Feature Friday: While You Were Away

I love the “while you were away” feature on Twitter. It’s full of great stuff every time they show it to me.

My sister in law said to me last weekend “I hope they never get rid of the classic timeline on Twitter.”

I replied “I wish they would have gotten rid of it years ago.”

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

I use gmail’s priority inbox because I don’t want to see every email that comes into my inbox.

I wish there was a curated version of my Twitter timeline so I would only see the best tweets that come in.

Of course, I’d like to be able to see all the tweets if for some reason I wanted to do that. I think Twitter should maintain that view for the hardcore users like my sister in law who want that.

But I doubt most people want to see everything. Facebook got rid of “see everything” as the default view many years ago and they massively improved the user experience in doing so.

So I’m eagerly awaiting a curated version of my timeline from Twitter.

Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with “while you are away.” And I am.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Jakob Marovt

    Have you checked the experimental Highlights feature on Android? It’s awesome, better than “While you were away”, at least for me.But – it’s pretty hidden currently. You have to go to your account notification settings and tick it off.Here’s more about it: https://blog.twitter.com/20

    1. William Mougayar

      I didn’t know about that. Just turned it on, and it says you get notified twice per day when your highlights are ready.

      1. Jakob Marovt

        Yup, but you can also always access it from the main menu.

        1. William Mougayar

          Ah, just checked & I like it. Feature request: I’d like to know which of my tweets are making it into Highlights & “Popular in your Network” email. And would like to configure the granularity of filtering.

          1. Paul Rosania

            I’ll pass this feedback to the team

    2. fredwilson

      Oh hell yes!!! I had no idea about this. Going to set it up now

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Done. Thanks! Apparently, you have to actually make the change from your phone. Tried to do it from my desktop earlier and it didn’t even show up.

    4. Paul Rosania

      Presentation-wise or ranking-wise?On the ranking side, there’s some special sauce in Highlights that we haven’t brought to “While you were away” yet. 😉

      1. Jakob Marovt

        Oh, yeah, ranking seems much much better for me in the Highlights. Was really annoying to me that I was getting tweets from pretty much the same accounts constantly in the “While you were away”. Turned it off.Presentation-wise: well, I kinda like it. But it does feel a bit weird. Honestly, would love the old (+ improved) Discover tab back the most.

        1. Paul Rosania

          Cool, thanks for the feedback. The problem with a separate tab is that it takes the “best” stuff and puts it somewhere else. Usually the most value is putting it front and center.

    5. Don

      Thanks, Jakob. I didn’t know about that feature. It will be interesting to see how it works. Unfortunately, it is so buried in the settings menu that it is almost unfindable.

  2. William Mougayar

    I wonder what the new Lightning version will bring. Any hints or rumors? It’s been hush hush.

    1. Twain Twain

      Buzzfeed has a fairly extensive article on it:* http://www.buzzfeed.com/mat…It sounds a bit like putting the user into the editors’ booth of a newsroom / the desk of a trader with 8 Bloomberg screens streaming 8 different views of related breaking news.

      1. Jess Bachman

        Ah so what SnapChat is doing then. I can dig it, pretty cool. Won’t scale for local though, unless your in a major metro.

        1. Twain Twain

          Comparison of some key metrics of Snapchat, Twitter, FB et al…

          1. LE

            Not a fan of infographics and the above is a good example of a bad one at that. Impossible for the eye to focus on anything meaningful and the data presented is meaningless to boot anyway. Plus it’s a mash of things that aren’t even related. Uploaded videos and tweets sent. What’s the commonality?Mainstream media started this years ago prior to any graphic presentation. Something like “every minute 3 people find out they have shingles. What value is that type of information exactly in that format? More important and all I care about is what the chance of me getting shingles is and if I should get the shingles vax or not. And if there is anything that makes me more susceptible. Knowing how many people per minute do something is of literally zero value.[1] I made that up.

          2. Twain Twain

            I’m with you re, “Compare on a LIKE-FOR-LIKE!!!” basis.I just vented about an article where yet another Professor of CS presented machine neural networks as the same and equivalent to human neural networks.He wrote: “A neural network is software that mimics how the human brain works. It “learns” how to solve a problem by comparing many possible solutions, and then improves the solution with more data.”Um…NO. An NN doesn’t mimic the human brain at all. An NN is a mathematical method that applies the Könisberg bridge problem and tries to optimize for the shortest path to either reaching an island (node) that’s part of the bridge network or the quickest time to traverse all the bridges and nodes.Meanwhile, the human brain is affected by biochemical and cultural factors (e.g. emotions, language, perceptions) which govern how it works (filters information, risk manages and prioritizes options, decides, and actions that thinking as behavior).So I agree with you about like-for-like comparisons.Separately, but related, this is why the comparisons between Twitter and Facebook are somewhat unhelpful.Their purpose origins and the mindsets of their founders are so different that trying to benchmark them by the same metrics is so wide of the mark.Facebook is an extension of Zuckerberg’s interest in psychology and network effects.Twitter reflects Dorsey’s interest in constant broadcasting of an incidence/event’s immediacy at an intersection.Not like-for-like at their core.

