Embeddable tweets: the twittersphere responds

Matt Bowman · May 4, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/f6b

Reactions range from underwhelmed to confused, but the feature could open up new revenue stream.

Twitter has been called the world's newsroom. It's often the first place reports of natural disasters become the public knowledge, and offers an efficient way to survey opinions--and get reliablequotes--from a variety of sources quickly.

Sometime Tuesday, Twitter is expected to make tweets embeddable, so that writers can include a tweet in their online posts with a bit html code. This eliminated the need to copy and paste the text. If you're underwhelmed by the magnitude of this development, you are not alone.

"What's the opposite of mind blowing? https://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-hints-at-embed-this-tweet-feature-coming-tomorrow-2010-5? /jm," asks FutureTenseAPM early Tuesday morning.

Embedding his tweet took about 25 seconds.

True, there is valuable metadata lost when simply embedding the tweet, like the precise time and, for the obsessive compulsive reader, what client FutureTenseAPM used. It also is not 100% guaranteed that a blogger got the tweet right with the copy-paste method.

Embeddable Tweets, will, as thespiralquirk points out, ensure reporters don't distort a source's meaning with strategic selection.


Of course, accuracy can also be guaranteed using the alternative method to quoting tweets, the screenshot. The screenshot also includes all the metadata visible on a tweet and takes all of about 40 seconds for a blogger to capture and upload. Is a feature that saves some portion of 40 seconds really worth Twitter's development time? If you still don't understand this...


 ... consider that the screenshot does not include live links, and detail-oriented writers are forced to copy and include a hyperlink back to the original tweet for the curious reader--an oft-neglected move.

Twitter is also wise to make it as easy as possible for reporters to use the service, since it will give Twitter more inventory to sell as it begins to incorporate advertising. So far, the company has announced it will display "promoted tweets" from paying advertisers in Twitter search results, but it's likely that embedded tweets could at some point include very small ads, in the form of a single keyword with a hyperlink, for instance. Now does this make sense?

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.