After an extended spat between lovers of expansive prose and the defenders of Twitter’s trademark 140-character tweets, the social media company has announced it will give certain organizations the ability to pepper their updates with pop-ups that feature more written and visual material.
The act of favoring some companies over others should raise a few eyebrows. Major media organizations are first in line for the overhaul, but it appears the capability will be extended to more tweeters in the future.
In a blog post, the company announced the creation of “expanded tweets,” which will allow for “interactive experiences” within boring old text-laden posts. Technically, all tweets can still be only 140 characters long. But the company is letting select organizations—including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, TMZ, and the WWE—append more stuff to tweets that reference their content.
For instance, if I link to an article from the Times, my followers will now see a little button on the tweet labeled “View summary.” If you click that, you’ll see hundreds more characters: The article’s headline, the author’s byline and Twitter handle, the publication’s Twitter handle, a photo from the piece, and even a short snippet from the article.
… Twitter has posted guidelines for sites looking to create these in-tweet “media experiences,” and they specify exactly how much more expansive the new tweets can be. Headlines in supersized tweets can be 70 characters long. Snippets can be 200 characters long. And that’s on top of the main tweet, which can be 140 characters long. Add it all up and you get 410 characters! I can already picture the billboard. Expanded Tweets—fortified with 270 more characters!