Twitter Introduces The Custom Timelines API Beta

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
Nov. 13 2013, 11:00AM EST

Twitter has just announced the availability of custom timelines, a brand new type of timelime that allows developers to have more control regarding organization and delivery of Tweets on the Twitter platform. Twitter has also announced the launch of the Custom Timelines API which is in beta and available to a small group of developers selected and approved by Twitter.

POLITICO Tweet Hub

Image Credit: POLITICO

Custom timelines allow developers to create unique Twitter timelines that include Tweets chosen either by hand using TweetDeck or programmatically using the brand new Custom Timelines API (beta). The ability to hand-pick Tweets for inclusion in a custom timeline makes it possible to create unique timelines about specific topics of interest, events, and other types of use cases such as real-time Twitter Q&A sessions. Each custom timeline has its own page/URL on twitter.com, has a name and description, and can include any public Tweets.

Brian Ellin describes custom timelines use cases in the Twitter official announcement blog post:

"Share the best Tweets about a topic you care about, or an event –– planned or unplanned –– that’s happening right now. 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 Custom Timelines API is currently in beta and being tested by several Twitter partners including POLITICO; the API powers the POLITICO Tweet Hub which is a widget that features Tweets from policy industry experts. The API includes many of the available custom timelines features and developers interested in using the Twitter Custom Timelines API can request beta access.

For more information on how to implement custom timelines using TweetDeck, a "Custom timelines in TweetDeck" tutorial has been published on the Twitter blogs network. ProgrammableWeb has also recently published "How to Create a Web Application that Visualizes Twitter Updates Over Time," a tutorial that is a good introduction to using the Twitter API.

Janet Wagner Janet is a data journalist and full stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, open data, data visualization and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @webcodepro and on Google+

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