All Hail The Algorithm
February 10, 2016 12:48 PM   Subscribe

As reported this weekend, Twitter announced today that timelines will no longer be ordered strictly by reverse chronology.

re/code:
Twitter is desperate to show Wall Street it can either add new users or keep making more money from its existing ones. (Preferably both.) [Twitter’s consumer product head Jeff] Seibert says the feature is targeted at current users more than potential users, although a great algorithm could help with recruitment.

“[Core users] are our microphone,” Seibert explained. “If we make the product delightful for them, they will bring their colleagues and their friends and their family onto the platform. That’s the goal here.”

The timing of the launch is not coincidental. Twitter reports earnings Wednesday afternoon and the new feature will give executives something to point to on the call. Twitter has to showcase how it’s going to grow — or, if it’s not going to grow, how it’s going to keep its current user base engaged. This gives them something to talk about.
Opinions from
Wired: "The objections to the algorithm also presume that Twitter is currently its best self. That’s a stretch. Yes, it’s an essential service during breaking news, especially to those of us in the media, but otherwise it’s a mixed bag of whimsy, news, fights, bile, harassment, and desperation, all presented in a lexicon unique to its most faithful customers. Even to a regular, it can be a tiring slog. To an outsider, it’s inscrutable. Back to Facebook!"

Slate "If you squint hard, you could view this as a fundamental change in how Twitter works. The timeline has always been ordered predominantly by recency. Now it can be ordered by a combination of recency and relevance, to use the social-media industry’s buzzwords—Facebook’s buzzwords, really. It may be CEO Jack Dorsey’s most substantive move since he returned last summer to run the company he co-founded, and it’s a fairly naked bid to make the service a little more like Facebook."

New York Magazine: "The reasons for switching to — or adding — an algorithmic timeline are obvious. Twitter can be a forbidding place, visually and culturally, and a smartly tuned sorting system could make it more welcoming to both new and infrequent users. And, yes, to advertisers. Explaining to advertisers that your social network has an algorithmic feed “like Facebook’s” is likely to get them to open their wallets much more quickly."
posted by davidjmcgee (144 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
God I hope there is some means to just tell it to give me chronological. I like the mess.
posted by Ferreous at 12:50 PM on February 10 [25 favorites]


The algorithm is currently an opt-in thing as I understand it.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:51 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


This would be fine I was able to trust the algorithm, which as Facebook has shown, one cannot. We are not as good at this software stuff as we think we are.
posted by bleep at 12:51 PM on February 10 [25 favorites]


Twitter can be a forbidding place, visually and culturally, and a smartly tuned sorting system could make it more welcoming to both new and infrequent users.

Yes, just like Snapchat, the secret of whose success being that it is not at all impenetrable to new users.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:51 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


Thank goodness it's only opt-in. This sounds pretty awful.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:53 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


2) I am annoyed at this development, and
1) I am not leaving Twitter over it, but
4) before they lose them in droves.
3) I hope they figure out how their core users use Twitter
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:53 PM on February 10 [159 favorites]


I liked the "things you might have missed" feature when it rolled out. I don't want that to be my entire timeline.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:54 PM on February 10 [18 favorites]


This would be fine I was able to trust the algorithm, which as Facebook has shown, one cannot. We are not as good at this software stuff as we think we are.

It's not just them. It's not sorting for relevance to you. It's sorting for relevance to what Twitter wants to show you.
posted by eriko at 12:54 PM on February 10 [21 favorites]


Is Twitter still a thing?

Whenever people ask this about a platform I know still runs well, I feel like it's gotten past the throes of being the Next Big Thing and found a stable audience. See Second Life, for instance.

I find it surprisingly comforting that not everything is for everyone.
posted by solarion at 12:54 PM on February 10 [18 favorites]


Alex Tabarrok: "Self-driving cars will be great and save lives! Twitter algorithm will ruin twitter and be a disaster!"
posted by Hatashran at 12:54 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Thank goodness it's only opt-in. This sounds pretty awful.

To be clear, it's not opt-in, it's opt-out.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:55 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Thank goodness it's only opt-in. This sounds pretty awful.

I may be wrong, but my understanding is that in a few weeks it goes to opt-out.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:55 PM on February 10


This is the worst thing and all of us will hate it yet continue using Twitter and in two weeks we won't even remember it being any different.
posted by bondcliff at 12:55 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


"Twitter determined to kill twitter"
posted by boo_radley at 12:58 PM on February 10 [9 favorites]


Metafilter should totally do threads with the most faved at the top
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:59 PM on February 10 [24 favorites]


A good post on how this change sucks.
posted by XtinaS at 12:59 PM on February 10 [15 favorites]


Also: As far as I can tell, Tweetdeck is not yet subject to this. If it hits that, then I'm migrating.
posted by solarion at 12:59 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


A screenshot from @thom_wong: "Leave it to @twitter to demonstrate in its own survey that it has no idea why people use Twitter. "
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:00 PM on February 10 [13 favorites]


Has anyone found the option to turn this off? I saw a page on Twitter that claims there's an option under Account Settings, but there isn't one.
posted by zompist at 1:00 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]




So, just like the Facebook news feed, where you have to select "Most Recent" every. fucking. time? Great.

Sometimes I really don't understand the things the tech world thinks are good ideas. It's as if they don't actually use their own products.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:01 PM on February 10 [7 favorites]


Well, Ello still sends me pleading emails now and then.
posted by emjaybee at 1:01 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


I've often thought Facebook would be ten times less annoying if it would simply show you everything posted on the walls of friends who you follow, in reverse chronological order.

Instead, it shows some of the things your friends post and all of the things that some of your friends liked or commented on but you're intentionally not following, and sometimes not in chronological order even when you tell it specifically to use chronological order and it pretends it's doing that.

