(Credit: Screenshots: Tom McNamara/Download.com)

When it comes to social networks, "engagement" is king. If you tap more things and talk to more people on Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat, these platforms can charge more money for ads. Can this lead to an endless train of shallow interactions that leave you feeling depressed and disconnected? The evidence is growing. But in the meantime, you can at least start sorting your addictive food pellets in an arguably more sensible order.

Towards that end, Twitter has just announced that users of the iOS app can now sort the entries in their feed according to when they were actually posted, instead of relying on the "top tweets" algorithm that the platform has been using for several years.

SEE: Twitter recaps the biggest tweets of 2018, in typical Twitter fashion

As you might expect, the announcement comes in the form of a tweet -- and even then, a brief animated GIF does most of the talking. (Gotta keep those engagements quick and snappy.) Twitter says that chronological sorting will be coming to the Android app within the next few weeks.

To access this feature, all you need to do is go your Home tab by tapping the house icon in the lower left, tap the small cluster of stars in upper right and select "See latest Tweets instead." You may have to swipe down a few times for the stars to appear.

Admittedly, a feed in reverse chronological order, where the most recent ones appear at the top, may be a bit overwhelming if you're following a lot of accounts on Twitter. In which case, an automated system that selects for perceived quality and interest may be helpful. So we're not urging that everyone switches over to a chronological style. If you're enjoying Twitter with its AI-based sorting, why mess with a good thing?

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But now, iOS users at least have the option to try a different and perhaps more intuitive method, if they so choose. If you don't like it, you can easily switch back at any time by using that same "sparkle" menu in the upper right, where "See latest Tweets instead" will be replaced with "Go back home" if you've activated the new reverse chronology feature. Tap on "Go back home," and you'll be restored to Twitter's regular AI-based tweet sorting.

Takeaways

  • Twitter has just enabled reverse chronological feed sorting in the iOS version of the mobile app. The update for Android is expected within the next few weeks.
  • By default, the mobile app uses an AI to sort tweets according to your perceived interests instead. This may be preferable for users who follow a large number of people.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.