Twitter has always been about chronological tweets. Don’t check Twitter for six hours? Unless something gets retweeted, chances are you will miss something you might have considered important. While many have wondered whether Twitter would change to a non-chronological news feed similar to Facebook (although Facebook’s implementation of it has issues too), it would seem they have made the move to alert people to popular tweets they missed while they were away.
The tweet begins with “While you were away…” and features a recent tweet, oftentimes one that has been either favorited or retweeted multiple times. You can also select the “X” to close the tweet, so you see your full chronological timeline instead.
OMG, it appears Twitter is testing a Facebook-like algorithm for the Home stream called "While you were away…" pic.twitter.com/CpQQMLp0VO
— Eli (@EliLanger) December 31, 2014
One downside is that in the mobile app, the tweets aren’t dated or timestamped to show how recently it was tweeted. And as Twitter is very much a time-based and time-sensitive platform, I can definitely see some issues with either outdated tweets, or with tweets that don’t really need engagement 2-3 days later.
The feature doesn’t appear to be live to all users, however many US users are now seeing it.
Techcrunch reports that Twitter declined to comment about the new change, so it is unclear if it is merely being tested or if it is simply a slow rollout to all Twitter users.
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