And Twitter thinks this is a good idea too?
posted by Foosnark at 1:02 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


If it's opt in, and nobody opts in, who cares?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:02 PM on February 10


thank god we have app.net right guys?

guys?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:02 PM on February 10 [15 favorites]


As long as I can keep using Tweetbot...
posted by SansPoint at 1:04 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


I like how I read lots of feeds and don't tweet much, so I am simultanously super-affected by this and totally captive to it. Cool!
posted by selfnoise at 1:07 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Twitter is a niche service that does one thing really well. Unfortunately that one thing is not good enough for venture capital and management, so this looks like an opening salvo in blowing up that one thing and substituting it for other, more marketable things. Maybe I am wrong! I hope so.
posted by norm at 1:13 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


These are the procedures for opt-out; supposedly, if you don't have the option, you are not subject to the algorithm yet.

I love twitter--I use it for many many things, obsessively--but I have not used the native twitter interface for years now. I find it really awkward, whereas the client (I use Hootsuite) just shows me what people are tweeting, in reverse chronological order, and lets me search hash tags, schedule tweets for later, all sorts of useful things.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:13 PM on February 10 [11 favorites]


I tweet primarily through Tweetdeck when I'm on my desktop in my browser and with Fenix when I'm on my mobile device. The benefit of not using twitter in its native site/client/app is that you don't have to deal with a lot these bullshit implementations. That being said, I still find it sad that Twitter continues to institute these kinds of changes. I can only assume someone who only looks at the platform strictly in terms of money thinks that these are good ideas. I really wish Twitter would listen more to Twitter.

I don't want more characters, I'd like better recourse for my peers to be able to report abusive/criminal behaviour.
I don't want Twitter to become Facebook.
posted by Fizz at 1:14 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


I hope I'm not stealing his thunder by posting this before he gets a chance to, but Metafilter's Own Horace Rumpole had a take on this that I thought was particularly thoughtful and heartfelt.
posted by firechicago at 1:15 PM on February 10 [11 favorites]


so I decided a while back to rename my site after my Twitter name cause I was making so many business and work connections from it and it was becoming clear it was just how you socialized in the freelancer industry and I was Making A Name For Myself.

SO OF COURSE TWITTER WOULD START TO IMPLODE THE INSTANT I GO ALL IN

THIS ISNT LIKE A PATTERN IN MY LIFE OR ANYTHING

I just, CAN SOMETHING STAY THE SAME IN MY FUCKING INDUSTRY FOR TWO FUCKING SECONDS

SCREW IT, GOING OLD SCHOOL, PHYSICAL PORTFOLIOS ONLY, SENDING CLIPPINGS, CALL ME ON MY ROTORY PHONE TO DISCUSS WORK AND THE PRONTING OF PHYSICAL PAPER BOOKS FROM NOW ON ITS LUNCHEONS ALL THE TIME. CATCH MY STAND UP ACT RELEASED ON VYNL LATER THIS SEASON.
posted by The Whelk at 1:16 PM on February 10 [21 favorites]


And Twitter thinks this is a good idea too?

*Looks at the size of Facebook's user base*

Uh, yeah?
posted by happyroach at 1:17 PM on February 10


Is Twitter still a thing?

They are working hard on getting rid of it.
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


Idea
Truly
Confusing
This
Is
Eat Delicious Dogg-oh, it's woofingly scrumptious!
A
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:19 PM on February 10 [9 favorites]


Imagine a Moments tab stamping on a human face forever.
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on February 10 [21 favorites]


Whenever people ask this about a platform I know still runs well, I feel like it's gotten past the throes of being the Next Big Thing and found a stable audience.

Yes, but the only way to grow fast enough to satisfy Wall Street investors is to have everyone on Earth adopt your platform, then send out sentient AIs to colonize new planets and time-travel back to the present day so they can increase your ARPDAU numbers.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:21 PM on February 10 [10 favorites]


To clarify: Right now, the algorithm is opt-in. At some unspecified point in the future, it will become opt-out.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:21 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


i think i did something wrong
my twitter feed is just all

aaaaaabbbbbcccccccccddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeefffffffffggggggggg
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:23 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


At least having it opt out at first is a disincentive to them to make it a Facebook style timeline setting that reverts itself constantly.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on February 10


From Wired:
The new timeline’s available for everyone today, but it’s not turned on by default—yet. At some point in the next few weeks (the new feature’s rolling out in waves), you’ll get a pop-up notification in Twitter for Android, iOS, and web that says “Never miss an important tweet,” followed by some explanation about the new way your timeline is organized. From then on, your timeline will be presented the new, algorithmic way. Don’t like it? Turn it off in settings.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:24 PM on February 10


My comments from another thread:


Basically nobody who runs Twitter has met anyone who uses Twitter and really they'd prefer Facebooks username instead anyway. Also their efforts to combat harassment remain in effective to useless.

Twitter, the company, fucking sucks basically. If what is good about Twitter the product and the set of community dynamics is to survive then some kind of escape boat is needed.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


For what it's worth, I love the feeling of opening Twitter and realizing something big has happened, but it's not clear just what that is. This past weekend for example, I thought "Hmm. Beyoncé's done something, and Red Lobster's done something." Little did I know at the time it was the same thing.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:26 PM on February 10 [31 favorites]


The benefit of not using twitter in its native site/client/app is that you don't have to deal with a lot these bullshit implementations.

I agree, and I use the web interface as little as possible (I LOVE YOU TWEETBOT) but there are much deeper issues here with the flow of information through the service. For instance, Twitter's most of the reason that Ferguson became A Thing. It wasn't a blip on Facebook for days, likely because of filtering, and it's just as likely that it only got traction there because of Twitter.

