Twitter just introduced “custom timelines,” a new way of organizing and sharing collections of tweets that Twitter users can create to organize and share custom stories on events or conversations, right on Twitter.
“Share the best tweets about a topic you care about, or an event –– planned or unplanned –– that’s happening right now,” Twitter said. “Whether you want to collect the best tweets about a TV show or help people find the latest information about fast-moving, real-time situations, custom timelines let you give everyone a place to follow along.”
This, for example, is a custom timeline of “Music Superstars,” including tracks you can play right in the tweetstream:
Each custom timeline is public, like most tweets, and has its own page on Twitter.com. You cannot currently follow a timeline, but you can embed it on a website, offering a great opportunity for Twitter users to enhance their ability to tell stories via tweets with more context and information than any single tweet can contain.
Custom timelines are different from Twitter Lists, however, in that they are not self-updating. In other words, you are adding individual tweets to a storyline; you are not adding Twitter accounts. So only the tweets you actually physically add will appear in the timeline, not subsequent tweets from their authors.
Interestingly, you have to use Twitter’s web-and-downloadable software, TweetDeck, to create custom timelines and add tweets to them. The new capabilities will be rolling out to TweetDeck users over the next few days, Twitter says — there’s currently no update to the TweetDeck app in the Mac App store yet. And, at least for me, the TweetDeck app for Chrome has not yet been updated with the capability to create custom timelines.
We have no word on whether Twitter will roll out these new capabilities to its web and mobile apps over time, but you would have to assume they would be, eventually.
In TweetDeck, you can simply create a new column — a Custom Timeline column — and then drag and drop tweets to it:
Twitter is also adding API support for custom timelines, enabling developers to create customized and up-to-date embeddable tweets streams automatically and on the fly.
“This new API will open up interesting opportunities, such as programming your custom timelines based on the logic that you choose, or building tools that help people create their own custom timelines, as TweetDeck does,” the company said.