Yahoo adds Twitter integration ... so, it seems, does everybody else
Yahoo announced plans to integrate Twitter's status updates with its own sites and services--making it only the latest company to try to leverage the rapidly increasing popularity of that real-time "microblogging" site.
Yahoo's Twitter objectives, as outlined in a press release and blog post, begin with adding real-time Twitter results to its Web search. (For once, a company's press release has the more memorable title--"@yahoo + @twitter Sitting in a Tree...T.W.E.E.T.I.N.G."--than its blog post: "Yahoo! and Twitter give wings to your social world.")
The search integration is supposed to be active now, but it didn't seem to be switched on when I tried it this morning. Later, Yahoo says it will give people ways to update their own Twitter feeds from other Yahoo sites and services, such as its free Web-mail service, and make it easier for Yahoo users to point to Yahoo content from Twitter.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo has plenty of company when it comes to cozying up with Twitter, of San Francisco. Last fall, Google and Microsoft's Bing started showing Twitter updates in their search results. LinkedIn began allowing Twitter users to cross-publish Twitter updates to that business-networking site--just as Facebook does.
You can't even escape Twitter on your TV, thanks to sets that include Yahoo's Twitter widget or Verizon Fios set-top boxes that feature their own Twitter application.
(Update: In the I-couldn't-possibly-make-this-up department, Activision sent over an e-mail this afternoon announcing that its upcoming racing game Blur will support in-game tweeting.)
You don't see too many voices raised against this status-updates-everywhere campaign, but last week blogger Tim Maly took a whack at one of the more objectionable aspects of Twitter integration: how grotesquely out-of-place a Twitter update, with its specialized syntax and argot, can look away from that site's stream of updates. In a post titled "Unlink your feeds," he urged Twitter users--along with people on other social-media services--to "stop automatically dumping your feeds from one account into another" and instead "put a tiny bit more effort into using each service for what it is."
Maly has since allowed that specialized status-update applications, which clean up Twitter updates so they look like plain-language phrases, can resolve some of these issues. But many of the sites adding automatic Twitter integration--for instance, Google's Buzz--lack any such subtlety.
From my perspective, the more pressing reason to be wary of getting further enmeshed in Twitter is a little closer to home: I don't want to be called on the carpet by my spouse for ignoring her in favor of reading yet another status update.
February 24, 2010; 10:13 AM ET
Categories: Digital culture , Social media
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