Twitter is testing a new timeline format that sorts tweets by relevance and not in reverse chronological order, the micro-blogging firm confirmed on Tuesday. As usual, users were miffed, with several sharing screenshots showing tweets out of order.
Early Twitter users not happy
Twitter has been giving hints from more than a year that it can make a move towards an algorithmic-driven news feed, but early Twitter users are more in favor of a chronologically-ordered timeline for enjoying the core Twitter experience, says a report from The Wall Street Journal. Jack Dorsey, the company’s CEO and co-founder, had promised to make big and bold changes to end the stagnation in growth, and this test is most likely part of that promise.
“You will see us continue to question our reverse chronological timeline, and all the work it takes to build one by finding and following accounts,” Dorsey said in July.
According to a company spokeswoman, this is just an experiment, and the micro-blogging site is exploring ways to make available the best content for users. The change to the order of the tweets has not come easy, and the company is receiving constant complaints from users to revert the change.
New format may not suit all
The reverse chronological timeline has been a part of Twitter since its start nine years ago. It would be a significant change for the micro-blogging firm to move from the reverse chronological format to one dictated by an algorithm. This is similar to Facebook’s news feed in which relevance is emphasized over timeliness.
Though the format suits the real-time service, there are certain disadvantages, such as users might miss interesting content while they are away. It could be a tough task to scroll back the timeline in search of relevant content for new users.
In January, the micro-blogging firm added a “while you were away” feature that selects certain missed tweets and inserts them in the users’ timeline. But it appears that this was not sufficient, and the company needed to do something bolder after two continuous years of lackluster growth. In the third quarter, the micro-blogging firm gained only 3 million net new users.