If your business has a Twitter account which is actively kept up-to-date, it is good practice to include a feed from it on your website. Until now, there has only been one way of achieving this and some would argue it has always been a bit of a crude work-around.
It involves taking the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed from your Twitter profile and displaying the output on a webpage. Typically, this will be done via a relatively simple piece of design on your web developer’s part, or the use of one of Twitter’s own ‘plug ins’. When done correctly, this method can be attractive and genuinely engaging. Unfortunately, it lacks functionality.
For example, if the visitor wants to reply or retweet one of your tweets, they’ll have to do so directly on Twitter.com (either via a redirect when they click the tweet on your webpage or by physically visiting the Twitter site themselves and hunting you down).
Twitter now have an answer for this in the form of ‘embedded timelines’. Announced earlier this month, the company claim it is a tool which provides the means to place any public timeline on any webpage. “With one line of HTML you can deliver any account’s tweets, favourites, a list, search query or hashtag directly to your website,” explained Twitter’s Sylvain Carle.
Crucially, this means visitors to your website can interact with your Twitter feed without ever having to leave your site. They can reply to tweets, favourite them, retweet and will benefit from super-fast loading times, regardless of their browsing platform thanks to an emphasis Twitter have placed on the widget’s ability to work well in “modern, legacy, and mobile browsers”.
Some web developers will be disappointed with the lack of customisation available, but embedded timelines will undoubtedly help businesses and bloggers use Twitter to their website’s advantage.