In a case of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” Twitter has a feature that puts popular tweets from people you don’t follow in your feed. Twitter rolled out the feature as a soft test early last week.
Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.
The feature could be viewed as something of an intrusion since—as The Verge mentions—a Twitter timeline is similar to a Tumblr dashboard in that users tend to really clean up and shape their feed to show just what they want to see. With this new feature users will see tweets that are sometimes anything but “relevant and interesting.”
While the specifics on how this feature picks what to show users and how it is relevant to your interests and what you normally follow on Twitter, users have already voiced their displeasure in it. Depending on how many people a user might follow and the volume of retweets, users could go through their timeline and not really notice tweets from users they don’t follow—that is unless Twitter really cranks the dial to 11 on this.
Note: I tend to check tweets via TweetCaster—expect a review on that app this week—and I haven’t noticed any popular tweets from people I don’t follow. It could mean that the feature is limited to the app and browser-based version of Twitter. If any readers are using any social media apps other than Twitter’s official app let us know if you’re getting these tweets in your feed or not.