Most people use the site or Twitter's own app. If, as I suspect, most of them don't turn this off? Then likely you can forget about anything like #blacklivesmatter in the future.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:26 PM on February 10 [16 favorites]


I'm really pissed about this. I follow some people on Twitter who have a lot of followers and are famous, and I follow some people on Twitter who don't have a lot of followers and are my friends. They're basically saying that they're going to bump random famous people to the top so I won't see what my friends tweet? Fuck that shit.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:27 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


you’ll get a pop-up notification in Twitter for Android, iOS, and web that says “Never miss an important tweet,” followed by some explanation about the new way your timeline is organized. From then on, your timeline will be presented the new, algorithmic way. Don’t like it? Turn it off in settings.

i got the pop up (i think? i ignore everything told to me via pop up. i got A pop up, how's that) but there is nothing in settings that turns it off

settings are a lie
posted by poffin boffin at 1:28 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


you probably missed the pop up that turned off settings a few weeks ago
posted by Rock Steady at 1:29 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


This still sounds less annoying than what Facebook does, but I'm sure they'll address the remaining differences in due time. Carthage wasn't salted in a day, after all.
posted by ckape at 1:30 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


When's Slack branching out to be a social media platform?
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on February 10 [9 favorites]


Did you try shouting that you are a Natural Born Person who has Freedom To Scroll The Feed and that you Reject This Unjust Maritime Feed?? That usually works.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:31 PM on February 10 [28 favorites]


Nothing for me yet. My timeline is working as God intended.
posted by Kitteh at 1:32 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Metafilter should totally do threads with the most faved at the top

You shut your filthy mouth.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:32 PM on February 10 [10 favorites]


When's Slack branching out to be a social media platform?

I am so on board with that that I am practically panting like a goddamn puppy. I'd go $25 a year for that, easy.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:32 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.

Apparently Twitter understands that, but actually managing the wibbly wobbly stuff is pretty tricky. I doubt they even have a sonic screwdriver in their toolkit.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:32 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Did you try shouting that you are a Natural Born Person who has Freedom To Scroll The Feed and that you Reject This Unjust Maritime Feed?? That usually works.

I can sell you a Gold Fringed case for your phone if you need one.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:34 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


you probably missed the pop up that turned off settings a few weeks ago

my account and subsequent loss of human dignity is like 10 days old
posted by poffin boffin at 1:34 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Yeah, being able to turn it off is nice, I guess, but that is only half the issue. The other half is how this affects what trends and what gets noticed across the platform. How this amplifies certain voices over others. How this magnifies the tendency to end up in an echo chamber. Maybe I still see my feed in chronological order, but all of a sudden those people are not retweeting the things they used to, because they are not seeing them.
posted by Nothing at 1:38 PM on February 10 [15 favorites]


which, I look forward to this making Twitter rants which should have been on Wordpress even more burdensome to scroll past (4/37)
posted by shakespeherian at 1:39 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


which, I look forward to this making Twitter rants which should have been on Wordpress even more burdensome to scroll past (4/37)


posted by entropicamericana at 1:42 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I don't want more characters, I'd like better recourse for my peers to be able to report abusive/criminal behaviour.
I don't want Twitter to become Facebook.


Speaking as someone who didn't merely threaten to quit Facebook but actually quit Facebook, and thereafter suffered all the social consequences that come with quitting Facebook, I couldn't agree more. This shit is nonsense.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:45 PM on February 10 [10 favorites]


Metafilter should totally do threads with the most faved at the top

MeTa
posted by ODiV at 1:45 PM on February 10


If, as I suspect, most of them don't turn this off? Then likely you can forget about anything like #blacklivesmatter in the future.

Well now that you put it like that, it sounds like that's the entire idea, doesn't it?
posted by branduno at 1:47 PM on February 10 [7 favorites]


keep digging your own grave, twitter.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:51 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I still want a Twitter interface that lets me read in oldest to newest and mark each tweet as "read" when I read it. Basically I want the old Google Reader interface for Twitter.
posted by octothorpe at 1:54 PM on February 10 [19 favorites]


I quit Facebook and deactivated my account about 5.5 years ago. The funny thing is that I have made more meaningful and lasting friendships/relationships through Twitter than I ever did when I was on Facebook. It's one of the main reasons why I worry about losing the platform. I've connected with so many wonderful people. People I've gone out on dates with. People I exchange letters with. People I send gifts to. People I've run marathons with. I need Twitter to not become Facebook.
posted by Fizz at 1:57 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


Twitter clearly has no idea what their business is, particularly when you look at their communications to users. "Grow your business!"

Nope. I wanna see what traffic is like, use Twitter as an authentication mechanism, laugh about birb rights or some other thing, but mostly access the collective unconsciousness of the planet. There's no business growing here!

And seriously, I quit Facebook a month ago because of their algorithmic shit and I'm not the only one. I think Jason Scott said it best.
The paycheck people of a social network easily blend sociopath aspects with cargo cult. All they know is how to destroy things chasing coins
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:57 PM on February 10 [9 favorites]


So glad to know that a service that's only existed for a few years got everything perfect the first time and that this isn't just massive change aversion.
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


i just found the resident twitter employee, guys
posted by entropicamericana at 2:01 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


I wish.
posted by GuyZero at 2:02 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


A decade, and maybe it's change aversion, but I rather doubt it. This has much bigger implications than hearts vs stars.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:02 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Twitter’s earnings report shows its user base is shrinking:
Twitter's active user base was flat to negative. It had 320 million active monthly users this quarter, the same as last quarter. And when you exclude the SMS Fast Followers, international users that have a SMS version of Twitter, it's active user base actually declined from 307 million monthly active users to 305 million.
posted by octothorpe at 2:04 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I'm not a big Twitter user, but I loved Pinterest. I still use it to collect images for myself, but over the last several years they completely butchered the social interface.

When they first started peppering in "sponsored" or "suggested" content, there was an option where you could ask to only be shown content from folks you were following. Eventually that disappeared, and now my Pinterest homepage is a mishmash of things I like from people I follow, things I don't care about from people I follow, and things I don't care about from people I don't care about. When the things I don't care about outweigh the things I'm interested in, that's when I give up on on a service.

I don't trust big changes, even if they're opt-in or opt-out, because eventually they seem to become mandatory. I don't want to trust an algorithm; I want to trust myself, and the choices I made to follow somebody.
posted by redsparkler at 2:08 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


Metafilter should totally do threads with the most faved at the top

Also I only want to read comments by celebrities. Actually strike that, I only want to read comments by Kanye. All Kanye all the time.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:15 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


Well, fuck.

