Categories: world

Twitter's new glitter icon disables the algorithm, making your timeline reverse-chronological.

December 18, 2018 Technology 0 Views Three years ago, Twitter introduced one of the most controversial changes in its history. It started using a ranking algorithm to determine which tweets people should see on top of their timeline. Until then, with some exceptions, users had shown only all the tweets from all those in reverse chronological order. It was an option to turn off algorithmic ranking, but it was hidden in Twitter settings, and the feature was not obvious. The default setting was called "Show the best tweets first" and deselect it would restore your timeline to the old reverse crown system. Evidence that people struggled with the setting could be found every time people complained during a live event that they saw tweets from hours or even days earlier.Twitter also told me that their own research showed that many users had shut down the algorithm at some point, then forgot that they had done it and never hit it back. But it should change – at least for users of the iOS app. From Tuesday, they can switch with a single crane between the rated timeline – which Twitter now calls the "home" timeline – and an unfiltered, reverse chronological. You do this by using a "spark" icon that appears in the top right corner of your timeline. Tap it once, and your timeline switches to the reverse crown. Press it again and the algorithm is back. The home time line appears by default when you update or log…

Three years ago, Twitter introduced one of the most controversial changes in its history. It started using a ranking algorithm to determine which tweets people should see on top of their timeline. Until then, with some exceptions, users had shown only all the tweets from all those in reverse chronological order.

It was an option to turn off algorithmic ranking, but it was hidden in Twitter settings, and the feature was not obvious. The default setting was called “Show the best tweets first” and deselect it would restore your timeline to the old reverse crown system. Evidence that people struggled with the setting could be found every time people complained during a live event that they saw tweets from hours or even days earlier.
Twitter also told me that their own research showed that many users had shut down the algorithm at some point, then forgot that they had done it and never hit it back.

But it should change – at least for users of the iOS app. From Tuesday, they can switch with a single crane between the rated timeline – which Twitter now calls the “home” timeline – and an unfiltered, reverse chronological. You do this by using a “spark” icon that appears in the top right corner of your timeline. Tap it once, and your timeline switches to the reverse crown. Press it again and the algorithm is back. The home time line appears by default when you update or log in again after a while.

Twitter’s Product Management, Keith Coleman, Announced and explained the change in a Twitter thread Tuesday. The company says it should be available on platforms other than iOS in January.

With the change, Twitter will retire about the old option to turn off “show the best tweets first” in your Twitter settings. It may not be any users who thought they had ripped off the algorithm for good. In a briefing before the announcement, Coleman said that the company had thought about this and built its system to “teach” people’s preferences over time. So if a particular user continues to turn off the ranking algorithm, then Twitter will eventually stop showing it to them, unless they have been logged out for a long time.

“There are a few times when rankings are good, because they help you catch up and get a summary of what’s happening,” says Coleman. “There are other times where [ranked] the home timeline is not the best. Let’s say it’s a choice night. You’re stuck on what happened and you just want to see what’s last.” Now it’s easier to do that .

In its testing of the new feature, Twitter says that it has found that users have 2 percent more conversations than before. In particular, they interact with other users during live events they follow, probably because they see everyone’s tweets in real time rather than having outdated mixed in. They have also reported higher satisfaction with Twitter in total.

I still expect a backlash from people who have already told Twitter that they do not want their timeline ranked and now have to say Twitter same again, several times. But I also expect that this will help Twitter’s business in the long run because all indications are that the ranking timeline increases user’s commitment and satisfaction, even if people do not realize it. And of course this is a feature Twitter users have been clamoring for before the even introduced timeline. So maybe, once it’s a Twitter tweak that goes over well.

Then there will probably still be many people wondering why Twitter does not add an editing button or to get rid of the Nazis instead.

Share
Published by
Faela