Twitter is getting ready to roll out an update to embedded timelines, following up on the announcement the company made during its Flight developer conference in October. On March 3, Twitter will roll out a refreshed, modern design for the timeline display that will allow timelines to blend better into a publisher’s site but still be fully responsive.
Last fall, Twitter wrote in a blog post that publishers “need a powerful visual storytelling tool to truly engage your users, so we’ve built an embedded grid which displays your curated content in a rich, responsive, media-forward format.” The move gives publishers and developers more control in how tweets around specific conversations can be featured.
Next Thursday, anyone can start embedding profiles, lists, collections, and more with the new timeline. All existing timelines will also be upgraded automatically, but will maintain the current sizing and customization preferences.
If you can’t wait to see the new look, the company suggests adding the following code to your page: <meta name=”twitter:widgets:new-embed-design” content=”on”>.
As a result of this change, Twitter has also removed the “hide media” option, which will enable tweets with media to be expanded by default. By doing so, it has reduced the number of clicks you’ll need to get to the content. The embedded timelines also have in-line sharing on every tweet to facilitate easy retweeting.
In 2012, interactive embedded timelines were introduced, allowing anyone to personalize real-time tweets, photos, videos, lists, collections, GIFs, and even polls onto third-party developer environments. Twitter explained at the time: “When you browse websites that have embedded a Twitter timeline, you can now interact with it in the same way you do on twitter.com. Expand Tweets to see photos, media, and more. Start a conversation from the Tweet box, follow users that you discover, and reply to, retweet, or favorite Tweets directly from the page.”
While the redesign may not be a significant update, it’s part of an effort by Twitter to show that its technology and service can have an impact outside of its domain. The company said that embedded tweets power more than 1 billion unique visitors to developer apps and sites each month and that by improving the overall experience to make it more native to the environment, Twitter can increase that metric.
“We believe that these sites and apps are incredibly important amplifiers that show the huge reach and importance of tweets,” the company said during its Q4 2015 earnings letter. As Twitter struggles to show investors that the service has monetary value, it’s pushing various efforts to encourage users to participate in the service, including featuring Promoted Tweets if you’re not logged in and redesigning its homepage to entice people to use it.
Twitter has spent the past few months working on tools aimed at allowing stories to be better told outside of its platform. Updates include the debut of an embedded grid to showcase rich media on a website and the debut of a native video player on Android and iOS for images, videos, and GIFs.