Monday, 26 August 2013

Tweet this. No, *this*.

I've wondered over the last few year whether public speakers are crafting their slides and their key points for optimal tweetability; say, 100-120 character long type-bites, to allow for their handle and a hashtag to be included. When you spend a lot of time on the platform - as I do - you start to experience a familiar sense of let-down as your favourite lines of essays and poems prove to be those crucial few letters to long to share easily with the world.

Clearly others have been thinking about this. Reading this article about Saturday Night Live auditions in the New York Times magazine, I saw for the first time this automatic tweet extracter:

The subtle little tweet icon (the text and icon highlight when you hover over them) carries over the text to your Twitter client, so all you have to do is click send

As you can see, it's not necessarily a direct extract. The edited tweet is adjusted for the medium, adding handles and a link. It's like the services that let website owners add a link to copied and pasted text (such as Tynt), which capitalise on what Alexis C Madrigal calls 'dark social', only someone has put a second level of thought into how the content might be best shared, as well as written.

Going back and looking at the work Seb Chan did at the Powerhouse a few years ago, using Tynt to trace which parts of collection item descriptions were most frequently copied and pasted, and suggesting that this analysis could be used to craft those descriptions, I wonder whether we'll soon start seeing this method used on museum websites, especially on event and exhibition listings and news items. It's an extra layer of content creation, but if newspaper editors feel it's worthwhile now, I have the feeling we will too soon.

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