I'm wondering from a ux design perspective, why does twitter not show tweets live? Instead they add a bar which you can click to show new tweets.

If tweets were rendered so that they are not so tall (like a couple lines as it would be in chat), would this make the experience of live updating work better?

3 Answers 3


If you are reading through your list of tweets, then someone else publishes a new tweet, you don't want the page to automatically scroll so you lose your place. This might not be a huge problem for some people, but imagine if you were following hundreds of people who actively author many tweets. It could be hard to continue reading without it constantly scrolling the page with new tweets being added at the top.

  • 3
    You can design it so it doesn't auto-scroll unless you're at the top, like chat clients do.
    – Matt
    Jun 8, 2015 at 3:23
  • @Matt That is true, although they can be problematic. Let's say you're scrolled to the top but reading the lowest tweet on the screen, and then a new one comes in and forces you to scroll down to continue reading what you were reading.
    – Keavon
    Jun 8, 2015 at 6:59
  • 1
    @Keavon, twitter wouldn't release something that terrible. No new tweets would ever scroll the page away from the content you are reading. I think it's more relevant to think about where/what the user is doing/going. They start at the present and navigate further and further through the past. There's no point loading the live tweets while the user is interested in older and older tweets. Jun 8, 2015 at 8:35
  • @Matt That is actually how Twitter's TweetDeck behaves. Tweets are automaticly updated if you're at the top, otherwise a notification is displayed. imgur.com/P6FFixm Jun 8, 2015 at 8:55
  • I'm not sure why this has upvotes when the reasoning is a non-issue. Jun 9, 2015 at 4:14

Any given twitter stream could go through pages and pages, (and hundreds of MBs) of data if a user left a twitter.com tab open.

Generally when you read your twitter feed you can go a long time before you read something you've read before. So purely from a "finding new content" perspective, it's not necessary to automatically load new content.


I like the 9gag solution when a message appears on top of the screen in case there are any new posts. You can auto scroll up and refresh the list by clicking on it. Don't know if Twitter has done that yet.

  • That's what twitter does, and has done for years. Jun 9, 2015 at 4:46

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