Social media giant Twitter is experimenting with how tweets are ordered on users’ timelines, changing from its reverse chronological order (arguably a trademark feature) to a random display.
Twitter has often been seen as an effective platform for breaking news and events, with the most recent tweets appearing at the top of users’ news feeds. This, therefore, is a significant change, with users’ comparing it to the timeline used by its huge rival, Facebook.
Twitter announced it is “continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter,” as it confirmed the changes people were seeing was not a bug, but a planned test.
Only some users have experienced the changes so far, with a number of tweets and photos about it appearing online.
— André Silva (@meninodekc) December 6, 2015
In July, CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey said: “You will see us continue to question our reverse chronological timeline, and all the work it takes to build one by finding and following accounts.”
This experiment comes not long after Twitter ditched its ‘favourites’ option, replacing the star with a heart instead, indicating that people ‘like’ something. However, despite that change causing a fair amount of backlash from users when it happened, it has quickly been forgotten.
If Twitter chooses to make this change permanent for all users, we can expect a bit of a commotion at first. However, as with all changes to social media sites, people quickly adjust and the reported 307 million active monthly users will tweet on.
If it happens, the significant change will alter the way in which Twitter is used, and take it a step away from its ‘in the moment’ emphasis.