. Twitter has followed the footsteps of Facebook and has gradually introduced older tweets you may have missed and popular tweets that you may want in the mix. Social media world accepts as a gospel that the algorithm-driven feed is the best way to increase engagement, but Twitter's key value is that it tells us what's happening just this other.
Back in September, Twitter put back the power of control of the timeline in the hands of users. Admittedly, the changes you had to make in settings were not the most intuitive process, and many people may not have known the option existed. Therefore, the iOS update Twitter announced today, at least partly a welcome change.
In an update that rolls out to the Twitter app today, users will see "Sparkle Button" in the upper right corner. Click it and the timeline will switch between Home (algorithm) and Last Tweets (reverse chronological). You still want to see the mixed home timeline first, but you can get the old schoolmate shot right into your heart with the home team by clicking a button.
We're sorry to inform you that there is a disadvantage to this. We asked Twitter if this would affect the option in settings that gave users a permanent choice for how they prefer to scroll. A spokesman pointed us to a tweet thread from Twitter's product VP, Keith Coleman.
The update has not been rolled out to those of We at the Gizmodo office, but we can not confirm it to ourselves, but Coleman says that option in the latest The versions are now gone for iOS users and will disappear for everyone else in the next few weeks. It's really great that Twitter puts an option in front and in the middle of its minimal interface, and many more likely to make use of their timeline choices. But for those of us who have been free for several months, it sucks to lose the set-it-and-forget-it shift.
Also, Twitter has more algorithms for you. When using the feature, it will be aware of which timeline you prefer and gradually show your favored experience for a longer period of time. In other words, you get the algo timeline to start and if you like the linear option more, you'll see it for longer periods before it returns to the Twitter really wish.
Colemans points out that "people sometimes wonder how algorithms affect what they see in the apps they use," and this change makes the difference more clear is well taken. He is not wrong at all and we love having options. In particular, we love having the opportunity to go reverse-chronologically for good. It seems that a few may have loved that option, and Twitter takes a step back with a middle way.
This is one of the changes you can not get to the gun about, but make no mistake that Twitter is boxing users back with an illusion of freedom. And it takes an opportunity to do more A-B testing with eager guinea pigs. Maybe if enough people constantly switch to the good, reverse-chron timeline, Twitter will get the point. It would be very un-Twitter-like, but strange things have happened.
[ Twitter via Buzzfeed]