At some point they'll probably ruin tweetbot, too. the API call just delivers you a json blob of tweets, after all. sure, they have id's and stuff, but they've always been in an order.

The best part of all this(*) has been the Diaspora* guys pleading for people to use their platform. As if we can just aim Tweetbot at it or something. I mean, I'm a vaguely technical person, and every time (including a couple days ago) that I've looked at what it takes to join Diaspora, it reminds me of Gentoo Linux and I throw my hands up in the air in despair. I can't imagine Normal People's(tm) reaction to that dumpster fire.

(*) quality not guaranteed, true value may vary.

I'd actually (almost) suggest Tumblr as a replacement, but that's owned by Yahoo! and they're rapidly going the hell out of business, so odds on that one surviving 2016 are low.

This all may be the universe's hilarious way of reminding me that I waste too much time on Social Media and I should log off and do something more interesting with my time.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 2:21 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


emjaybee: "Well, Ello still sends me pleading emails now and then."

The last time I logged in to Ello most of the posts were people asking "is this thing still on?"
posted by octothorpe at 2:23 PM on February 10


So srsly, is this only on mobile? I don't see a setting on the website yet. Maybe I'm the last person using twitter.com or something.
posted by GuyZero at 2:24 PM on February 10


3. ?????
1. Build a product people love
4. Profit!
2. Make a series of fundamental changes with seemingly no logic behind them
posted by duffell at 2:24 PM on February 10 [20 favorites]


Make a series of fundamental changes with seemingly no logic behind them
The logic is clearly "if we were more like Facebook we'd have more users, like Facebook".

Which is logic, but it's dumb logic. The more like Facebook Twitter becomes, the less reason there is not to just use Facebook instead.
posted by aubilenon at 2:27 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I'm not a big Twitter user, but I loved Pinterest. I still use it to collect images for myself, but over the last several years they completely butchered the social interface.

Pinterest, based on my boards about caring for house rabbits and pictures of said house rabbits, has decided to start showing me lots of 'suggested' pins about raising meat rabbits and proper methods of rabbit butchering. The power of algorithms!
posted by sonmi at 2:31 PM on February 10 [31 favorites]


Which is logic, but it's dumb logic. The more like Facebook Twitter becomes, the less reason there is not to just use Facebook instead.

I would probably use any interface where the people I know hang out. Twitter's interface is annoying to me but I mostly seldom use it just because no one I know uses it. I'm not really a fan of Facebook's algorithm (or much else) but that's where my friend's and family hang out so that's where I have to be to interact with them.

The thing about Twitter for me is that I always feel like my tweets just echo out into the void as they seldom get any responses so I never know if anyone even reads them.
posted by octothorpe at 2:40 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I just tried this out, and the algorithm's clearly not tuned right. Otherwise the top of my feed would only consist of tweets from @dog_rates and @OhMyCorgi.
posted by sgranade at 2:40 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


The question that needs to be asked there is this: how far is the success or failure of a given social network something to do with emergent properties of the network overall including userbase - and how far is it instead something to do with specific feature set of that network, and thus directly tweakable in order to maximise profit.

Twitter, like Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Bebo, Friends Reunited, Digg etc etc etc before them, seem to be acting as if a) emergent properties of the network are entirely trivial side-issues and nothing to do with their success trajectory and b) their userbase is a fixed asset that will only ever appreciate in size and value.

Users who intuitively realise that the *only* features they like about a particular network are essentially emergent properties - hashtags, RTs etc - are naturally more hostile to changes that could easily eradicate the basis for those properties than can simply be handwaved away by sneers of 'change resistance'.

And some of us have already seen enough social networks rise high enough and fall hard enough to be pretty sure that fixing what isn't broken is a recipe for disaster. For them. Not for us. We will reconvene elsewhere eventually. But we will miss those emergent properties that will never be possible to reproduce elsewhere.

And there's a bunch of stuff we won't miss too.
posted by motty at 2:41 PM on February 10 [20 favorites]


Well I hope the twitter replacement treats their hashtag equivalent as meta data.
posted by Mitheral at 2:48 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I'm one of the small minority of Twitter users who uses Lists. Hoping they will be untouched by this.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:14 PM on February 10 [11 favorites]


I still want a Twitter interface that lets me read in oldest to newest and mark each tweet as "read" when I read it. Basically I want the old Google Reader interface for Twitter.

Tweetbot for iOS does this (actually I think most of the mobile Twitter apps do), except for the marking-as-read bit. It doesn't lose your place.

Of course, with all the meddling Twitter Inc. is doing lately, who knows how long API access is going to last. If it wasn't for Tweetbot I'd have given up on it years ago.
posted by neckro23 at 3:35 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Yes, but the only way to grow fast enough to satisfy Wall Street investors is to have everyone on Earth adopt your platform, then send out sentient AIs to colonize new planets and time-travel back to the present day so they can increase your ARPDAU numbers.

-On unicorn imperialism
-On the hypothetical eventuality of no more free internet
posted by kliuless at 3:45 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I'm one of the small minority of Twitter users who uses Lists. Hoping they will be untouched by this.

I think they've screwed over lists as hard as they can - short of actually being dropped they should be safe.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Alex Tabarrok: "Self-driving cars will be great and save lives! Twitter algorithm will ruin twitter and be a disaster!"

I think Alex Tabarrok is trying to be obviously wrong but is in fact right.
posted by escabeche at 3:51 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Twitter has over 300 million users. Anyone who claims to know (from personal experience, no less) "how people use Twitter" is utterly delusional.

It's like a kid in the neighborhood pool who thinks he has a pretty good idea what most people do in water.
posted by straight at 3:52 PM on February 10


I use Twitter lists as well. It's the only way to make sense of Twitter. FWIW Facebook has the same functionality.
posted by My Dad at 3:53 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I'm really pissed about this. I follow some people on Twitter who have a lot of followers and are famous, and I follow some people on Twitter who don't have a lot of followers and are my friends. They're basically saying that they're going to bump random famous people to the top so I won't see what my friends tweet? Fuck that shit.

