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Twitter Testing Non-Chronological Timelines (vice.com) 83

sarahnaomi writes with this excerpt from Motherboard: Brace yourself, because your favorite social media platform might get turned on its head: Twitter is experimenting with a new way of sorting your timeline that breaks with the reverse-chronological format it has used since its inception. Certain users have already been selected for testing, and a Twitter search for "timeline out of order" revealed a lot of confused Tweeters. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed via email that this is "an experiment. We're continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter." Presumably, Twitter is working with algorithms similar to the ones Facebook uses to order items on your News Feed. I curse the name of Zuckerberg each time I realize that my view of Facebook has been switched from "Most Recent" to "Top Stories" -- Top Stories according to whom?
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Twitter Testing Non-Chronological Timelines

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Do not question the masters. Going against the narrative will only get you flagged for suspicion of being too white or to male.
    • People using Facebook already receive information censored by Facebook. You get what they want you to see so that they can shape your view of the world. If you don't agree with the progressive agenda, you soon will.

      • by Ocker3 ( 1232550 )
        I think it's more that facts and science have a liberal 'bias'. Also, the majority of people tend to be at least a bit progressive, and humans are sensitive to what people around them think.
  • Configurable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ardmhacha ( 192482 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:06PM (#51082459)

    It should be configurable.

    If I want it reverse-chronological format the I should be able to set that and not have it changed. If twitter wants to offer a bunch of other configuration options then they should be configurable as well.

    Same with Facebook, if I pick Most Recent then leave it Most Recent.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That only makes sense if what the user wants to see is the website's top priority. Why would you expect that of either Twitter or Facebook?

    • Not having used Twitter but having used Facebook, I want to know: When are they going to implement sorting by what my brain perceives as chronology? (For me personally, it is something like similarity to the present state rather than having anything at all to do with physical time...so yesterday can seem much longer ago than some event 5 or 10 years ago if the latter is more "relevant" at the moment, & then switch around when I think of something else.)
  • Non-chronological timelines sounds like something out of Dr Who.

    I think the big problem here is the world feels it needs to get all breathless and concerned over Twitter changing this.

    On behalf of those of us who have never used Twitter ... whatever. Do let us know if they change the font, too.

    • On behalf of those of us who have never used Twitter ... whatever. Do let us know if they change the font, too.

      Yes indeed. I've managed to get this far without either Twitter and Facebook, and it looks like a good decision so far.

      • But have you managed to get this far without Erris, Mactrope, gnutoo, inTheLoo, willeyhill, westbake, Odder, ibane, deadzero, freenix, myCopyWrong, right handed, GNUChop, and the rest of the gang [slashdot.org]?

        • I have no idea what those are...
          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Back in 2008, before the Twitter.com microblog service took off, Slashdot had an active user named twitter [slashdot.org]. This twitter was notorious for using alternate "sockpuppet" accounts to post his pro-GNU/Linux, anti-"M$" screeds and attack some who disagreed with his message or methods.

            If you don't remember twitter, you must be new here.
            [notices UID 2881349 and login through Twitter.com]
            Now I understand. Twitter the sockpuppeteer mostly stopped posting before you joined.

    • I still don't know any person personally who uses Twitter. I view the entire topic as a constant, unending ad scheme designed to get me to use this thing I can't find any purpose for. Except, apparently, to get myself in trouble.

    • I didn't understand how to use Twitter for almost a year... I was reading posts of people I followed. Then ... I got it. It's about the search box in the top right corner. Enter something professional which is rare, esoteric, something like "small indonesian bananas" or maybe "firefox spyware" and you can actually meet people who know something about it, share the interest, people you'd never have known about, much faster than if you rely on publications or blogs. If a journalist writes a story which is
      • Me, I will never type anything even resembling "small indonesian bananas" into a search field.

        Rule #34 and all that.

        But seriously, if you wish to find communities of random people you'd never have known about on the intertubes who feel the need to comment on random crap nobody actually cares about, well, it sounds like Twitter is perfect for you.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          When the service was first announced, I went there. I think I even got an account. I don't believe that I've ever used the account. I suspect that I no longer control that domain name and no longer have access to that email.

    • I don't use twitter but a friend of mine does.

      To me, one of the interesting issues regarding twitter is TV spoilers. She's remarked a few times that she has to be very careful reading her twitter feed when there is "an important episode" of a TV show. I remarked that I'm surprised that twitter doesn't have some way to say "Don't show me any tweets with this hashtag until after my local time." So if you tweet something at 8:30PM ET, I won't see it until 8:30PM PT.

