Twitter Web Intents and How Bloggers Can Use Them

Announced on Twitter’s Developer site, Web Intents are Twitter’s way of making tweets more interactive on other platforms. What does this mean for you?

The next time you visit an article with a tweet in it, you might be able to interact with that tweet without leaving the blog. This one Twitter feature that bloggers and the media will want! More importantly, appears to be a slick move against Google’s +1 button and the Facebook Like button.

Twitter Web Intents

In 2009, I wrote about retweets being the new linkbacks on the web because retweets are a much easier way of giving credit to others and to share links with friends. The same thinking can be applied to the Facebook Like button.

With Twitter web intents, bloggers can extend this functionality to readers when using Twitter content in their blogs. Twitter Web Intents are broken down into two categories: tweet intents and user intents:

  • Tweet Intents
    • Tweet or Reply to a Tweet
    • Retweet a Tweet
    • Favorite a Tweet
  • User Intents
    • Follow or Display a User

To get started with Twitter web intents you’ll need to embed a small SCRIPT tag on the pages you wish to enable web intents. Twitter has provided a zip file of icons for Twitter Web Intents. If you’re using the Twitter ReTweet button or WordPress’s Blackbird Pie, you’re already Web Intent compatible.

Using Twitter Web Intents

Here’s an example of the reply intent in use:

Will You Use The New Google +1 Button? Reply via Twitter.

Clicking on the reply link above will open a pop-up box similar to the one you see when clicking a RT button. In this box you’ll see the original tweet and the author’s Twitter handle is appended (my own in this case).

When using the SCRIPTs you have to manually insert the correct tweet ID. This ID is located on the tweet’s official page. To locate it, click on the timestamp of your tweet. You should see the tweet by itself. At the end of the URL (in the address bar), there’s a bunch of random numbers. This is your tweet ID. Copy and paste the numbers into the SCRIPT to make sure reader interactions are with the correct tweet.

How Bloggers Can Benefit

This is just one way that I see bloggers using web intents. Occasionally, when I send out a question on Twitter it can generate a steady flow of feedback. That’s when I know that I should take the discussion to my blog.

I hope that Disqus can find a way to aggregate these specific actions into blog comments and more in the future.

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on