If this works anything like the tweets they've been putting in Highlights and Things You Might Have Missed (or whatever it's called), I'd say it will pull equally from famous people you follow who are getting a lot of reaction and people you personally have interacted with a great deal who are saying stuff that got even a little bit of reaction. I think it might adapt to whatever you've been looking at recently, though, because I feel like the amount of politics stuff I get in Highlights has gone up since I've been reading more primary fighting tweet threads. Or everyone else is also doing that so the political fights are more popular generally. Or maybe they fiddled with the algorithm.

In any case, I was amused that when I just popped into Highlights to confirm what I was saying about it, I got a whole notecard on the Trending Topic that is "Twitter is in Trouble and Everyone Hates It".
posted by Copronymus at 3:55 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


The Facebook Experience™: My friend from high school posts a pregnancy announcement to Facebook, which I do not see because Facebook has decided I am not interested. Her wife, who I am not Facebook Friends™ with, also posts a pregnancy announcement, which I do see because my friend liked it.

Yes, definitely copy that.
posted by ckape at 3:58 PM on February 10 [24 favorites]


Twitter has over 300 million users

They don't, though. Everyone who has ever run a website knows that (a) there are lots of ways to count "users" and (b) over half of your users are robots and spammers.
posted by mmoncur at 4:05 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


I hope they figure out how their core users use Twitter

It's not about us.
posted by Shmuel510 at 4:12 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


It's like a kid in the neighborhood pool who thinks he has a pretty good idea what most people do in water.

I have a pretty good idea what that kid is doing in the water and it's the same thing Twitter is doing to my feed.
posted by escabeche at 4:14 PM on February 10 [13 favorites]


Here’s How Well Twitter’s Execs Use Twitter—Or, Um, Not

They actually use it more than I'd expect, TBH.
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on February 10


Make a series of fundamental changes with seemingly no logic behind them
The logic is clearly "if we were more like Facebook we'd have more users, like Facebook".

Which is logic, but it's dumb logic. The more like Facebook Twitter becomes, the less reason there is not to just use Facebook instead.


As I understand it, Facebook is profitable and increasingly profitable, but membership growth has stagnated in the US, whereas everyone seems to think Twitter is going to have great difficulty monetizing itself, and by the evidence of this thread, memberships may be significantly disjoint.

Why wouldn't Facebook just buy Twitter and integrate it into Facebook, then?

One reason might be that Facebook is worried it wouldn't be able to hold onto new members gained that way, but if one or more Facebook-like changes don't roil the base too badly, such worries might be largely allayed.
posted by jamjam at 4:27 PM on February 10


Alex Tabarrok: "Self-driving cars will be great and save lives! Twitter algorithm will ruin twitter and be a disaster!"

I think Alex Tabarrok is trying to be obviously wrong but is in fact right.


Like guy thinks that the many interlocking sequences of well-defined steps the self-driving car uses have anything to do with the not-as-many interlocking sequences of well-defined steps new Twitter will use, or that old Twitter is not delivered by algorithms sorting and merging users' posts.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:32 PM on February 10


Why wouldn't Facebook just buy Twitter and integrate it into Facebook, then?

I'm not entirely sure what they would be buying and integrating - the userbase? The technology? Neither are really going to work out. And TBH they've got most of those users and technological capabilities anyway.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


As a non-twitterer, I find this hilarious.

It's like: "Hey, boss, this opt-in feature? No one's opting in!" "Well, make it the default and let them opt out." "Sure thing, boss! Great idea, boss! I'll get right on it, boss!"

Giving the people what they've already told you they don't want is one heck of a business model.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:49 PM on February 10 [11 favorites]


2. Make a series of fundamental changes with seemingly no logic behind them

Maybe they're courting Yahoo by doing all their work for them.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:54 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I'm one of the small minority of Twitter users who uses Lists. Hoping they will be untouched by this.

You know I'm pissed off about this change, but as somebody who actually likes Things You Might Have Missed (I never see famous people; always see the people I interact the most personally when it shows up in the morning), I'm not sure I would hate it if i did turn it on. But if this fucks with Lists, I will unleash my wrath.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:56 PM on February 10


"Hey, boss, this opt-in feature? No one's opting in!"

Twitter's most recent price of UI fuckery was to swap the tab for Notificatins, which is vital and everyone hits regulatly, with that of Moments, a famously useless and unpopular new feature. I'm sure they got a big boost in Moments numbers that day!
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Have they considered that they might be losing users not because of format or timeline, but because the effort needed to curate and protect oneself from the nightmarish hellscape and tirefire that are eggs and other randos on Twitter, a platform that is spectacularly useful and tuned for harassment, by far outweighs the value that many might get from it?
posted by qcubed at 5:02 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


They blow hot and cold on that, but I suspect see eggs as valuable and de-weaponising search probably conflicts with their advertiding goals so we're not going to see any substantive movement on it.

It's fucking dumb, they are clearly bleeding out from this shit.
posted by Artw at 5:21 PM on February 10


This twitter rejiggering gives me an idea for an april fools site prank: The order of posts on the front page and also the comments in threads will be dictated by number of favorites. It would be on by default, obviously, but you could easily opt out after digging through your preferences to find a tiny radio button that unjustly silences the curation of your peers.
I'm sure cortex has this year's (and all years to come) prank in mind for this year, but hey, this is timely and non-chronological all at the same time.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:22 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


This would be fine I was able to trust the algorithm, which as Facebook has shown, one cannot. We are not as good at this software stuff as we think we are.

Why does "don't give people options for shit" have to be the thing they steal from apple, and not "don't be creepy as fuck"?

Seriously, i remember when you could switch from the dynamic timeline to the chronological one for a while still. Then one day, that switch just disappeared.

