I’ve started reading up on the new announcement from Twitter on Annotations – excuse me, I am behind on my reading schedule with all this programming recently. I started writing this post on May 9th, but I got caught up in wrestling python datetime.datetime deamons, their minion timedelta and the unholy union they made with SQLObject …
This blogpost on Sitepoint gives a good point of view on it means for the average user and discusses the possible impacts of using the annotations system. Do read the comments as well ! There are others as well.
In a nutshell, annotations seem to be an answer to save space (more of those precious 140 characters for your actual message) and create a way to more semantically structure the meta-data that is contained inside the message.
I think most of normal users will happily continue on using the old-style hash-marks and special signs. It’s just easier to do so, just type what you are thinking.
However, Twitter is not doing this for the normal people. It’s doing it to make money, it’s doing this for the businesses on Twitter.
Twitter *has* to make this modification if it wants to start attracting advertisers and their money.
Businesses will simply love the fact that, while helping the customer, they can also include a payload of relevant information:
- I’m working for a car dealer: if I’m responding to any tweets, I would love the opportunity to add links to car descriptions on my website, relevant pricing info, etc to you. Maybe even a small image of the car ?
- Ask a quote of an online insurance company via their website or even via a direct tweet: you get a tweet back, containing:
- a quote-in-a-tweet,
- the link to the full pdf file to download,
- if you enabled location-based tweets, the Google map link to the nearest agency in your location,
- the next steps that you need to do to get started…
- baseball/football statistics: somebody is tweeting live coverage of a game that is going on. For any goal (excuse me, I only know football very well) that is made you receive a tweet when this happens, with the players statististics (score average, last time scored,…)
If it works out and developers can figure out a common way of describing metadata, Annotations will be something very nice for a certain type of twitter user (the businesses). I just don’t think hashtags will disappear any time soon.