Twitter brings algorithmic timelines to communities

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Twitter Communities, the interest-based private networking feature that launched last year, is now gaining its own algorithm-based timelines, similar to the homepage timeline via the micro-blogging platform, where the most relevant and interactive conversations will be shown.

The company announced that it is beginning to test this option within communities across iOS, Android and the web, with a select group of users initially.

The algorithm-based schedule for this test is called a brief “for you”. A timeline based on chronology is called “the most recent”.

Users are able to switch between the two options. Any option you select for a particular community becomes the default every time you return to that group.

The company said the option helps users keep up with the most important conversations in communities where there is a lot of activity. 

The idea behind Communities was to create a space within the larger public social network Twitter where people could connect with others who share similar interests.

But there’s a lot of overlap between communities and another feature of Twitter, which is themes. Topics help people discover the conversation about a particular topic by personalizing the feed with Tweets, events, and ads related to the topics they follow.

In other words, if you’re looking to tune into just the conversation about startups, for example, you can follow this thread.

Although communities can allow users to communicate directly with people who regularly post about a specific topic, Twitter has decided to implement the feature in an individual and semi-public format.

Twitter is looking for interaction within communities

Tweets are public in communities, but only other community members can reply. This design choice may limit participation. Users may not feel comfortable talking about their niche interests in public.

And you still feel as if you’re posting in the public and global feed. This is because community Tweets are tied to your main Twitter identity.

And if you’re in the test group, you can choose how you want to display your community timelines from a new setting in the top right corner of each community page, just like on the main Twitter homepage.

The change comes after other updates to the communities. Including giving mods and admins the ability to pin community tweets, add community search, remove a member, and search for members.

The company indicates that it intends to roll out more updates to communities in the coming months, as the feature is further developed.

Those statements contrast somewhat with Bloomberg’s latest report that says the company is shrinking development of consumer-facing features such as spaces, communities and newsletters amid a broader restructuring.

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