Assholes.
posted by emptythought at 5:49 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the entire goal of the "algorithmic" timeline is to disorient the user. If you can have no reasonable expectation about what you're going to see next, whether it might be an update from Aunt Jan or a trending news story or an ad for a candy-colored mobile game, each new story gets the same amount of attention from the reader, at least for a few seconds. If it's not clear, I fucking hate this.
posted by trunk muffins at 5:55 PM on February 10 [9 favorites]


a sling-shot around the sun for every tweet could solve all this.
posted by clavdivs at 6:05 PM on February 10


You had one job, Twitter.
posted by frenetic at 6:06 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


Algorithmic timelines have another benefit, at least for Facebook, because it allows them to NOT deliver all of the content. Even in "Most Recent", you are not seeing 100% of the available new posts in your feed; because they can't afford the exponential growth in bandwidth consumption.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:14 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Twitter CEO @jack's tweeted last week about algorithmic timelines:
Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.
Is this like Marrisa Mayer's "no firings this week" comment that was followed by a week of massive layoffs?
posted by autopilot at 6:20 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Pinterest, based on my boards about caring for house rabbits and pictures of said house rabbits, has decided to start showing me lots of 'suggested' pins about raising meat rabbits and proper methods of rabbit butchering.


Pinterest, based on my boards about superheroes, urbanism, architecture and typography, decided I'm a white, wealthy, bored, middle aged housewife from Connecticut and shows me lace doilies and cute ideas for gingerbread cookies and ways to make like shelves out of old medicine cabinets or something.

Facebook, on the other hand, thinks I want to play games about diamonds and vikings, or that I really care about what diamonds and viking games my schoolmates play.
posted by signal at 6:51 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I just enabled it because I was highly confused as to what it actually was. I'm not a fan of this. It's not terrible and it still looks like the normal timeline and all that but there's no visual indication that you're switching from curated timeline to be rest of your timeline. I said in an earlier thread I liked the 'while you were away' feature because it showed some interesting stuff but provided a useful visual marker I. He timeline. This has none of that. I'm going to leave it on for a few days I. The interests of giving it a fair shot, but first impression tells me I'll be opting out again soon.
posted by TwoWordReview at 6:55 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Hatashran: "Alex Tabarrok: "Self-driving cars will be great and save lives! Twitter algorithm will ruin twitter and be a disaster!""

From a certain perspective, self-driving cars are simpler:
You want a car to take you from A to B, without crashing into anything in between.

1) No matter what physical object might be between points A and B, the correct choice is to not crash into it. You don't have to deal with a lot of circumstances where the car should crash into some things, but not other things.
2) Almost all users of cars want their car to not crash into things. You don't have to deal with a lot of personal preferences about which things they do and do not want to crash into. Making a blanket decision that your cars should crash into none of the things will satisfy a vast majority of your user base.

Twitter does not have these advantages.
posted by RobotHero at 7:09 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Also I only want to read comments by celebrities. Actually strike that, I only want to read comments by Kanye. All Kanye all the time.

Yes! And Kardashians! It could be called Kwitter.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:28 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I only want to read comments by Kanye. All Kanye all the time.

no thanks
posted by Sys Rq at 7:36 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]



Algorithmic timelines have another benefit, at least for Facebook, because it allows them to NOT deliver all of the content. Even in "Most Recent", you are not seeing 100% of the available new posts in your feed; because they can't afford the exponential growth in bandwidth consumption.


You're close, but I think the bandwidth is actually no problem for them.

When they are cutting down how much of your friends posts you can see, they are doing the reciprocal action also: they are cutting down how many of your friends can see your posts.

Then they sell you the ability to reach more of your friends. You literally pay them dollars and they put your post on more of your friend's dashboards. I am not kidding. I have done this, and it paid off handsomely. I was trying to raise money for charity and compared to previous years I was getting no likes, comments or donations. I "boosted" my post (I paid a few bucks) and voila, interest picked way up.

They are slowly taking things from you that you already had, so they can resell it to you.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:36 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I just, ugh. If I wanted to be on Facebook, I'd still be on Facebook.
posted by fedward at 7:42 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


The algorithm will do different things for different people, right?
Can a person pay to change what the algorithm shows to some specific twitter user? Or could a person who works at twitter just slip it into the code?
Nothing could go wrong, I'm sure.
posted by Baeria at 8:37 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


-On a replacement for Twitter (via)

Is this going to be another Diaspora-completely-ignoring-Appleseed situation? There are already open source federated alternatives to Twitter that are in need of polishing and marketing, which is surely an easier job than developing, polishing and marketing something completely new.
posted by Jpfed at 8:49 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Twitter has over 300 million users. Anyone who claims to know (from personal experience, no less) "how people use Twitter" is utterly delusional.

There are at least 300 million people in America, but that doesn't stop me claiming to have some vague notions about how they usually behave based on the thousands I've seen in person. Among twitter users, despite having considerably less first-hand experience, I can confidently share my non-delusional prediction that the reaction to this news will involve a statistically significant amount of outrage.

The #algorithm though, nobody will ever understand that.
posted by sfenders at 9:42 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


To answer my own question from earlier, you go to Setting, then Account, and there is a checkbox "Show me the best Tweets first". Roll your eyes hard and make sure that sucker is unchecked.

What confused me is that this checkbox didn't exist earlier today.
posted by zompist at 10:32 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there's more and less evil ways to do things like this. Facebook's boosted posted definitely fall on the more evil side.

The typical thing to do is choose a key metric, like number of tweets read our written, and find your algorithm to maximize that number. If you choose the right metrics to optimize on, you make the platform better and increase engagement relative to the base line. Choose the wrong things to optimize and you tank everything.... So we'll see.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:46 PM on February 10


Radio 4 had a quick line about how 'Twitter growth was stagnating' and I just thought "of course it is, and...?"

I'm so sick of companies chasing after MASSIVE GROWTH!!!1! and being valued on it. You know what, your product is not for everyone... and this is not a bad thing!

On the upside, I am glad to hear Twitter does acknowledge that they have 'core users' and they have to figure out how to keep them engaged. On the downside, this new algorithm malarky doesn't make me feel like they really do understand their core users - they just figured out a lazy way to sneak in more sponsored posts.
posted by like_neon at 1:27 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


To answer my own question from earlier, you go to Setting, then Account, and there is a checkbox "Show me the best Tweets first". Roll your eyes hard and make sure that sucker is unchecked.

