Category Archives: Twitter

Out-of-context Twitter accounts keep your favorite shows alive online

The joy of Parks and Recreation will never leave me, not even in the dark corners of Twitter. It’s a strange yet reaffirming thought for me and the other 166,000 people who follow the "out of context parks" account.

As its name suggests, the account takes scenes from the beloved NBC comedy and posts them without any context, leaving it up to the reader to interpret the meaning. 

pic.twitter.com/J9LiNdUEFj

— out of context parks (@nocontextpawnee) January 30, 2019

While not affiliated with the network or the show officially, it is still part of a burgeoning trend on the social media platform. Pop culture-based out-of-context accounts have been popping up all over the place in the last few years.  Read more...

More about Entertainment, Twitter, Social Media, Culture, and Web Culture

Why people leave a space after punctuation in texts

Communication in the digital age has plenty of strange trappings. Periods can seem aggressive; complete, punctuated sentences can read as uptight. And then there's the strange space that's seemed to pop up, more and more, between the last word of a sentence and its end mark.

You probably know someone who texts, chats, or tweets this way. Maybe you do it! As well as being a fully harmless phenomenon (a rarity on the internet), it's a habit that's easy to fall into when the people around you are doing it. But why put a space in the first place?

Thank you. I will !

Image: Mashable

The first and most obvious explanation is ... French. Yes, the whole language. In French, exclamation points, question marks, colons, and semi-colons (all forms of "high" punctuation) should always have a space preceding them. For example, if you wanted to text your friend about how much you hate being online, you'd say Je déteste être en ligne ! (In the typewriter era, these spaces were thin and non-breaking; now, they often take the form of standard spaces.) Read more...

More about Twitter, Texting, Relationships, Social Media, and Linguistics

Twitter launches its first podcast, ‘Character Count,’ focused on its ad business

Twitter today is joining the podcasting arena. This morning, the social network is launching its first-ever podcast series with a new show focused on Twitter’s advertising business, which it’s calling “Character Count.” The company says, for now, it’s testing the waters with five already-produced episodes of around 25 to 30 minutes in length. It plans to wait to record more shows after getting the crowd’s reaction to the first few episodes, so it can make adjustments if need be.

The podcast will be hosted by Joe Wadlington, a marketer at Twitter who’s specifically supporting Twitter’s Business initiatives.

Each episode will involve talking to people behind the scenes of some of Twitter’s advertising stories, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq), Dropbox (@dropbox), and Simon & Schuster (@SimonBooks). The companies will speak about how they built effective ad campaigns and why Twitter’s audience mattered to them. The goal, says Twitter, is to offer others in the industry a look into which brands are “doing it right on Twitter,” and potentially spark more brands to do the same.

The launch of the podcast arrives when Twitter is trying to shift Wall Street’s attention away from the network’s stagnant user growth. Twitter recently said it would stop reporting monthly users, in favor of daily users, as a result of its inability to grow this key number. The change was announced in Twitter’s Q4 2018 earnings release, where the company said it had lost another 5 million monthly users in the final quarter of 2018 bringing its total down to 321 million.

Instead, Twitter wants more attention on its ability to turn a profit from the users it does have – as it did in Q4 for the fifth quarter in a row, and the fifth time ever. Its Q4 revenues were $909 million, which were more than the expected $868.1 million and up 24 percent on the year ago quarter. Advertising accounted for 87 percent of those revenues, Twitter said. It’s no surprise, then, that Twitter now wants to help advertisers learn from others succeeding in this space and grow that figure further.

Twitter is not the only company that’s tapping into the popular audio format of podcasting to talk to advertisers and marketers more directly.

In January, Facebook also launched its first U.S. podcast with a series focused on entrepreneurship – the larger, unspoken goal being to position Facebook as a place where entrepreneurs come to advertise their business. And somewhat related, LinkedIn debuted LinkedIn Live, a new video broadcast service which gives people and organizations the ability to stream real-time videos to groups in a sort of cross between YouTube Live and video podcasting, perhaps.

Twitter, like Facebook and LinkedIn, will not be running other ads within its programming. That makes sense, as the podcast itself is effectively an ad for Twitter’s business and advertising tools.

New episodes will debut every two weeks on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, and Stitcher.

Another reason to fear Facebook: Trump admin considers using social media to deny you benefits

As if you needed another reason to stop posting on Facebook

The Trump administration is reportedly working in collaboration with the Social Security Administration to develop a plan for combing through social media posts for evidence — whatever that means — that those receiving certain types of government benefits should have those benefits denied. That's right, your 'gram-worthy vacation pics could soon cause you to lose your disability insurance benefits. 

So reports the New York Times, which cites "administration officials" as confirming that the White House is "actively" working on making this authoritarian fever dream a reality. The idea is not a new one, the Times notes, having been suggested in an earlier Social Security budget request, but this new reporting confirms that it's moved past the conceptual phase. Read more...

More about Facebook, Twitter, Donald Trump, Social Media, and Tech

Twitter’s new prototype app ‘twttr’ launches today

Twitter’s new prototype application is rolling out to the first group of testers starting today, the company announced this afternoon by way of a tweet. The app, which Twitter is calling “twttr” as a throwback to its original name, was first introduced at the CES conference this January. It aims to offer Twitter a more experimental testing space where the company can try out new ideas outside of its existing public network, gain feedback from testers, then develop new features as a result of what it learns.

Initially, the new twttr app will focus on testing new designs for conversations. As the company demonstrated at CES, the prototype app will show a different format for replies, where conversations themselves have a more rounded chat-like shape and are indented so they’re easier to follow. Engagements, sharing options and other tweet details are hidden from view in order to simplify reading through longer threads.

