If you observe the follower or following list in twitter; it is not ordered alphabetically. Similarly if you see the list of users who have liked a post in facebook, it is also not ordered alphabetically. As a user i am not able to quickly find desired user from a list of 400 users. Wouldn't ordering list of users alphabetically help?


How should be such user list ordered? And why?

3 Answers 3


Why? With your Facebook and Twitter example I think we need to consider the context of the intended audience. The context with Likes or Followers is time where the most recent Like or Follow at the top of the list. The design shows the intended audience that a post or tweet is being frequently viewed or interacted with; we see a number of likes or followers continue to iterate and when we look at the list of names we see new names appear at the top of the list.

The design is not expecting a user to be 'marking the roll' on a list of names by displaying these in an alphabetical order.

  • 1
    "not expecting a user to be 'marking the roll'" You mean you don't take a register of who likes your tweets, and send them disciplinary messages if they haven't??? </tongueInCheek> (Having sent exactly one tweet in my life).
    – TripeHound
    Jul 19, 2017 at 9:26

I believe that Facebook algorithms are a bit more nuanced than that. It's not simply alphabetical, or chronological, but rather by relevancy.

Likes from your friends are prioritised over the people you don't know, then there's chronology. There are different systems depending on the situation (type of post).

There may even be more factors - for example, if you click on likes and get a full list, the list will also cosider people you might know (friends of your friends first).

So as always - there is no perfect way to sort a list - it all depends on the context.


It is ordered in the chronological Order( science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time).

In a platform like twitter and other social medias when you follow someone or when someone follows you, It sorts the list by the time from actual event. So that user can know by whom was user followed recently or whom did user follow recently.

Forward chronological order lends itself well to finite amount of data that tells a story. Reverse chronological order lends itself well to (potentially) infinite amount of data that loses usefulness over time.

For example, in Facebook, each post is listed in reverse chronological order, so you scroll back through history, but within each post the comments run in forward chronological order so you can easily follow the conversation.

Check this question (similar)

  • Actually Facebook posts (Newsfeed) are listed in reverse chronological order Most Recent or by Importance according to Facebook Top Stories. You can use one or the other, but Facebook has the nasty habit to switch to "Top Stories" without user intervention.
    – roetnig
    Jul 20, 2017 at 6:56

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