Twitter Cards: 50-plus ways to not leave your Twitter

Posted on October 27, 2012

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Example of an expanded Tweet (aka “Twitter card”) from @HuffingtonPost

Hop on the Twitter bus, Gus. To get the news, information and deals you want, you may never even have to hop off.

The folks at Twitter recently announced they had expanded their “expanded tweets” function. That function, implemented earlier this year, lets Twitter users preview photos, video and other content within a single Tweet — simply by clicking on the tweet, rather than a hyperlink to another destination. The expanded partnerships now gives users “more than 2,000 ways to bring more interactive and engaging Tweets to your stream,” Twitter said in the recent announcement.

This means that now, in addition to seeing previews of Instagram photos and YouTube videos, or lead paragraphs of news stories, you’ll also get to see product descriptions, ratings, prices and reviews from Amazon.com products, video clips from the presidential debates from CNN tweets, movie previews from Fandango or audio clips from Soundcloud.

With these expanded tweets (also called Twitter Cards), why would anyone ever need to leave Twitter to sample content?

That’s precisely the point, writes Jennifer Van Grove of VentureBeat. If Twitter can become the medium for aggregating content, it becomes the source for all types of information from trusted sources that you, the Twitter user, select.

“[W]e’re all one step closer to that Twitter-centric vision,” Van Grove writes. But it’s a vision that “consumers, publishers, and developers will either love or hate.”

How will this affect higher ed? Colleges and universities could conceivably take advantage of the expanded tweets function to deliver content more directly to their audiences who are on Twitter. But will it change our approach to Twitter? Rather than trying to use Twitter to extend our reach or draw audiences back to our sites, will it mean we think of Twitter as the destination for users interested in our content?

And more important: Will the consumers of our content love it or hate it?

(Thanks to Jeremiah Owyang for drawing my attention to Twitter’s recent announcement — via a tweet, naturally.)

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