What Twitter Cards Will Do For Twitter

A while back (before the recent API controversy) I tweeted, “Twitter should buy IFTTT”. A lot of people replied, some agreeing and others not as much. 

The trouble with Twitter is that they can’t touch the stream. No money making schemes can be baked into innovation in design, because the design can’t fundamentally change. All things serve the stream (yes, Dark Tower reference). Therefore, I presumed it’d be actions inside of and away from the stream that Twitter would monetize -  ’recipes’ for Favorites, RT, links tweeted with certain hashtags, clickthroughs, could be partnerships and premium features.

Instead, they’ve created Twitter cards. The idea with Twitter cards is that:

it is data that doesn’t necessarily have to be included in your tweet. It can be anything related to the URL that is linked to, and can even include semi-personalized information.

via Way of the Duck

So far, these Twitter cards have been used to give a small image alongside the first sentence of an article for media properties. For photos, it’s basically the photo.

At Findings, we’ve manipulated it to show your post on Findings, but the link in the tweet leads people back to the source. In the Twitter dialogue box, you can input anything. So, your tweets can appear like this


Clicking the link takes the user straight to the article on Esquire. We decided the source is more important than the post, since the entirety of the post is contained in the tweet already. 

Future plans for the Twitter cards include


Before Twitter cards, every opportunity to tweet from an app was created to be as self-serving to that app as possible. It’s always boring.

The new Hosu lounge by Patricia Urquiola is on sale on @Fab for just a few more fabulous days: http://fab.com/sale/11775/ 

With Twitter cards, Fab could inject a decently sized photo of the product along with the URL and potentially sell the product inside of the stream. This is all in the expanded view so the sanctity of the stream is still saved. Uninterested? Keep skimming.

Is this going to make Twitter money? Making buying easier increases likelihood of purchase. We all know this. Producers especially know this. But in order for that amount of money to be significant, Twitter has to become the average user’s default browser. As in, I want tickets to Argo, so I visit Argo’s Twitter account to buy them. This is not likely to happen, Fandango and other ticket services have better options than Twitter possibly could place into a card. But, Twitter is betting on the same thing that’s worked for them forever, the reason Twitter *does* work - serendipity. 

Serendipity is the reason you keep checking the stream, even when there’s nothing timely occurring to check on. Sudden opportunities to network/socialize, surprising reads, jokes; this is why you open the Twitter app outside of work.

So, stumbling across a promotion in my stream for tickets to see Argo at Union Square Cinemas on Twitter and being able to buy it with one-click? That might work. 

  1. thingsthatscarelaurenleto posted this