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Twitter gobbles up TweetMeme button

Twitter is gobbling up the TweetMeme button as it absorbs another idea invented by a third party

Twitter is gobbling up another idea by a service building on its 140-character success. The popular microblogging network is introducing its own 'tweet this' button to Web sites that will post stories, pictures, blog posts and other online content to your Twitter feed. That sounds much like the TweetMeme button, and Twitter has in fact partnered with TweetMeme to make the new button work.

Twitter hasn't bought TweetMeme, and TweetMeme's own button will continue to exist, but we reckon it'll probably disappear as all involved focus their energies on the official version. TweetMeme founder Nick Halstead told the Telegraph that the British company will now focus on data collection, including a tool called DataSift that creates "Twitter lists for content rather than people".

The TweetMeme button allows you to quickly post a link to your Twitter feed. The clever little doohickey then tracks how often a story has been retweeted, even if it's been retweeted via other means. It's up there at the top left of every story here in Crave -- click it, go on.

Our most retweeted story is our chucklesome April Fool's story about a time traveller at the Large Hadron Collider -- it's still being retweeted even now, although you'll have to take our word for it because we changed the URL in a site overhaul and our thousands of retweets disappeared. Stoopid site overhaul.

Twitter has long been criticised for having no discernable business model. Fortunately, that hasn't deterred venture capitalists from emptying their pockets into the microblogging service's coffers. Twitter's early success was largely due to the vast number of third-party apps and services that meant you could tweet wherever, whenever and however you wanted, as well as offering interesting twists on Twitter's core function.

In the last year or so, Twitter has launched a number of new features that basically cherry-pick the best of these ideas and build them into the site itself, including retweeting, geolocation and lists.