Twitter Timelines: A Cool New Storytelling Tool For Brands (Even When No One’s Breaking Up On Your Rooftop)By Sam Petulla November 25th, 2013
Though long a premiere destination for brands looking to engage with consumers, Twitter hasn’t been the best place to tell comprehensive narratives native to the platform. After all, a brand’s Twitter profile usually contains a jumble of Tweets, replies, and mentions by other users, making the platform a great place to distribute and talk about stories, but not necessarily the best place to tell them.
That could be changing. Earlier this month, Twitter announced a new tool called Twitter timelines, and brand publishers should be paying attention to its storytelling potential.
Twitter Timelines create a custom, configurable stream of Tweets. The functionality is similar to Storify, and like Storify, Twitter timelines can be embedded most anywhere. Like here! Check out the example below.
The above Twitter timeline was created by Kyle Ayers, a New York City comedian, after he overheard a couple breaking on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Ayers took advantage of the Twitter Timeline to curate his stream of tweets, and the easily-sharable narrative quickly went viral around the world. Already, it’s easy to see why this widget is a smart play by Twitter.
Of course, before Timelines, the #rooftopbreakup story could have been curated via Storify. That’s all well and good, but it’s not optimal, as users would have had to leave Twitter to experience it. And as native advertising and the popularity of Twitter and Pinterest “Cards” has shown, the Web works best when experiences stay native to their original platforms. It’s just smoother.
Although Ayers is just a comedian, not a brand, it’s easy to see how brands can use the tool for similar purposes — to pull out a set of Tweets to create a narrative, highlight a hashtag promotion, recap an event, or maybe to just highlight fan engagement. For instance, wouldn’t it have been interesting to see all the winning responses to the Google Glass Explorer contest on Twitter?
Brands can start experimenting with the new tool today. Creating a Timeline is simple, though it does require TweetDeck, a product owned by Twitter. Ultimately, it’s really a three-step process, which Twitter breaks down in their blog post announcement.
- 1. Create a New Custom Timeline
- 2. Drag Tweets from other timelines by clicking the four-sided arrow icon.
- 3. Decide whether to embed the Timeline or just share a link to it.
For brands, the benefit is clear: Twitter timeline is a cool new way to tell stories. The potential uses are vast, and we’re excited to see the creative approaches to come.
Want your business to tell great stories like this one? Contently gives brands the tools and talent to tell stories that people love. Learn more.Image by Simon Aughton / Flickr.com