By @TheMarkDalton

Twitter users are having a meltdown over a report from Buzzfeed which states that algorithmically sorted tweets could be switched on as soon as next week. We know by now that Twitter has been testing the idea but that doesn’t mean it will ever become a feature of the platform. 

However, Buzzfeed has a good track record. They don’t just report false rumours and make stuff up for the sake of clicks and the backlash has been so intense that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has had to step in to comment. Before we go any further to talk about algorithms on Twitter, here is the statement Jack made via a series of tweets yesterday.

Bring on the 10,000 I say…However the point is this – Twitter knows what they are doing, they know where their strengths are and they know what to mess with and what not to mess with.

Twitter has always been about tweets being sorted in reverse chronological order with the latest tweets arriving live a the top of your timeline. If Twitter were to implement an algorithm then they would determine the tweets you could see based on popular content from people you follow or show you tweets that they think you might like based on what they know about you.

Basically Twitter would become Facebook in pretty much every sense of the word. At the moment Twitter does have a system which surfaces tweets you may not have seen when you were sleeping or away from the platform for some time. The “While you were away…” feature shows some tweets that Twitter thinks you may find interesting and then pulling down again in the app takes you back to the live tweets. So why would Twitter consider changing anything about the time line at all?

Simply put, Twitter is under pressure to grow the user base at its stock market performance continues to plummet lower and lower. A lot of users still don’t realise that and just last week I saw people saying that big announcements are made on Twitter after Enda Kenny announced the upcoming General Election. Thats great and all but its not helping Twitter and as I have pointed out in the past the strategy at Twitter needs to change to encourage the average daily user to stick around and also encourage new users to come on board.

Some people have asked me if Twitter may consider a subscription service so that they would not have to focus so much on user growth and leave things as they are. The answer to that one is “No” – certainly not under the current management team will that happen.

Silicon Valley boardrooms don’t like charging for mass-market social platforms. The theory is that even if a lot of users say they would pay hypothetically, the reality is that the number of users which would pay for “pro” features would be a lot lower. If Twitter was taken private again (and personally I think there is a high chance of that happening maybe at some point this year) then anything can happen but for the moment it is definitely not on the cards.

Finally, there is no need to panic. Twitter is not going to kill off the current reverse chronological live feed, there is simply too much riding on it. However it would not surprise me to see Twitter offering two different feeds at some point in the future. The live feed (which many of us love) and an option to use a feed based on an algorithm. That way Twitter can position itself to appeal to more users than it currently does at the moment.

Relax, chill out, stop venting all this rage on Twitter and please stop tweeting #RIPTwitter. The live feed is going nowhere, we don’t know what new features Twitter may bring down the line but they know what they can’t afford to mess with.

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