Last year, Twitter launched a new feature called Cards that would allow an initially small amount of partners to embed media directly into their tweets. The program has since expanded greatly, and Twitter recently said that it had 2,000 ‘ways’ of (read: partners) using the expandable drawer-like feature.
Twitter calls these things ‘expanded tweets’, which I think is pretty apt. Twitter has settled on an ad-supported revenue model and it needs to make its platform more friendly for those brands. To that end, it has limited third-party clients where it cannot control the expanded tweet experience and revamped its official apps to display what is essentially a window onto the web version of Twitter. All in the service of making Twitter more ‘expandable tweet’ friendly.
Twitter is now in the process of stretching its concise 140 character platform out like taffy to accommodate the nutty center of its new revenue model.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for those who have been following the company, but when I saw the examples laid out in a recent Twitter developer blog post It struck me that they would make a good example, laid end-to-end, of what Twitter’s vision for its future looks like.
Now, currently, most of these expandable tweets are ‘click to expand’, but there are already some examples on event and partner pages that come ‘pre-expanded’, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that became either a default behavior or something offered as a premium for advertisers.
Anyway, here are the examples, laid out for you to see. This is what the future of Twitter looks like:
I wrote a post a while back called The Truth About Twitter, and I still believe what I wrote there, so I’ll quote a section for you:
People love Twitter, including me. It’s a lifeline, a news service, a water cooler, a way to experience the second-by-second events of the day through a firehose of pure information.
It’s a lot of things to a lot of people and that’s why we’re so passionate about it. Twitter’s creators hit on a need that we didn’t know we had, for a real-time version of the web.
Now, it’s changing into something else, but there’s no way of knowing yet if that will be good or bad. It’s still in flux.
It’s possible that it could lose the facets of itself that make it important or special to you, which is why I still believe we need alternatives. But it’s also possible that it may not.
The truth about Twitter is that we care because we love it, and we don’t want to see it destroyed. Now, the only recourse is to move on to another service, or to hope that there are enough people at Twitter that feel the same.
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