Home This is What a Tweet Looks Like

This is What a Tweet Looks Like

Think a tweet is just 140 characters of text? Think again. To developers building tools on top of the Twitter platform, they know tweets contain far more information than just whatever brief, passing thought you felt the urge to share with your friends via the microblogging network. A tweet is filled with metadata – information about when it was sent, by who, using what Twitter application and so on.

Now, thanks to Raffi Krikorian, a developer on Twitter’s API/Platform team, you can see what a tweet looks like, in all its data-rich detail.

Via a weekend post on Krikorian’s blog, there comes an embedded document that shows what a mapped out tweet looks like. He says he decided to do this map using “JSON as opposed to XML” since the company is “considering not supporting XML on v2 of the API.” That may mean nothing to everyday Twitter users, but it’s important information for developers to take note of.

Coming Soon: Lots More Data

This image is all the more interesting when you consider how much richer a tweet’s data map will soon become. At last week’s first-ever official Twitter developers’ conference, Chirp, Twitter announced that it will implement a new feature called “annotations” next quarter. This was possibly one of the most significant announcements made, second-only (if even) to the launch of Twitter’s advertising initiatives, the long-anticipated answer as to how Twitter plans to make money.

Next:What Twitter Annotations Mean

With annotations, third-party Twitter developers can add any additional metadata to a Twitter post. That’s right, any data. And a tweet can have more than one annotation attached to it. This extra data will initially start off small – Twitter developer Marcel Molina said it will “probably” be around 512 bytes. But over time, it will gradually grow larger as Twitter rolls out the feature and scales up in order to support it. The company hopes to have it end up “around 2K,” says Molina. How developers use that extra space is entirely up to them – there can be one giant piece of extra data attached to a tweet or a thousand tiny ones.

With annotations, Twitter could become a platform for sharing anything, not just 140 characters of text. What will developers do with that data? We can only imagine. Perhaps new apps will allow users to share media like photos, videos and music? Or they’ll add more details about a tweeted link? Will you tag your tweets? Share vCards? Create polls? These sorts of innovations will launch shortly and we expect to be surprised and delighted by what the developers come up with.

At some point, the map of a tweet posted by Krikorian will resemble a primitive artifact from a bygone era. We’ll probably look back at it with wonder as we contemplate how far we’ve come. As for now, let’s take a moment to enjoy Twitter’s simplicity before it becomes a mishmash of other media and data.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.