Seeing a heap more random tweets from accounts that you don’t follow in your Twitter feed?
You’re not alone, many Twitter users have expressed frustration at Twitter’s new ‘For You’ feed, which highlights a seemingly random array of accounts and tweets - along with Elon Musk’s latest missives, which now get maximum exposure in the app.
But they are, apparently, not random. All of the tweets that you see in your ‘For You’ feed are actually linked back to your activity in some way, and Twitter is now working on a new option that could help you better understand why you’re seeing them in your stream.
As you can see in this example, posted by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s experimenting with a new option that would enable you to tap through on the three dots menu on any tweet to get to a new ‘Why you’re seeing this tweet’ element.
Within that, you would get a brief overview of some of the reasons why that specific tweet is showing in your feed, including mutual follows and their activity, related interests based on your in-app actions, etc.
Instagram has a similar option within its main feed, where it’s also been increasingly inserting more content from accounts that you don’t follow, as a means to boost engagement.
The concept has been led by TikTok, which has moved away from users’ own social graph, in order to focus instead on the content itself, which then enables it to show users a broader range of popular posts, helping to increase engagement. That’s shifted the paradigm for every other app, and whether you like it or not, Meta has seen a significant increase in user engagement as a result of showing people more things from accounts they don’t follow, on both Facebook and IG.
Twitter’s now trying to do the same, though thus far, user response has been mixed. Part of the challenge for Twitter in this regard is that Twitter is a key source of real-time news and updates, and the system can’t know if a tweet is popular till at least an hour or so behind time. That means that your ‘For You’ feed is increasingly being populated with older tweets, which runs counter, in some ways, to the app’s strength.
But maybe it’s working. Last week, Twitter chief Elon Musk reported that Twitter was seeing a record-high amount of users at the end of last year, while Twitter is also seeing the highest total user minutes spent in its history. That would suggest that these recommendations are working, at least on some level, and maybe, by providing more context as to why you’re seeing each update in-stream, that will make users more comfortable and engaged in what’s there.
It certainly can’t hurt. The new ‘Why you’re seeing this’ option is not in official testing as yet, with Conway sharing just the initial mock-ups at this stage.