You have to hand it to Twitter. In recent weeks, they've been making a massive push to keep users glued to their main site, through email digest, tailored follower suggestions, tailored trends and hashtag TV advertising, ultimately introducing new products to their site in rapid succession. Now the microblogging site has announced a new addition to a feature that's become such a large part of the main site: Expanding tweets.
Originally, when you expanded a tweet, on top of seeing how many favourites and retweets it got, it was normally so you could view a YouTube video, or view photos from Flickr, Instagram or Twitpic. Now Twitter has teamed up with a number of partner websites to offer more diverse content when you expand a tweet.
The idea is that if you come across a tweet from The New York Times, expanding a tweet on a news report will provide you with a preview of that particular article containing the headline, the introduction and sometimes the Twitter account of the publisher and writer. You have the option of reading the full article, following these accounts and the usual choices of replying, favouring and retweeting the tweet. Depending on the medium, if it's a TV show or station then there will be previews and videos lists for you to cycle through as well.
The reasons for this could be that Twitter recognizes that while 140 characters is the site's greatest strength (it keeps things short and snappy), there are also obvious limitations to it. Expanded tweets was an obvious way of providing more multimedia content to the site without sacrificing the core of the product.
Twitter is hoping that this makes the main site more engaging for users and will convince them to try using the main site and app again, instead of relying on third-party products, which takes views away from Twitter.com. This is vital if they want to make their advertising model a success since the company can't insert promoted tweets and trends on third-party apps. Their
This option is only available for those sites partnered with Twitter, and users will begin to see these changes rolling out today. The changes apply to Twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com, but both the iOS and Android app will see the feature rolled out to them in the near future.