Saving publishing, one tweet at a time

Helping both readers and writers look good on social media.

Traffic comes to online publishers in two ways: search and social. Because of this, writing for the tweet is a new discipline every writer and editor must learn. You’re not ready to publish until you find the well crafted headline that fits in 100 characters or so, and pick an image that looks great shared at thumbnail size on Facebook and LinkedIn.

But what of us, the intelligent reader? Nobody wants to look like a retweet bot for publishers. The retweet allows us no space to say why we ourselves liked an article.

Those of us with time to dedicate are familiar with crafting our own awkward commentaries: “gr8 insight in2 state of mob,” “saw ths tlk last Feb,” “govt fell off fiscal clf”. Most of the time it’s easier just to bookmark, or hit “read later,” and not put in the effort to share.

Rescue is at hand. The writer and programmer Paul Ford has created a bookmarklet, entitled Save Publishing. On activating the bookmarklet while viewing an article you wish to share, it highlights and makes clickable all the tweetable phrases from the page.

Presto! A quick way to share what you like from a piece without having to think too hard: as a bonus, it makes you look intelligent and as if you read the entire article.

"Save Publishing" highlights the tweetable phrases in an article

“Save Publishing” highlights the tweetable phrases in an article

Why will this simple bookmarklet really save publishing? Not singlehandedly, for sure, but anything that helps readers express what they like and share with each other is a boon to publishers and readers alike. Think of Save Publishing as Kindle’s highlight feature, writ large for the web.

Ford writes that Save Publishing started as a joke, and “now it’s serious and I use it all day.” I’ve certainly enjoyed it, enough to contribute a little code to the project myself. Best of all, it’s saving me from writing tweets for my own pieces!

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