Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

November 29, 2022

Twitter: How the user experience has been changing over the last month

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:46 PM

Its been about a month since Twitter has been under the new management and it is an understatement to say that things have been chaotic over there with Musk in control. There have been plenty of articles written about what is going on at Twitter so I am not going to go into that, instead since it has been a month I wanted to share my experience on how the user experience at Twitter has changed, thoughts about its future and general musings.

Personally, I don’t see much of a difference when I use the chronological view using Tweetcaster (which is the Twitter client I prefer). It just shows me all the posts by the people I follow in chronological order which is the same as how things have been so far. However, Most of the infosec folks, and a lot of the experts have reduced their posts on Twitter and instead are posting on Mastodon now. Some post in both locations others have moved completely. Looking at the accounts, it looks like most of the non-white, non-male accounts have moved to Mastodon since the reduction in moderation means they are facing increasing amount of harassment from idiots. I have also been reading about how some of the functionality on the site is flaky and recently the block function was not working intermittently.

In addition to reading the chronological feed I also occasionally view the feed in the Recommended View or Home View as Twitter calls it and there is a drastic change in the content shown when I use this view. Earlier I would get about 80% of content from the people I follow and about 20% of other trending posts and recommendations. Now, it is the other way round. Last I checked, in the first 10 pages of scrolling only 3-4 tweets were from accounts I follow, rest all were recommendations and ‘popular’ tweets.

Specifically, it appears that tweets which talk positively about Musk are promoted more via the algorithm and out of 10 tweets shown at least 2-3 would be tweets praising Musk. Based on my likes and accounts I follow this should not be the case as a lot of them are fairly critical of how he is doing things. Worse case I would expect to see an even breakdown of tweets in favor and tweets against him as he is quite controversial right now. But, it looks like the algo has been tweaked to give higher priority to tweets that praise him. Please note that this is anecdotal evidence based on what I see and felt rather than a formal study as such of the algo.

In addition a lot more crypto scam accounts are showing up in my feeds as well. This is a scary thing because they look and sound quite reasonable but end of the day they are scams. The recommendation system that creates the feed for every user seems to be quite broken and a lot of the stuff being shown to me is stuff that I am not interested in. For example, today my feed was flooded with Bollywood movie news which is something I am not at all interested in.

If I stay with the chronological view then things appear to be normal. Most of the brands and services are still there on twitter and it is still a good way to reach out to companies for escalation or help. How much longer that will continue depends on how much more chaotic things are at Twitter offices. That being said I don’t see the service shutting down soon but there is a good chance that there will be a significant outage in the near future. If the trend of folks moving away continues then Twitter will end up being becoming less diverse than what it is today which is a shame.

I don’t see myself stopping from using it everyday yet (as long as I stick to the chronological view of my timeline). But a lot of the interesting posters from twitter have moved to Mastodon so I will probably be spending more time over there as time passes.

On a side note, I have been adding more features to my program to extract data from Twitter and the new version will be released in the next day or two.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress