Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Safari’s Shared Links

Kirk McElhearn doesn’t like Safari’s Shared Links feature:

As for Apple’s Shared Links, how can anyone find this useful? If you use Twitter, then you’ll be able to click from the links you see in tweets; why does anyone think it’s useful to have them in another location? Yes, you can search the list of Shared Links, but I wonder if anyone bothers with that.

I disagree: for many people, Twitter is their RSS feed. They follow their local paper, a national paper, some blogs, and some other things. They probably don’t follow people as much as they follow feeds. They’re not the type who use Tweetbot on their Mac; they probably use the Twitter web interface. They could click on links there, but Shared Links is almost like having a Twitter client built into their browser.

Granted, that’s a pretty specific use-case, but I think it’s one that can be applied to many people. It’s a gradient, too: I’m (obviously) not one of the kinds of users I described above, but even I fire up Shared Links and flick through articles people have shared, without the cacophony of other tweets. Think of it as being kind of similar to Tweetbot’s media view, where only tweets with photos or videos are displayed.

McElhearn has an interesting suggestion, though:

I don’t think anyone wants to wade through such a long list of links. It would make more sense if Safari’s Shared Links only showed you links from tweets you favorited. That way, if you want to check out a link later, you can just favorite it in your Twitter client or on the Twitter website, and you’ll be able to get to it where you want.

I like this idea, but I get the feeling that this is both a misappropriation of the way favourites are “supposed” to be used (even though I frequently do this, too), and I suspect Apple would reply “that’s what Reading List is for”.