Publishers may soon find Highlighter, the new digital sharing tool launched July 19, to be an invaluable resource for accessing their audience’s reactions and interactions of their content.

Highlighter is a free plugin that allows users to highlight or annotate text from a site and then share it with friends on Facebook and Twitter, the idea being to give every Highligher-equipped blog or website a measure of social media interactivity.

For publishers, bloggers, and writers, Highlighter provides detailed analytics on which parts of your content are being highlighted and shared. The functions allow for a simple and efficient two-way conversation between publishers and their audience, with the intention being to increase users’ page views and time spent on the website.

Highlighter is the brainchild of Josh Mullineaux, Matt Blancarte, and Nate Whitehill, who previously founded Unique Blog Designs, a web and blog design company with over 35,000 publishing clients. This vast interaction with publishers led to the seed that became Highlighter.

“We were approached by a client and good friend of ours to create a plugin for his blog that would enable him to keep notes and annotations to help him when he's writing,” said Mullineaux. “When we were initially discussing it with him, we thought it would be a great tool, however being that we are all veracious readers, we thought, "What if readers could see the notes and annotations that the publishers were making and they could respond to those thoughts and also make their own? That would be awesome!"

For Mullineaux and his partners, Highlighter was created to give all publishers access to advanced tools to make their content more social and more dynamic. “We also realized that the publishers of long form documents, like e-books etc, do not have access to all of the web publishing tools that we have been used to for years,” continued Mullineaux. “Their content isn't nearly as social as it could be, it isn't as engaging, and they have no idea how people are interacting with their content. Therefore, we developed Highlighter, to create a dynamic relationship between publishers and readers.”

If digital users choose to embrace the Highlighter plugin, it could be a huge step forward in streamlining online content.