Sulia a startup dedicated to helping people find relevant content and users on Twitter, has just announced that it is working with Twitter in order to deliver “premium streams” of Twitter content. Distribution partners so far include Flipboard, The Washington Post, TweetDeck, and The Wall Street Journal.

Despite all the recent hoopla about the Twitter ecosystem becoming unfriendly to third-party developers and startups, as Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson points out, Sulia may be just “the kind of partner Twitter doesn’t want to kill.”

That’s because Sulia offers an important service built on top of Twitter that seems to be beneficial to all parties involved – users, publishers and Twitter.

Relevance and Curation

The startup tackles one of the major challenges of Twitter: as its usage increases, it can be more and more difficult to find relevant and important content. Spammers have managed to infiltrate hashtags and keywords, for example, and it’s not always easy, particularly for those who aren’t experts in a particular topic, to locate those who are. If you’re trying to search or follow an event or subject – say recent events in Egypt – then the “channels” that Sulia curates can be far more valuable.

Sulia’s channels are built by analyzing the tens of millions of Twitter lists in order to identify the best-regarded sources. This is a real-time process and works across thousands of topics. Sulia then combines machine learning and human curation to help remove off-topic content. The result: “high-quality real-time Channels that are always on-topic, readable, and relevant.”

Better Real-Time Content for Publishers

“Publishers want to include smart real-time content on their sites,” says Sulia CEO Jonathan Glick. “The great thing about Sulia Channels is that partners not only get the best tweets from the best sources, but our customization services allow each partner to modify each Channel so that it reflects their unique editorial voice.”

In other words, partners get to customize their channels by adding filters, featuring its own content contributors, adding or removing sources, and so on. Flipboard, for example, uses Sulia’s news and event-based channels in its Weekly Picks section. Sulia works with publishers like Fliipboard in exchange for a fee, and some of this revenue goes back into Twitter’s pockets.

It isn’t simply that monetization route that makes this a good partnership deal. Curation is becoming increasingly important, and as Twitter builds out its own advertising and promoted Tweet efforts, it too may want to make sure it is targeting the right ads at the right people watching the right Twitter streams.