Yesterday, Twitter launched ‘Custom Timelines,’ a new feature that allows users to pull in tweets surrounding a particular conversation or topic, and collect them in an independent, publicly visible timeline.
Basically Twitter’s made a tool just like Storify, which allows users to create an embeddable chunk of collected tweets, the only difference being Twitter will give users the option of using its API to automatically pull relevant tweets into their custom timeline. It’s also a way to make your Twitter lists public.
The custom timelines have their own link, are embeddable, and more importantly they live on the Twitter domain, so people don’t have to go outside the network to view them.
Storify was a popular feature for journalists looking to tap into real-time Twitter conversations or trending topics, so the new feature would be a welcome addition for them. The Guardian is using a custom timeline to initiate and curate a Q&A session with its readers, while POLITICO is tracking the thoughts of energy policy experts in this TweetHub.
Brands too have an opportunity to use Custom Timelines. Instead of having to curate relevant tweets surrounding their digital campaigns or engagement efforts on outside platforms, they can just do it in Twitter, in most cases automatically using the API. They could pull in the best follower responses in an ongoing curation that would incentivize people to try and get on it.
Of course not everyone gets to use the API, only Twitter’s select partners do (but you can apply to become one here.)
This also strikes a blow to third party vendors (such as this hashtag curator we profiled) that have been curating campaign tweets and images onto either Tumblr pages or microsites, however they might still be in play if companies want something more dedicated and visually appealing for their user-generated content.
For right now, the new feature is best suited for media and entertainment purposes, but brands won’t be far behind.