April 3, 2013

House of Cards

Twitter just upped the social ante.
Updated Twitter Cards allow users to attach much richer media experiences to their Tweets, essentially creating the framework for what could be the foundation for a completely new robust mobile web experience.
From the outset, Twitter was natively mobile; its brevity lent itself quite nicely to the pace of mobile without compromising the experience.
We have all come to know, love, and embrace this network as a trusted source of breaking news, live event coverage, meme proliferators, and argumentative platforms.
Thought leaders and common folk alike can exchange repartee without having to author more words than needed to get their points across in a single lob.
Twitter has gained respect because it kept steadfast in its focus on what attracted its core audiences and did not try to be all things to all people, the way some other social platforms are trying to be. Twitter kept itself relevant enough for its community to define its purpose, and then embrace that purpose.
Using its brevity as a trojan horse for more robust functionality, Twitter was able to introduce expanded functions that didn't cannibalize its core function of delivering 140-character messages; rather, complementing that functionality and making the new expanded features completely seamless to use.
In June 2012, expanded Tweets debuted that allowed for embedded links, images, videos, and more robust content to live side by side with its signature 140-character headline. The feed was kept intact and uncluttered with any more content that you could digest while running to your next meeting or hopping on a subway with a single bar of signal left to get in that last refresh of Tweets.
Twitter has also become the platform of choice for covering live events.
Chasing storms, joining revolutions, live commenting during favorite televisions shows, and taunting the opposite team during sporting events. Twitter empowers its users to be in the moment without diminishing the moment, and keeps the conversation as dynamic as it can possibly be without in-person interaction.
On April 2 we got a peek into a new phase of the network, a phase that is foreshadowing some amazing features to come.
Twitter has announced that it will now be supporting mobile app deep-linking within Twitter Cards.
What this allows content creators to do is to expose content directly in app or actually download an app directly from a Twitter post.
Twitter Cards become mini-webpages, tiny websites that contain all of the key information we need to engage, interact, and then transact with one other in real time right through Twitter.
In addition to this new level of interactivity, Twitter has also introduced a new set of Cards.
The App Card as explained above will embed all of the pertinent information about an app, including the ability to install one directly from Twitter.
The Product Card is what excites me the most. It is the first step towards true social commerce. It is a brief product representation that allows for multiple product images, longer descriptions, pricing and even ratings embedded right into the expanded Twitter Card. Add a check out button and presto we now have a true social mobile commerce platform.
The third new Card is the Gallery Card and this new card represents an album or a collection of media such as photographs that can be shared via a single tweet.
Combine all of these new features with Twitter's new video platform Vine and we now have an extremely robust set of social tools that are natively mobile and meant to be consumed on the go.
No other network has come close to delivering this kind of native mobile experience.
I now view Twitter in a whole new light. It reframes a lot of what I do as a creative technologist in delivering ideas and solutions that are truly natively mobile.
Twitter is becoming the mobile web. Clunky browsers with pinch-and-zoom websites, hard-to-hit buttons, and content that is as unresponsive as a brick all seem useless on my mobile device. Cards are the natural evolution of the webpage on mobile devices.
My carefully curated network of trusted sources can bring me everything I need in a fast-paced stream that fits my mobile usage to a tee. I am also able to share so much more in a single Tweet.
As a marketer, I expect to see much more from brands in how creatively they can deliver on this new expanded layer of what I consider to be the most dynamic and mobile-friendly platform we have to date.
Twitter has constantly delivered on its core value. It has focused on its strengths.
Perhaps other networks, like Facebook, should pay attention to how Twitter is playing its hand.
Other networks need to learn that simply adding new features rather than exploring functionality that naturally complements what it already does best diminishes the platform. In Twitter's case, it has simplified the web for an ultra-fast-paced mobile experience.

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