Twitter slips into expansion mode – puts the media into social media

14 Jun 2012

Microblogging site Twitter has made its big media play – from today onwards users can expand tweets to link to photos, videos and content previews of news items. Twitter has forged media partnerships with The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few.

In what has to be one of the boldest moves yet by the social media powerhouse, the alliance with traditional media will enable newspapers to give Twitter users a preview with the headline and introduction, as well as the Twitter accounts of the publisher and writer, as well as further interaction by following, replying, favouriting or retweeting.

The new functionality begins rolling out online today and at Twitter said it will be coming soon to Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android.

The move comes just a week after Twitter launched branded hashtag pages with TV spots, working with the NASCAR racing season.

All of this suggests restlessness within Twitter to show the fruits of a disciplined R&D drive. It also suggests Twitter is getting its ducks in a row to proof its value as a commercial engine ahead of a much-anticipated IPO.

As an example of the new functionality, Michael Slippey, a product director with Twitter, pointed to exclusive photos from inside the WWE ring or images from sites like BuzzFeed and TMZ, as well as video from various TV shows and sites like Dailymotion.

“Starting today, you can discover more interactive experiences inside any tweet on and When you expand tweets containing links to partner websites, you can now see content previews, view images, play videos and more.

“You’ve probably expanded tweets before to play videos from YouTube or see photos from Instagram. Now, a diverse and growing group of new partners like the The Wall Street Journal, Breaking News, and TIME also deliver rich content inside tweets containing a link to those websites,” Slippey said.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years