Twitter’s timeline secret is out: new algorithm puts the ‘best’ tweets first

10 Feb 2016

All the hoo-ha and handwringing and #RIPTwitter sentiment can be put to bed as Twitter has revealed there is indeed an algorithm change that will try to place the tweets that are most important to you at the top of your timeline.

Today (10 February), Twitter confirmed that it will introduce a new timeline feature that will help users catch up on the ‘best’ tweets from the people they follow.

The tweak to tweets might seem minor but time will tell if it proves popular or not, or just a huge relief to all those who feared Twitter might end up similar to Facebook.

The idea is simply to make sure users don’t miss the best tweets from people they follow.

“You flip on the feature in your settings; then when you open Twitter after being away for a while, the tweets you’re most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order,” explained Mike Jahr, senior engineering manager at Twitter.

“The rest of the tweets will be displayed right underneath, also in reverse chronological order, as always. At any point, just pull-to-refresh to see all new tweets at the top in the live, up-to-the-second experience you already know and love.”

Never skip a tweet

Jahr said that those who use the new feature tend to retweet and tweet more. This could be a welcome development for Twitter, which is keen to demonstrate user growth to impatient investors on Wall Street.

To check the new feature out now, just go into the timeline section of your settings and choose ‘show me the best tweets first’.

Twitter said it will be switching the feature on in all timelines in the coming weeks.

The social media player has been doubling down on changes to its timeline in recent days.

Yesterday, Twitter unveiled a new ad format called First View that will give advertisers top billing in timelines for 24 hours.

Twitter image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years