Despite being 140 characters, almost every Tweet has a story behind it, a story that can now be found through Twitter's Related Headlines feature.
A Little More Context
Most of the time when looking at a tweet, a reader only gets a snippet of information, a few small details or a statement. This often doesn't tell them what the poster is talking about or why it is important. With the new related headlines, links to relevant news stories will be added onto a tweet’s permalink page to give the reader an idea of what the tweet is talking about.
With this feature it appears that Twitter is trying to cement itself as a focal point of internet traffic by having a spot where people can find news reporting and story context, without having to do a hashtag or keyword search.
As Twitter aims to become more of a town square, it’s certain that every piece of major news will be broadcast through this social network,” wrote Ken Yeung. “What Twitter is doing is aiding discovery of content to help make it easier for readers to get a balanced and whole picture of what’s unfolding.”
A Bit of Discontent
According to a few reports though, not everyone sees this feature in a positive light.
At the moment the feature is automatically generated -- the network doesn't give users the choice to add related headlines or not -- which may irritate users who don’t want this information attached to their posts. Users also can’t set a language setting for the headlines, so for example they might get stories from French speaking sources when they are in an English speaking country.
News outlets also often post the same information about a particular story, which may lead to its relevant headlines being links from the competition instead of its own organization.
Say MSNBC embeds an image from the Asiana flight 214 crash that happened at San Francisco International airport,” wrote Yeung. “The Related Headlines feature will show articles from CBS News, BILD, and others.”
According to Kelsey Jones the related headlines feature will also cause problems for marketers.
Marketers will be unable to optimize the type of headlines that are chosen for certain permalink tweets,” she wrote. “The only benefit to this new feature is that embedding tweets in your own posts may give you a higher likelihood of more visibility, if your article is chosen to appear as a headline.”
Critics of the feature should note that it’s still new and based off early customer feedback and concerns, there could changes made to it within the coming months.