Cards are seriously important to Twitter. They’re what lets you see a video or summary of an article from a tweet and what Instagram removed support for last year. According to Twitter, the feature is used by more than 10 000 developers, mobile apps and websites. It makes sense that Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo would try to integrate something similar into its offering.
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As is the case with Twitter cards, Sina Weibo’s trial offering allows you to preview articles and are likely being developed in a push to help it makes extra cash. The Chinese social network has had to come to terms with the threat presented by Tencent’s WeChat in recent months as it tries to use its popularity to make money. As many social networks have found, this isn’t always easy.
The battle with its rival recently saw it conducting internal testing on a new WeChat-inspired “Public Platform” feature. Like WeChat’s platform of the same name, the new Sina Weibo feature would allow users to send group messages, although right now it is apparently targeted only at large media outlets.
According to The Next Web, Weibo is adopting a more news-portal stlye approach to its offering. The front page of the site for instance has been remodeled to show news stories and the details of its media partners.
The service is also giving its media partners the opportunity to post full-length articles to their account pages, which include layout templates and an RSS feed. When these articles are shared in the general Weibo stream they display a preview photo and article snippet, as is the case with Tiwtter.
For the moment, the feature is limited to Sina Weibo’s media partners, although it looks set to roll out to others in the near future.
It’s probably a way to go before Sina Weibo really starts competing with Twitter cards though. The California-based social network recently rolled out mobile app deep-linking in its cards. This means that people will be able to tap a link to either view content directly in an app, or download the app, depending on whether or not they have it installed.