Twitter has unveiled the highly-anticipated (and admittedly controversial) timeline feature that will replace the conventional chronological order of tweets that everyone currently sees.
Starting today you can choose to try our new feature, so you'll never miss important Tweets from people you follow: https://t.co/fS1axkDiUh— Twitter (@twitter) February 10, 2016
The new feature is entirely opt-in and if turned on will simply collate a number of the most 'important' tweets for you at the top of your timeline when you open the app.
Users can then either read the tweets and then see the normal chronological list underneath OR pull down to refresh the timeline and it'll instantly revert back to being in chronological order.
Tweets you missed from people you follow, recapped in reverse chron! Refresh back to live. Flip it on to try it now! https://t.co/8QxRDbgyKv— Jack (@jack) February 10, 2016
There had been increased speculation in the last few weeks over whether Twitter would unveil a radical version of this feature which would replace the Timeline entirely with a new curated stream of tweets similar to the News Feed found in Facebook.
Unsurprisingly this caused something of an outrage among Twitter users and even resulted in the hashtag #RIPTwitter to start appearing on the site.
I ONLY USE TWITTER BECAUSE IT'S NOT FACEBOOK. #RIPTwitter— Alex (@Tajleoncio) February 6, 2016
The backlash became so severe that Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey had to release a statement calming people's fears over the changes.
Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
It should be pointed out that Twitter has actually experimented with this feature already. Selected users late last year found that their timelines had started changing to prioritise tweets with more engagement.
It has also been rumoured that as part of the many big changes going on at Twitter, the company is also considering scrapping the 140-character limit in favour of a massive 10,000 character limit.
With Twitter's culture of immediacy, it's not clear how the company would implement this change but again Jack Dorsey tried to explain saying:
This has been a big 12 months for Twitter which have announced a range of new features from Periscope livestreams now being integrated directly into Twitter to the replacement of the 'Favourite' button with a new 'Like' button.