Twitter has recently been going through a variety of changes; some features have been lost, while others have been added. The most immediate development for the little blue bird landed by way of Twitter’s developer conference, Flight, where it was announced that the company is set to launch its new Collections API feature.
According to Twitter, Collections “is an editable group of Tweets hand-selected by a Twitter user or programmatically managed via collection APIs. Each collection is public and has its own page on twitter.com, making it easy to share and embed in your website and apps.” The tool essentially “turns multiple Tweets into a single story.”
The new API is an individual component to an “ecosystem” of tools already utilized by Moments that allows developers, publishers, and everyone else to easily locate and publish a series of tweets. Other tools contained within this ecosystem include TweetDeck and the newly launched Curator tool.
Curator is a feature that allows individuals to locate tweets they would like to use and construct as a story. The element includes 20 different filters to assist in locating pertinent tweets to be arranged as the user sees fit. From there, simply enter the URL or collection ID into publish.twitter.com to receive an embeddable code. Drop that into your website or app and everything is ready to go. Any updates to the collection will automatically be added to the flow in the embedded story. Additionally, much like Tweet embeds, text colors and backgrounds are customizable to create a more consistent and personalized appearance.
Previously, in order to publish stories, users had to manually manage various Tweet IDs and personally embed them into a site one-by-one. This is no longer the case. As Twitter senior product manager Mollie Vandor points out: “At any time, you can update your collection of Tweets (from any tool that supports the Collections API) and it will automatically update your site or app. There’s no additional embed code, updates of your website, or need to re-submit your apps to the app stores needed.”
Twitter also announced that it has partnered with Wayin, Spredfast, DataMinr, Flowics, and ScribbleLive to help them develop their own versions of curation tools. The best part of all of this is that if you begin work on one tool and choose to switch to another, users can continue to build collections seamlessly.
Piled on to all of these other fantastic storytelling features, Twitter also disclosed in its Flight announcements blog post that a new grid layout is to be introduced for image and video abundant stories. These grids are set to be editable at any time, allowing for additional components to be added or removed, and the grid will dynamically refresh with the new layout.
All of these elements that Twitter has introduced will not only provide a more captivating and dynamic storytelling experience, they will help to engage entirely new audiences outside of the Twitter platform. As Twitter product manager Michael Ducker explained, “You might be a witness to a breaking news event, and only have a dozen followers, but an embedded tweet can help the world see the story from your eyes. The embedded tweet is the modern day pullquote.”
While Twitter may already engage more than 300 million users across the globe, it seeks to reach exponentially more people with the use of these tools. Twitter claims that embedded tweets currently reach more than a billion people across the globe each month, even if these folks are not actually on the Twitter platform itself; the use of these tools is vital to Twitter’s growth.
With these new resources at hand, an endless amount of companies and brands can now leverage their websites and apps in more meaningful ways to reach new audiences and gain an influx of followers on social. Even those with smaller followings on Twitter are likely to gain additional pull with the application of these new features.
For many businesses, storytelling is an irreplaceable tool for gaining and retaining an audience. With the myriad of storytelling resources Twitter has just unveiled, many brands (including Twitter themselves) are poised in a unique position of becoming a real-time resource for information and a highly captivating venue to provide audiences a story surrounding any brand or niche. Establish how this content can enrich your websites UX and put the tools you now have to work; you are likely to see the benefits in your site traffic as well as social following.