Why don’t I care about Twitter shoving “favourites” into my timeline?

I’ve made a few sarcastic tweets over the last few days moaning that people are over-reacting to “the horror” of Twitter mixing in favourites with tweets and retweets in your timeline.

Everytime I’ve done it, I’ve had some pushback from people whose opinion I respect and admire which usually means either 1) I’m so far ahead of the curve that everyone will come grovelling back to apologise to me in a year’s time * or 2) I’m wrong.

It made me wonder why I’m not fussed.

I guess losing the purity of the Twitter feed taps into a seemingly primal fear among people that it makes the service closer to Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm.

You’ll probably know that I’m not phased by that either. My assumption is that there is far too much bobbins being posted on Facebook. I’m quite happy for a computer to work out what stuff my friends are interacting with and concentrating on showing me that. And not an exhaustive list of marketing messages posted by every page I’ve ever Liked.

But back to Twitter. I wonder whether my “Meh!” reaction is a function of the way I’ve developed using Twitter over the years. I’ve always over-followed, but I’ve always worked on the assumption that I’m dipping into a messy stream of stuff, rather than worrying about ever missing out on anything.

I guess I’d be irked if I started seeing tweets by people I purposefully avoid because they’ve been favourited by people I do follow, but on the whole, given that I follow over 4,000 Twitter accounts, the odd extra tweet in my timeline appearing isn’t going to make much difference to my Twitter experience.

Twitter is often criticised for having a large number of inactive accounts that barely tweet or engage. I guess the change may be aimed at trying to provide those people with some additional content that might tempt them into tweeting a bit more.

Another factor is probably a bit of me feeling “I’ve seen this all before.”

I remember an absolute outcry when Twitter stopped you seeing @messges from people you follow to people you don’t follow. And an absolute outcry when the automatic retweet function was introduced. And an absolute outcry when the profile page was redesigned and so on and so on.

As I’ve observed several times, you can make a change to a system on the web, watch all the metrics move in the right direction, but still end up with a very vocal minority constantly shouting “But you’ve broken everything and it doesn’t work now!”

I’m sure Twitter HQ will weigh up the outcry of “ZOMG NO!” against the actual metrics of seeing whether it leads to more follows, retweets, favourites etc.

Or maybe the reason I just don’t care about Twitter shoving favourites into my timeline is that I just like being contrary?

*This never happens. It always means 2, that I’m wrong.