Back in September, Twitter announced that it was testing a new feature which would allow members to easily switch the order of tweets as they appear on their home feed from the current algorithmic order to a chronological one. True to its word, the company has now launched the option and it is available to all iOS users starting today. However, Android and desktop users will have to wait a few more weeks to receive this update. Previously, the Twitter feed would automatically display select "top tweets" above all others, disrupting the chronological appearance of other tweets. It was possible to switch back to the original order, but this would not last permanently.
New on iOS! Starting today, you can tap ✨ to switch between the latest and top Tweets in your timeline. Coming soon to Android. pic.twitter.com/6B9OQG391S— Twitter (@Twitter) December 18, 2018
Placed at the upper right-hand corner of the application, the new "Sparkle" feature - designed in the likeness of a bunch of four-pointed stars - is easy to locate and even easier to use. A simple tap allows access to the original reverse-chronological sequence and frequent usage will set it as the default option. The home screen will not revert to showing top tweets if the user was browsing through the chronological timeline. However, it is important to highlight the fact that this is not a permanent setting. The toggle feature has simply made the pre-existing function more accessible and longer-lasting.
As a social media application, Twitter is widely used to view ongoing events such as breaking news, celebrity feuds or sporting events, in which case people want to stay tuned in constantly to learn of the latest developments to the story. The algorithm-based timeline essentially defeats this purpose as people are unable to view the newest tweets first. Twitter has now made the chronological feed a relatively more apparent and permanent option, perhaps to ensure it does not lose its unique selling point and consumer base.