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Twitter lets you organize tweets into custom timelines

The new user-defined feeds are for anyone who wants to design tweet timelines around news, events, or topics.

Carson Daly's custom timeline with a curated collection of tweets about "The Voice."
Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Twitter is giving people the ability to choreograph the look and feel of real-time information with a new feature called custom timelines.

Custom timelines, released Tuesday, are user-defined feeds, meaning people can pluck just the tweets they'd like to feature in a curated collection that can be shared with others.

This new type of timeline is meant to let people manually add structure to Twitter's often scrambled and chaotic airwaves. It is best suited for journalists, media organizations, entertainment companies, or anyone else who wants to act as a curator of tweets around news, events, or specific subject matters. Some partner organizations will also have the option of using a new Twitter API to programmatically build custom timelines.

"This means that when the conversation around an event or topic takes off on Twitter, you have the opportunity to create a timeline that surfaces what you believe to be the most noteworthy, relevant tweets," Brian Ellin, who works on Twitter's platform, explained in a blog post.

Carson Daly, host of "The Voice," for instance, created a custom timeline with a collection of tweets about the hit singing competition.

At launch, custom timelines can only be created and managed in Twitter's TweetDeck application, though once created they can be shared with others via URL or embedded on Web sites. The feature will be released to all TweetDeck users over the next several days, Twitter said.

In presenting alternate, potentially easier-to-digest views of Twitter, custom timelines could help the newly public company appeal to people who may otherwise be put off be the social network's distinct characteristics.