Tweet This

Twitter became even more ubiquitous on the web with its launch of a “Tweet” button earlier this month, that can be placed on any web page. If you come across a news article you want to share on Twitter, simply click the “Tweet” button, assuming the author has provided it, and a pop-up window is triggered. This window has a ready-to-publish Tweet already created, using the headline of the article or web page and the URL shortened and included. You can modify any part of the automated Tweet and/or just hit the “Tweet” button and it will immediately go out via your Twitter account.

The most interesting feature of this new button is that it keeps a running tally of how many times an article or web page has been “tweeted.” This is similar to how the Digg button keeps track of how many people like a particular news story, which Digg then uses to determine what appears on their website the highest (the articles with the most Diggs appear at the top). It’s also similar to Facebook’s embeddable “Like” button launched earlier this year – it too makes posting any web page or article to Facebook super simple and keeps a running total of how many people have posted something. In fact it’s not unusual to see the Tweet, Like, and Digg buttons on the same articles.

The big question is whether one of these services is going to get to a critical mass that makes the other unnecessary. For instance, if interest in Digg fades, so too will the presence of its button across the web, but the same could happen to Twitter or Facebook. Although they don’t directly compete, Facebook seems like the obvious successor given that Twitter only provides one particular feature of what is a larger set that make up Facebook (e.g. photo albums).  Or perhaps none will make the others obsolete and instead there will be increasing use of third party buttons that post automatically to everything (Facebook, Twitter, Digg etc…) at once, with one click.

I imagine that eventually users will tire of having to maintain and track data coming at them on multiple networks and something that consolidates reading and posting to these various social networks will eventually overtake use of individual services. What do you think? Will one of these services overtake the other or will a single third party that unifies them all be the ultimate conqueror in this space?

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