Twitter launches official Tweet button

Ronny Kerr · August 12, 2010 · Short URL:

Replacing Techmeme's retweet button, Twitter takes over some 750 million daily button impressions

Twitter just launched a 'Tweet' button, an easily implementable piece of code that makes it possible for users to share any page on the Web. The button, Twittter's official sharing option for third-party sites, will be replacing the ubiquitous Techmeme 'retweet' button.

The Tweet button will likely start popping up all over the Web next to other sharing buttons, like Facebook's 'Like.' Clicking the button opens an overlay window, which, if the user has already logged in to Twitter, automatically fills in the text area with the name of the page being shared and its URL. After tailoring the tweet to his or her choosing, the user submits the message and sees a second screen with suggestions for users on Twitter to follow. The user can then close the overlay window and see that the tweet count on the button has increased in real-time. The tweet count is not just affected by tweets from the button, but also from retweets made on the main Twitter site and through the numerous third-party applications that employ Twitter's API.

Tweet button

Techmeme's button sees about 750 million daily retweet button impressions, so Twitter probably made the right choice in taking over the technology from the third-party.

By visiting, Web developers and publishers can build and customize their own Tweet button. Configurable options include style of button (with or without count), text or URL to automatically insert into the tweet, and language. In the second step, one chooses up to two Twitter accounts to suggest that the user follow, after they have completed tweeting the Web page. Twitter then displays a preview of the button alongside a short bit of code that need only be integrated into one's Web site. 

Techmeme, whose retweet technology will be bowing out to Twitter's new official Tweet button, supports the change:

"We will be assisting Twitter with the technical challenges involved with the button and secondly we will be working even more closely in the future on delivering real-time curation of the Twitter Firehose. This will manifest itself in the launch of a number of new products and the first of these is being unveiled today."

Twitter expects "blogs, news sites, and other places," "recreational bloggers to large media companies" to implement the Tweet button.

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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, 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, 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 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.

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