Twitter Intents make websites Twitter-like

Twitter has added a new string to its impressive API collection, and this one is aimed squarely at web publishers who republish tweets. With a bit of (very simple) HTML and a Javascript inclusion, we can create links that favorite, retweet and reply to a tweet - directly to Twitter! You can read all about the implementation on the Twitter Intents page.

I have used this implementation in three different places:

The last example raises an important integration issue, as it also incorporates Twitter Connect. People who connect to the site using one Twitter account may later on login to Twitter with another account. If you give Twitter-connected visitors these special Intent links, they may well find themselves favoriting or retweeting using the wrong Twitter account! Of course, this is only a problem for people who have multiple Twitter personas - but these people may be more numerous than you'd imagine. The safest thing for your Twitter-connected visitor is to use the regular oAuth API, but only for them.

Why do it like this?

Twitter hopes that this will be a win-win integration, since:

  • it's easy for publishers to use
  • it doesn't take people away from the site (only a popup window is used for the interaction)
  • it encourages publishers to make the display of republished tweets more Twitter-like (a key issue for Twitter)
  • it feeds user interactions back into the Twitter ecosystem

Overall, as a website owner you should have no qualms about using this system. Just be careful if you also use Twitter oAuth!


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