Prepare yourself to start seeing tweets in your timeline from people you don’t follow. A change to Twitter’s timeline is going to start pulling in tweets from people you don’t follow if Twitter consider’s that tweet to be “popular or relevant.”
These new additions to Twitter’s timeline started as an experiment but will now be a permanent change to the service. Twitter’s FAQ page for the question “What is a Twitter timeline?” has been updated with the following section:
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 popular tweets that Twitter is surfacing seem to be mostly tweets that have been favorited by people you follow. This is a significant change because previously Twitter would never show you tweets from users you don’t follow unless they were retweets or sponsored tweets.
This update is understandably already receiving a certain amount of backlash from users. Twitter’s intensions are to expose you to content you may not have otherwise seen, and help you connect with people you may not have otherwise met, but its users may not be eager to see it that way.
How do you feel about this update? Do you welcome the addition of new content in your timeline, or would you prefer to just see tweets from people you follow? Let me know in the comments section.