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Twitter testing out non-chronological timeline: a failed experiment?

Twitter’s new CEO is coming in and shaking things up, including an experiment that has users’ timelines all out of sync. Will it stay?


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Timelines, they are-a-changin’

Twitter has been like an old mom and pop shop for many who appreciate getting all of their information from one central place. If you think about it, where else can you go to access straight-to-the-point news, business trends, celebrity updates or randomness, all in reverse chronological order?

Now imagine your dismay when you find out your favorite mom and pop store has renovated beyond recognition; because that is exactly what is happening with Twitter. That reverse chronological order you’ve become so accustomed to seeing since 2006, is now being renovated in a non chronological, nonsensical way.


Those pesky algorithms

It didn’t take users long to notice the new change, and when they did, they found their timeline in absolute disarray: tweets from yesterday followed one from five minutes ago which followed one from two hours ago.

A twitter spokesperson explains this disarray as “…an experiment. We’re continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter”.

And while the deciding factors and variables for this experiment aren’t yet clear; it’d be safe to assume they are using Algorithms much like Facebook, to retrieve and deliver content.

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New CEO shaking things up

If not algorithms, I’d say the process is random. Almost as random as the other major changes that came along with this new “out of order timeline”.

Since the appointment of Twitter’s new CEO, Jack Dorsey, these changes include: implementing moments, and changing the favorite star to a heart; which outraged users with tenure, who feel like the popular app is losing its individuality.

Hopefully just a failed experiment

Ultimately, I agree with those outraged users, and understand why they are uncomfortable with a timeline organized by elements other than time; the thought of scrolling through Twitter unorganized and out of order, has me uneasy just thinking about out it. But what if this new change isn’t for the experienced Twitter user? What if it’s for the novice users who still are confused by “reverse chronology”?

Whatever the reason, users can rest easy knowing its just an experiment. Hopefully Twitter listen’s to user feedback, otherwise, tehy will begin to lose what people love the most about it; delivering relevant content at the right time.


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Written By

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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