Twitter is launching a new feature on their site, “Related headlines“, where when someone tweets about something newsworthy, Twitter will include links to the news story below the tweet, even when a specific URL to the news story hasn’t been included.
It’s becoming a way for Twitter users to easily click and find information about a news story, without having to go and use Google or another search engine to find a link to the story, or to even have to figure out what the story is if the tweet isn’t specific enough.
How it works: when a tweet is embedded into a news story, Twitter can use that to connect the tweet to the story, and then include the news links to that story. It is done somewhat unobtrusively, only showing up on the specific tweet’s permalink page. It doesn’t show up in the stream for the person who tweeted it, or in the stream of someone who follows that person.
It currently seems to be using mainstream sites to include in the related headlines, and they only include three related headlines on the tweet page, although you do have the option to click to show more.
For example, they used a tweet by Jason Collins about the support he received after he came out as gay, and shows the related headlines below the tweet, where they link to news stories on ESPN, Fox Sports, Mashable, Huffington Post, and other similar sites:
What is also interesting about this is that Twitter can easily use this technology to promote advertising, instead of related headlines in the space, or place it above or below. Imagine if a company could append their ads on specific tweets, especially tweets that are being shared and embedded in news stories. Suddenly that related headlines space can turn into some pretty profitable ad space.
However, while it would be a good revenue stream, you’d also have the issue of making sure the ads are tasteful and you wouldn’t see something like a Republican Party ad on President Obama’s tweets. But on the other hand, you could have a fashion ad appearing on Kim Kardashian tweet that is being embedded on new sites.
The new related headlines feature is a great way for Twitter to expand beyond just tweets, retweets, favorites, follows, and promoted tweets.
In July, Twitter began testing this feature using the words “Embedded on these websites” rather than “Related headlines”.