Linked – Bring Back the Chronological Internet

I’m barely a Snapchat user, but this comment reminds me of what Instagram recently did as well. Nothing really makes sense in the main app now, it’s only in Stories that the timeline makes any sense at all.

“Because I am not a teen and have not been for several years, Snapchat’s interface has always been kind of confusing to me. But the redesign takes one of the app’s most straightforward aspects—here’s a sequential list of what your friends have been up to in the past 24 hours—and turns it into a jumbled mess for the sake of boosting engagement.”

The article argues for bringing back the old style reverse chronological order to all of our social media feeds, then letting users manage it from there. I think that’s exactly what most users want, but we have to remind ourselves that what we want, despite Zuckerberg and other’s public comments, is not really what their business model is. The algorithmic feeds simply keep you around longer. Even if they weren’t doing anything to try and bring the things you seem likely to read to the top of the feed, just by randomly changing the order they force you to take a longer time, and scroll through more posts, and ads, to get back to that simple “what have my friends been up to” goal that we started out with.

That’s their business model. Never forget that.


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