      I'm not sure what they mean by "non-chrono

    • Non-chronological timelines sounds like something out of Dr Who.

      It makes as much sense as a non-linear ruler or a non-angular protractor.

      P.S. I consider reverse chronological to still be chronological.

  • by elvesrus ( 71218 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:13PM (#51082533)

    An option to see everything since last checked from oldest to newest.

    • by enjar ( 249223 )

      You could go all crazy with this idea. Add the ability to sort by interest/category/theme, and then add the ability to have threaded conversations, and you'll have re-invented newsgroups.

  • Most Recent (Score:5, Informative)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:16PM (#51082561) Homepage

    For that last note: on Facebook, "Most Recent" isn't actually the most recent posts at all. A couple things are happening. Firstly, it is the "Most recently interacted with", meaning if something is commented on, it jumps to the front of the line. Next, Facebook selects aprox 320 posts to show each user, with new content appearing every now and then, and content being removed after about 24-72 hours. Even if you follow 1000 pages posting once a day, Facebook will only select the aprox 320 that it thinks you want. From here, "Most Recent" then only becomes the most recent of this smaller selection, not all posts from your potential feed. So when Facebook switches between "Top Stories" and "Most Recent", you're honestly not getting anything new/different between the two, just sorting smaller segment of your feed that it deems you should be able to view.

    • After logging in, this link [facebook.com] will always take you to the "most recent"...

    • If you get more than 320 posts on a day in your feed you either have a couple of friends that has nothing better to do than post/sharing junk on facebook OR you have nothing better to do and are friending everyone or subscribing to anything that crosses your path.

  • What did all you twitter people think was going to happen to a free site? They have to make money somehow, and putting 'top stories' in front of your eyes is a good way of doing that.

    So don't get all your panties in a bunch.

    Those of us who never used twitter don't care.

    Those who do, if it matters, then find another mass social media 'thing'.

    Remember, twitter doesn't 'belong to the world', it belongs to twitter and they can do what they want with their systems.

    • by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
      You should become a user and experience the change, before saying such things. I'm not complaining about promoted tweets, or even ads. Those are obviously needed, for a revenue stream. I, and any other twitter users I know that have this out-of-order crap, are complaining that the implementation is bad ("while you were away" doesn't actually know when I last checked my feed somehow, thus shows me things much further in the past than while I was away) and it promotes stuff for which they're not making any
  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:20PM (#51082593) Journal
    Problem 1: they don't keep track across devices. If I log in from one web browser and see new notifications, it's not uncommon for me to then log on via a different web browser half a day later and some of those notifications are back to being new again. Bah. What does this have to do with this "news" from TFA? Apparently I was part of the "test group" unfortunately, because I've been getting this out-of-order crap for a long while. If I check twitter from my phone in the morning and catch up on everything, then in the evening I have to wade through a lot of "while you were away" crap that was posted days ago despite my having logged on hours before, and then I can't find what was actually posted since the last time I was logged on...that's not "confusion." That's a mix of "completely idiotic UX," "very poor backend tracking of what has already been viewed," and "extremely poor guesses as to what I might be interested in, elevating feeds in which I'm only marginally interested while obfuscating those in which I have a lot of interest." I suspect that third one has to do with how many likes/whatever the person has, but...sometimes people are interested in someone for different reasons. I follow comedians, and if personX is funnier than personY, but personY looks awesome in a bikini, then that doesn't mean I want you to blare personY's posts at me and hide personX's posts... I'm in SoCal, if I want to see a really fit girl in a bikini, I walk outside and look in any direction.
  • by Sable Drakon ( 831800 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:25PM (#51082631)
    If this happens to my account, I'm calling Twitter out on it. I hate this behavior from Facebook, to the point that I don't even go to the site anymore. If I wanted anything other than most recent at the top, I'd set that myself. Not let some half-wit algorithm dictate what's most relevant in respect to my social media experience. I want to be the half-wit in charge of what's most relevant on my Twitter and Facebook timelines.
    • I want to be the half-wit in charge of what's most relevant on my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

      Oh, we're sorry, but only officially approved half-wits are allowed to make such monumental decisions.

      Because the reality is those decisions are being made to optimize ad revenue. What you want is irrelevant.

      How much do you pay for Twitter? Because that's how much Twitter gives a crap about what you want.

      • It may be free, but their ad revenue is directly proportional to their users. If the users leave, because of stupid choices on the part of the service, that revenue dries up and the company goes under. So they should take care not to alienate their users. Once they do, something else that does the same thing as 'Classic Twitter' will come along and everyone will leave the old service for the new service. Shall I remind you of 'New Coke'?
    • It seems counter to anything that Twitter is useful for. I signed up in the first place for a travel information feed and the information I get from that is no fucking use if I'm not seeing the most recent incidents reported.

