How Will Users Respond to Twitter’s New Curated Timeline?
Twitter recently announced it is introducing a new curated timeline, which appears above the regular timeline and shows selected tweets from the people users follow, which it deems to be important or popular based on favoriting and retweeting behavior. This is an interesting development, as it may be unpopular with some of the user community.
Is Twitter Following in the Footsteps of Facebook?
Facebook caused quite a lot of controversy a few years back by changing users’ timelines so that rather than showing a reverse chronological stream of everything all of their friends, and the pages they liked posted, they could only see a selection of posts selected using an algorithm aimed at determining which posts were most important or relevant.
While the reasoning for this was in many ways sound – with people now tending to have large friend lists, it would be very difficult to actually read every potential post – many users found this annoying, particularly because there was no way to revert back to seeing everything. Businesses who used their Facebook pages for marketing also saw a significant drop in the effectiveness of this approach, which is why using a free Facebook page is now no longer a highly recommended approach by companies specializing in online marketing and Montreal SEO services.
Facebook may or may not have noted the concerns of users and businesses, however they have never given the option to switch back to a timeline that shows everything, instead focussing on finding ways to improve their algorithm and make the selection of posts chosen for users to see more appealing to them.
The Initial Response to Twitter’s Changes
Perhaps because of the unpopular Facebook change, Twitter’s new timeline was greeted with a less than favorable response, with many users tweeting using ‘#RIPTwitter’. However, this is most likely a knee jerk reaction, and many changes made on the big social networks that were later accepted by the user community were initially met with this kind of reaction.
Twitter Reassures Its User Base
Twitter has gone out of its way to ensure that users are aware that this new feature can indeed be turned off, and that should you decide to use it, your normal timeline view will still appear below the curated tweets. This effectively means that unlike with Facebook, there is no sense that you are missing out on posts that you may prefer to see. Of course, as people grow accustomed to the new timeline they may well decide they prefer it, given it is hard to keep up with every tweet account you follow. This could then lead to a similar sense among users that the things they post just aren’t being seen as on Facebook, and make Twitter a less appealing prospect for online marketing too.
It will be interesting to see how things play out with Twitter’s reinvention of its main timeline interface. Only time will tell if most people simply disable and ignore it, or if it becomes the way we now use Twitter.