For the past couple of weeks, Twitter has been hinting at a redesign for its timeline.
Finally, the new timeline is here, and it uses and algorithm to show the “best” tweets, sorted by relevancy, first.
This is a change to Twitter’s previous timeline, which used to be strictly arranged in reverse chronological order.
The change comes in response to Twitter’s struggling financial performance. The website’s stock has hit a number of new lowsover the past month, and it’s looking for a way to restore interest in both users and investors.
The new timeline is one of a series of changes intended to make Twitter more engaging and to generate more usage (and the corresponding advertising revenue).
Some of Twitter’s users have vocally opposed the change, fearing the loss of the chronological timeline. However, the update won’t completely eliminate the reverse chronological order.
With the new feature activated, Twitter will display a group of the “best” tweets at the top of the timeline. Below that you’ll still see a group of tweets arranged with the most recent first. If you refresh the page, Twitter will revert to simple reverse chronological order.
You may be wondering how Twitter determines what the “best” tweets are. In a blog post last week, Twitter’s Product Marketing Manager Eric Farkas wrote, “We use a person’s past Twitter activity to predict which Tweets they might like to see most. We look at accounts they interact with, Tweets they usually engage with, interests, and what’s going on in their network.” The selection of best tweets will likely vary based on how many pages a user follows as well.
Twitter hopes that this new timeline will help users to discover more interesting content and will in turn boost user engagement.
Mike Jahr, a senior engineering manager at Twitter, wrote in a blog post, “We’ve already seen that people who use this new feature tend to Retweet and Tweet more, creating more live commentary and conversations, which is great for everyone.”
Twitter officially released its update on Wednesday, February 10th, but for now it’s solely an opt-in feature.
In order to activate it, simply select “Show me the best Tweets first” in the timeline section of your settings.
In the coming weeks, Twitter plans to activate the feature as the default setting for everyone.
If you don’t like it, you’ll be able to opt out through your settings.
Our conclusion: Regardless of whether the feedback is good or bad, it seems certain that Twitter will continue experimenting as it works to improve its financial performance.
Written by content manager Meghan Woolley
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