Well, you’re not alone. Many users have expressed dissatisfaction with the algorithmic feeds dominating most social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. They want to see posts from the people they follow in the order they were posted, without any interference from algorithms that try to guess what they want. They want a chronological feed.
That’s why Meta Threads, the new social media platform from Meta (formerly Facebook), opts for a chronological feed over an algorithmic feed. It recently rolled out a new feature that lets you see a chronological feed of posts from people you follow. That means you can see the most recent posts from people you follow in realtime.
But, why did Threads choose to go for a chronological feed over an algorithmic feed? And how does it compare to other social media platforms experimenting with different types of feeds? Let’s find out.
The Reason Behind The Chronological Feed
According to Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram and Threads, the main reason why Threads is opting for a chronological feed over an algorithmic feed is that they wanted to give users more control and choice over their feeds.
He said that some users prefer a chronological feed because it has an element of neutrality and transparency to it. They also don’t want to miss out on any posts from their favorite accounts or feel like they’re being manipulated by algorithms.
However, it was found out that the app will switch back to the algorithmic feed every time you close and reopen it. The company said that the algorithmic timeline is what users will see by default when they launch the Threads app, meaning you will need to choose the Following feed repeatedly.
The Case Studies Of Other Social Media Platforms
Threads is not the first social media platform to offer a chronological feed option. In fact, most social media platforms started out with a chronological feed before switching to an algorithmic feed at some point. Let’s look at some of the case studies of other social media platforms that have experimented with different types of feeds.
Instagram, which Meta also owns, switched from a chronological feed to an algorithmic feed in 2016. The algorithmic feed was supposed to show users the posts they care about most based on their behavior and preferences.
However, many users were unhappy with the change and complained that they missed important posts from friends or celebrities. Instagram later added some features to give users more control over their feeds to mute accounts, prioritize favorites, etc.
In 2022, Instagram announced that it was working on giving users more options to customize their feeds, including a chronological feed option. However, it is still not available for all users. Users can only access it by tapping the Instagram logo in the top left corner of their home page and selecting Following (chronological). They can also switch between them anytime they want.
Twitter, recently rebranded as X by Elon Musk, another popular social media platform, also faced a similar backlash when it introduced an algorithmic feed in 2016. The algorithmic feed was supposed to show users the most relevant and popular tweets first based on their interests and interactions. However, many users felt that they lost the real-time and conversational nature of Twitter and preferred to see tweets in reverse chronological order.
Twitter later gave users the option to switch between different types of feeds, such as Home (algorithmic), Following (chronological), or Topics (curated). In contrast to Threads, Twitter remembers your preference and gives the Following Tab as a default experience once the app launches.
As you can see, Threads is not alone in offering a chronological feed option to its users. Many other social media platforms have experimented with different types of feeds and have faced various challenges and feedback from their users. Threads seems to have learned from these experiences and decided to give users the best of both worlds – a chronological feed and an algorithmic feed. Users can choose which one they want to see by selecting Following (chronological) or For you (algorithmic). They can also switch between them anytime they want.
I think this is a great move by Threads, as it gives users more control and choice over their feeds and allows them to see the posts that matter most to them.