          3. LE

            Facebook is an extension of Zuckerberg’s interest in psychology and network effects.Zuck wanted to get a date. It really just boils down to that. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. Things always start with either sex, money or power and go from there. (I am serious).Anyway, from 2006 quote follows. You can believe this if you want but to me this is complete bullshit. It doesn’t even jive with the name he choose or the legacy purpose. “Face Book”. We had those in high school as well in the 70’s. You could get someone’s name by seeing their picture (was a small high school):Does anyone seriously believe what follows below (once again, from 2006)?When I made Facebook two years ago my goal was to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better. I wanted to create an environment where people could share whatever information they wanted, but also have control over whom they shared that information with. I think a lot of the success we’ve seen is because of these basic principles.We made the site so that all of our members are a part of smaller networks like schools, companies or regions, so you can only see the profiles of people who are in your networks and your friends. We did this to make sure you could share information with the people you care about.”Is he fucking serious? That when he made facebook in 2004 as a college student his goal was “to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better?”. And people call Trump out for exaggeration and hyperbole?

          4. Twain Twain

            Ok, when I was in my 2nd year at university (US translation: sophomore) I created a social network.It was for honorable reasons.There were freshman coming in who were somewhat lost about life at university (first time away from home), where to find student accommodation, which lectures mattered, where to buy books that would leave them enough for beer money (yeah, pub crawls can be costly), how to apply for summer jobs etc. The network was FREE and a team of us did it because we just wanted to help other people settle in well.So whilst I don’t doubt that Zuckerberg got some PR training, I also can vouch for a certain idealism / romantic concern for others when we’re students.That idealism / romantic concern for others may even stay with some of us — even when we know sex, money and power sell and produce more sex, money and power.

          5. LE

            Not doubting that there are people who are idealistic (in the way that you describe at least) but Zuckerberg isn’t one of them. I know this because of how he was raised and how he acts (Winklevossgate being one example).Zuck is not naive he is a “sharpie”. As such basic motives would drive anything that he does.Basic motive involved in what you did (which I left off my list) was “feel good about themselves”. Explains some but not all tipping and giving money to charity.

          6. Twain Twain

            Another basic motive: do as your role models teach you.

          7. LE

            Absolutely (my term would be brainwashing not used negatively either btw.).

          8. Twain Twain

            Indoctrination.Fred and others share their knowhow on “best practice for startups” and some of us may even be indoctrinated (in good ways).Haha!

    2. Paul Rosania


      1. William Mougayar

        Bring it 😉

  3. Daniel Clough

    I actually find it more annoying, than useful.It will often show me tweets I’ve already seen, which then screws up the chronological view of my feed (maybe it is me switching between mobile and web and it doesn’t think I’ve seen it?).Plus, I’m not sure what algorithm they use to show me the most relevant, but it doesn’t quite feel right.The concept is good, I just don’t think the execution is right. Seems to be the case with a lot of algorithm based content discovery features nowadays.maybe I just got out of bed the wrong side this morning though 😉

    1. Richard

      It’s like that awful feeling of picking up yesterday’s paper and getting on the plane.

    2. Paul Rosania

      Showing Tweets you’ve seen sounds like a bug. Which clients are you using?There’s a lot we can do to improve the methodology. We’ve already done a lot under the hood – you’d probably be surprised at how much better it is already than when we launched. It will keep getting better!

      1. Daniel Clough

        Hey Paul. I tend to use safari on the iphone and chrome on the mac air. I’m sure when I went onto chrome on mac air, it showed me something I had already read – either on the phone or on the mac air.This was about a month ago. I haven’t seen it pop up that much lately (perhaps I’ve been using twitter too regularly for it to show), but I’ll keep a closer eye on it to see how it feels now.Appreciate the reply. Nice that you;re on here listening and replying!

        1. Paul Rosania

          Interesting, so just to make sure I understand – you’re using the mobile website not the Twitter app?

          1. Daniel Clough


          2. Paul Rosania

            Got it, thanks. We’ll take a look at this.

  4. William Mougayar

    Fred, Do you get the “Popular in Your Network” email? It does a bit of that & I catch interesting ones that I missed. There used to be a Discover tab which disappeared. I liked it. It did surface a curated stream of sorts.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I get the notifications on my phone. I don’t remember signing up for it, but it’s not too intrusive so I never turned it off. At first I confused it with the new follower notification. Imagine my surprise when I thought @pmarca and @hunterwalk had begun following me. Oh, well, someday…

  5. Donna Brewington White

    so I would only see the best tweets that come inI manage this to a degree with TweetDeck, but it’s grouped more by people and topics. I have a “daily” column which includes those people I want to hear from on a regular basis — although I can’t say that I check it daily. Many of the people in this column are AVC’ers. Some less prolific than others. It’s a good way to curate since AVC is my online community of choice with a variety of shared interests. Never dull.

