Browsers Internet Social Media

Preview Multimedia Content Within Tweets with Parrotfish

Jeffry Thurana 30-03-2011

<firstimage=”//”>preview twitter multimediaThe web is full of great multimedia material, and the joy of being on the web lies in the process of discovering and sharing those treasures. One of the best sharing tools available today is Twitter. Its simplicity makes this little blue bird soar by leaps and bounds.


But in terms of multimedia sharing, Twitter’s strong point becomes its weakness. The text-based nature of the service prevents us from embedding multimedia content. We can only put URLs in our tweets. The 140 character limitation even forces us to use shortened URLs. If one wants to know more about the content of a link, he or she has to open the link themselves. But Parrotfish is changing that. This web service from‘s lab will allow you to preview multimedia content from the embedded URL within your Twitter account.

Adding The Browser Extension

In its simplest sense, Parrotfish works by detecting the existence of multimedia URL’s in a tweet. If it finds a link, Parrotfish will display the content of that URL. The service is able to do so because it’s supported by 165 multimedia providers, including YouTube, Tubmlr, Scribd Scribd: Online Document Sharing Read More , Facebook, and Amazon.

preview twitter multimedia

Different from the WordPress plugin, Parrotfish works on the user’s side. It means the features will only work for those who have downloaded and installed the browser extension. So the first thing that you have to do to view multimedia content on your Twitter account is to click on the download link.

view multimedia in twitter

Parrotfish provide extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. The site will detect the browser that you use and give you the appropriate download link. Please note that the extension is called Embedly and not Parrotfish.

view multimedia in twitter

You can use the feature right after installation, but you might want to adjust some settings to personalize it. Open up your browser preferences and go to the Extensions tab.

view multimedia in twitter

You can enable, disable or uninstall Parrotfish from the extension pane. You could also add your Instapaper account to add the content to your “read later” list.

preview twitter multimedia

Media-Rich Twitter

Now let’s see how Parrotfish can make your Twitter experience better. Pick one of the tweets. You can expand and collapse the content by clicking on the tweet.

preview twitter multimedia

Without Parrotfish, the content of the tweet will look like any other ordinary tweet: just plain text with URL(s) to follow.

05f No Parrot

But with Parrotfish activated, the media content will show up under the link. So, there’s no need to click on the link in order to view it.

preview twitter multimedia

As a bonus, you’ll get the Instapaper “Read Later” link under the media, giving you the ability to save the tweet to be read later. But in order for this link to work, you have to fill in your Instapaper user account details in the extension’s preferences.

05c Instapaper

Parrotfish features also work well for any other kinds of content. Here’s an example of a tweet with a link to a blog post. The content of the post (text and images) is displayed below the link.

preview twitter multimedia

If you are a (heavy) Twitter user who uses the web based client, you’ll definitely love Parrotfish. Not only does it save you time from opening those links, it also reduces additional burden off your system by not opening more browser tabs.

Try this web tool and share your thoughts and opinions about it in the comments below. If you are a self-hosted WordPress blogger, be sure to check out the WordPress extension.

Explore more about: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari Browser, Twitter.

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  1. Hiroki Murakami
    March 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Amazing. If only more people were using Parrotfish it would make my job (PR/social media) so much easier.