And then make sure to look again in a couple of weeks when they change the algorithmic timeline from opt-in to opt-out.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:00 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I'm so sick of companies chasing after MASSIVE GROWTH!!!1! and being valued on it

The assumption that permanent, exponential growth is an actualthing that companies can actually achieve is the bedrock of modern capitalism. This should terrify you.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:03 AM on February 11 [18 favorites]


"Well, Ello still sends me pleading emails now and then."
The last time I logged in to Ello most of the posts were people asking "is this thing still on?"


This thread literally just made me login to Ello for the first time in six or more months and delete my account.

As to Twitter, I stopped using my account regularly a few months ago, but not as a protest at the way the platform was changing, more because I found it pressed a lot of the wrong buttons for me, over and over again. I was inviting 200+ people into my head space every single day and it was just too much.

I'll hang onto the account for the time being, but the performative aspects of social media in general are less and less appealing to me.

I miss the old pre-Facebook web, with RSS feeds and lists of things in the order they happened.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:19 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


I miss the old internet days when stuff was built on federated protocols like email, RSS, IRC and usenet and no one owned it.
Twitter is ideal as a protocol but of course there are no Mega Profits to be had from an open protocol.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:56 AM on February 11 [5 favorites]


Well, Ello still sends me pleading emails now and then.

So I'm totally sure I'm alone here, but I'm ready to move to google plus. Anyone else? Okay, thought not.

I don't actually know what their sorting mechanism is since there's not really enough content on mine for google to sort it at all.
posted by R a c h e l at 7:57 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I've always liked the idea of following all the awesome content twitter has but found it hard to adapt to the way they structure information, so I only log on once every few months. I find a timeline hard to follow. Following public or influential figures on facebook doesn't give me the same quality of commentary, and yet, I still do it because I find facebook's feed so much easier to parse and so much less overwhelming. I know how ridiculous it is that I see certain content more because it's paid for, and yet...

This article from 2013, Twitter Quitters and the Unfiltered Feed Problem, captures what I struggle with well. I'm not sure about opt-out/opt-in (but if it's mostly current power users who want the chronological timeline, then opt-out sounds like the right thing...), but I, for one, welcome the algorithmic timeline. Maybe I'll actually be able to use twitter now.
posted by R a c h e l at 8:06 AM on February 11


I miss the old internet days when stuff was built on federated protocols like email, RSS, IRC and usenet and no one owned it.
Twitter is ideal as a protocol but of course there are no Mega Profits to be had from an open protocol.


Ditto. Honestly, a big part of the Twitter's early explosion was the fact that it originally had a very extensible API. People were doing all sorts of cool things with clients and bots and widgets and whatnot that let them make sense of their timeline in ways that worked for them.

But Twitter couldn't figure out how to monetise their API, so they stopped developing features for it and basically strangled off all the unofficial clients with draconian rate limiting.

I observed (on Twitter, ironically) last night that something as incredibly useful as e-mail -- which is absolutely central to almost everything we do these days, in almost every facet of human life from housing to employment -- would never be created now. At best, we'd get something like Google Wave. Which was fine for what it was but never had an inkling of a chance at being the transformative technology that e-mail has turned out to be.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:23 AM on February 11 [7 favorites]


I feel so old. Here we are lamenting the communication protocols of the past, and having the ability to choose how and when we consume information. Meanwhile in the eyes of youth, SMS messages are only used by dinosaurs.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:26 AM on February 11


Honestly, a big part of the Twitter's early explosion was the fact that it originally had a very extensible API. People were doing all sorts of cool things with clients and bots and widgets and whatnot that let them make sense of their timeline in ways that worked for them.

The Three Letter Cure for Web Accessibility and Discrimination Problems - "If stable, supported user interface API access were available for services like Google+ -- and the many other firms' systems around the Net that currently put users at an accessibility disadvantage -- it would be possible for third parties (commercial, nonprofit, individuals, etc.) to write their own customized interfaces for these services to meet specific accessibility needs." (via)
posted by kliuless at 11:07 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


I already do a sort of manual "show me the best tweets first."

I have a private Twitter list called "coterie" that includes my friends and other accounts that usually have content relevant to my interests. There are about 50 accounts on the list.

If I haven't been on lately or haven't seen much of interest, I'll scroll through the list's tweets and see what my coterie has been tweeting lately and determine if there's anything I want to read, retweet, favorite, or respond to.
posted by larrybob at 11:52 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Never miss an unimportant Tweet.
posted by larrybob at 1:31 PM on February 11


Shmuel510: "I hope they figure out how their core users use Twitter

It's not about us.
"

Yeah. That's one of the first things about this that I've read that I agree with. The public perception of Twitter is really hard to nail down and reconcile with the actual numbers...

For starters, Twitter punches above its own weight. Twitter's presence in the public consciousness is *vastly* out of proportion with the size of its userbase. I guess Twitter's marketing team deserves kudos for getting a lot of highly-visible people to use their service, but they also have to realize that their popularity is built on top of a house of cards. If #celebrities, #journalists, and #brands head for greener pastures, Twitter is instantly dead in the water.

In a sane world where Twitter had carefully controlled its own growth, this might have been fine. It's perfectly fine to dominate a small segment of the market and get tons of press (note that Apple's marketshare is still roughly 10%, which you'd never guess given the amount of press that they get).

But Apple is profitable. Twitter is not. Overwhelmingly so. Worse still, it has few opportunities to increasing revenue, and has a staggeringly large workforce that is impossible to justify. What on earth are they doing with 5,000 employees???

But, back to Twitter as a network. It's not hard to see why their audience isn't very engaged.

Really, it's like High School. It seems great if you're popular. For everybody else, it's hostile, alienating, and very easy to become practically invisible. In hindsight, we realize that some of the popular kids received just as much abuse, but managed to hide or deflect some of it.

