Twitter Reveals Timeline Changes to Surface "Best Tweets"

Twitter - H 2015
AP Images

Twitter - H 2015

A new feature will show tweets that Twitter deems "the best" at the top of users' timelines.

Twitter is rolling out the controversial new feature for its timeline that had users tweeting #RIPTwitter over the weekend. 

The social media site announced Wednesday in a blog post that it is introducing a new timeline that allows people to catch up on important tweets that they may have missed while not signed into the service. For those who opt into the feature, which is a sort of expanded version of the "while you were away" tweets introduced last year, Twitter will now surface what it considers "the best tweets" for each user at the top of their timeline when they open Twitter. Other tweets will be stacked under those tweets in the standard reverse chronological order. Refreshing the timeline will revert it back to the live updating experience. 

"We've already noticed that people who have used this new feature tend to retweet and tweet more, which is good for all of us," writes senior engineering manager Mike Jahr

BuzzFeed News reported last week that Twitter was planning the imminent launch of a new algorithmic timeline that would depart from the normal reverse chronological order, prompting many Twitter users to tweet their displeasure at the news using the hashtag #RIPTwitter. CEO Jack Dorsey responded on Saturday, saying that Twitter would not abandon its live, real-time roots. 

"Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week," Dorsey wrote in a series of tweets. "Twitter is live. Twitter is real-time. Twitter is about who & what you follow. And Twitter is here to stay! By becoming more Twitter-y. Look at 'while you were away' at the top of your [timeline]. Tweets you missed from people you follow. Pull to refresh to go back to real-time. I love real-time. We love the live stream. It's us. And we're going to continue to refine it to make Twitter feel more, not less, live! Twitter can help make connections in real-time based on dynamic interests and topics, rather than a statistic social/friend graph. We get it. Thank you all for your passion and trust. We will continue to work to earn it, and we will continue to listen, and talk!" 



Twitter confirmed the new timeline feature on the same day that it is preparing to release its closely watched fourth quarter and full-year financial results. Investors are heavily scrutinizing the company, which has struggled to grow its user base and is facing increased scrutiny following the departure of several top executives. 

Twitter shares closed down more than 3 percent on Tuesday, to an all-time low of $14.40.