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Twitter Succeeding Where Facebook Failed - Forbes

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Showing one’s cards

So what are Twitter cards? At their core, Twitter cards are a way to display extra information that goes beyond the 140-character limit Twitter imposes. For example, here’s what a Twitter card for last week’s entry looks like:

A tweet can include extra content such as images, video, GIFs, location and author info. Twitter offers different types of cards for apps, video/audio, photos, products, and more.

By allowing for extra information but not extra presentation, Twitter gets to control the user experience within the context of a card. This is important because it gives Twitter a great amount of control over how the content is being displayed. It also allows them to present it in different ways on different platforms. A developer can push out Twitter cards to Twitter and not worry about how they will be presented on the web, mobile, or TV. Twitter will take care of that formatting. Because cards allow for bite-sized content to be augmented, they fit neatly into the Twitter service, which has prided itself on artificial limits as to how much data it would carry.

I love the concept of "bite-sized content".

Do "Twitter cards" HAVE to be proprietary, or could they become a standard that Facebook, Google, and others use?

The info card metaphor is also in use by Google in its relatively new Google Now service, a digital assistant that presents contact, calendar and reminder information as needed on Android devices (see picture below). Expect the cards to appear soon in Google’s desktop and mobile search as well, as the cards provides just the right amount of information around a piece of content. As more digital devices appear with smaller screens (eg. Google Glass, smartwatches), the ability to deliver small chunks of content becomes a substantial design issue. Look, for example, at how Google is embedding cards into Google Glass, its wearable computing interface. Twitter and Google are at the forefront of changes that will stay with us for a very long time.

Cards seem made for mobile. I just hope that the companies that use them keep them compatible with the Web / HTML rather than try to push some proprietary or binary format.

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