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
- Tweet something
- Hit ‘reply’ to your own tweet
- Delete out your own Twitter handle
- Tweet your follow-up
- 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.