Twitter has announced a new tool for embedding interactive timelines of tweets into websites.

The new widget, which can be displayed in website sidebars, can show a timeline of tweets from an individual, tweets from people in a Twitter list, a search query, or a hashtag.

The announcement post on the Twitter blog explains that an author could add their own tweets alongside their blog, a timeline of tweets containing a hashtag about an event (such as #DNC2012 for the Democratic National Convention currently underway in the US), or a Twitter list, such as competitors at the US Open.

Twitter explains that the embedded widgets enable readers to interact with the tweets, with viewers able to expand tweets to show photos and videos, and interact with the Twitter user by following them, retweeting, responding or favouriting the tweet.

News sites have been displaying widgets of tweets for some time, with many using third-party tools (such as WordPress plugins) to do this. TechCrunch explains that "it sounds like the new embeddable timeline is both more customisable and more interactive".

"In other words, you're not just looking at tweets, then jumping to Twitter itself if you want to respond."

According to The Next Web, embeddable timelines "will work automatically on any site that already includes Twitter’s 'widgets.js' Javascript which is used for embedded tweets or Twitter buttons. The script has been updated automatically to support the new features".

Twitter widget

The Twitter blog post adds that "tweets add a live, real-time dimension to articles, news reports, and the web at large. These new embeddable timelines enable publishers, writers, developers, and any Twitter user to drop a rich, interactive piece of Twitter into their websites."

The Twitter post adds that sports site ESPN is embedding an interactive timeline on the US Open.

The Twitter developer blog explains how to use the widget too. You can create an embeddable timeline for your site by using this widget.

"These new tools are built specifically for the web: they load fast, scale with your traffic as your audience grows, update in real-time, and work great in modern, legacy, and mobile browsers."

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