After Much Grumbling, Twitter Brings Back The Chronological Timeline
If you’ve spent any length of time on Twitter in the last few years, you’ve heard the complaints. Maybe you’ve seen a friend say that she missed all the live-tweets of your Blossom rewatch. Perhaps it’s a particularly opinionated blogger espousing that his takes are too hot. Whatever the case, it seems that Twitter has slowly but surely gone away from being the news ticker of the Internet. Where there once was a highly curated feed of all your favorite things, there is now stale tweets with thousands of likes and ads for pizza.
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This was simply unacceptable for power users, so they did what power users do. They circumvented the platform holders and provided their own hacky solution. In August, technologist Andy Baio discovered that the old Twitter timeline was recoverable by using the site’s advanced search and a few filters. Former NY Times tech executive Erin Sparling stepped in the next day with a fancy URL and RealTwitter.com was born.
You know, I've had the domain https://t.co/Nu7N4UZsmF for years now, and never did anything with it. I just made it a forward to your filter url, for the benefit of mankind.
— Erin Sparling (@everyplace) August 17, 2018
Fast forward to this month, and Twitter clearly heard the call. While they defended their insertion of “In Case You Missed It” posts and likes from people you don’t follow into feeds, they finally acknowledged that some people just thought the old ways were best. As of now, turning off the “Show the best Tweets first” option in your settings will bring back a list of the most recent tweets from people you follow. Some might argue that this should have been how that option worked from day one, but at least it’s fixed now.
5/ Meanwhile, today we updated the “Show the best Tweets first” setting. When off, you’ll only see Tweets from people you follow in reverse chronological order. Previously when turned off, you’d also see “In case you missed it” and recommended Tweets from people you don’t follow.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 17, 2018
As part of this announcement, Twitter also stated that they were working on better integrating the classic timeline alongside the algorithmic one. The above thread reveals that there will soon be a toggle on the homepage where users can switch between the two settings. More choice for the end user is always a positive, and it might be useful to only see relevant tweets at high traffic times. Here’s hoping that these changes lead to a saner social media experience for those of us that are still sticking around.