So today Twitter had an analyst day where they outlined their progress to date, their potential, and some pending changes. While many, like improved private messaging, better video integration, and instant timelines for new users genuinely sound like good ideas, one new feature dubbed “while you were away” seems likely to upset timeline purists:
One feature that might rile a few feathers is called “While you were away”. It looks at the best tweets from your network since you last opened Twitter, and puts them at the top of your timeline. The company says this is so “Every time you open the Twitter app, you’ll see something great.” That’s been tough to date, with over 500 million tweets sent per day.
This marks a significant break from Twitter’s main timeline as a purely reverse chronological feed. Twitter had experimented with showing tweets favorited by people you follow, but this is a much more aggressive shift from and unfiltered feed to an algorithmically sorted one
Undoubtedly this will end up being tweets I could care less about, though I doubt Twitter would be stupid enough to truly interrupt the timeline with more than a few highlighted “while you were away” tweets. Still, this will keep most of the nerdcore in “no revenue for Twitter because there are no ads” apps like Tweetbot to maintain the sanctity of the timeline, furthering the prejudice against Twitter.app users like myself.