Today, Twitter has announced a change to the way it shows tweets to users. The announcement was a new update that will soon allow switching back and forth between an algorithmically sorted timeline and one that shows all tweets from your followers, in reverse-chronological order, much like the one Twitter launched with in 2006.
Now, you can get rid of the top section, and just display the tweets, in real-time, like you probably think you want. Spoiler: You don’t. Algorithms 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 this morning by Twitteruser Emma Kinema. In it, she detailed a way to reverse engineer algorithmic sorting, highlighting a much-requested feature to just show the tweets 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.
According to Twitter, it’s been working on a similar update for some time now. In a statement, the company said:
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.
In the future, this update to boost visibility and make the feature to access could 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 tweets you’re most likely to engage with.
To turn it on, just click Settings from the iOS or Android Twitter app. Find the relevant section for the timeline, and toggle the switch to the ON position.