Twitter will soon let you switch to a chronological timeline

Twitter says it's going to "give you more control over your timeline."

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
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Twitter has been monkeying with users' timelines for the past couple of years to make them more engaging, but now the social network is going back to basics.

Twitter announced in a series of tweets Monday it will soon offer users the option of a timeline that will display tweets in reverse chronological order based on when they were sent. The move is a departure from an approach it embraced in 2016 in which it used algorithms to highlight tweets it deemed most important to you.

"We're working on new ways to give you more control over your timeline," Twitter said in one tweet, adding that it's working on a "way to switch between a timeline of Tweets that are most relevant for you and a timeline of the latest Tweets."

The plan is to offer users a setting that will show tweets only from people you follow and in a reverse-chronological order, placing the most recently sent tweets at the top of your timeline.

San Francisco-based Twitter needs to renew interest in its service, which at one time was the epitome of trendy and up-to-the-minute. But consumers now have many options for keeping up with friends, celebrities and the news, from an ever-expansive Facebook to hot alternatives such as Instagram and Snapchat.

To attract new users and increase their activity, the company has been working to freshen the look and functions of the 11-year-old service. In 2015, Twitter launched a "while you were away" recap to highlight tweets they might have missed. A year later, a new feature was introduced that offered users the option of highlighting important tweets at the top of their timeline.

Twitter announced Monday it had updated the "Show the best Tweets first" setting, which when previously switched to off would display the "in case you missed it tweets" and recommended tweets from people you follow. Now when you turn off that setting, it will display only tweets from people you follow in reverse chronological order.

Twitter didn't say when the latest update to users' timelines would debut, only saying that it would be in the "coming weeks."

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