Last week Twitter announced a new update to iOS which makes it easier to act straight from the timeline. It will be easier to block, mute, unfollow, report a tweet and more right from the timeline so that you can curate your Twitter experience and see what you want.
— Twitter Support (@Support) September 16, 2016
As you can see above, it is as easy as pressing the new little arrow in the top right of a tweet. That will display options such as sharing the tweet, blocking the user, reporting the tweet, muting and so on. This listing has been available before but it was only accessible by going into a tweet and pressing on the “three dots.”
There is also new options in the drop down menu and one of them is of particular interest. Now you can see a “I don’t like this tweet” option which is not the same as reporting a tweet as you can see above “report tweet” is still there.
Twitter has explained what the new feature is for and how it will work:
“When you mark a Tweet as “I don’t like this Tweet”, it helps Twitter better understand the types of Tweets that you’d like to see less of in your Home timeline. We may use this information to optimise and tailor your experience in the future.”
Basically it is like Facebook where you can choose to see fewer posts of a certain content or nature. This is like the middle marker of following someone or unfollowing/muting them.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, there are a lot of people on Twitter now who follow an insane number of accounts. Why? Because it helps you grow fast, nothing wrong with admitting to that as a tactic – that is just the way it is. I refer to it as gaming the system.
You can bet that many of those accounts are using the mute function all over the place, why? Because it helps them keep control over their feed. If they didn’t use the mute feature and followed 50k people – well they are going to struggle with all that noise.
Up to this point it has very much been all on or all off when it comes to Twitter’s feed. You either see someones tweets or you don’t. Now you will be able to personalise your timeline which is something that Twitter has been desperately lacking up to now.
Twitter has been losing ground to other social networks as they have failed to incorporate personalisation to user behaviours, but we could also argue that Twitter’s priority is maintaining a ‘live’ feel to the platform so they can’t start using algorithms that Facebook and Instagram use.
Twitter has started looking at this area to see where they can improve and how they can do it. Back in March of this year they introduced a personalised timeline which is an algorithm based timeline and highlights best tweets based on who and what you engaged with on the platform.
At the time people lost their shit over it and many proclaimed it could be the downfall of Twitter and that Twitter was now Facebook. However despite the drama it turns out that the timeline is producing good results. In their Q2 results, Twitter noted that:
“[The enhanced timeline] drove increased retention and engagement (Tweets, Retweets, replies, and likes) in Q2, and we expect the experience will continue to improve meaningfully over time as our machine learning systems get better.”
With Twitter starting to understand and tackle the issue of personalisation based on user behaviour as well as the potential of a keyword filter in the pipes to tackle the harassment and abuse issues people face on the platform, the future is not looking too bad and it seems Twitter is moving in the right direction.