Recently, Twitter introduced custom timelines in TweetDeck. Custom timelines allow users to build a collection of individual tweets and display them in a timeline. These are different from lists, which are built of users, resulting in a timeline of all tweets from individuals on the list.
Custom timelines are easily built in TweetDeck by adding tweets via drag and drop or “send” feature to a timeline. Like this:
Or by pulling up this menu from the tweet and selecting “add to custom timeline”:
Your custom lists will then appear as a column in your TweetDeck and are accessible to the public via your Twitter profile card within TweetDeck:
Why Custom Timelines Matter
Custom timelines can be shared via link or embed — this enables you to share a collection of tweets with team members for collaboration, as an overview of recent activity, or to feature on a website. Here are some ways that community managers, in particular, could put the power and convenience of custom timelines to use.
1. Event Highlights
Twitter chatter around industry events can be prolific, especially for those not following regularly. With a custom timeline, however, you could select a highlight reel to share specific posts that inform without overwhelming. (I started one for #DF13 to cherry pick a few highlights coming out of the Dreamforce conference.)
2. Twitter Chat Highlights
Similar to the event example above, if there is a Twitter chat relevant to your industry, create a custom timeline to offer a summary of questions and answers that includes only the main points, and weeds out RTs, side conversations, and noise. Share with colleagues so that they can gain insights from the conversations.
3. Testimonials and Recommendations
Are your customers singing your praises on Twitter? Are they telling others what they love about your product or service? Or, are they are offering product tips and ideas that would be useful to other customers? Create a custom timeline and feature it on your website for others to see.
4. Show and Tell
Let’s face it, as a community manager, sometimes you find yourself simply needing to show others in your organization what the heck is going on out there. Build a custom timeline that highlights your recent posts, mentions, conversations, or demonstrates what competitors or others in the industry have been saying.
5. Read Later
This is my personal favorite. As tweets fly by in my various streams, I don’t always have time to click and read links of interest. So, I created a “read later” custom timeline to which I drag or send posts and read when I have some free time.
Lastly – One Reminder
I mentioned it previously, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t toss it out there again as a word of caution – custom timelines are public. Once created, they can be found via your Twitter profile card within TweetDeck. So, this isn’t a place to compile anything that you’re not ok with the world knowing you’re compiling. (Now, if there ever IS a private option, I can think of several more uses there. I digress.)
Have you given any thought to how custom timelines can help you manage your Twitter feed? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.