Twitter is experimenting with showing groups of trending tweets on specific topics in people’s timelines.
As VentureBeat reports, users were seeing highlighted tweets around the Australian Open tennis competition at the weekend. The company confirmed to the publication that this was indeed an experiment and there is no indication of whether the feature will be rolled out to everyone just yet.
The trending tweets appear in the same style as the “While you were away” section and can be closed if they’re not of interest – and that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing.
Trending topic in my Twitter timeline w tweets from people I don't follow. Interesting….. pic.twitter.com/OQumdpG1u4
— Jason Abbruzzese (@JasonAbbruzzese) January 31, 2016
The fact this feature is a test gets Twitter off the hook for relevance but if this was to be rolled out globally, the tweets should really be tailored to the specific interests of each user, which the company can clearly gather from all of our user data, or at the very least, a scrape of who each person follows.
Trending tweets need to be relevant for users to actually pay attention to them. Until then, Moments provides a much more elegant solution for following what you care about.
I struggle to see what Twitter could gain from bombarding people with trending tweets about unrelated events, unless it’s a new way for the company to create revenue at the expense of its users’ timelines.
Twitter often runs tests, like showing tweets in non-chronological order, that may never be rolled out globally. So let’s hope this one gets tweaked a little before it gets a wider rollout – if ever.