Twitter just changed its timeline tool. Here's what's new

Twitter is finally announcing some long-anticipated changes — a move away from its chronological timeline to "make it easier and faster for people to catch up on what's happening right now," according to the Twitter blog announcing the launch.

Beginning Wednesday, Twitter users will have the option of turning on a tool designed to show the *best* tweets first, those that each user is most likely to care about — based on which users people follow and whose tweets they most interact with. These popular tweets will appear at the top of the timeline, with the newest on top, then the rest of the timeline will appear as it always does, also in reverse chronological order.

Though there was an outcry of concern earlier this week that Twitter was abandoning its unfiltered reverse-chronological feed, the company stresses that this is entirely opt-in. The company also says it is not a dramatic overhaul of the chronological feed and a shift toward an algorithmic approach, but rather an extension of the "while you were away" feature giving users an update on the feed.

Twitter says people who have tried "Show me the best Tweets first" "tend to Retweet and Tweet more, which is good for all of us."

In a post on its advertising blog, the company also laid out what this could mean for brands. It said when people tweet and retweet more, that means brands can reach a more engaged potential audience. Tests of the product tweet yielded an increase in engagement for brands' organic tweets and an increase in engagement for tweets about live events. Twitter said promoted tweets and promoted accounts will not be affected by the change, though presumably the more people are engaged, the bigger the potential audience for ads.