And, most notably, the different types of replies are color-coded to designate those from the original poster as well as those Twitter users you personally follow. This is meant to offer better visual cues to readers who are trying to follow a lengthier thread where often, side conversations take place, or the original poster jumps in to clarify things or respond to individual tweets.

Over time, Twitter may use the prototype app to test out other changes it wants to make to the product. For instance, the company has experimented with ideas around status update fields and icebreakers as your pinned tweet to encourage conversations.

Twitter has said not everyone will be accepted to the prototype app testing program. Only a couple of thousand of English and Japanese speakers will be invited, provided they follow Twitter’s Rules. However, no one is under NDA so testers will be able to discuss what they’re seeing on Twitter itself, which opens up the ideas to more feedback.

Twitter says the first group of testers will receive an email invite sometime over the next few days. Once received, users have to click a link to confirm their participation, then await another email invite from Apple’s TestFlight.

They can then download the new twttr app and use it instead of the main Twitter app, while tweeting about the new look using the hashtag #LetsHaveAConvo. Testers can also submit feedback through an online form.

The twttr app was already spotted in the wild before today’s announcement, but it hadn’t rolled out in large numbers at that time.

After all these years, Twitter is still trying to figure out how to improve conversations on its platform. Not only are they challenging to follow, visually speaking, they often devolve into trolling and abuse. That’s something other changes to the product may try to tackle, from enhanced reporting procedures to Twitter’s latest development of a “hide tweet” button.

The new prototype app isn’t immediately looking to solve the problems around online abuse – though as a side effect of redesigned conversation threads, comments that contribute to instead of detract from an online conversation could be better highlighted, perhaps.

But largely the app will focus on product changes where user feedback is critical, as in the redesign of conversations.

“The spirit of the [prototype testing program] is: can we just develop more in the public and bring people in earlier?,” explained Sara Haider, Twitter’s director of product management, in January. “We need more signal in the development process.”

As Twitter’s email to testers explains, the app will be “very much work in progress.”

“These test builds will not always have all the functionality you’re used to, and you’ll see some things appear — and maybe disappear,” it notes. A further FAQ about the program is here.

Twitter says those who haven’t yet applied to test the new app can still do so. Applications opened up last month, and remain open today.

The viral ‘Trashtag Challenge’ encourages people to clean up litter

There's a new viral challenge spreading across social media, and it's making the world a cleaner place.

The "Trashtag Challenge" is inspiring people on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit to take a walk outside and clean up any litter they stumble upon.

To participate in the challenge, simply seek out a litter-filled area or overflowing trashcan, clean it up, and share before and after photos online using the hashtag #trashtag. It's incredibly wholesome.

The hashtag has been around for years, and in 2015 UCO, a company that makes gear for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, even started the #TrashTag Project to inspire people to work together to pick up 10,000 pieces of trash in the wilderness by October 2016. But the movement gained traction again over the weekend, and reposts that explain the challenge, like this one from @thescientistfacts, are helping spread the word. Read more...

More about Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Social Media, and Web Culture

At long last, Welding Twitter gets its moment in the sun

Did you know Welding Twitter was a thing? Until recently I did not, but now I can imagine nothing lovelier than looking at a series of good welds.

The welders' much-deserved moment in the sun came last Friday. Twitter user @hotmessmaness, whose real name is Kasey, tweeted about the bad (male) welders she sees online. 

"Guys weld like this and have 'welder' in their bio," she wrote. 

Guys weld like this and have “welder” in their bio 💀😂 pic.twitter.com/e8C4iJiEGo

— Krazy Kasey (@hotmessmaness) March 8, 2019

Fortunately, it was the good welders, not the bad welders, who noticed Kasey's complaint. The replies to her tweet are now full of clean and smooth welds, as well as people complimenting each other on their welds.  Read more...

More about Twitter, Social Media, Welding, Culture, and Web Culture

Barack Obama tweets inspiring thread to celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women's Day is here, and to mark the annual celebration of women around the world, Barack Obama tweeted an inspiring thread.

"On International Women's Day, I’m reflecting on the future we all want for our daughters: one where they can live out their aspirations without limits," the former president tweeted before most people had their morning coffee.

Obama went on to say that he'd be celebrating today by highlighting "some of the women who are building that future for all of us today," and started a thread to highlight three women in particular.

On International Women’s Day, I’m reflecting on the future we all want for our daughters: one where they can live out their aspirations without limits. And I’m celebrating some of the women who are building that future for all of us today.

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 8, 2019 Read more...

More about Twitter, Politics, Culture, Social Good, and Social Media

Elon Musk and The Rock bonded over these cursed Photoshopped memes

Is anyone out there curious if Elon Musk lifts? Extremely unclear, but the tech leader is talking about it on Twitter anyway.

On Wednesday, Musk tweeted a disturbing collage of photographs that show his face Photoshopped onto The Rock's very fit body. He captioned the cursed images, "Yeah, I lift a little ..."

Yeah, I lift a little … pic.twitter.com/UAJdv8qSw1

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2019

While it remains unclear if Musk actually took the time out of his day to Photoshop his own face onto Dwayne Johnson's body, or simply shared a composite he found online, The Rock was touched. Read more...

More about Twitter, Memes, Photoshop, Elon Musk, and Social Media

10 ways you can show off your favorite tweets in the real world

Every once in a while a tweet so damn good comes along that it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, all the bad the internet has given us has been worth it.

It's rare for a tweet to spark so much joy that the "like" and "retweet" buttons don't do it justice. But whenever it happens I feel compelled to take some sort of action.

I've always been a fan of screenshotting extra special tweets to ensure I remember them long after they pass through my timeline, but these days there are far more charming, thoughtful, and highly amusing ways to immortalize a favorite tweet.

Image: screengrab via moonpie / Twitter Read more...

More about Twitter, Gifts, Social Media, Culture, and Web Culture