Twitter said they were not going to mess with the traditional chronological timeline their platform is famous for despite some earlier rumors that a new algorithm was set to be deployed. A new post on their blog today seems to indicate both reports are true. Twitter announced they are making a new curated timeline available as an option for now, but they plan to turn it on for all users over the next few weeks forcing users who do not want it to dive into their settings to turn it off.
For the initial rollout, Twitter is making the new feature an opt-in selection. Users will have to go in to the timeline section of their settings and select “Show me the best Tweets first” to turn on the new timeline option. The new timeline appears to be built using algorithms similar to what Twitter uses for their “while you were away” function. Once turned on, Twitter will curate Tweets posted while you were not on the service and “Tweets you’re most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order.” The regular, reverse chronological tweets will then follow below those initial tweets.
Twitter claims that users who have tried the new feature in testing retweet and tweet more. However, some users have reported the new algorithm will sometimes split up conversations.
In their announcement, Twitter says they will turn on the feature for all users “in coming weeks” and will provide a notification in users’ timelines when that happens. Once the feature is turned on by default, users will have to then go in to their settings to turn it off if they do not want to use the new algorithm.