    1. Jess Bachman

      I do the exact same thing. I only follow a few hundred people but still find it over whelming. My Daily column has the handful I don’t want to miss.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I’m following 3300+ — not sure HOW that happened. But every time I think it’s time to delete a few, everyone I click on is also following me and I back down. Occasionally, I will say something to elicit response just to check who is really listening. I think it’s about 3 – 5 people.

        1. Jess Bachman

          Yeah I have a thousand less followers than you and even less interaction. Occasionally, I will day dream that when I am really famous, people will go back through my old tweets and remark on how witty they were and say “You should have followed @mibi before he was famous!”. (╭ರᴥ•́)

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Well, now I can say that I did!

  6. William Mougayar

    Another feature request is Saved Search Stream on the Twitter client. Most non-Twitter desktop apps have that.

    1. Paul Rosania

      We’ve talked about stuff like this. How would you use it?

      1. William Mougayar

        Hi Paul, Great having you here. I would enter some keywords as a search expression (boolean like a google search) and would expect to hit one button to see that stream.You already support the Boolean search. Just need a Save somewhere.

        1. Paul Rosania

          Would you want this as a part of your timeline or somewhere separate?

          1. William Mougayar

            In desktop, could be in the left margin. In App, either is fine.

  7. Shalabh

    Nuzzel is very good in curating links to articles/blogs. if you haven’t tried it, I would highly recommend it – http://nuzzel.com. It does so based on the number of tweets about that link by the accounts you follow. You can also set it to rank these links based on an extended circle of friends of friends. Very effective in discovering high quality content.

    1. Sada Kshirsagar

      Agree – Nuzzel is now my goto place for getting ‘tweet’ news content. Have ‘discovered’ great content via Nuzzel.

  8. John Pepper

    Best email curator I’ve found is SaneBox. I tried gmail priority inbox but I found this to be so much better. And while at first I wasn’t sure I liked it I’ve had it placed on all Gmail based accounts for 3 years now which says something. It places bulk, news, and “later” into separate folders (SaneBulk, SaneNews, and so on), and is nearly perfect on leaving your main inbox exactly as you would want it. Even when you don’t stay on the bulk boxes for a week or two, there is nothing more satisfying than sorting 300-500 emails by “from” instead of “date” and rapid fire deleting quickly (and unsubscribing too at times when I have a moment because it’s so obvious I don’t need various emails when presented in this light)I’ve just sent them a suggestion that next feature needs to be SaneTweet…..

  9. Twain Twain

    Timelines are useful structures in finance (see Google Finance example). Time order in itself has been conferred a relevancy which may not be the case.Sure, for something like Twitter which likes to position itself as “Breaking News / What’s happening in the world right now” — like stock ticker formats, the timeline is a natural format.However, there are factors to relevancy other than time:* whether it’s a topic / person the user is particularly interested in;* how many of their friends have tweeted about this item / link; and; and* what’s ACTIONABLE or influential about that bit of content / link.I like Google Finance’s approach to timelines — not least because I proposed something similar back in 2000 whilst at a data startup jv with the FT.Not yet clear if Twitter’s “While you were away” feature will improve new user signups and engagement.

    1. Paul Rosania


  10. Jess Bachman

    Ah yes… I can’t wait to pay to reach my followers… (-_-。)

    1. JamesHRH

      Something they should have adopted in 2010.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      The interesting thing about Facebook (and Google)’s model is that they basically “tax” bad content. You can load people’s timelines with all sorts of spammy garbage if you are willing to pay for it, but if you put the effort into crafting content people like then you save money and get rewarded with organic reach.

      1. Jess Bachman

        But who likes to gamble with organic reach. Virality, even within facebook, is always a crapshoot. If you put effort into crafting content people like, it only makes sense to ‘boost’ that paying to reach your own audience you built.It’s a tax on good content as well.

        1. Matt Zagaja

          I think it’s actually the opposite. Social media firms like BuzzFeed, Upworthy, etc. have shown that sufficiently talented individuals can consistently create content that performs well on social. Not to say they’re going to hit 100% of their shots but I think they do better than a coin flip.When I look at twitter analytics I find it’s reach to be a rounding error compared to Facebook. Most tweets fly by the timeline interacted with a minimal amount. Most people are just “dipping” into the stream when they’re bored. Facebook’s algorithm slings my posts to the people that care about them or are interested in what I’ve been talking about on social regardless of when they log on.This has translated to my political work/clients as well.

          1. Jess Bachman

            I bet the social ad spend of BuzzFeed, Upworthy, etc is enormous.I agree with your second paragraph though. Twitter is shit for engagement unless you have some sort of celeb status. It’s a numbers game, requiring large numbers. On FB I have less than 50 friends, much better engagement.

          2. Stephan Froede

            There is valuable content on FB? Insights into “hard” stuff? Discussions about a crisis? Nobel prize economists on a crusade to spread the word of Neo Kenyesnism?

    3. Paul Rosania

      This is not at all the motivation for While You Were Away. @mzagaja:disqus’s observations are spot on – prioritizing based on relevance rewards quality rather than quantity.Keep in mind that not everyone who follows you will see every Tweet you post, no matter how the timeline is organized. Showing the best stuff first means that people who *want* to see your content will see it more often, not less.

