Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) announced that it will be making significant changes to its 140-character platform when it debuts an algorithmic timeline as early as next week. It’s not known if users will be required to utilize the new timeline that will reorder tweets based on what Twitter’s algorithm determines the user wants to see. Presently, Twitter shows tweets in reverse chronological order.
For power users, the algorithmic-based timeline may be problematic because many users in finance, news and other industries rely on Twitter for its power to update current info within seconds and see the most immediate developments first.
For average users, an algorithmic timeline could be more useful because it would keep out Twitter’s noise, is something that CEO Jack Dorsey has been pushing for. In July, Dorsey said that Twitter will continue to make fundamental changes in order to make the product simpler and more accessible to more people.
Twitter started playing around with algorithm-recommended content last year. The “While you were away” feature shows at the top of the user’s timeline and displays a recap of some of the top tweets the user might have missed from accounts he or she follows.
One of Twitter’s major problems is that it doesn’t make it simple for new users to get going on the service. If Twitter were to deploy the algorithmic-based timeline, it could deliver specific tweets to fresh users.
Twitter has persisted in making changes to its interface that apparently no one has requested. While the company says it had earlier tested the algorithm with a small group of users and the test did well enough to introduce the feature more broadly, the general opinion among most Twitter users doesn’t seem to be that favorable. Currently, those users involved in testing the algorithm comment that there is the ability to switch back to “most recent” view, although it’s a choice they have to choose manually every time they sign in. On the good side though, an algorithmic timeline is a solution for Twitter to highlight popular content and could resolve a number of Twitter’s signal-to-noise issues.
Only time will tell whether the new feature is more effective and will enjoy popularity among Twitter’s user base.