My biggest pet peeve when it comes to Pulse, Feedly, Share This and similar tools is that these aggregators, readers and sharing tools don’t automatically include the Twitter handle of the author or publisher of the content that you wish to tweet. This self-promotion technique has to stop.
Some will argue that adding the right Twitter handle only takes a few seconds. It is true if you sit by your computer. To them, I will reply that it is another story if are on your iPad or iPhone and you don’t recall the Twitter handle of the author or the publication. Since 30% of Web traffic comes from tablets and smart phones these days, this is not a problem that we cannot ignore anymore.
Why Do I Care So Much about This Issue
Writing original content requires hard work. As a blogger, I feel that it is both misleading and unfair to me to see tweets where my post link is followed by via @feedly, via @sharethis or via @pulse. I want to see my Twitter handle instead. The shortened URLs already promote their brand. Do they really need to duplicate their self-promotion in every tweet that is supposed to be about my ideas?
The basis for this issue goes further than that. As a reader, I believe that the least I can do to show my gratitude is to give due credits when I encounter a good post or article. I appreciate it when others give me the same courtesy. So, I want to reciprocate the favor.
As someone who takes my role as a curator seriously, I also feel that letting my readers know about the source of the content that I suggest them to read is useful information. They might be more inclined to read (or discard) a story because it was written by X or Y. As a curator, I feel an obligation to make sure that my followers are not wasting their time.
It Is Not Hard To Fix
I am not a coder but fixing it should not be difficult. In fact, I am amazed that the problem still exists. With the release of the Twitter cards platform, we get a working solution. Although it is not their original purpose, the Twitter cards platform provides the information that is needed for properly sharing author information of blog posts. These recent meta tags are already used for SEO purposes. They are included in every blog post once you configured a plugin. I use Joost de Valk’s WordPress SEO Plugin for Balancing Act.
My next question is how long it would take for Pulse, Feedly , etc… to support Twitter cards and to automatically include the author in their default tweet format? They cannot claim anymore that it is a hard feature to implement. Until then, most aggregators, readers and sharing tools will continue to self-promote their site instead of giving credits to the content creator or curator.
What Can I Do As a Blogger?
My advice to bloggers is to get the ball rolling. Add Twitter card meta data to your blog and don’t forget to request your approval at Twitter. Then, put pressure on sites or tools like Pulse, Feedly and Share This to support Twitter cards and to request that they automatically give credits to the author in their default tweet message.