      1. Jess Bachman

        “why you were away” is where the puck is, paying to reach followers is where its going.

        1. Paul Rosania

          I’m sorry you feel this way – all I can offer is that it’s absolutely not a motivation.

      2. Jess Bachman

        Im sure you guys will do a great job with it. That said, its going to be hard to resist the one-ring-like temptation to get people/brands to pay to reach their followers. We are all corruptible (present hobbits excluded).

        1. Paul Rosania

          For sure. All I can say is we want the same things our members do, since they ultimately are the ones who make us successful!

      3. Matt A. Myers

        How do you define quality for individuals?

        1. Paul Rosania

          Ah, the billion dollar question. :)I suppose the trite answer is, the same way each individual does. We’ll try to get as close to that as we can, using everything each person tells us.(Of course, your degree of optimism about whether we can accomplish this may differ from mine. I’m sure we can make big improvements for many people. We’ll always look for ways to give everyone control over this stuff, too. The goal is to be helpful!)

  11. Pranay Srinivasan

    I am conflicted.Part ot me that has composed over 57,000 tweets wants to see everything from everyone I follow (300 ppl) because *thats* why I follow them.Part of me wishes I could just see whats trending.And there are days I want to see whats relevant to me. Like key words, or key people or possibly news of the day relevant to me.And I wish there was a better way than lists.

    1. Paul Rosania

      Our goal is to make it so you see the most relevant stuff first so you can catch up when you’re short on time. The rest is still there when you have the time to see it all.

    2. Vasudev Ram

      There is a better way. Just write (or get someone to write – if there isn’t already) software to do what you want – filter Twitter content by keywords, dates, apply sentiment analysis, etc.

  12. Kwame Som-Pimpong

    I agree that a curated version would be helpful. For some time now, I have thought it would make sense for Twitter to acquire Pocket. I have an IF recipe that sends the tweets with links to articles that I favorite to my Pocket account. Pocket’s mobile app has a nice Highlights feature, where articles are broken out by “Best Of,” “Long Reads,” and “Quick Reads.” I can still look at my list of articles in the order that I have sent them to favorite though. Pocket also consolidates articles from sites from which I have sent a lot of content to Pocket. In my case, that is Twitter/IFTTT, Harvard Business Review, Medium, and NYT. What do you think?

    1. Jess Bachman

      Pretty sweet flow. I’ll have to find that recipe. I’ve also started sending my pocket queue to my Kindle every day at 5pm with p2k.co. I try to limit my bright-light screen time in the evenings so the kindles good for that.

      1. Kwame Som-Pimpong

        Wow. Very cool. I don’t have a Kindle, but this could get me to use one so that I’m not skipping back and forth between articles and other apps.

        1. Jess Bachman

          I can recommend the paperwhite.

  13. Mario Cantin

    I’m on your sister-in-law’s side. Twitter is a live feed. You check on it throughout the day and you catch it as it happens. You can always scroll down. If you curate it it won’t be real. That’s why Facebook is f*#%^’ed! I hate the “while you were away” feature with a passion — can’t wait every time to find the X to click on to make it go away in hopes it’ll never come back.For the sake of trying to gain broader adoption in order to please Wall Street, it’s easy to predict that we’ll loose the raw Twitter experience.More superficiality BS in the world, yay…Definitely a case of “different strokes for…”

    1. Shalabh

      I agree with this. Being a live feed is essential to what twitter is. In FB, it doesn’t make a difference to me, if I see a status update four hours after it was written, but on twitter it does. However, the curated version of twitter is probably more suitable to a lot of users.I think twitter should create a new tab – ‘top tweets’. This should consist of a curated list.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Hopefully @jack will remain true to the original experience.

      2. Paul Rosania

        Yes! But, stuff that’s four hours old is still super interesting in many cases. We’re trying to support both situations – we want you to be able to keep up in real time but also catch up when you’re coming back.

        1. Shalabh

          I agree. Both are important. I personally like the ‘when you were away’ feature and I benefit it from everyday. My point was that Twitter cannot just have a curated timeline, the way FB can.Ps. I am long Twitter

    2. Jess Bachman

      Yeah, the problem with copying facebook is that there is already a facebook. The “different strokes for” is just a trojan horse.Step 1. Option to curate feed.Step 2. Occasional show curated feed despite turning it off.Step 3. Curated feed is default “But you can turn it off”Step 4. Curated feed option somehow turns itself on from time to time.Step 5. “Oh you like raw twitter?, you must be in the 2% that choose it over a curated feed, according to our data”Justification/Conversion complete.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Yeah, it gets choked gradually.

      2. Paul Rosania

        I’d love to understand more about this. Ranking Twitter doesn’t create Facebook: no matter how the content on Twitter is organized it won’t be the same content you see in your Facebook feed. The shape of the graph is fundamentally different. Can you elaborate on your concern?

