Twitter is set to introduce a new feature on Tuesday that will make it easier to embed a tweet within a Web document. The company teased the upcoming feature in a cryptic post on its media blog, which also provides some hints as to what the new functionality may look like.
Anyone who runs a Website—whether it be a blog with a few readers or a major publication that caters to millions—knows that reproducing the wisdom of a tweet on an HTML page can be a tricky affair.
In fact, the only two choices available right now are to simply quote the tweet’s text or to take a screenshot of the tweet from Twitter’s site and paste it into your HTML page. The first solution fails to capture some essential details, like the user’s avatar and their name, while the other is time consuming and prevents search engines from indexing the contents of the tweet.
With the new feature, Twitter aims to solve the tweet quoting problem by providing Web authors with a special snippet of code that can be used to embed a tweet in all its HTML glory, including the author’s avatar, links, and the inevitable pop-up panel that provides a path back to the Twitter website.
Embedded tweets are likely to become a welcome addition to the arsenal of functionality provided by the social media Website. However, it remains to be seen whether Website owners will want to depend on Twitter to power HTML content that is displayed on their Web pages. Twitter may not give Website owners control over how embedded tweets look, so they may not be able to tweak things like the color, font, or font size of an embedded tweet to fit with the aesthetic of the site. Perhaps more importantly, if the embedded tweets are generated dynamically by Twitter’s servers, Website owners will have to contend with Twitter’s inevitable downtime and the possibility that some of the data—such as a user’s avatar or screen name—may change without warning.