Twitter is often used as a source for breaking news but once a story gets rolling, you usually need more than what you can fit in a Tweet. Twitter’s new Related Headlines feature gets the job done by linking Twitter followers to the news outlets covering the story. Sort of.
At first glance, I thought I understood this new feature but the more I read, the less I know. Let’s work through this together.
In the announcement post, Twitter used this example from NBA star Jason Collins.
This is a screencap of the permalink page for this Tweet. The bottom half has the “Related headlines,” that’s followed by the Reply box and then the reply responses. (It was too much to feature here, click the link if you want to see it functioning live.)
Twitter says that the related headlines link back to websites that embedded this Tweet in one of their stories. It DOES NOT link to outlets who just wrote about the topic. The assumption here is that anyone who embedded the Tweet used it as a launching point for a more detailed story.
For readers, this is a great way to get the full story. For content marketers, this is a chance to be seen and beat out the competition.
When a writer embeds the Tweet, the related headlines don’t show up on the article.
All the support I have received today is truly inspirational. I knew that I was choosing the road less traveled but I'm not walking it alone
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) April 29, 2013
This is a good thing because it keeps NBC News from posting links to CBS News.
Right now, Twitter is choosing which outlets appear in Related Headlines:
Publishers that are already using Embedded Tweets are in the first group to have their article headlines surfaced. We’re excited to bring headlines to more publishers and embedded Tweet partners in the coming weeks, so if you’re interested in participating please let us know. If you’re just getting started using Tweets in your articles, you can learn more about Embedded Tweets and our best practices in the documentation.
I suppose this is a good thing as it allows them to control the quality of what shows up in this valuable space. Think this might be a ramp up to a new type of paid placement? Pay a fee and your embedded Tweet article will always land at the top of the list?
I like the idea, but I’d be happier if Twitter wasn’t controlling which sites land on the list. And though it could potentially drive more traffic to content sites, I have to wonder how many people will actually use these links as you have to be on the permalink page to see them.
What do you think? A grand idea or nothing to Tweet about?