Twitter’s got a new feature that will show you a bunch of recommended tweets at the top of your timeline, before your regular timeline. Nobody freak out. It’s chill.
The new timeline shows you a series of tweets from people you follow before it shows you the real-time stream of tweets. How exactly it determines the mix isn’t clear but you can be sure it involves—wait for it!—an algorithm. It’s an opt-in feature that has to be switched on in your settings. In the blog post announcing the change, the company is very carful not to alarm sensitive users:
Here’s how it works. You flip on the feature in your settings; then when you open Twitter after being away for a while, the Tweets you’re most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order. The rest of the Tweets will be displayed right underneath, also in reverse chronological order, as always. At any point, just pull-to-refresh to see all new Tweets at the top in the live, up-to-the-second experience you already know and love.
Don’t worry everybody! It’s not that different! If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it (for now), and even if you do use it, it’s easy to get rid of (for now).
We should note that Twitter’s had a feature like this for some time—showing you popular tweets from people you follow when you open up the app. It’s not totally clear how this is different, but since Twitter is announcing it, it must be substantively so.
A shitstorm erupted last weekend following reports that Twitter was planning on algorithmically reordering timelines a la Facebook. Company CEO Jack Dorsey quickly quashed the rumors that Twitter had any plans to reorder timelines—a least this week. Depending how you read this news, you might see him as a big liar.
Twitter’s in trouble. It’s not making a lot of money, and it’s not growing very fast, which are both bad news if you care about stock prices and all. We’ll know just how much when the company reports earnings today. But you can expect more change is coming to the beloved bird soon.