        1. Jess Bachman

          Yes the shape of the graph is different. My concern is in preserving a platform that isn’t ‘edge ranked’. That doesn’t submit to an algorithm. I totally get that this might be the best possible business decision for twitter, for its platform to appeal more to ‘normals’ so it can grow. That said, there is something exciting and hyper-real time about twitter and I am not looking forward to a curated glimpse into the best of the past day, nor am I interested in paying to reach my followers.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            > I totally get that this might be the best possible business decision for twitter, for its platform to appeal more to ‘normals’ so it can grow. That said, there is something exciting and hyper-real time about twitter and I am not looking forward to a curated glimpse into the best of the past dayGot to agree. If they curate, it’ll lose the serendipity which is one of its main attractions. Apropos of which, some years ago, I had commented here on Fred’s blog, in some context, quoting a saying that I had made up (because it reflected my experiences). The saying was:”Serendipity leads to good stuff” – :)Edit: I searched for those words, and found the post and my comment:http://avc.com/2008/05/web-

          2. Jess Bachman

            Serendipity has been increasingly short supply for the past decade.It’s hard to quantify, and thus hard to justify from a business standpoint.

          3. Paul Rosania

            The bet we’re making is that we can surface more of the good stuff and still preserve serendipity and real-time-ness. Everyone at Twitter wants the same thing as you!

          4. Vasudev Ram

            Good to hear and good luck.

          5. Paul Rosania

            I want to preserve that feel just as much as you, I promise. It’s a huge part of Twitter’s essence. The track record for algorithms is not good in this regard, but no one else has tried to do what we’re doing.Keep in touch and let me know how we’re doing: [email protected]

          6. Jess Bachman

            I appreciate it Paul. To be fair, I have a dog in this fight, as I’m building a social network myself. I wish Twitter the best but hope to challenge y’all one day. <strokes cat=””>

          7. Paul Rosania

            Game on. 🙂 Maybe we can teach each other a few things along the way!

    3. Anne Libby

      And with it, “free speech”…which has been so important in various political movements.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Hello there Anne :-)Absolutely!

      2. Paul Rosania

        This is super important and something we will work hard to preserve.

        1. Anne Libby

          Yay! Good to hear. I left FB when the algorithms made the feed irrelevant to me. (And there were other reasons, too.)Back in the day, this really sold me Twitter:http://www.wired.com/2010/0…Thanks for stopping by.

          1. Paul Rosania

            Great interview. Gibson is awesome. I especially like this quote:”It hasn’t been constructed to provide me an experience in any particular way, which is a function of its minimalist architecture.”This is simultaneously why Twitter is amazing and why it is so hard for some people to get started.

          2. Anne Libby

            Yes. When I read the Gibson interview, the phrase “novelty aggregator” won me over — before that, I was floundering.

    4. Paul Rosania

      We’re always going to optimize for what’s happening now. “While you were away” is about catching up, which helps people dive in. Trust me that everyone at Twitter loves the soul you describe and we are building in service of it, not against it!

      1. Mario Cantin

        Well Paul, here is some user feedback: personally I h*a*t*e that feature and I wish there was a way to disable it. There we go.

        1. Paul Rosania

          I’d love to understand this more. We’re definitely looking for ways to put people in control of their experience. What are your primary reasons for hating it?

          1. Mario Cantin

            Hi Paul, thank you for caring. The best analogy is like someone uninvited decided to come and clean your house to be nice to you, but without asking you. They think you should be grateful when instead you are resentful.For me, I know, expect and trust that the Twitter feed is continually occurring with or without me.I dip in and out of it many times a day. I know I will miss some stuff but that’s the way I like it: raw and real. It’s up to me to control that by choosing how often to open the app and how far back to scroll each time.When I see the feature showing me what I’ve missed, it really pisses me off every time.How do you know what I want to see that I might have missed?All I can think of is “get the f&($ out of my feed” I then look for the X so I can close that feature.I personally resent it because it’s trying to fix something that’s not broken IMO.

          2. Paul Rosania

            Great analogy!1. Would you trust someone to clean your house if they did it with your guidance? Or do you simply prefer to do the cleaning yourself?2. Our goal is to make your experience better, not worse. It sounds like that’s not happening here. We’ll continue to improve our feedback mechanisms so it’s easier for you to create the experience you want. This may take some time, but trust me we’re working on it!

          3. Mario Cantin

            1. The analogy is not 100% perfect and it gets strained. somewhat here. I like someone to clean my place, but not the music studio part, as I have a lot of sensitive music gear in it.2. The issue is a multi-faceted one:a) your goal is to improve Twitterb) that’s in conflict with the fact that I don’t think the live feed should be messed with.c) I may be the only one who feels that way, in which case how I feel is not importantd) I suspect that you’ll be interested to find out how many of your users there are who feel the same way so as to thread carefullye) Twitter is a business and it has a responsibility to its shareholders to grow the businessf) it may have to morph into something which has more mass appealH) it would be a shame if in the process the live feed lost its soul the same way that Facebook’s news feeds has been gamed and now cannot be trusted.

  14. awaldstein

    Curation is the personality of most everything of interest on the web.Except blog comments.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Well.. I’m going to vote this up so it appears higher in the stack to other viewers…..aaaaaand comments are curated too.

