As a part of the initiative announced in November to expand their user base, Twitter has now added a “While You Were Away” feature to their mobile app.
The new feature appears to close a gap inherent in Twitter by providing users a recap of tweets they may have missed while living their life in the real world or tweets they may deem significant. According to TechCrunch, it operates similarly to the algorithm Facebook uses to filter and highlight the more popular updates in your feed.
The feature debuted in early December but, according to Business Insider, the big rollout happened on New Years Eve. So far, the update is only for Twitter’s iOS app and has not been pushed to all users.
Reactions to the feature have been mixed. Some users find the feature helpful while others find it intrusive and too much like Facebook’s timeline feature that causes updates to disappear from a user’s timeline sometimes without reason or warning.
Gigaom explains why these changes might not be for the best.
A big part of the appeal of Twitter is that they have control over their timeline, who they follow and what they see. Every ‘enhancement’ that the company adds seems to water down this core strength.
With the addition of this “While You Were Away” feature, as well as the new instant timeline and private tweeting functions, Twitter will be rolling out a hoard of new features in the coming year in an effort to increase growth and differentiate itself against other similar tools like Nuzzel and Trove. Finding the right balance of new without alienating its active users will be Twitter’s core focus. Based on user reactions so far, this may prove to be a tougher balancing act than it would appear to pull off.
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