Twitter has strengthened its service for power users and businesses by introducing a new set of features that allow users to customise a set of curated tweets.
Available through Twitter's more powerful web platform TweetDeck, custom timelines are a simple way of creating groups of tweets for later reading, and can either be added manually or through filters that will collate them automatically.
Twitter product manager Brian Ellin announced custom timelines on Twitter's developer blog, signalling Twitter's further commitment to appeasing the demands of content producers such as TV shows and news websites.
"Share the best Tweets about a topic you care about, or an event – planned or unplanned – that's happening right now," he 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."
The creation of custom timelines (click for V3's example) can currently only be done through TweetDeck, although users on Twitter's standard web interface are able to access their timelines, which can also be embedded on external websites. This is the first major positive functionality change to TweetDeck since Twitter bought out the service for £25m in 2011. Since its purchase, Twitter has reined in the service, removing functionality such as posting to Facebook and shutting down its mobile apps presence.
Twitter is also rolling out a brand new application programming interface (API) for the service, which is currently available to a small group of selected partners. "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," Ellin said.
The new feature also rivals Storify, a social media compiling service rapidly gaining popularity among media organisations and journalists.
Twitter went public last week, launching onto the stock market with an initial top-end valuation of $31bn, beyond most analysts' expectations. The firm, which is currently running at a loss, is now having to prove to investors that it is responding to industry demand for new tools and more control.
Custom timelines is just that, tackling one of Twitter's greatest weaknesses: uncontrollable "noise" that hides more meaningful tweets from media outlets looking to interact with their audience.
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