The Associated press

SAN FRANCISCO – Tweeting your favorite stories may be getting a little easier.

Twitter introduced Thursday a that websites can place alongside their content. The button serves as an invitation to Twitter’s legion of users to share what they’re reading without having to copy and paste the Web link.

Pressing the button automatically creates a shortened link that appears in a pop-up box tied to the Twitter user’s account. A comment can be added next to the link, staying within the 140-character limit of Twitter’s messaging service. After the message is dispatched, Twitter will suggest people the sender might want to follow, based on the story’s topic and its writer.

The new tweet button will likely make Twitter an even more powerful tool for attracting online traffic. As it is, Twitter says nearly one-fourth of its tweets contain Web links.

The list of websites already using the tweet button include Gannett Co.’s USA Today, one of the world’s largest newspapers; IAC/InterActiveCorp’s search engine and Google Inc.’s video site YouTube.

Twitter’s new sharing tool is similar to a "retweet" button that another service called TweetMeme has offered publishers since early 2009. TweetMeme is teaming up Twitter on the new button.

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