Twitter

Twitter

Twitter Launches New Design

Twitter has a new web interface:

The social network has started rolling out a previously teased web redesign that, for starters, boasts a much simpler look — the three-column view is gone in favor of a simpler (not to mention more vivid) two-column layout. It’s thankfully about more than cosmetics, even if it doesn’t have everything users might like.

Twitter Is Relaunching the Reverse-Chronological Feed

Casey Newtom, writing for The Verge:

Twitter is offering users another escape hatch from its ranked timeline. The company said today that it will introduce a prominent new toggle in the app to switch from the ranked timeline to the original, reverse-chronological feed. The company says the move comes in recognition of the fact that Twitter is often most useful in real time, particularly during live events such as sports games or the Oscars.

Twitter Breaks Twitter for Third-Party Clients

John Gruber, writing at Daring Fireball:

My strong preference for Tweetbot, on both iOS and Mac, is simple: I prefer its user interface.

Tweetbot presents tweets and replies/mentions in a way that fits my mental model of what Twitter is. Tweetbot makes sense to me — in large part simply because it presents tweets in chronological order. Twitter’s iOS app does none of these things for me. I truly find it confusing. And Twitter no longer even fucking has a first-party native app for the Mac. I don’t want to use a website for Twitter. I want an app.

I think Twitter should reverse course on this whole thing.

I agree with Gruber on this entire thing. Now that Tweetbot can no longer stream tweets, but instead will show them after a one or two minute delay, the app is almost worthless while watching sports. Beside just getting pissed off at the news each day, that’s one of the main reasons I loved Twitter. I’ve never seen a service constantly shoot itself in the foot and alienate its most loyal users as much as Twitter has in the past year.

Rules Won’t Save Twitter. Values Will.

Kara Swisher, writing for The New York Times:

But by that measure, the rest of us plebes, including Mr. Jones, should probably get no protection if we err, no matter how much we rant that tweeting is a right under the First Amendment. It’s not, because Twitter is not the government and it can decide what and what not to host on its service. In any case, if you get kicked off Twitter, you can always unload your twisted mind on your very own website. And it cannot be said too many times that freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from consequence.

All this is not to say that fixing Twitter will be easy; in fact, I think at this point it is nearly impossible. Add to that the fact that this is a global issue, making it hard to have any consistent rules that address the complexity of the world and, really, its deep and abiding ugliness.

It’s time for Jack to leave as CEO. He failed at the most important tests for his company, time, and time again.

Twitter To Delete Fake Accounts

The New York Times:

Twitter will begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers on Thursday, signaling a major new effort to restore trust on the popular but embattled platform.

The reform takes aim at a pervasive form of social media fraud. Many users have inflated their followers on Twitter or other services with automated or fake accounts, buying the appearance of social influence to bolster their political activism, business endeavors or entertainment careers.

I wrote about this five months back and all I can say is: finally.

I Quit Twitter and It Feels Great

Lindy West, writing for The New York Times:

When you work in media, Twitter becomes part of your job. It’s where you orient yourself in “the discourse” — figure out what’s going on, what people are saying about it and, more important, what no one has said yet. In a lucky coup for Twitter’s marketing team, prevailing wisdom among media types has long held that quitting the platform could be a career killer. The illusion that Twitter visibility and professional relevance are indisputably inextricable always felt too risky to puncture. Who could afford to call that bluff and be wrong? So, we stayed, while Twitter’s endemic racist, sexist and transphobic harassment problems grew increasingly more sophisticated and organized.

I think about this all the time. There are times when I find Twitter indispensable (while watching a sporting event and following experts, or when huge news breaks), but at what cost?

Your Twitter Followers are Probably Bots

Elaine:

The New York Times had an interesting feature over the weekend in which it calls out various social media influencers for follower fraud. Many people who appear to have huge Twitter followings actually don’t, and their fans are in fact paid-for bots. Oooh, busted! Apparently there’s a class of people who make a career out of being popular on Twitter, and it is terribly scandalous that they are not as cool as they might seem. […]

The NYTimes analysis is compelling, but their target account selection was awfully limited. So I reproduced their Twitter tool to continue the investigation.

This is pretty cool. I’ve told this story before, but a few years back we ran a story on AbsolutePunk.net about how a certain band member in a certain band had most certainly paid for followers on Twitter. His (very mature) response was to buy a bunch of followers on my account. To this day I don’t really know how many were part of that (I tried to block and report a bunch of them at the time), but I do know that once my account got “verified” I see random, clearly bot, accounts start following me all the time.

