Micro-blogging and social networking platform Twitter wants to enable its readers beyond the 140-character limit and transform the service into a source for news discovery - with the launch of ‘Related Headlines’ on 19 August.
Through the feature, links to news articles in which a tweet has been embedded, will be displayed on the permalink page of the tweet.
To illustrate the service, Twitter cited the example of NBA's Jason Collins’ ‘Coming out’ tweet which news outlets like ESPN, MSNBC and sports blog Bleacher Report reported on, and also embedded the tweet. All the news articles which embedded the tweet are displayed on the permalink page of the tweet.
As of now, only the links from Twitter-approved publishers are displayed below the tweet.
Initially, when the feature was announced, sections of Twitter audience were up in arms against Twitter as they misinterpreted the announcement, featring that the ‘Related Headlines’ would appear below embedded tweets on publisher sites. Officials from Twitter clarified that these links will appear only on the permalink page of the embedded tweet.
New content discovery
Asked about the benefits of the new feature, Ashok Lalla, global head, digital marketing, Infosys, said, “It smartly allows them (Twitter) to integrate a 'breaking story' (more and more commonly occurring on Twitter) into their own 'developing' version and so keep the connection going. Moreover, publishers can ride the popularity or reach of the original author, and truly integrate social into their stream.”
Sharing a similar point of view, Lakshmipathy Bhat, director, CodeConclave, explained, “The benefits of this feature to news media brands and celebrities are obvious - the chances of a reader stumbling upon a linked article which he otherwise could have missed are great. As far as brands are concerned, I feel it may help when they produce great, buzz-worthy work (say Oreo’s recent work in social media or that of Old Spice) which gets written about in trade magazines and even in mainline media. A tweet with a link may throw up results of blog posts and other links, I presume. In such cases, the surround impact for buzz-worthy creative could go up.”
Though Lalla is optimistic about the benefits of the feature for publishers, he points out that the only limiting factor for the success of this feature is that all Twitter apps may not integrate or show the related media streams. “The current update mentioned Twitter.com and Tweetdeck as being compatible with this feature at its launch,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bhat noted that media companies might also have a disadvantage as competing brands (also) get exposure through this feature.