Users Don’t Like What Twitter Is Up To

As previously reported, Twitter is messing with users’ Timelines. They’re starting to show tweets from people you don’t actually follow. These will be tweets it thinks you’ll b...
Users Don’t Like What Twitter Is Up To
Written by Chris Crum
  • As previously reported, Twitter is messing with users’ Timelines. They’re starting to show tweets from people you don’t actually follow. These will be tweets it thinks you’ll be interested in.

    Are you okay with Twitter injecting tweets from accounts you don’t follow into your Timeline? Let us know in the comments.

    Twitter has already been experimenting with this, and has determined that people actually like seeing tweets from accounts they don’t follow. They announced that it’s going to be a permanent feature.

    “When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline,” Twitter explains .”This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”

    So if you don’t like it, I guess you’re out of luck. Of course a lot of people don’t. Here’s a small sampling from the pool of tweets from the last few minutes.

    There are plenty more where those came from.

    I have to say, some of these points are pretty valid. As we’ve seen with Facebook, a lot of people don’t like their feeds being screwed around with. They like to be in control of what they see. On the other hand, however, we’ve also seen that Facebook screwing around with people’s feeds has done virtually nothing to alienate users. It’s as massive a social network as ever.

    Twitter, on the other hand, has problems with user growth, and this is no doubt a play to help the company in that regard, even if that means pissing off a lot of the Twitter faithful.

    One of Twitter’s biggest draws for a lot of people has been that timeline control, so it will be quite interesting to see if any noticeable effects in usage come as a result of the changes.

    Twitter has often been associated with noise. If you follow a lot of accounts, it can be a task to wade through everything to find what you really want to see. There are tools (like lists) that let you solve this problem, but people don’t always use them. If Twitter doesn’t get this right, it will just be adding to the noise. If it does get it right, then you really will be seeing more content of interest.

    Twitter’s not stupid. It wouldn’t be doing this if it truly thought it was going to alienate users, and for the most part, it probably won’t. This feels like one of those things that people will complain about for a few days, and then get on with their lives.

    It’s not as though seeing content from people you don’t follow isn’t already a daily part of Twitter. You most likely follow people that retweet content from other users. Sometimes it leads to you finding new, interesting accounts to follow. Still, retweeted content is at least there because the person you follow tweeted it. Not because Twitter thinks you’ll like it.

    How much this annoys or pleases users will be up to how well Twitter executes. How well does Twitter really know what you want to see? I guess we’ll all find out soon enough. Until then, let’s just take a deep breath and see how it plays out.

    What do you think? Is this a big deal? Do you like the idea? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

    Image via Twitter

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