Twitter is launching a new type of timeline today that allows users to curate a list of individual tweets for others to browse through. These "custom timelines" can display tweets in any order — meaning they aren't bound to chronology like normal timelines are — and appear to be a direct shot at Storify, a popular third-party service that allows users to save and organize tweets. The idea is to allow users to curate a list of insightful, entertaining, or otherwise notable tweets around a specific subject to help readers cut down on the noise of a traditional Twitter feed.
Twitter is showcasing a few examples of what custom timelines can look like, including one from Carson Daly and another from Twitter #Music. All custom timelines will be publicly accessible and available to embed on websites, as seen above. For now, the new timelines can only be created through TweetDeck in a feature that'll be rolling out to everyone over the next several days. Eventually, other apps might be able to add in that ability too by using a new Twitter API, but the API is still in beta and only available to a select few partners, so third-party app support likely isn't going to start popping up tomorrow.
Though most users will have to individually select tweets to add into a custom timeline, partners with API access could potentially create a timeline that automatically updated based on specific parameters, such as when a certain few users tweet with a certain hashtag. With its powerful access to and interaction with tweets, Twitter's custom timelines appear in many ways to be more capable than Storify, which it seems to have taken some inspiration from. However, Storify does allow its users to write comments around each tweet — framing them in a story, as its name suggests — while Twitter doesn't allow users to add anything other than tweets, a title, and a brief description of the timeline.