Twitter is experimenting with custom-built timelines curated by developers, beginning first with one focused on The Bachelorette. The idea is that they’re topic-focused timelines you can swipe or click on from your main feed so you can scroll through the conversation about a specific subject.
Today we launched a new custom Timeline experiment - just one of the many things we’re working on over at @TwitterDev There is a lot of potential for the developer community to build features like this in the future, and we are just getting started. Congrats to the team! pic.twitter.com/sFToIN7a2s— Amir Shevat (@ashevat) July 11, 2022
The Bachelorette custom Timeline will be available for 10 weeks as a “limited test” on the web for a “small group” of people in the US and Canada, Twitter spokesperson Shaokyi Amdo tells The Verge. Those who are able to access it can do so from an in-app prompt, and that prompt will show up for certain people who follow related topics and accounts.
Content in the custom timelines will be algorithmically served, but there’s no option right now to switch to a reverse chronological feed. “Content that appears in a custom Timeline is selected and ordered based on relevance to the Timeline’s theme using information like search terms, Topics, handles, and manual curation,” according to Twitter’s support site.
“While this is still an early exploration of the potential that custom third-party Timelines can bring to the people who use Twitter, we’re excited to learn from this test as we look to give people more ways to participate in the public conversation, and greater choice over the content they see on Twitter,” Amdo said.
If you’re not selected for the experiment, you should know that you can already sort of make custom timelines of your own using lists, though individual users have to curate them, and they’ll only include tweets — you won’t see things like search terms and related topics that Twitter can surface on formal timelines. On mobile, you can also swipe between lists, making them easy to access as alternate timelines, so I’m glad to see that a similar feature is being worked on for the web in the form of the new custom timelines. (Lists also show tweets in reverse chronological order, which is a big plus for me.)
Right now, The Bachelorette Timeline is the only custom timeline that’s available, and Amdo declined to comment on other timelines that might be in the works.
Update July 13th, 2:11PM ET: Clarified how lists differ from custom timelines.