Twitter Expands Context With Related Headline feature

Last Monday, Twitter rolled out a new feature where it incorporates “related headlines” for  tweets, and provides a list of web stories that provide additional context from various media channels. Kurt Wagner breaking the story in Mashable said:

“The feature is now fully integrated with the platform, though Twitter has been testing it since early July. It’s all part of CEO Dick Costolo’s plan to enhance Twitter’s usability during live events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars, when the site tends to see spikes in traffic. By enabling users to gather more depth and context from the tweets on their feed, Twitter can help ensure users keep scrolling through their timelines to get breaking stories”.

The new section will contain lists and links to websites where the tweet was embedded, “making it easier to discover stories that provide more context,” Twitter software engineer Brian Wallerstein said on Twitter’s blog post.  Below is an example when NBA center Jason Collins became the first NBA player to publicly declare he is gay. First the news spread virally on Twitter. Media channels like ESPN and MSNBC reported the story, and embedded @jasoncollins34’s Tweet and then provided additional context that wasn’t available directly on Twitter.

Justin Maas, vice president of client relations at fishbat, says the new feature will benefit users and news outlets alike. “By giving users the ability to search a topic of a tweet easily without any additional research, Twitter has placed itself in the role of a middleman,” he says. “This move improves usability of the website and keeps people on the platform for a longer amount of time. It opens up a whole new door for the social network. Perhaps in the future, Twitter will charge various outlets to have their stories featured higher on the list of related headlines.”

The Mashable article says Twitter’s idea is to deliver “a glimpse at the stories behind a Tweet.” It allows users to gain some more information without having to research the topic themselves.

The feature works by simply selecting a tweet by pressing the ‘details’ button that shows the user a list of articles around the Web that have embedded this particular tweet inside them. The article also mentions that the new feature is supposed to add context to tweets, while simultaneously helping business’s grow their audience on the social network.

“Growing an audience is the backbone to any brand’s online presence,” Maas says. “By establishing a loyal audience, features like ‘Related Headlines’ will be able to flourish right alongside media outlets. Related headlines could eventually lead social media agencies and brands to implement strategies to get news organizations interested in their tweets.”

Are you interested in giving it a go? To be eligible for Twitter headlines, you need to first become an approved publisher. You can apply by submitting an application using this form. Don’t forget to log into Twitter first.

image credit: Twitter via Brian Wallerstein