    2. JamesHRH

      Chocolate and vanilla.Sometimes just what I want….sometimes everything.

  15. LIAD

    One has no control over who pollutes their email inbox. Priority inbox helps alleviate this.One has complete control over who pollutes their timeline. A curated curated timeline is one curation too many.

    1. Paul Rosania

      This is a common objection, but most people don’t read every tweet sent by every person they follow. (If you follow more than a couple hundred accounts it’s practically impossible anyway.) We’re trying to help people pick which ones to read.(If you read every tweet, you’re going to see everything either way!)

      1. Daniel Clough

        I’ve solved it myself by following less that 30 people lol I’m not mainstream though 😉

  16. JJ Donovan

    Hopefully the “While you were away” will show you the Tweets about the failure at Zirtual and you might do a blog post on whether their CFO issue is really the cause of the demise?

    1. LE

      Thanks for bring that up actually I just skimmed this article (based on you posting this):http://fortune.com/2015/08/…Good luck to the guy that is buying the place in the fire sale. Hopefully there aren’t to many burning embers:He also acknowledges having done relatively little due diligence into the company’s books, believing that speed was of the essence in order to retain clients who are being wooed both by other startups and by some ZAs who are going into business for themselves. For example, Schroter does not know the outside investor that bailed, or why.

      1. JLM

        .This is a very interesting story. Imagine that? They discovered that runway and burn rate are related? Who would ever have thought that?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          See and that’s the thing about many of these startups. The lack of experience and naivete is often papered over by money which can and does fix many problems. The question is do you think the education is as good if you have money to fix any problems that you run into or never even see those problems? I don’t. But perhaps it doesn’t matter if after a success you just end up with more money for another deal and can repeat the process. Or after a failure you also end up with more money because your ticket has been punched.I just thought of an unrelated education that my Dad got when I was a kid growing up.He bought a rental property, a small store and it was located next to a gas station. He promptly got a tenant (a dress shop). The tenant moved in and there were immediate complaints about gas smell because apparently there was a LUST [1] right next door. Was a great education. Because who would think that a LUST would be a problem if they had never run into that before, right? That is exactly how you learn. By having a front row seat and putting your own money on the line. Makes you very careful going forward.[1] http://www.epa.gov/oust/ltf

        2. Jess Bachman

          For pilots, you actually don’t see the runway when your nose is pitched up in the air taking off. You only need to see it when your coming in for a landing. Sounds like she was pitched up while losing altitude… bad things happen at that point.

          1. JLM

            .As a Bonanza jock with a few thousand hours, my eyes are on the instruments — HSI to make sure I’m on the right azimuth, altimeter to make sure I’m climbing, airspeed indicator to make sure I’m not flirting with a stall, vertical speed indicator to make sure I am going to clear all obstacles and to know when I reach minimum turnback altitude (1000-1200′ in a Bonanza), and with my head on a constant swivel looking for traffic.Somebody was not watching the instruments.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Jess Bachman

            As someone with more than a dozen hours in Microsoft Flight Simulator in the 90’s, I agree.

          3. JLM

            .How long did it take for you to feel “real comfortable” — how many minutes?MS Flight Sim is much harder than flying a real plane.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. Girish Mehta

            Known to happen in some cases that a pilot instinctively raised the nose (pulled back the yoke) to gain altitude when they heard the stall warning at relatively higher altitudes, which made things worse. Whereas what would have worked to get out of the stall is to pitch the nose down and gather airspeed, and then pitch up.But here’s the thing – you cannot pitch the nose down to get airspeed when you are barely 30 feet from the ground. You will slam into the ground before you gain enough airspeed to get out of the stall.So, whats worse than stalling with the nose pitched up ?Stalling while you are pitched up, AND you are 30 feet from the ground.

          5. JLM

            .Coming out of Denver on a high density altitude day (high temperature, thin air, high altitude) you learn how to climb at about 25 FPM (feet per minute) until you clear that ridge down by Colorado Springs with ATC asking you all the way — “Do you see the ridge? Give me your best rate of climb, Bonanza.”No pilot should ever depart Earth less than twenty knots over stall speed for that aircraft and no pilot should ever make the base to final turn with less than twenty knots over stall speed.Airspeed is the solution to all stalling problems.BTW, you should already have the throttle full forward any time you are taking off.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  17. William Mougayar

    Same with Medium. It’s like hit and miss to find content on Medium. At least let us have filters.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Usually I get to Medium through their e-mail newsletter which often has good content.

      1. William Mougayar

        but that probably misses a bunch of other stuff. there isn’t even a single feed of everything on Medium.

        1. awaldstein

          I never worry about what I miss honestly.I’m figure that 95% of everything finds me and half of what remains my networks know and the remaining usually doesn’t matter.I’m an information simpleton.

          1. William Mougayar

            That’s because you have people like me that send you stuff 😉

    2. Rohan

      LinkedIn publishing is the place to be, William! 🙂

      1. William Mougayar

        Are you joking ????

