Twitter to Integrate Photos and Videos Into the Stream

Mashable discovered a new setting in Twitter today, available to only a few Twitter users. The setting, called “Tweet Media,” comes with this description:

“By default, you’ll only see images and videos shared by people you’re following, and reveal those by people you’re not. Check this box to see media from everyone on Twitter.”

The literal meaning of that is pretty clear: This feature enables the embedding of multimedia into the stream. But that’s a very new approach for Twitter, one that’s in a sense contrary to the ethos of the site.

Soon after Mashable published the story, Twitter removed the feature. And soon after that, Twitter responded to Mashable’s requests for comment, saying “We’re constantly exploring features and settings. What you saw was a
small test of a potential consumption setting for inline media.”

Twitter also notes that this feature is already a part of both the official apps for iPhone and Android, as well as for certain third-party Twitter apps. But adding embeddable media to the stream has the potential to complicate the traditionally simple, 140-characters-of-text aesthetic of the network. Of course, the contrary argument is that users already share photos and videos–they just have to waste precious characters on an external link to sites like TwitPic.

What do you all think? Is it a good idea to embed multimedia into the Twitter stream?

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one–you’ll have to do the legwork yourself).DN