On August 19, Twitter announced that they would be launching a new feature that is designed to give users a better sense of the context behind each of the site’s short, 140-character tweets. The feature is called ‘related headlines’ and will begin appearing on the website from Monday as a section within tweets that show where it has been embedded on an outside website.
The ‘related headlines’ feature will also appear on a tweet’s permalink page, the idea being to give users easy access to the full story from their preferred news source. Twitter believes that news outlets will begin to see more traffic for their stories thanks to this feature, leading to an increase in the number of outlets embedding tweets (if only for the traffic kickback).
Twitter says that their brand new tool is “aimed at surfacing the stories behind a tweet”. Software engineer, Brian Wallerstein, says that the ‘related headlines’ feature is “making it easier to discover stories that provide more context”. As an example of the tool in action, Twitter pointed us to a tweet by Hillary Clinton that was obtuse without the links below that explained it further.
The ‘related headlines’ feature is the newest tool that has been built on top of the social network’s Cards program. In April, Twitter announced changes that would make tweets more interactive and give developers more ways to embed other types of content into tweets (such as mobile application download links, photo galleries and product listings).
Regardless of how users feel about the new ‘related headlines’ feature, there can be no denying that it could improve Twitter’s ability to compete with Facebook (which has also released a number of new features over the past few months that have been aimed at making the website more public). At least now users won’t have to wonder what those obtuse tweets mean anymore.