Is Twitter becoming less user-friendly?
Since the New Year, Twitter has rolled out a deluge of new features. Among the considerable updates, many of us now have the possibility of quote a tweet with reaction videos, DM pins and downvote responses. Frankly, it’s getting hard to follow.
The latest rollout of the social media app, however, is the one that actually caught my eye because it kind of sucks. As reported by The Verge, Twitter has now made it a bit more difficult to view your timeline feed — that is, the latest Tweets — on the app.
In 2016 Twitter rolled out its algorithmic feed (much to the dismay of most of its user base) and in 2018 the app finally gave users the ability to switch between the ranked timelines they so hated and its OG, reverse chronological. feed with a permanent spark button. You can select your favorite feed through the spark, and over time Twitter will learn your habits and default to that timeline when you open the app. From now on, it is impossible to automatically have your feed in reverse chronological order when opening the application.
The recent design change uses two tabs, “Home” and “Recent Tweets”, which you can browse, but the default is Home, the timeline served by algorithm. Is this the end of the world? No, but it’s definitely going to make my experience on the app – at least for a little while – a lot more frustrating, as I have to 1) remember I’m watching the algorithmic feed and then 2) swipe to see the latest tweets.
The only benefit of this change, which I realized while playing around with the new design, is that my reverse chronological feed is no longer plagued with “suggested tweets” or topics that Twitter thinks I might want to follow. Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that my Twitter feed is littered with tweets from accounts I don’t follow being pushed onto my feed by algorithms.
I don’t always hate Twitter suggestions – I’ve discovered some extremely funny tweets and cool accounts through them – but I definitely feel like the recommendations have stepped up. For example, I would favorite some funny tweets on HBO Euphoria watching the show. The next day, the first five tweets at the top of my timeline when I logged into the app, would be Euphoria-Related. It looks like Twitter might be taking a page out of TikTok’s book. The popular video-sharing app has been both praised and heavily criticized for its algorithm’s chilling ability to scroll users through content similar to content they’ve already engaged with.
Despite this positive facet of the new change, as The Verge points out, it seems, overall, that Twitter is pushing its users towards a more algorithmic feed – which is odd because every time a social media platform l did (including when Twitter did in 2016) its users were in turmoil. Instagram, which notoriously switched to an algorithmic feed in 2016, is actually testing bringing back its chronological feed because users have been asking for it so much.
Twitter spokesperson Shaokyi Amdo told The Verge that the home feed will be pinned first by default “for now.” So maybe Twitter, after reading the massive amount of tweets of angry quotes and replies to his tweet announcing the new Home and Latest timelinesgoing to give in and give people their timeline feeds.
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