Twitter’s new ‘While You Were Away’ feature keeps you up to date

Goodbye, FOMO.

Mar 1, 2020, 1:30 pm*

Tech

 

Andrew Couts

Afraid you’re missing something while you’re not logged into Twitter? Don’t worry, the company has you covered with its new “While You Were Away” feature.

First mentioned back in November, the new feature, which recaps events that happened while users weren’t logged in, has begun to roll out for a significant chunk of its mobile app users.

Twitter has stuck consistently to its chronological order, displaying tweets as they happen. “While You Were Away” is the first mark of Twitter moving away from sequential feed, floating the best tweets to the top of the stream.

The new feature is reminiscent of Facebook’s timeline, breaking up the news feed in favor of extra engagement. It’s part of Twitter’s latest initiative to up its users’ interaction, which includes the Instant Timeline set to debut later in 2015.

It’s unclear exactly how the algorithm works to generate the bundle of tweets that appear in “While You Were Away,” though Twitter did give some indication back in November. “We can use information like who you follow and what you engage with to surface highlights of what you missed and show those to you as soon as you log back in or come back to the app,” wrote Vice President of Product Kevin Weil in a blog post.

Twitter is hoping “While You Were Away” and features like it might encourage its massive user-base to be more active on the social network by pushing popular content instead of just what happens to tick by on their feeds. Given how fast the feed can fill up with tweets, it’s a feature that makes sense—at least in comparison to some of Twitter’s other ideas like sponsored accounts and tweets from people you aren’t following invading the timeline.

H/T TechCrunch | Illustration by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Jan 2, 2015, 2:30 pm