Up until 2015, the Twitter timeline displayed tweets in reverse-chronological order.
Attempting to improve the Twitter experience, Twitter has gradually introduced changes to how they show tweets on your timeline.
Keep in mind that like all other popular social media platforms, the algorithm is in a constant state of change. As the timeline algorithm changes have helped to increase their key metrics, you can count on Twitter to continue to tweak its algorithms on (at least) a weekly basis. It also seems highly unlikely that Twitter will go the same path as Facebook and create a 100% algorithmic timeline as Twitter CEO (Jack Dorsey) says that the platform will remain “Live and Real-Time”.
The Twitter timeline consists of three steps:
- Ranked Tweets
- “In Case You Missed It” Tweets
- Reverse Chronological Order Tweets
The algorithm studies the tweets from accounts you follow and gives each of them a relevance score based on several factors such as:
- The tweet: Factors that include recency, presence of images or video, and engagement such as retweets, clicks, favorites, and time spent reading a tweet are elements used for ranking
- The author: Past interactions with a tweet’s author, the strength of your connection to them, and the origin of your relationship are also factors in the ranking recipe
- The User: How often and how heavily you use twitter, and the tweets you engage with are part of the ranking equation as well
Twitter places the tweets it has determined to be of interest to you in the first two buckets; Ranked Tweets and “In Case You Missed It“ followed by real-time, reverse chronologically ordered tweets.
Twitter’s intent is to give you access to the best tweets for you at a first glance before delving into the lengthier time-ordered sections.