Tthis tweet from Chris Messina is a great example of how metadata can be applied to short messages. I also frequently get questions from some of my friends on Facebook who aren’t in tech asking what the hell some of my tweets mean. So I figured I’d break down all of the information that Chris has crammed into 140 chars here, because it’s a lot.1. “Overturned vehicle causes severe Golden Gate Bridge backup” This is the content of the tweet.
2. “http://j.mp/8kG3bd” is a shortened link that takes the user to the story on the local news website. That story has live video of the bridge backup. The full URL is http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/livenow?id=7139056. The short link saves 27 characters. Also, if you click to http://j.mp/8kG3bd+, you can see in real time how many people have clicked that link.
3. “/me Apparently we suck at bridges.” The /me indicates that what comes next is Chris’ commentary on the content.
4. “/via” The /via indicates that what comes next is where Chris got the information.
5. Because I was the source of the information Chris received, @ryankuder is me and links back to my Twitter account. The @ indicates a Twitter username.
6. “#now” is a hashtag. The # indicates a topic, in this case, now, meaning that the event that is being described is happening currently as opposed to in the past. If you click on #now, you’ll see all tweets using that hashtag. So in 140 characters, Chris has told readers what’s happening, provided a link to live video, added some commentary, attributed his source with a link, and provided additional information about the nature of the tweet topic. Compare that information to a tweet that might have just said, “Crap. Golden Gate Bridge is backed up because of an accident.” It’s a pretty impressive tweet when you break it down.