Don’t be surprised to hear the defeated howls of a thousand media people in the air today, as Twitter has just pressed the go button on its controversial shake-up of the Twitter timeline.
Last week, the hashtag #RIPTwitter started trending after rumors emerged that the company would switch so that timelines are not reverse chronological, as they are now, but instead generated by an algorithm. The thinking is that this would make Twitter more like Facebook, where upon visiting you’re presented with only the items which the algorithm thinks you’ll be most interested in.
The company has now made it official, rolling the feature out to accounts that use the Twitter app.
“We’ve already seen that people who use this new feature tend to Retweet and Tweet more, creating more live commentary and conversations, which is great for everyone”, the company explained in an official blog post.
Opt-in … for now
That nervous unease that you can see across the #RIPTwitter hashtag is coming from the power users who spend every day on Twitter. People like journalists, who require the real-time functionality in order to properly do their jobs.
So, the good news is that this new approach to the timeline is opt-in, at least initially. To switch the feature on, simply go into the timeline section of your settings and choose “Show me the best Tweets first”. Even with the feature turned on, you can pull to refresh your tweets and it will switch back to normal, chronological view.
The launch comes at a difficult time for Twitter, which has been frustrating investors with slow growth and struggling to figure out how to make any money. This has led to executive shake-ups and the promise of new features to tackle some of the platform’s biggest issues, like trolling.