Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Here Comes the Algorithmic Timeline

Speaking of Twitter, they’ve decided to expand the “while you were away” algorithmic feature introduced last year. Yoree Koh, Wall Street Journal:

Twitter Inc. is under intense pressure to figure out how to get more people to use the service. But on Wednesday it is releasing a change that is aimed at charming its most ardent fans.

Twitter said it is inserting more tweets at the top of the timeline that a user missed while they were away from the service. Since last January, Twitter has included five tweets as part of a feature called “while you were away.”

Now, Twitter says it will separately include a host of “best” tweets at the top of the timeline each time a person reopens the app or website, displayed in reverse chronological order.

I disagree with Koh’s assessment that this is meant for the biggest Twitter fans, many of which use third-party clients instead. This seems to be more for casual users who check Twitter occasionally, rather than having an app always open. It’s a good move for that group; most of those users probably follow a bunch of public figures and don’t have time to sift through their timeline chronologically. As long as a real-time option and third-party clients are still available for junkies like me, I think this move is fine.