If I want to tweet your story, you should make it easy for me

I’m an avid reader of the news, but I’m not an avid sharer. My Twitter profile is mostly populated with stories from The Daily Tar Heel and the same goes for my Facebook page.

If I want to share a story I’ve read from a national outlet, I usually would email it to my friends I think would most appreciate it, rather than posting it for my 800 followers who mostly care about the UNC-related news I tweet.

But I really appreciate it when news sites give me an easy way to share stories. Whether that’s like what The Los Angeles Times does with it’s sharable bites:

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Which I really like to use instead of just tweeting the article’s headline or a quote from the article.

I also like that The New York Times share buttons follow me down the page. The only downside is when you click them, they queue up a tweet that’s just a headline and a shortened link to the story, which feels robotic and impersonal and not something I’d ever really want to share.

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This story is so much cooler than “Alabama Shakes’s Soul-Stirring, Shape-Shifting New Sound.”

Apparently,  The New York Times experimented with highlighting 140-character portions of stories to make it easier for readers to tweet that way.  At the time, The New York Times’ deputy editor of interactive news Marc Lavallee told Poynter the move was a one-time experiment.

“It’s not like a feature that’s in the pipeline to be rolled out site wide,” Lavallee told Poynter in August 2013.

That’s sort of a bummer because I think that feature could be really helpful, especially in some of the Times’ more dense material.

Anything publishers can do to make their stories more shareable (but not more click-baity — there is a difference!) is a worthwhile effort. For most websites, social is the source of most of their traffic. Publishers should realize that and try to capitalize on it.

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