Strange tweets on your timeline?
If you’re seeing tweets on your Twitter timeline from people you don’t know, it’s no accident. It seems Twitter has started to make some integral changes to the way its timeline is filtered and displayed. Users are complaining about the changes, with many long term fans threatening to abandon the platform all together.
Recently, Twitter timelines have been peppered with tweets from people users don’t know or follow. Usually, these tweets would simply be retweeted posts. However, these new posts aren’t retweets at all, but favourited messages from the people users do actually follow.
This appears to be a move from Twitter towards a more Facebook– style filtered feed, meaning your timeline will consist of a mix of opt-in and recommended content. Twitter has managed to long avoid filtering, something that many users appreciated. In the past, Twitter generally allowed users to determine exactly what appears on their timelines themselves, then presented the information in reverse-chronological order. Soon, however, this may no longer be the case.
In fact, Twitter has already amended it’s “What’s in your home timeline” section to reflect the changes:
”Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”
Twitter users are unhappy with the changes to their timelines, with many voicing their displeasure online. Users who are careful about whom they follow are upset that seemingly random posts appear on their feeds. Others thought of favouriting as a means of privately bookmarking a tweet, and were surprised to find that this information was suddenly on display.
The advantages for Twitter of a filtered feed are clear. The timelines will open up, and make it easier for others to discover new accounts based on people they already follow. Thus, Twitter will greatly widen its scope and reach.
Chief financial officer, Anthony Noto, had this to say about the changes:
“Twitter’s timeline is organized in reverse chronological order… but this isn’t the most relevant experience for a user. Timely tweets can get buried at the bottom of the feed if the user doesn’t have the app open, for example. Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better.”
What this means for your timeline
Soon, the posts appearing on the top of your newsfeed won’t be based on simply the time they were sent out. Instead, what you see will depend on your interests and what Twitter’s algorithm decides they may be. Tactics like live-blogging and Twitter chats- which rely on the current chronological format- may be severely impacted.
In short, you can expect to see a lot more tweets from users you don’t follow- whether you want to or not!