        1. Rohan

          100% serious. Try it. 🙂

  18. Shawn Woodhull

    I agree with you on the value of “While you were away”, but I think their execution of the feature has one annoying flaw at this point — the tweets shown in “While you were away” are repeated lower down in your timeline. I don’t want repeats and redundant information cluttering my Twitter feed!

    1. Juan Carlos

      Agree! makes the experience inefficient, and i start thinking to myself if i had already read this far down the line.

    2. Paul Rosania

      We didn’t want to break chronology when we first launched. It is duplicative though and we are planning to address it.

  19. charlieok

    I’d something like this for other “subscribe” type things too.Take RSS. I subscribe to the AVC feed using feedly. Maybe I get overwhelmed by the fact that Fred posts daily, but I don’t want to unsubscribe. Ideally when I get that feeling have a “turn down the volume” option specifically for the AVC feed as an alternative to unsubscribing. Maybe Fred’s RSS feed that he publishes can supply its own scoring information to help feedly decide which posts are best. Maybe this can come from hits and/or comments collected by the software running avc.com.Yes, I’m thinking in a very decentralized “people have their own blog” kind of way. That’s still the world I want.

  20. Richard

    Twitter needs to pick a lane. Is it the place to go to for live events or is it a bulletin board.

    1. pointsnfigures

      certainly the place for live events. Stadiums and ballparks should totally overbuild their in house bandwidth to accommodate that.

    2. Twain Twain

      Well, the thing is… there are a number of emerging AR-VR plays that are positioning themselves as “the place for live events”, e.g. Superbowl, Caesar’s Palace fights.People are hacking together GoPro and HD videos and rendering+stitching it in AR-VR so the experience is like in ‘Vantage Point’ with Dennis Quaid:* https://www.youtube.com/wat

  21. pointsnfigures

    would like to see them auto curate tweetstorms from people I follow so I could search and see them.

    1. Paul Rosania

      LOVE Tweetstorms! How would this work?

  22. Eric

    This *was* a solved problem. People had blogs. You aggregated them with RSS. A good RSS reader would let you know when there was something new. It’d keep track of what you saw already so you don’t see it again. And you could organize by folder, so you could put the stuff you don’t want to miss in one place and all the noise someplace else. Oh and most of the time you could read everything without even leaving the reader. It was beautiful.Then for some reason I’ll never quite understand, seemingly everyone switched over to using Twitter, a private service rather than decentralized standard, limited to a mere 140 characters with pitiful organizational features or any ability to control what you see. And in the process managed to re-create the original problem.Makes no sense to me.

    1. William Mougayar

      But RSS doesn’t give you serendipitous value outside of your known filters.I use both.

  23. JLM

    .In my life, Twitter has become a scrum wherein there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and there is no rhyme or reason why it moves in a certain direction.Twitter is also one of the greatest phenomenons of civilization.Our gov’t announces (conducts) its foreign policy on Twitter.Political campaigns are conducted on Twitter.War is undertaken on Twitter.Beheadings, crucifixions, drownings, immolations, explosive decapitations, gay flight, defenestrations — all Twitterized.The Donald uses Twitter to administer public floggings.[BTW, when was the last time you saw a good public flogging? Like dueling, it is time to bring them back.]Twitter, Twitter, Twitter.The fact that Brother Fred provided those geniuses with their mother’s milk makes it all the more miraculous. If not for Fred, the world would not know how to conduct its business.I often tell people that I know “that” Fred Wilson — the guy who funded Twitter. I know it’s a mid-grade lie and that Fred didn’t do it alone but I can be very devious and a bit of a name dropper sometimes.Have to leave. Back to the scrum.Have a great Friday. Is this a great country and is this a great time to be alive or what?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      If not for Fred, the world would not know how to conduct its business.I don’t even think Fred would be comfortable with that characterization. Success as you know has many fathers. Fred was one of the fathers and an important one. But many had their sperm in twitter and you know that.

      1. JLM

        .LE, my friend, this is a literary technique called “hyperbole.”Further reading of the next paragraph seems to make it clear that “Fred didn’t do it alone” and goes on to explain it a little.I am sure that Fred, and others, poured their blood, sweat, toil, and tears — and their money — but SPERM?I think not.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          Hmm excellent retort. However I will point out that in the following paragraph what you said was a bit different than the item that I had pointed out.You said there:I often tell people that I know “that” Fred Wilson — the guy who funded Twitter.However in the paragraph that I highlighted, you said “if not for Fred the world would not know how to conduct its business”. (Which now sounds a bit like johnny #2 “its business”).Anyway to me that is a bit different than saying “guy who funded twitter”. Why? Because the fact that Fred funded twitter whether by himself or with others is not the same (in my courtroom) as “if not for Fred”. Two different meanings.All in fun of course I will point out another thing. This is exactly one of the reasons that trials take so long and people can testify for hours or even days. And that women and men have fights. And that men have fights. And probably animals fight. Details matter. Different interpretations of the same info read by two different people.By the way I am almost done with watching an excellent war movie, “The Hurt Locker” about the Iraq war on Netflix.

