Today Twitter announced a new feature called “Related Headlines.” From now on, when you click on a tweet’s URL on Twitter.com, you will see links to news stories where that tweet’s been embedded. For example, if I embed this Horse_ebooks tweet (and I’m going to), then my story should appear as a “related headline” when you click on the tweet’s URL.
I hope I explained that properly because for a few moments today, there was a ton of confusion and angst over how this feature works. Many observers assumed that the related headlines would appear on the websites where the tweets are embedded, when in fact they’ll exist only on Twitter.com. Part of the fault lies with Twitter. In the blog post announcing the change, software engineer Brian Wallerstein wrote, “Starting today, you will see a new ‘Related headlines’ section on Tweets that have been embedded on websites.”
To me, that reads, “Hey publishers, every time you embed a tweet we’ll force you to link to your competitors’ stories.” That’s how Techcrunch’s Josh Constine falsely interpreted it too, assuming that the tweets would appear on publishers’ web pages and not Twitter. He wrote, “In a bit of Twitception, the Related Headlines links also show up on the embedded tweet. That could irk some publishers, since they might end up displaying links to their competitors.”
And boom, here comes the outrage:
Almost immediately, Twitter’s manager of journalism and news Mark Luckie hopped in to set the record straight. Techcrunch’s story has also been corrected.
Unfortunately, there are still a few Twitterers sharing their outrage over a functionality that doesn’t even exist. If anything, it proves that “Related Headlines,” which add helpful context to potentially-confusing tweets, are needed now more than ever.
[Image Credit: e_monk on Flickr]