The love-hate feelings for Twitter's new 'While You Were Away' feature
It’s a new year, and there are already new things on social media that you need to learn. Twitter is rolling out a brand new function that helps you figure out what you’ve missed since the last time you checked your Twitter, but without scrolling through every single tweet.
The new function is called “While You Were Away,” and it is exactly what it sounds like: A recap of what you might be interested in since your last visit. Twitter has already started testing out the feature, which pins what it considers to be the best tweets to the top of a user’s timeline to see the next time they open the app.
The idea is similar to Facebook’s newsfeed function, which ranks content and presents it in a weighted order rather than chronologically. The idea is that it will present “Timeline Highlights” rather than have users sift through all the functions themselves. That way, important tweets won’t get lost in the constant torrent of posts, particularly if you follow many, many other users. So far only some users are seeing the changes, but it’s only a matter of time before this (see below) is what your feed looks like.
Reactions from users so far have been, expectedly, mixed. Some applauded the new ordering of tweets, but other mourned the service’s algorithm tweaking, worrying that it will change what’s unique about the social media site.
From the peanut gallery, here are those on the con side:
And now for the pros:
And then there are the folks who don’t spend anytime AWAY from Twitter, so this whole change is kinda baffling.