Custom Twitter Timelines – great fun and extremely useful

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When I first heard about the new Twitter Timelines that can be customised I immediately thought #asechat and other Twitter #hash tags chats. These custom timelines are a Moderator’s dream for a number of reasons, but you can use them for all sort of things and I am going to give you a few ideas below.

Why Custom?

Well, custom timelines allow you to give a title to your timeline directly from TweetDeck, write a description for your timeline and save it as a new column in your deck. So, if you are moderating a Twitter chat all you need to do is to stick your custom timeline for that session next to the column for the Twitter chat you’re moderating and begin dragging tweets in the custom timeline as they come through. This alone is pretty cool, because it allows you to select the best tweets and avoid repetitions, but you can also get rid of spam by simply not adding it 🙂

The arrows (bottom right) allow you to click and drag

The arrows (bottom right) allow you to click and drag

But the real beauty of custom timelines is that they let you add tweets non-chronologically. Now, if you moderate a very busy chat like #asechat on a Monday evening, you are going to love this feature, because you can now order tweets as conversations, rather than as they come, directly in TweetDeck. This way you are instantly generating a narrative view of the chat. I know Storify allows you to do all that, but this is direct and very quick and you can sort tweets as they come in, in real time! I used it tonight to moderate #asechat as @asober and I loved it.

Summary of #asechat subject special – Materials Science

Below I have embedded the summary from tonight’s #asechat on Materials Science and for the very first time it took me no time at all to put together thanks to custom timelines 🙂

Other ideas for Custom Timelines

What else can you do with custom timelines? I think the list could become endless, but I am going to propose a few ideas and let you add some of your own ideas in the comments, so please leave a reply to this post 😉

– Summarise the content of your lessons, or your learning objectives. You could ask your leaners to tweet three points from your lesson that were useful to understanding a particular topic. Then, you (or even better a group of students) can act as moderators and drag the best tweets into a custom timeline. This can then be save in your class Blog and/or wiki.

– Create folding stories. The teacher tweets the first 140 characters of a story and learners continue the story by adding a tweet. The tweets can then be dropped in the desired order from a range of contributors to create a meaningful story. Perhaps you could create several custom timelines that have a different set, or order, of tweets to give different endings, etc…

– Collect useful tweets and links about a topic for your students. This can become a bit like a study guide that you can add to your Blog for students to use as reference.

What other ideas can you think of? Have fun with Custom Timelines and add your ideas in the comments, please!

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