witter has quietly relaunched an old feature to some users in its test phase: Custom Timelines.
Efficiently curated feeds, timelines can be created by third parties who curate and deliver content based on interests and events.
They can also be created by Twitter based on general information about users of the platform.
These custom flows run alongside the home timeline and appear on a separate tab after adding a custom timeline from a prompt.
Content in a custom timeline is curated and ranked based on relevance to the topic based on search terms, topics, handles, and manual curation by whoever curated it.
This isn’t the first time custom timelines have been tested on Twitter, with the platform testing a version of the feature as far back as 2013.
After the flurry of new features over the past two weeks, Twitter shows it’s working on ways to improve the platform.
The timeline functionality in its current version seems quite limited, although it is still in its infancy.
With no clear option to search for timelines, you have to hope you come across one you like.
This is likely an attempt to allow people to exist in their own spaces on Twitter, a social media platform notorious for its negativity and adversarial interactions between users.
In the same way that Twitter circles allow you to selectively share Tweets with a certain group of people, following custom timelines gives you more control over what you see on your feed, but also means you’re less exposed to views and opinions that differ from your own.
Whether that could lead to people having a more enjoyable time on the platform, or just lead to more polarization between different viewpoints, remains to be seen.
How to Use Custom Timelines on Twitter
Timelines can currently only be added or removed through the web version of Twitter.
Once you see a prompt for a custom timeline on your feed, you can add it by clicking the “Add timeline” button at the bottom of the prompt.
This will create a tab next to your home timeline tab where you can find curated information about the topic you just subscribed to, as well as information about the third party curating the content.
You can use the tabs to switch between the home timeline and the custom timeline, and navigate the new timeline as you would your home timeline.
To delete a timeline, find the settings option under the composer.
Click on timeline settings, then click “delete timeline”. Once you’ve confirmed that you want to delete, you’ll no longer see that custom timeline on your feed.