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Twitter takes aim at Storify, allows you to curate your own timelines of tweets

Ever wanted to share a stream of tweets and discussions that goes beyond a simple feed of updates using a hashtag or keyword? Twitter wants to help you out. The social media site has begun rolling out what it’s calling “custom timelines”, essentially giving you the ability to hand-pick tweets and include them in a curated list on any topic. Yep, it’s basically cloned Storify.

Okay, so that’s a slight over dramatisation, but if you’re familiar with the social media curation service, you have to admit they are pretty similar. Both allow you to use publicly available posts to tell a story around a specific discussion or event, although Storify does have the ability to pull in posts from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and general URLs, and Twitter’s tool only uses updates from, well, Twitter. According to Twitter’s Brian Ellin, users can create timelines manually or more systematically using the API to create a feed of what they feel are the most noteworthy or important tweets.

The roll-out of custom timelines is a gradual one — at the moment, you can only create one using TweetDeck, although they can be viewed on the web publicly via a dedicated URL once you’re done. If you’re a user of Twitter’s social media publishing tool, then you may have already noticed the pop up instructions informing you about how to create your first custom timeline. TweetDeck now has an extra option in its add column menu which allows you to set up a timeline, which you can then name and drag and drop tweets to. You can also share the direct URL to the timeline or create a customised stream to embed on your website, as Twitter has included the option as part of its widgets toolkit.

As Ellin points out in the announcement, the tool could be used by brands to collect tweets around a specific topic, or by journalists hoping to cut through the rumours and misinformation and point out the authoritative voices discussing a breaking news event. POLITICO is already using the beta version of the custom timelines API to create a tweet hub to track conversations around energy from reporters, influencers and lawmakers using its own search and keyword criteria. Oh, and Twitter Music is showing off the new functionality with a curated feed of tweets from superstars.

There’s no word as to when (or if) the ability to discover or create timelines will move outside TweetDeck and be available as an option on Twitter’s own site, although Ellin hints that that may not always be the case.


Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More
  • The main issue that I see with this is that Twitter will still focus curation around tweets; while other services let you curate from multiple sources. I personally use Rebel Mouse for social curation. It’s great, because I can pull in content from my accounts across different social media platforms….as well as other’s people’s content across platforms. That is what is really useful. For example, the content on Google + is not replicated on Twitter…same for Facebook. Remember how annoyed we all were when Twitter yanked the ability to post over to Facebook (or maybe it was vice-versa…I don’t remember). Truth is these services are making technological moves to become more exclusive. We have to counter that by keeping social media curation on outside, 3rd party applications.

  • Antoine Swans

    As a photographer i see the real problem! When digital cameras came in to replace film cameras you no longer had to know manual settings to get the best pictures because the work was done for you. Now if it can’t be done then it must not be good…bullshit! I don’t think that one real photographer has problems with the manual controls and getting what they want out of it. So people if you buy the V20 with a manual camera then don’t complain about a camera phone that you bought that doesn’t give you the results you want because you don’t know how to use them! If you take a little time to put in and figure it out its one of the best tools you can buy to teach you how and what to do because of the camera and videos real time! Take a little time and see what you can really do with the LG V20.

  • Antoine Swans

    But what’s upsetting to me is that people keep saying that this phone should be more like an iPhone or Samsung when in actuality it is what it is. For Content creators people who like to take control of their situations but yet, LG advertises that and yet people still want to compare it to the other two popular phones when it’s all on its own. I can’t help people keep trying to buy something or review something that they know they don’t even know how to use.