The Huffington Post announced today the launch of an all-twitter edition of the web publication, likely to follow much the same format as their current tech, politics, and comedy pages. The move is part of an effort to fully integrate social networking into the Huffington Post site, and to emphasize breaking news.
CEO Eric Hippeau sees this focus on Twitter as an integral part of the Huffington Post.
"We're one part social network, one part news content site," he said to paidContent's David Kaplan. "So for us, the question has always been how to use Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools and our content and integrate it with our advertisers." He added that the all-Twitter pages were still in experimental stages, and that they were likely to change as the Huffington Post tries different implementations.
The current all-Twitter pages showcase three popular stories at the top of the page with two live Twitter lists of topic-related experts compiled by Huffington Post editors. The bottom of the page offers readers more in-depth stories concerning current popular or trending topics on Twitter.
"This is our way of doing breaking news, using real-time Twitter feeds of people that we have followed, people who have a certain authority on the news we cover, whether it's health care reform or the Academy Awards or technology or sports," Hippeau said.
Huffington Post founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington stated that the editors of all 19 sections of the website will curate Twitter lists and edit popular posts for the Twitter edition of their sections. She called Twitter an "essential means of newsgathering and sharing," but acknowledged that editors still have part to play in the news process.
"Readers want someone who can sift through all the feeds and curate the best, most relevant news," she said. "And that's our role."
The Huffington Post reported a traffic growth, as measured by comScore Direct, of 192 percent from last year. But there have been rumors lately that the website is having trouble staying profitable, although the site does not release financial information and Huffington and Hippeau both denied these rumors.
Perhaps the move towards an all-Twitter platform will improve the site's profitability, but that's likely to remain unclear until Twitter reveals its advertising platform next week. Regardless of its potential profitability, though, chairman Ken Lehrer sees the addition of all-Twitter pages as an important step towards the likely future of the website.
"As more users get accustomed to [Twitter], this will be a way that users will increasingly seek their news from our site," he said. "I can see people coming to the main site and going to the Twitter editions. Eventually, I can see people just going to the Twitter edition instead of the main Huffington Post sites and verticals."