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All You Need to Know about Twitter's Timeline Update

3 MINUTE READ | February 22, 2016

All You Need to Know about Twitter's Timeline Update

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Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson has written this article. More details coming soon.

Twitter recently introduced a new algorithm-based timeline. This timeline puts tweets that users will most likely want to see first at the top of their feed, similar to how Facebook’s timeline works. For a platform known for its real-time updates, this change disappointed a lot of Twitter users as it seemed like they were steering away from what we all know and love about Twitter. But don’t worry, Twitter isn’t completely getting rid of their reverse chronological timeline.

How it Works

In the new update, the “While You Were Away” feature expands at the top of your timeline automatically, showing the most recent ones first, and the rest of your tweets will be in reverse chronological order underneath. If you refresh your feed, you’re still able to view your newest tweets in real-time. Twitter describes it as “adding relevancy to the recency algorithm.”

Pros and Cons

For those who like the “While you Were Away Feature”, it creates a better user experience when the tweets that are more relevant to you appear at the top of the timeline.

However, it could be a jumbled experience if trying to see tweets in real-time for sporting events, television shows, and other real-time moments. Luckily, Twitter has an option in settings to turn off this feature. Hopefully this option sticks around, or Twitter could lose a lot of its loyal users. Users may not feel the need to tweet in real-time about news, live events, television shows, etc. anymore if people are less likely to see it as the moment is happening, which is unfortunate considering this goes against Twitter’s mission statement of sharing information instantly without barriers.

What does this mean for ads?

Surprisingly, nothing. This change will impact organic reach of brands more than anything, similar to what happened to Facebook. Organic tweets are less likely to be seen if they don’t appear in the relevant tweets at the top. But according to Twitter, a brand analysis showed that the change increases brand engagement by about 5% while organic reach remained unchanged. It will be interesting to see if this continues.

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It’s no surprise that Twitter is trying to make changes given their drop in market price lately, but not staying loyal to the purpose of the platform will only cause active users to drop off. My fingers are crossed that the option of still viewing tweets in reverse chronological order sticks around, so that Twitter continues to be the real-time, moments-based platform it’s always been.