Twitter is like a wire service of yesteryear on steroids, but it's easy to waste time clicking those clever 140-character missives only to find news you don't need to use.
Twitter's recent announcement of expanded tweets may change that. You'll be able to preview the headline, intro and videos and photos without clicking through. If the preview is enough to warrant a re-tweet or favorite, you can do that from the expanded tweet, too.
As more journalists scan for news from smartphones and tablets, previewing will be a welcome time and bandwidth saver. Expanded tweets are already available on Twitter.com and Twitter's mobile site and are expected to be available soon on Twitter's mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
What I find less convincing: expanded tweets are currently only available for select media partners, almost all of them U.S. news organizations. There are some heavy hitters for the initial launch (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine), but the only international source to make the first cut is Germany's Der Spiegel.
The example of the expanded preview they led with - the above photo from the World Wide Wrestling Entertainment Twitter account - makes me wonder whether they didn't consider the potential impact of the feature on global news, or if they wanted to avoid concerns about previews that are not safe for work or show real violence.
The San Francisco-based microblogging service has been a force in news events around the globe - from the Japan tsunami to the Arab Spring - and now operates in 28 languages, including the recent additions of Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi and Urdu. Here's hoping they expand the longer tweets to a more diverse group of news organizations.
Image: courtesy Twitter.