Skip to main content

Twitter officially adding tweets to your timeline from people you don’t follow

how to use Twitter
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Many Twitter users have noticed for a while that tweets from people they don’t follow, as well as favorited posts from people they do, have been turning up in their timelines. The change appeared to be another experiment by the folks at Twitter as it looks at ways to improve content discoverability on the service and create more connections.

While some Twitter tests lead to new features for the service, others are quietly brushed under the carpet and never spoken of again. However, it looks like this one is now an official feature after news outlet Quartz spotted explanatory notes referring to it on a Twitter support page.

The development means Twitter users will no longer have the almost total control that they enjoyed before with their carefully curated timelines.

Related: How to become Twitter famous

The new note on Twitter’s help page says:
When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.

While many users of the microblogging service may feel their timeline is already relevant and interesting enough – after all, they did essentially build it themselves – Twitter is hoping to expose them to more content and a wider range of users in a bid to integrate them deeper into the platform.

So besides your timeline’s ads and retweets, which you also have little control over, you’ll now have to get used to posts favorited by friends, as well as “popular” posts from users you don’t follow.

It’s conceivable the feature may prove useful for new users of Twitter looking for ideas on who to follow, but it’s hard to imagine this move going down well with long-time users who’d like to retain a high level of control over their timeline.

The big test will be how effective Twitter’s algorithm is in choosing relevant tweets to repost. If it’s off the mark too often, we can expect to see angry users taking to, er, Twitter to express their disgruntlement, which could ultimately lead to the company ditching the feature. So let’s see how it works out….

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Twitter may let you select who can reply to your tweets
twitter urges users to change password after finding bug 1

Twitter is considering a new feature that would let you control who can reply to your tweets.

The news came via a Twitter presentation at CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 8.

Read more
Don’t be like Pierre Delecto. Here’s how to keep your Twitter account a secret
Mitt Romney

On October 20, the Atlantic published a profile on Mitt Romney, in which the Utah Senator admitted to having a secret Twitter account. Slate’s Ashley Feinberg, who had previously unmasked James Comey’s anonymous Twitter, quickly went to work and identified Romney as tweeter Pierre Delecto.

Far be it from me to make Feinberg’s sleuthing more difficult, but the two had some commonalities that helped her track down their accounts. If you’re in the public eye but want to keep some social media private, here are some tips to keep it secret.
Don’t follow your relatives 
This was Romney’s biggest mistake. It was by investigating his granddaughter’s nearly 500 followers that Feinberg was able to find Pierre Delecto, and from there, the evidence only piled up. “The Pierre Delecto account’s very first follow was eldest Romney scion Tagg,” according to Feinberg. She traced James Comey through similar means. Trail of breadcrumbs, thy name is the family follow.
Do follow a mix of people 
Delecto did follow a number of late night hosts (no Stephen Colbert, though) but mostly stuck to politicians, pundits, and reporters. But this is your secret identity! Maybe take the opportunity to learn about a new field. Cheese Twitter, historian Twitter, teacher Twitter, branch out and learn something new. Also, part of why Feinberg was able to discover Comey’s identity is he followed the College of William &  Mary, his alma mater. Maybe if he’d followed a few more colleges, it would’ve muddied the water a bit.

Read more
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
woman sitting and using laptop

Sometimes, whether you're chatting with friends or posting on social media, words just aren't enough -- you need a GIF to fully convey your feelings. If there's a moment from a YouTube video that you want to snip into a GIF, the good news is that you don't need complex software to so it. There are now a bunch of ways to make a GIF from a YouTube video right in your browser.

If you want to use desktop software like Photoshop to make a GIF, then you'll need to download the YouTube video first before you can start making a GIF. However, if you don't want to go through that bother then there are several ways you can make a GIF right in your browser, without the need to download anything. That's ideal if you're working with a low-specced laptop or on a phone, as all the processing to make the GIF is done in the cloud rather than on your machine. With these options you can make quick and fun GIFs from YouTube videos in just a few minutes.
Use for great customization
Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Read more