          1. JLM

            .You are attributing to me way more depth of consideration when I write a comment than is advisable. I am not that deep a thinker. I fancy myself a simpleton and actually treasure that notion.I spent a fair amount of time commanding a unit that cleared some old artillery ranges and blew tons of rusty artillery rounds in place using similar techniques.I always get a little jumpy when I watch war movies which make fundamental mistakes on actual practice. I want to jump up and scream: “Spread the fuck out, God damn it” whenever an infantry unit moves across the ground.If I had a dollar for every time I said that, I’d be Carlos Slim.In the Hurt Locker they fail to show that most applications of explosives are constructed away from the IED — improvised explosive device. You don’t stand over it and work with more explosives and blasting caps.You look at it and assess what you’re up against. You do NOT touch anything or dig anything up. You go back a safe distance. You prepare your charges. You position your sandbags to receive the explosive. You put the explosives in place. You get under cover. You scream: “Fire in the hole.” You turn the crank. You wait a few minutes to ensure there is no lingering sympathetic detonation of something you missed. Then one guy takes a look at it.There is not all that milling around out in public. Sometimes, you erect a bit of draping to keep the shitheads from seeing exactly what you are doing.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Paul Rosania

      One of our biggest challenges is making the product better while preserving its soul. There are so many incredible, diverse and unpredictable things that make Twitter amazing. They come from the people on the platform. The product and the changes we make to it are just in support of that.

      1. JLM

        .Who knew that Twitter had a soul?Not sure that some of the users have souls.Please do not start flogging me on Twitter.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  24. LE

    Check out the granularity of this.Tremendous value in the war to rearrange the deck chairs of ad dollars:http://www.niemanlab.org/20…The New York Times built a Slack bot to help decide which stories to post to social media. The bot, named Blossom, helps predict how stories will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote.What’s terrible about any allocation of resources (intelligent people) in this area (rearrange ad dollars, nothing new of course here) is that it takes people away from doing things that really matter not any particular individual but the gross workforce. Used to be people were drawn to medicine because of the money. Now people are drawn because of money to a zero sum game.

  25. Michal Mocny

    So you want Google+? 😉

  26. Rick Mason

    Fred,I don’t mind Twitter implementing new features such as while you were away. I don’t even mind them turning it on by default. What I object to is that they don’t provide a way to turn it off. I hate while you were away. If they end up filtering my feed ala Facebook it will end up making Twitter less attractive to me. But I’m OK again as long as they provide me a way to turn the behavior off.

    1. Paul Rosania

      Can you elaborate on this? “While you were away” doesn’t filter anything out of your feed.

      1. Rick Mason

        You’re concatenating two separate thoughts of mine. Its been widely reported that Twitter is going to start filtering tweets like Facebook currently does with your feed. That means you won’t see your friends tweet if Twitter’s algorithm decides not to show it to you. I am OK as long as you let me turn it off.Totally separate discussion from the while you were away problem entirely. But same basic request which is let me turn that off as well.I think in Twitter’s desire to get more customers they’re doing things that annoy the existing base.

        1. Paul Rosania

          Ah, sorry.If we rank out stuff you want to see, we’re doing our jobs poorly. We need to not do that! I’m confident that showing more of the best stuff up front will be better, but we’ll definitely look for ways to give people control over the experience.I promise we’ll be smart about the changes that we make. We definitely don’t want to annoy people who use our product every day – that seems like a terrible way to grow. However we will have to make some change in order to improve. Hopefully the balance of those changes is positive, that’s the #1 thing we think about. We exist to serve the people on the platform – they’re what make Twitter so amazing.

          1. Rick Mason

            Paul,I only care because I too am passionate about Twitter. Too often the company makes moves that convince me that they don’t understand their users.You used to be able to dismiss ads for example. By showing you what ads were a poor fit and which ones were a good fit I was sending you a terrific signal that no other platform had. Yet they removed it, though recently I see they have brought it back. If they’re not using that data or better yet sharing it with advertisers they’re missing a tremendous bet.

  27. Paul Rosania

    Hey folks! I’m the PM at Twitter responsible for this feature (and the home timeline generally). The motivation for While You Were Away is pretty simple: make it easier to keep up. You’ll see us do more and more of this over time.I’m going to try to wade into the comments here, and I’m happy to answer questions to the best of my ability. Let me know!

  28. Stephan Froede

    An “intelligent” timeline that gives more insight what’s going on would be nice, also stuff that doesn’t fit into my existing preferences.FB is feeding egos (ok social as such is feeding egos) and reinforcing the echo chamber.

  29. Drew Meyers

    I actually hated Twitter until I got over the mental block that I should look at everything in my feed. I have zero desire for a way to surface any of that “while I was away” content to me. I want to be able to turn twitter off/on whenever I want. If something is truly important, someone will tell me about it.

  30. Frank Fumarola

    I find the resistance to a curated timeline so peculiar. Twitter has chosen to keep power users happy at the cost of user growth. If they were to allow both options (see top, see all), then they could cater both to more casual users and power users. We can hope, I guess.