Twitter will soon be rolling out ‘Annotations,’ which will allow developers to add metadata to any tweet that they want.
Twitter asked itself what type of metadata it could add to the service; past location and so forth, but has instead decided to let developers make that decision. The company has controlled how tweets can be tagged with metadata, due to developer man-power concerns, scaling worries, and other road blocks.
From next Quarter, Twitter will let you attach metadata to tweets, and then pull that data back out of Twitter later. This is going to allow for an explosion of uses for Twitter. This is absolutely huge.
Given how gigantic Twitter now is, with over 100 million users on the service, what everyone needs is better information to find the tweets that they need. More metadata, better sorting. Or as Twitter said it, the power of metadata is relevance.
Sadly, we have to wait for this to come out, but it is going to make different Twitter applications even more distinct than ever before. Also, expect to see wilder mashups than you have ever imagined before.
It has been pointed out that this has actually been attempted before, but not by Twitter. Back in December of 2009 Aral Balkan worked on ‘Twitterformats,’ which sound a lot like what Twitter is discussing today. A Twitterformat was a “machine-parseable, lightweight client-side API that extend[ed] Twitter.” Sure, Twitter may not have thought of it first, but that doesn’t meant that we are not glad to see it.