My IRL social circle doesn't tweet much (ignore the chicken/egg implications of this for now). So, I follow a lot of people with similar interests, people in my city, and minor internet celebrities.

It's really easy to follow too many people, which fills your feed with nothing but noise. Presumably, this is what Twitter's trying to fix, but I don't think that it's the actual underlying problem.

If I engage with strangers who have similar interests to me.... I feel kind of like a creep. And I probably come across as a creep, and I don't get a response.

If I engage with minor internet celebrities, I basically feel like I'm yelling into an empty room. Occasionally, one gives me eye-contact, but for the most part, I'm ignored.

If Twitter is really "working" for you, you're popular, and get tons of attention, you probably are also the target of some really scary violent abuse and harassment.

So, where does that leave me? Presumably, there's a sweet spot where I can participate in Twitter and engage with my friends/communities without opening myself up to tons of abuse. If I want to semi-privately engage with my IRL friends, why should I leave Facebook? If I want to engage in a community with similar interests, what does Twitter offer over Google+ (or even Reddit, aka the Usenet of the 2010s)?

Maybe Twitter's algorithmic timeline will figure out how to pair up all of us lonely people so we can have productive conversations together. But I'm not hopeful. The hypothetical solution to most of Twitter's problems looks an awful lot like Google+ (and that didn't work either).

There is one area where Twitter excels for me, though --- hyper-local real-time discussions. If I tweet out "Hey, what's up with all of the police activity around Dupont Circle?" odds are others are wondering the same thing, search for "dupont circle," and start up a conversation within seconds. It's pretty cool. Similarly, Twitter provides an easy channel for sending quick messages to my local government and politicians.

Gosh, I've written an awful lot about this. I'm continually surprised that Twitter was anything more than a flash in the pan. Why did anybody think that Twitter was going to take off, and why did everyone portray it as being far larger and far more ubiquitous than it actually was? Why didn't the accountants say "Maybe you shouldn't hire 5,000 employees without having a product to sell?" Why doesn't Twitter give a fuck about abuse?
posted by schmod at 2:32 PM on February 11 [7 favorites]


Oh, and Twitter should have instantly expanded the character limit when image macros became widespread.

Text in images isn't accessible, can't be indexed or searched for, and can't be mined for data (which is presumably what Twitter will somehow figure out how to market someday). They don't even support alt-text.

Worse still, they encourage this. URLs count toward character counts, but images do not.

THIS LITERALLY BENEFITS NO ONE. EVERYBODY LOSES, and Twitter does not care.
posted by schmod at 2:34 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Farhad Manjoo in NYT: Twitter, to Save Itself, Must Scale Back World-Swallowing Ambitions
Twitter, as it is right now, is mostly pretty good for lots and lots of people. Facebook has five times as many users, Instagram is as luxurious as a European vacation, and Snapchat is too cool for school. But because Twitter is an accessible, real-time network that has become the nerve center of the world’s journalists, politicians, activists and agitants, it has, for better or worse, demonstrated an unrivaled capacity to influence real things in the real world.
posted by davidjmcgee at 3:40 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]


If Twitter actually bothered to ask me on a scale of 1-5 how important I feel a user I follow's tweets are, I'd be more than happy to help them tailor my feed to match my interests more. You could add a "volume" setting right next to the Mute button to increase or decrease the frequency that user's tweets appear on your timeline.

I'd love a keyword-based blocklist, or the ability to block certain retweets that are going around like a case of the clap that I have no interest in engaging with. I'd love a whitelist feature that shows me tweets about $keyword even from people who are "rate limited" or otherwise muted - show me all tweets about $relative, even if they come from the racist uncle I've muted, for example. I'd love the ability to specify in more detail who my audience is, that only accounts past a certain age can follow me, etc etc.

An algo-centric timeline doesn't have to be a horrible thing in theory.

In practice, I will likely never get these features from Twitter. This algorithm, like many before it, is probably just a way for them to prioritize my friends who are talking about the new $product they bought instead of the important non-commercial aspects of their life. You can't monetize discussions about feelings, dreams, justice, philosophy, or cute pictures of my friend's dog. Hell, I'd even be slightly more accepting of this capitalistic drivel if they'd at least use their commercial powers for good - show my friends who like knitting geeky star wars themed socks some ads for patterns on Etsy or Ebay. Let me advertise to my niche fandom art market directly. But no, it's always shit nobody I know actually gives a damn about, like new cars and mutual funds from gigantic corporations with a huge advertising budget. It's just so terribly, predictably banal. I feel like the people who run these technology companies are mentally stuck in the past. Not everything on the internet needs to orbit around Fortune 500 companies.

But what can we do? As much as we miss the days of RSS feeds, I don't think those days are coming back. If you ever felt like you were shouting into the void on Twitter with no replies, try running a wordpress blog sometime. For now, I'll hide behind Tweetdeck and hope for the best.
posted by Feyala at 9:00 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


If you ever felt like you were shouting into the void on Twitter with no replies, try running a wordpress blog sometime.

Hey, no fair, I had a very devoted following of Russian spammers.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:47 AM on February 12 [5 favorites]


My IRL social circle doesn't tweet much (ignore the chicken/egg implications of this for now). So, I follow a lot of people with similar interests, people in my city, and minor internet celebrities.

If I engage with strangers who have similar interests to me.... I feel kind of like a creep. And I probably come across as a creep, and I don't get a response.

If I engage with minor internet celebrities, I basically feel like I'm yelling into an empty room. Occasionally, one gives me eye-contact, but for the most part, I'm ignored.


Oh thank GOD, I thought it was just me. Wanna hang out behind the music building and smoke cloves after lunch? We could totally skip fourth period!
posted by entropicamericana at 6:03 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I, for one, welcome the algorithmic timeline. Maybe I'll actually be able to use twitter now.

Use lists.
posted by crossoverman at 4:57 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


aubilenon: "The more like Facebook Twitter becomes, the less reason there is not to just use Facebook instead."

Similarly, Firefox's continual moves to be more like Chrome baffle me. There already *is* a Chrome for people who like that.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:56 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


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