  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:26PM (#51082647) Journal
    Isn't it a bit ironic, don't you think, for there to be a slashdot discussion about a website that dramatically changes a loved posting and discussion format, into one that is widely despised, despite overwhelming feedback against the change? I remember back when I could see, in my profile, how many responses my posts had...and could easily find and respond to them...and when I wasn't given a teeny tiny little box into which to type my responses, with an entire empty webpage staring at me in all the other directions of the screen. And and and...get off my lawn, you damn kids! ;)
  • Certain users have already been selected for testing, and a Twitter search for "timeline out of order" revealed a lot of confused Tweeters. A

    The summary is perpetuating the fundamentally flawed notion that the people who tweet, read tweets and re-tweets are the "users". The fact of the matter is they are the "used"s. The site twitter.com is the user, the tweeters are the useds. Sooner we get used to the notion, sooner we make all understand this relationship, better it would be for all.

  • As opposed to uncertain users, I guess...

  • All good things come to an end. I'm convinced of this. Nothing cool like Twitter can exist long before idiots try to ruin it.

    This is making me less excited about new sites and tech as I get older because I know that if I use it and get to love it, it will be ruined right under my nose. Kinda depressing, no?

    Another example is the Music app on iOS. It was beautiful and perfect, and Apple f**ked it all up and made it ugly, overly complex and glitchy.

    Nothing good lasts forever.

  • "ways to surface the best content" - yet another piece of market-speak. Hint - if you have to resort to market-speak, you're doing a sh*tty job somewhere along the line.
    • Bah, just use it as a "bullshit filter".

      As soon as someone uses words like that it's a sign that you probably don't give a crap what they have to say.

      I've found it quite effective for the last 20 years.

      The moment you find yourself thinking "wow, I just won bullshit buzzword bingo", you know it's time to stop listening, because nothing intelligent or useful will be forthcoming.

  • I don't think this will really affect me since I comment on about three different Twitter handles but I don't really read anyone else's. (However I do tend to look when someone mentions or favorites a tweet or sends me a direct message.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think this proves my theory Twitter is only for narcissists and idiot celebrity worshipers who can't wait for the next People Magazine to come out.

      Not that the two sets are mutually exclusive, mind you.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      I comment on about three different Twitter handles

      You should have been around back in 2008. There was this one twitter guy who was commenting on a dozen handles, praising GNU/Linux and slamming what he called "M$".

  • I've been having a bit of a problem following Dr. Who's Twitter timeline... can you help me out?
  • It keeps doing this on my timeline. When I change it, it asks "Did you like this?" No matter how many times I hit no...they just keep doing it. I miss the days when services were something you paid for, and you were a customer instead of a product.

    • by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
      There has to be a happy medium, somehow. Back when we were customers, there were limited options. Nowadays, there are so many potential customers that were you to suggest one particular site be somehow forced (such as so many try to force Facebook membership...) you'd be walking down a very dangerous path. The only way for us to be customers again at this point would be for the gov to pass laws protecting our private information, but unfortunately...that ship has sailed.
  • They just need a 2-column setup.... current posts on one side, or one pane, and "important"/interesting posts in the other.

    Plenty of space for it in the main twitter web page, mobile people may have to swipe left or right between screens... Tweetdeck could do it simply...

  • perhaps they are using this as a theme song??

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • We haveTop Men working on it.

    Top. Men.

  • You get a digest of "most popular posts from your feeds since you last checked". Then the full feed. Plus a sprinkling of ads that resemble your feeds intermixed.
  • This post was first but Slashdot is trying out a new ordering system

  • However, I agree with "I curse the name of Zuckerberg each time I realize that my view of Facebook has been switched from "Most Recent" to "Top Stories" -- Top Stories according to whom?"
  • When you put all your pages and/or friends into a list, you will see EVERYTHING they post in reverse chronological order. Much better than the unpredictable news feed.
  • Twitter has the most disfunctional endless scroll ever. In the app as on the web.

    You scroll, you retweet, you fave, it jumps back to top. You try to scroll back down and need to wait for reloading of the tweets in between, because they vanished.

    Not that reverse chronical endless scroll would be useful anyway. You scroll down until you catched up (backwards, why?!), then you jump up to unfold new tweets and start scrolling down. Repeat.

    They should have a feature "chronical endless scroll from where i stopped

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!