Twitter didn’t have the best day yesterday. In fact, it hasn’t been having the best week with regards to keeping its service running without issues. Today’s announcement might explain a little bit about why the site has been acting oddly, because whenever Twitter introduces new code or features, it affects the site beforehand.
The company announced today that it has tweaked its embeddable tweets product to include more content. Why would you embed tweets? Well, the company frowns upon screenshots, especially when you’re including a tweet in a post.
In addition to embeddable tweets, Twitter also serves up widgets of streams, which they launched last September.
Here’s an example of an embedded tweet:
Cathy Wurzer (@CathyWurzer) January 22, 2013
Today, we’re introducing several enhancements that make embedded Tweets more engaging, useful and fast:
More content and context. Embedded Tweets display photos, videos, article summaries and other content shared in a Tweet, just like you see on twitter.com. You can also view retweet and favorite counts to better understand engagement, and we’ve made some tweaks to the design so that embedded Tweets are easier to read.
Faster loading. You’ll see Embedded Tweets show up faster on the sites you visit.
Embed with ease. It’s now even easier to embed a Tweet on your own website. Just click the “More” button in any Tweet on twitter.com, and then select “Embed this Tweet” to enrich your blog posts or pages. You can do the same on TweetDeck.
To embed a tweet, all you have to do is grab the code that Twitter supplies you by clicking “more” when you’re on the landing page of the tweet, and drop it into your page or blog post.
It’s difficult to serve up content on other people’s sites, as you don’t know the conditions of their web servers and page speeds. This definitely has something to do with Twitter’s slowness over the past few months. For example, if the largest website in the world were to embed just about any tweet, that’s a load that Twitter is serving up.
This definitely isn’t trivial. By preserving the original content, links and source of a tweet, media outlets can do a better job at sourcing news stories from Twitter. I’ve seen doctored screenshots in the past, which were passed off as original tweets. Without a link back to the tweet itself, readers are left to decide whether it’s trustworthy. With embeddable tweets, this isn’t an issue, as you can simply click through to see the original on Twitter’s site.
By providing more “content and context,” you can decide whether to click on a link within a tweet, much like you can on Twitter’s site. There’s nothing worse than clicking on something and not having a great payoff for your time. This feature is one of the reasons that Instagram pulled its support of Twitter Cards, wanting people to link to the original Instagram web page, rather than getting to see the photo for “free.”
[Photo credit: Flickr]