Twitter 'recap' helps you catch up with missed tweets

The new feature will help users catch up on key tweets from accounts they follow

The next time you are too busy to access your Twitter feed or have a bad Internet connection, the social network will help you get updated with a quick recap of the key tweets you have missed.

On Wednesday, Twitter introduced to the home timeline a feature, it calls "recaps," that will surface important tweets that the user might have missed from the accounts they follow.

"....we will surface a few of the best Tweets you probably wouldn't have seen otherwise, determined by engagement and other factors," Paul Rosania, a Twitter product manager, wrote in a blog post.

The recaps, which will be marked with the heading "While you were away," will appear for all users on the iOS operating system from Wednesday, with similar alerts for users of the Android app and the Web version of Twitter coming soon.

Users who spend a lot of time on Twitter will see fewer recaps, Twitter said. "Our goal is to help you keep up -- or catch up -- with your world, no matter how much time you spend on Twitter," Rosania wrote. "With a few improvements to the home timeline we think we can do a better job of delivering on that promise without compromising the real time nature of Twitter."

Rosania did not mention whether users would have any control over the tweets that would be included in the recaps and their frequency.

The recap feature was discussed by Twitter at an analyst meeting in November. CEO Dick Costolo said at the meeting that the company was building a Twitter that was the best way to keep in touch and connect with the world, and promised a speedup in the pace and breadth of product change.

Twitter has previously modified users' timelines. For example, besides showing "promoted tweets," purchased by advertisers, it also started surfacing tweets from accounts that the user didn't follow. "We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting," Twitter said in a support page.

Twitter reported in late October, when announcing its third-quarter 2014 results, that it is available in more than 35 languages and has 284 million monthly active users, up by 23 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.

There are also over 500 million unique users who visit Twitter owned and operated properties every month but don't log in, and there are many more unique monthly users who consume Twitter content in syndication and through mobile apps, Costolo said at the November meet. His aim is to convert visitors to active users by reducing barriers to consumption, including easier sign ons and an "instant timeline" feature that will allow new users to see what's happening on the site without having to first go through the time-consuming process of following accounts.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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