Since 2016, Twitter decided it was better to show you the best tweets first, based on an algorithm.
Not everyone was a fan of the algorithmic timeline, though, and in a surprise decision, Twitter announced that it will allow users to easily switch to a view that shows the classic chronological timeline.
Twitter has updated its app so you have this capability now, but it’s a bit of a chore. If you go into Settings and switch off “show the best tweets first,” tweets will show up in reverse chronological order. Previously when unticked this option, your timeline would show tweets that you’d miss, and also recommended tweets from accounts that you don’t follow.
In coming weeks, Twitter will introduce “an easily accessible way” to allow users to switch between algorithmic and chronological timelines.
5/ Meanwhile, today we updated the “Show the best Tweets first” setting. When off, you’ll only see Tweets from people you follow in reverse chronological order. Previously when turned off, you’d also see “In case you missed it” and recommended Tweets from people you don’t follow.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 17, 2018
The announcement comes after Twitter users have come up with ways to try and circumvent the algorithmic timeline.
As per a viral tweet, Kickstarter’s Andy Baio circulated a URL, which included a search string which filtered out retweets, liked tweets, or as he puts it, without “any algorithm nonsense.”
Launched in 2016, the best-tweets-first timeline was the dreaded step toward what rival Facebook had been doing with its news feed for years.
The move, which came when Twitter’s stock struggled, aimed to help to boost engagement, and keep people on Twitter, thus make the platform more attractive to advertisers and potentially boosting the company’s yo-yo stock price.
But the change also had the effect of sometimes upping old tweets that had high engagement, which in the fast-moving world of Twitter meant the content would often be stale by the time many users saw it.
The bigger breakthrough with this announcement: Twitter actually appears to be listening. So how about that edit button…?