THREE YEARS AGO, when spooked by Facebook’s success and habit of eating other social networks’ lunch, Twitter decided to do something drastic. To keep users engaged, it had to make sure the tweets it showed people were the most exciting, so it let algorithms take over, surfacing the ‘most interesting’ tweets first, and doing away with the reverse-chronological timeline it had launched with in 2007.
After three years of users moaning (perhaps Twitter didn’t see the tweets, as algorithms decided they weren’t the “most interesting”), the company is bringing it back. Kind of.
Why “kind of”? Well, a few reasons. Firstly from a slightly pedantic viewpoint, it’s only today if you own an iPhone. The web and Android versions will be coming in the next few weeks.
But more importantly, the algorithm isn’t going away: Twitter is just giving you a switch in the top right-hand corner of your timeline that will toggle between best and reverse-chronological. When you press the button – a little sparkly icon – things will temporarily appear as they happen, making it more useful for watching along with live events in real time. The Oscars, an election or the World Cup, say.
This will revert to algorithmic sorting after a time, but apparently, Twitter will learn from your choices and if you keep pressing it, then it’ll become the default.
Which brings us to the third reason, Twitter is only ‘kind of’ bringing back reverse-chronological tweets: you’ve actually had the ability to turn them on all the time, it’s just a setting that’s buried away from all but the most curious user. Go to Settings > Account > Content and under Timeline you’ll find a box labelled “Show me the best Tweets first”. Untick that, and you’ll get a Twitter experience close to how it was back in 2007. Only with far more jerks, bots and jerky bots.
Still, while this isn’t entirely new, it’s nice that Twitter is making it a bit more obvious now, and apparently it’s already having a small impact. Keith Coleman, Vice President of Product at Twitter told The Verge that those who have been testing the toggle have “participated in more conversations than average.”
That makes sense: who are you more likely to reply to? Somebody who just said something interesting, or somebody who said something interesting eight hours ago? µ
Source : Inquirer