Nov 14 What You Need to Know About Twitter Custom Timelines
On Tuesday, Twitter announced the launch of custom timelines, a new feature available to all of its users. Haven’t heard about Twitter custom timelines yet? No need to worry. We’ve broken down everything you need to know, including how to incorporate it into your social media strategy.
What Are Twitter Custom Timelines?
Custom timelines, at their core, are streams of content that you curate and control. Twitter’s definition:
Custom timelines are a new type of timeline you control: you create the timeline, give it a name, and select which Tweets to add, either by hand or programmatically using the API. Timelines are public, have their own pages on twitter.com, and can easily be embedded on your website. The rest is up to you.
Aside from only allowing public tweets to be added, there are no specific rules for what you can and can’t include on your own custom timeline. For example, you could create a custom timeline for:
- Tweets from your brand advocates
- Your “Awesome Community Management” weekly Twitter chat
- Mentions of your brand or product by celebrities and other influential users
- User tweets that include positive reviews of your newly-opened local business
Essentially, you can add any public tweets you want into a custom timeline. And they’re not just for brands, either. Anyone with a Twitter handle can create any custom timeline they choose – even if it is about One Direction or Justin Beiber.
How Do I Create a Custom Timeline?
Presently, custom timelines can only be created and managed through TweetDeck, the popular social media dashboard application.
Once you’ve logged in to TweetDeck and connected your brand or company’s Twitter account(s), creating a custom timeline is pretty straightforward. You’ll start by adding a new column to your stream. In the “Choose a Column Type” pop-up, you’ll select the option for “Custom Timeline.”
Once the timeline is created, you can give it a unique name and description that will inform viewers about the content they’ll be seeing. For example, mine is called “Awesome Ignite People.”
Now that the (incredibly simple) set up has been completed, you’re ready to begin adding tweets to your custom timeline. To add a tweet, click on the four-direction arrow icon in the bottom right corner of the tweet and drag it into the custom timeline within TweetDeck.
Now that you know how to add one tweet to your custom timeline, you can add as many as you want. Deleting a tweet from your timeline equally as simple. Just click the “X” icon in the lower right hand corner of any tweet that’s in your custom timeline to remove it.
Sharing your Custom Timeline
One of the main benefits of creating a custom timeline is that it can be shared publicly – to all of your followers, to your company’s marketing team, or to anyone else you’d want to show a timeline to. Each timeline has its own unique URL that anyone can see. For example, Twitter created a Music Superstars timeline on the @TwitterMusic handle that features tweets from popular music stars.
To find your custom timeline’s URL, open the column options and click on the “Share” menu. From here, you can view your timeline on twitter.com, where you’ll find your custom URL. You can also choose the “Embed timeline” option to create a widget that will embed your custom timeline on your website.
You can find a more detailed breakdown of how to create a custom timeline through TweetDeck on Twitter’s Developers blog.
Custom Timelines API
Because custom timelines can currently only be created and managed through the use of TweetDeck, there is no ability to create rules that automatically add certain tweets to a custom timeline. This can severely limit how brands are able to use the custom timelines feature right now, particularly those who are interested in its ability to aggregate conversations around a topic or hashtag – say, for a popular Twitter chat or a holiday campaign – into one easily accessible custom timeline.
However, these features will likely be available in the custom timeline API, which is currently in beta testing. You can request to participate in the custom timelines beta API on Twitter’s Developers blog.
What do you think about Twitter’s newest feature? Let us know in the comments.