Ever feel like getting news or information on Twitter is a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack (a haystack made up of an eclectic mix of @justinbieber musings and 140-character news bulletins, that is)?
Twitter is seeking to make your search a bit easier. The Twitter developer blog announced a new app for Twitter organizer TweetDeck Tuesday that allows users to curate their own embeddable timeline of tweets around a certain issue, topic, or tweet. The innovation may be finding its way to a news outlet, campaign, or TV broadcast near you sometime soon.
“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,” says Twitter in its announcement blog post Tuesday.
On TweetDeck, users can either curate timelines manually, choosing what tweets to include, or through a website-specific API. Though the timelines are created on TweetDeck, they each have their own Twitter URL and can be embedded on websites.
Twitter offered a few examples of how people are using it thus far. The Voice host Carson Daly (@CarsonDaly) created a custom timeline to accompany the live show, Politico is tracking the politics of energy via an “Energy Insider Tweet Hub” that follows energy reporters, influencers, and lawmakers, and The Guardian showed off a curated Twitter Q&A with reporters who worked on the NSA surveillance reporting.
The new app offers a way to cut through the never-ending barrage of tweets and to focus on a particular discussion or event. It also is the first time Twitter has offered a way for users to carefully curate a conversation, rather than just embedding a series of tweets or offer a list of users to follow. Previously, third-party apps such as Storify – a tool that allows users to aggregate social media posts into a single embeddable story – were the only way to specifically curate tweets around a single event or hashtag. In other words, this will be a big tool for journalists, activists, and others trying to create a sense of the online presence of an event.
Twitter also says it is opening up the code to certain website developers to tinker with further, so keep an eye on how different programmers and Web gurus interpret this new capability.
Interested in taking the new tool for a spin? Check out the TweetDeck blog for a few tips on how to get started.