Twitter’s New “Instant Timeline”

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

Do you have a Twitter account? Do you find that it is difficult to use or would you get more value out of it if it was designed differently? Twitter recognizes the design of the site is difficult and in November 2014, it promised investors that there would be a new “instant timeline” feature introduced to new users that open an account. The timeline feature would immediately pull content from the network instead of making the user sign up, “follow” people and organizations, then hope that the posts are relevant to their interests. 

How it works: 

When you sign up and Twitter accesses your contacts and information on who those people are, the site will guess which accounts and topics will interest you, rather than having you go through and pick who or what you want to follow on an individual basis. Then, based off of the info it pulls, you will see various tweets, new stories, and other information on your feed. For example, if your contact list is full of foodies that follow a bunch of food magazines or food bloggers, you might see some posts on food, recipes, or other trends in that area. Or, if you have friends that are big into fashion, sports, or design and their “follow” list reflects that, you will likely see some of these types of posts in your news feed. 

The benefit: it saves you time and keeps you informed on a variety of interests or hobbies.
The downside: your news feed might not include everything that you want to see and you might have an influx of tweets that you have absolutely zero interest in. 

The good part is, is that the instant timeline is just the beginning. It allows new users to get familiar with the site, but continues to show and suggest people, brands, or organizations that you might want to follow. This allows you as a user to customize your Twitter experience and get the news and relevant information that’s important to you. The company also recently introduced Twitter users with iPhones a “recap of top tweets” that they missed when they were logged out of the service, which shows that the company knows that social media users are often busy people that don’t want to waste time searching through unnecessary information. These new groundbreaking developments are showing that Twitter is committed to finding ways to get people the information that they want without all the “fluff” that some sites offer. 

Goel, Vindu. “Twitter Displays Its Value With Instant Timeline For New Users.” NY Times. February 2, 2015. Accessed online February 3, 2015.