Twitter Officially Recognizes Tweetstorms

Casey Newton, writing at The Verge:

Twitter’s tool for creating tweestorms is now an official part of the app. Threads, as the company is calling them, let you string together tweets by tapping a new plus button in the tweet composer. “A few weeks ago, we expanded our character count to make it easier for people to fit what they’re thinking into a Tweet,” the company said in a blog post. “But we know people also may want to serialize a longer story or thought, or provide ongoing commentary on an event or topic. That’s where this update to threads comes in!”

Yeah, so, about those Nazis tweeting though?

Twitter Rolls Out 280-Character Limit to Everyone

Twitter has announced, after their initial testing, everyone is now getting 280 characters to tweet with:

During the first few days of the test many people Tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behavior normalized (more on this below). We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.

I’ve found my brain just skips over most tweets that look “long.”

A Rogue Twitter Employee Shut Down Donald Trump’s Account

Casey Newton, writing for The Verge:

President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, @realdonaldtrump, disappeared from the site for around 11 beautiful minutes shortly before 7PM ET. It was not initially clear what happened to the account, and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a series of tweets issued by Twitter’s Government and Elections team, the company first blamed “human error,” then attributed the move on a rogue employee who used their last day on the job to boot the president off the service.

It was one of the best 11 minute stretches of 2017.

Twitter Testing Expanding Character Limit

Twitter is testing giving users 280 characters in tweets:

We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

I’m not a fan of this implementation. Quick thoughts:

  • The rampant abuse and harassment on Twitter is disgusting and remains unfixed. I have a small to medium following on Twitter and when something I tweet goes outside my little music community network, I can’t keep up with the shit that comes into my replies. And what I see is nothing compared to the hate speech thrown at other people on this platform on a daily basis. This should be the number one priority to fix; however, since Twitter needs their “active user” numbers to keep going up for Wall Street, I doubt it’ll ever be.1

  • An edit button for tweets seems like a clear need and a relatively easy add. Give a few minutes to edit right after posting and then include a history/version of edits after that so someone can’t edit a post later and change the entire meaning after it’s been quoted/embedded places.

  • Extra text should be added to a post in the same way a photo or video or link is added. Make it additional to the main tweet, easy to access/expand, and in plain text. This can cut down on tweetstorms and massive threads and still allow people to respond/get longer thoughts out. I’m not opposed to more characters in a tweet, I just don’t like this implementation.


  1. And they’ll never ban Trump, no matter how many threats he makes. He’ll be tweeting nuclear Armageddon and the last one posting.

Twitter Apparently Suspends Music Accounts Over Track List Leak

Brooklyn Vegan:

Twitter accounts for The FADER, Pigeons & Planes, 2DopeBoyz, and HipHop-N-More all appeared as suspended simultaneously today. Navjosh, editor of HipHop-N-More, explained that the suspensions were because Atlantic Records filed complaints with Twitter after the sites posted the track list to Young Thug’s new album, Beautiful Thugger Girls, before its release.

This is absurd if true.

Twitter Ditches the Egg

Twitter is getting rid of the egg avatar. Harry McCracken, writing at Co.Design:

Starting today, however, the egg is history. Twitter is dumping the tarnished icon for a new default profile picture–a blobby silhouette of a person’s head and shoulders, intentionally designed to represent a human without being concrete about gender, race, or any other characteristic. Everyone who’s been an egg until now, whatever their rationale, will automatically switch over.

I’m super excited to have these weird Dot candy looking silhouettes call me names.

The New Twitter @-Replies Suck

Sarah Jeong, writing for Motherboard:

Twitter has rolled out its new @-replies to me about three or four times now, ambushing me with its unspeakable badness on the iPhone app or web Twitter. Today it rolled out for everyone and it makes me want to throw all my devices at a wall.

Thank god for Tweetbot, because this is horrible.

Twitter to Hide Abusive Tweets

Twitter is once again rolling out new features to try and curb abuse on their platform. Kurt Wagner, writing at Recode:

There’s a general theme to all of these changes: Keep mean or abusive content out of sight. It’s the same approach Twitter used in August when it rolled out a feature so users could filter their notifications.

I dunno, I feel like there’s some low hanging fruit still out there. Like banning Nazis.