You know how you start reading a tweet and the entire feed vanishes, only to be replaced with brand new tweets? The tweet you actually wanted to see can never be tracked down again unless you have a photographic memory.
Well, Twitter's finally getting rid of the auto-refreshing function that viral tweets have been complaining about for years. I'd thank them for introducing the widely requested feature, but this is technically just rolling back to 2019-era Twitter, which is when the automatic feed refreshing was first introduced.
Still, it's welcome news, and follows closely after plenty of other fairly positive Twitter updates.
What We're Getting Instead
Users will get the option to click a “See Tweets” link at the top of their feed that lists the exact number that they'll get.
The bad news? This is only for the web version and its desktop users, and the iOS and Android apps won't be updated. This isn't a huge problem, since those apps update differently and were never as widely disliked as the web version's overactive refreshing ability.
An update to the disappearing Tweet experience is rolling out for web! Now you can choose when you want new Tweets to load into your timeline –– click the Tweet counter bar at the top.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 15, 2021
Twitter's also recently changed the way it displays images, giving people the full size version of an image in the feed instead of a cropped sneak peak. That's right, the “click for a surprise” era of Twitter has officially ended.
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Other Twitter Innovations
Twitter is also adding “Twitter Blue,” a premium version of the site available at a $2.99 per month subscription. Users will get fewer ads, the ability to undo tweets, and can receive new features before the rest of us plebians on the free version.
So is Twitter getting better? The short answer is: Yes, but maybe not in the ways that matter.
Ditching the auto-refresh is smart, but the bird-themed social network has a lot of even more important directions it could improve on. I'd suggest tweaking the algorithm to stop prioritizing engagement above all else, but since that would cut into profits, I already know what the response would be.
But I don't want to be too hard on them here, as it's undeniable that Twitter provides a valuable service. It gets the word out fast, and that can be useful.
Twitter's Good for News
The site has found new life in recent years, with many people using it as a source of news. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 70% of the service's users rely on it for live news specifically, a percentage that's up from 59% in 2015. In addition, 67% have “at least some trust” in news on Twitter.
As a result, the social media platform is a useful one to consider for a business' social media strategy, though we'd recommend checking your engagement rates regularly with a dedicated social media management tool to ensure it truly is worth your precious time.
Now, with the latest update, Twitter can certainly promise its news-loving audience one thing: They'll be able to read that new bit of information without it disappearing forever when they're halfway through.