It appears Twitter is testing a new feature that could change the way people share and discover stories. The experimental feature, which allows people to turn quotes and sentences within a story into tweets, was spotted in an article by The New York Times last week.
Currently, if you want to share a sentence from an article you can copy and paste the selected text into a tweet. This new feature, which Twitter referred to as an “editorialized tweet,” makes it so you can identify interesting or quote-worthy material for readers and tweet it out directly instead of just using the headline.
For example, if you’re publishing a blog post about an upcoming launch or noteworthy metrics, you could highlight the text you’d like people to share. Readers could then roll their cursor over that text, or tap on the highlighted text if using mobile, and click once. The tweet box will automatically open with that text ready to tweet.
The idea behind the feature was that a captivating sentence from the middle of a story might grab readers’ attention more than a headline. The story that the Times chose was tweeted 11 times more frequently than “the average of the top 500 shared Times articles from the last month,” according to data from Topsy.
Twitter hasn’t announced when the feature will be available for others to use, but it looks like there are some third-party services that provide plug-ins with similar functionality. If an official feature were made available to more publishers, it could have a major impact on the quality as well as the reach of tweets being shared.
We’ll keep you updated as more information regarding this experimental feature is released.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.