What You Need To Know About Twitter's New Timeline

Photo: Courtesy Twitter.
Twitter made a major change this week. Instead of displaying tweets in reverse chronological order, with the most recent tweets on top of your feed, Twitter will first show you tweets it thinks you'll find most relevant.

Here's how it will work.

When you open Twitter after being away for a while (either in the mobile app or on the desktop), at the top of your feed, Twitter will show tweets "you're most likely to care about." These tweets will still be relatively recent, and in reverse chronological order. Below that, you'll get your normal feed.

What's the point of this change?
It's all about engagement. In beta testing, Twitter found that people who used this new timeline tended to tweet and retweet more. Considering Twitter's user growth is flatlining, it has to make money and stay relevant somehow. By helping the social network's users actually use the platform more, it should bring in more value (read: more money). Twitter also hopes this new timeline will have more appeal to the masses, rather than just its smaller, dedicated power users.

I thought Twitter was about what's happening right now. Isn't this kind of Facebook-y?
“Twitter is live: live commentary, live conversations, live connections,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in the company's earnings call Wednesday. But apparently, a lot of people are confused about how Twitter works, so by highlighting tweets that are less live, it will also make Twitter less confusing? We weren't confused before, but we are now.

Joking aside, while the change may be irritating to current Twitterati, for those that only occasionally check Twitter and miss out on the funniest and most notable tweets from people they follow, this change should help.

When will I get this new timeline?
Twitter began rolling it out on Wednesday, but most of us won't see it in our feed for another week or two. When you get it, you'll receive a notification, and the new timeline will automatically be turned on.

If you can't wait, you can test it out by heading to Twitter's settings, going to the timeline section, and selecting "show me the best tweets first."

What if I don't like it?
You can head to your settings to switch it off if you decide you don't like the new, algorithmically-enhanced Twitter experience. You can also get fresh tweets, same as before, by refreshing your timeline.

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