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In order to get more people to start using Twitter and nudge dormant Twitter users to use it more, Twitter has beefed up its timeline to show tweets which are most relevant to the user at the top, instead of showing the latest tweets by time, the company announced in a blog post yesterday. Twitter calls it the best tweets from the people you follow and will display these in a recent and reverse chronological order.

The rest of the tweets will be visible under this, also in reverse chronological order as they have been so far. The microblogging platform does not mention what parameters it is using to display the ‘best tweets’, but we imagine it has, in parts, to do with how much replies and conversations happen over a particular tweet, among other factors.

More users retweet and tweet with this feature
According to the company, people who used this feature were retweeting and tweeting more. Note that this is not a compulsory feature, users can choose whether or not to opt in into it. This feature can be enabled by going to Account Settings→ Content→ Timeline and toggling the ‘Show me the best tweets’ box on desktop. How to do it for iOS and Android here. Twitter will automatically turn on this for users over time through a notification and take feedback on it to improve the product. Users can also send feedback here after using the feature.

Replacement of the Highlights feature?
A Wired report cites Michelle Haq, Twitter product manager, as saying that an average of 12 tweets will be shown in the ‘while you were away’ feature, varying from user to user. Readers would note that less than a year ago, Twitter introduced Highlights, a feature which would push rich notifications to its users to catch up on relevant stuff relevant.

At that time, it did this by checking the user’s following accounts, popular conversations among following users, tweets from people “the user is closely tied to”, topics and events trending in the user’s area or network and popular or trending people from accounts the user followed. Highlights was also an opt-in feature, which may now have culminated into the new one. The only slight difference could be that Highlights was kind of a popup, whereas this will be displayed on the timeline itself.

A week before the announcement was made, BuzzFeed reported that Twitter would make an ‘algorithmic’ change to the platform, one which would liken the microblogging site to Facebook’s timeline, leading cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey to clarify that such was not the case. An algorithmic change would basically mean that Twitter would decide what its users see and not see (prioritising), depending on a variety of factors, and similar to what Facebook does when you login into the platform.

Twitter Moments: In October, Twitter launched a product for browsing tweets on a particular topic known as Moments, code named Project Lightning, which would display the day’s most talked-about stories in a new section of the app and can be accessed by tapping the lightning button.

Image Credit: Garrett Heath under CC BY 2.0