After more than two years of complaints by users who have long clamoured for a return to the chronological timeline—Twitter has finally announced a change to the way it shows tweet posts to users.
The announcement detailed a future that includes switching back and forth between an algorithmically sorted timeline and one that shows all tweet posts from your followers, in reverse-chronological order, much like the one Twitter launched with in 2006. Prior to the update, The default setting for Twitter “Show the best tweets first,” which helps Twitter’s algorithms determined what posts you would see and prioritised those with a lot of engagement from people you followed. People have been complaining about this version of the timeline ever since it debuted.
Before now, there has been an option to turn off “Show the best tweets first” in your settings. If you did this, tweets would mostly appear in reverse chronological order. There would, however, always be a disruption: “In Case You Missed It” tweets from people you follow, and recommended tweets from people you don’t follow, would still appear. Now, you won’t have to see these tweets if you don’t want to.
Now, you can get rid of the top section, and just display the posts, in real-time, like you probably think you want but don’t! Algorithms will make our lives easier, and on social media that means finding tweets we’re more likely to engage with — with an unfortunate filter bubble side effect.
The changes came about after a viral tweet by Twitter User Emma Kinema. In it, she detailed a way to reverse engineer algorithmic sorting, highlighting a much-requested feature to just show the posts in reverse of the order they appeared. With more than 42,000 likes and 16,000 retweets, it clearly showed a disconnect between what users wanted, and what Twitter made available.
Twitter’s official support account wrote:
“We’ve learned that when showing the best Tweets first, people find Twitter more relevant and useful. However, we’ve heard feedback from people who at times prefer to see the most recent Tweets. Our goal with the timeline is to balance showing you the most recent Tweets with the best Tweets you’re likely to care about, but we don’t always get this balance right.”Our goal with the timeline is to balance showing you the most recent Tweets with the best Tweets you’re likely to care about, but we don’t always get this balance right,” Twitter Support wrote.
You can toggle between the two different timelines in the “Content Preferences” section of settings in the updated Twitter app—To turn it on, just click Settings from the iOS or Android Twitter app. Find the relevant section for the timeline (content settings on iOS), and toggle the switch to the ON position.
This update by the company will help boost visibility and make the feature easy to access and could also pave the way for an easy system to toggle between curation and a real-time feed without all the bloat. In essence, it’ll be the best of both worlds, allowing users to follow along at a frenetic pace, or step away for a while and trust that Twitter’s algorithms will surface posts you’re most likely to engage with.