Get the most important digital marketing news each day.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Reassures Over #RIPTwitter Worries: Live Timeline Will Remain
Responding to concerns, Dorsey says Twitter loves the live stream and wants to refine it to be more live, not less.
Finally, Twitter has responded to the concerns that its live timeline might be replaced by one where an algorithm chooses what to show. CEO Jack Dorsey has tweeted that the live timeline will remain, topped by a “While You Were Away” section.
From Dorsey’s series of tweets:
Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we’re always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.
— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
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.
— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
Look at “while you were away” at the top of your TL. Tweets you missed from people you follow. Pull to refresh to go back to real-time. — Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
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! — Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
Twitter can help make connections in real-time based on dynamic interests and topics, rather than a static social/friend graph. We get it. — Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
Thank you all for your passion and trust. We will continue to work to earn it, and we will continue to listen, and talk! — Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
Dorsey’s response came after BuzzFeed reported yesterday that an “algorithmic” timeline would be appearing in the coming days, one where tweets would be sorted similar to Facebook, where a computer program tries to decide what to show.
Twitter hadn’t commented on that, though many believed that something like this might show and might appear as an option, rather than a default change. Still, many worried on Twitter that it would become a permanent default change. That caused the #RIPTwitter hashtag to trend, as users protested, including some celebrities on Twitter.
What’s confusing is that the “While You Were Away” feature he describes exists already — and has been there for over a year.
Perhaps his mention of this feature was meant as a reminder, but that seems odd. Rather, it felt more like a hint that “While You Were Away” or something similar might appear on a more consistent and regular basis, with the reassurance being that if people don’t like it, a simple pull-down will make it disappear.
Possibly, it could be that While You Were Away might be combined with ads showing up more in that area. I’ve never noticed Twitter ads in that spot. Making the section appear more often — and with ads — might give Twitter a revenue bump that it seeks.
Postscript: Over at The Verge, Casey Newton writes about how the new timeline might work. This seems based on reports from people who’ve been part of a test group with non-chronological timelines for about a month.
In short, if you’ve been away from Twitter for some set period of time, you’re likely to see top tweets inserted into your main timeline, not just at the top but perhaps elsewhere, as well. If you pull to refresh, they’d go away. And this behavior, The Verge says it’s confirmed, would be the default with an opt-out for those who don’t like it.