When Twitter updated its web and iOS/ Android apps at the end of August to start linking tweets that were part of the same conversation in the newsfeed, I have to admit that I wasn’t convinced. I’ve always been a big fan of Twitter’s own client apps and all of a sudden my Twitter timeline was turned upside down (or indeed, the right way up) as conversations between users I follow were linked together with a blue vertical line and shown in chronological order with the oldest at the top.

It was a change I didn’t think I needed. Sure, I’d occasionally see a tweet in reply to another tweet that I’d missed, but if it looked interesting enough and I wanted context, I could see the rest of the conversation with just a click. Time, as they say, is a healer though and over the last few weeks I’ve actually grown rather fond of the new interface. More than that, I think it offers users – including brands – a pretty cool opportunity.

I’m certain that there’s not a Twitter user in the world who hasn’t felt constrained by the 140 character limit at one point or another, and I think the new interface offers an opportunity to (to a certain extent) to break free of it. How? By linking a series of their own tweets in their users’ timelines.

How to do it

It’s easy.

  1. Tweet somethingLinked Tweets
  2. Hit ‘reply’ to your own tweet
  3. Delete out your own Twitter handle
  4. Tweet your follow-up
  5. Repeat with each new tweet

Each new tweet appears in the timeline linked to the last. Here’s an example I worked up already so you can see what I mean:

There’s loads of ways that this could be used effectively – to tell stories that last longer than one tweet, supply useful extra information, give an update on a changing situation without losing the original context, or even follow up a joke with a punch-line.

Obviously, I’d still recommend making each tweet make sense as a standalone – don’t forget that not everybody uses Twitter’s own platforms. More than that, in the same way I think tweet lengthening tools like Twitlonger rather go against the spirit of Twitter, I wouldn’t recommend huge streams of consciousness being shared across several tweets in this way either. Be creative with it, don’t be annoying.

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