I know, there are bigger things to worry about, but information matters now…

I think Twitter has become a bit ridiculous.  And no, this isn’t about what people are tweeting.  I am also not pining for the good ol’ days of Twitter either (although networks were smaller and more personal).  I am referring to the actual platform of Twitter and its new “engagement” strategies.

After a recent update of the Twitter app on my phone (android), I noticed big changes in what I saw in my main timeline.  Later on, I also noticed similar changes in my timeline when I signed into Twitter on my computer/web app.

Here is what I often see now:

  • Tweets from people I don’t follow (but Twitter provides a list of some people I follow who do follow the person who tweeted it).
  • Replies of people I don’t follow to the tweets of people I do follow.  eg. Someone I follow “received a reply”.
  • Tweets of people I don’t follow because people I do follow liked the tweet (as Twitter informs me).
  • Tweets of people I don’t follow because someone I do follow replied to their tweet.

I know that this can mostly be managed or avoided by viewing tweets through the lists that I have created on my Twitter account, but it still gives me an uncomfortable sense that people who don’t follow me (and/or I don’t follow them) could also be seeing my tweets in the ways I listed above (and for what good reason?).  I have adjusted to the many changes on Twitter over the years, but I haven’t settled in well with this one yet.

Twitter posts have always been public (except for those who lock their tweets), but there used to be a more “semi-private” feel to it.  Conversations and replies were only seen if you also followed those replying.  (Of course, all replies of a user are publicly accessible, but it once took an extra search step and click on their profile page to view those.)  It seems that anything and anyone could be “fed” into the stream of content now.  What a cluster at times.  It makes me think twice about active engagement and interactions.  I suppose Twitter has done this in the name of engagement and with the help of algorithms.  Sometimes it does bring something interesting into my timeline, but it often leads to a lot of information that I don’t really need.  Usually I am fine with the retweets of others tweets by people I follow.  If I am not, that kind of sharing can be turned off on individual accounts.  I am not a big fan of the “retweet with a comment” option that began fairly recently.  Okay, so a bit of pining for the way it used to be… 🙂

What about others?  Does this awareness bother you?  Is this just Twitter trying to encourage similar “open” posting of comments like Facebook?  Is there something you see differently using a different app that I am unaware of?  Does this change in the timeline help keep me out of a “silo” or filter bubble?  Does this change keep people more “in check” (if they are aware)?

I have been using Twitter for almost 10 years and I said I would never “lock” my tweets.  For the first time, I am considering it.

There, that’s off my chest 🙂