Google’s YouTube is currently running a trial with a small subset of its user base of a potentially controversial new feature that would replace the current reverse chronological order in Subscription feeds with non-chronological video ordering.
Your videos, out of order
Currently, YouTube’s Subscription feed presents new videos from the channels you’ve subscribed to from the most recent to the oldest, as evidenced by the screenshot top of post.
Google has confirmed it’s experimenting with non-chronological order:
We are currently experimenting with how to show content in the subs feed. We find that some viewers are able to more easily find the videos they want to watch when we order the subs feed in a personalized order vs always showing most recent video first.
YouTube also takes advantage of algorithms to recommended videos on its homepage, in the sidebar of other videos and in your Home feed. If feedback from the community is anything to go by, this change may anger a lot of YouTube creators and users.
Ah, so this is why my last two videos have tanked @TeamYouTube. You are “experimenting” with my livelihood. My last video reached only 10% of my subscriber base. A drop to 150k views, 350k below my average view count. pic.twitter.com/44dLVe9M7Q
— Brian McManus (@Fiosracht) May 24, 2018
I know I certainly don’t want to see people’s YouTube videos out of order.
Our way or the highway
It’s a worrying trend: technology giants like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are imposing ordering that takes advantage of algorithms to personalize content in your feeds.
I like algorithms, I like them even better when they deliver personalized recommendations tailored to my tastes. But more often than not, I also prefer to browse items in the order in which they were published, to quickly get a sense of what was published most recently.
The problem I have with companies like Instagram and Twitter is their “our way or the highway” philosophy. Instead of shoving algorithms down our collective throats all the time, why don’t you give us some choice, please? In the case of Instagram, for instance, wouldn’t it be great if you could toggle between chronologically and algorithmically ordered feeds?