It's easy to get lost in the Twitterverse.
I'm not just talking about the the nearly 300 million-member community as a whole, but also your own Twitterverse – comprised of the people you follow. It could be 100 people, it could be 1,000. Unlike Facebook, which doesn't show you all the posts coming in from all of your contacts, Twitter has always been a unmitigated content delivery system. For better or for worse, your Twitter stream contains it all – every post from everyone you follow.
And unless you're checking Twitter constantly, it's very easy to miss something important.
That's what makes Twitter's newest timeline tweak smart. The social network has begun to roll out a new 'While You Were Away' feature that automatically surfaces tweets that you might have missed to the top of your timeline.
Here's how it works, from Twitter:
"A lot can happen while you’re on the go. To fill in some of those gaps, we will surface a few of the best Tweets you probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise, determined by engagement and other factors. If you check in on Twitter now and then for a quick snapshot of what’s happening, you’ll see this recap more often; if you spend a lot of time on Twitter already, you’ll see it less."
The 'While You Were Away' feature is now live on iOS, and is coming soon to Android and desktop.
Is this the Facebook-ization of Twitter? Not really. Yes, it's an algorithmic tweak (and Twitter's not too forthcoming on how it's going to work – other factors?), but Twitter's not deciding what content you see or more importantly – what content you don't see.. It's all still there in your timeline if you want to scroll through it. Twitter's just surfacing tweets that it thinks you'd be sad to have missed. How sweet of you, Twitter.
Of course, this could all change when Twitter is 100 percent sure than while I was away, I wanted to see an ad for Chobani yogurt.
Twitter's been making small changes to the timeline for months now, and we knew this one was coming. This is not a big algorithmic shift to Twitter that has been discussed and is mostly feared. What it is is a pretty smart way to keep people who aren't constantly checking Twitter engaged.
Image via Twitter