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Twitter Launches New Explore Tab on Their App

exploreYesterday, Twitter began to roll out a new feature on their app starting with iOS users. With the new Twitter update comes a brand new tab called Explore which replaces the previous Moments tab. This new tab groups a wide variety of features together to make it a lot easier for users to search for trends, popular topics, and the latest news. By adding a tab that groups many features, Twitter is hoping to have an app that is easier for people to navigate.

 

The new tab, placed between the Home and Notifications tabs, is going to include a number of different features that were previously spread around the app. Inside of this tab, users will be able to find trending topics, the search feature, live video, and moments that would previously be found under the moments tab. Twitter has stated that the purpose of this change is not to get rid of anything that the app already has but to make it so that everything is more organized and easier to find. As Twitter has long been facing problems with the organization of the app and the website, making an update like this should be a step in the right direction.

 

This update comes after months of testing various organizational versions of the Twitter app. Twitter has been focused on making it easier for users to move through the site in a hope that this will encourage new users to stick with the site and to start using it more. After many different tests, Twitter discovered that the Explore tab was what most of these people seemed to like most as it put a lot of information and features in one place.

 

As this new section has replaced the Moments tab, many people see the switch as a step away from the importance of Moments within the app. Instead, it seems clear that Twitter will be prominently featuring live broadcasts. Since Twitter has spent a lot of money and time on securing live broadcasts of popular events, focusing more on these broadcasts is the next step toward utilizing these within their platform.

Snapchat Makes It Easy to Make Connections by Adding a Search Bar

searchFor a long while, users of Snapchat have been waiting for some kind of tool that they can use to easily go through snaps and find the ones that they might be interested in. While the app has been criticized in the past for having a confusing layout, it is clear that Snapchat is now making progress toward creating an app that is a lot more organized. On Thursday, a new update rolled out a new search function to many Android users.

 

While other social media features have had search bars for a very long time, Snapchat is new to the search function. By adding a search bar to their app, they have put themselves in line with the standards of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Users will now be able to look for friends, media companies, and search the app for things that might interest them on the whole. This feature adds a new level of accessibility to the app by allowing people to more easily use the app to connect with friends and with their favorite brands.  

 

The universal search has made it a lot easier for people to find new people to follow on Snapchat and to make it so that followers can find them as well. By using the search function, users are able to find people making different snaps about subjects that interest them the most. Snapchat hopes to use this new feature to encourage new users who may have been previously discouraged by the lack of a search feature.

 

In addition to this search function, Snapchat has been working on creating a much more organized layout on the whole. Part of this update has meant changing the layout so that Snapchat users are able to access their profile from any screen by tapping the ghost icon or Bitmoji. This makes it easier for Snapchat users to continue using this app without getting lost in the app altogether. With the new features as a part of this app, Snapchat may be able to quell complaints that focus on their layout being overly complicated or confusing.

An Edit Button for Twitter? It Might Happen in 2017

editWhile Twitter made a lot of different changes during 2016 one of the main criticisms by users was the fact that they didn’t make changes on highly requested items, such as an edit button that would allow users to make changes to tweets after these had been posted. Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey decided to start the new year by asking users what they want to see on Twitter. Of course the edit button was one of the main things to come up as usual. What is new, is Dorsey’s response to the idea.

 

In responses to several different Tweets about the edit button, Dorsey asked further questions about what users would like to get from this button and whether they wanted long term editing or just short term. He suggested that the edit button was something that he had been thinking a lot about and talked about perhaps allowing a short window of time for editing or a revision history for edits done later on. This makes it seem like Twitter is taking the possibility of this update seriously.

 

This has of course caused a great deal of excitement among Twitter users just because this is something that they have been asking for regularly. Users have stated that the edit button is necessary to help fix grammar and spelling mistakes and also for clarifying information that may get misconstrued while trying to stay within the 140-character limit. At this time, users are able to delete tweets, but often this is a bit of a hassle for a misspelled word.  

 

Now that Dorsey has admitted that the edit feature is something the site is beginning to consider, many people are starting to get excited over the idea. Some are theorizing that Twitter might be more open to user suggestions due to a disappointing year in 2016. With low user growth and job cuts within the company, it is clear that Twitter has been looking for changes. The edit button just might be a good one to add as it is a feature that competitors including Instagram and Facebook already have.  

Twitter Finally Launches Internal Live Video

live video streaming While Twitter was early to start on the development of live streaming within their social media platform, they just now have integrated this live video into Twitter itself. Twitter users can now broadcast live video directly from Twitter without installing Periscope or even having a Periscope account. This new update puts Twitter’s live video feature within Twitter in a way that makes it much more convenient to Twitter users.

 

In the past, there was some reluctance toward live streaming on Twitter as the process was over complicated. Users had to install the Periscope app and use this app to create live streaming videos. These would be shown on Twitter as well, but people watching the broadcasts couldn’t interact with the video. The new update changes this to make it so that Twitter users create live videos directly from Twitter.

 

One of the big changes with the update that rolled out earlier this week was not only to make it so that the video could be streamed live directly from Twitter, but also that viewers of the video would be able to interact with it more. Members of the audience can now respond to the video by making comments and sharing emoji. Tweets containing live streams may also be retweeted and shared making them a whole lot more versatile.

 

By adding this live streaming to their platform, Twitter is finally joining other social media sites in real competition for the live video market. Despite their head start with the acquisition of Periscope, the app was losing momentum long before the new update. This is because other social media sites like Facebook and Instagram released live video updates that made the live video streaming an internal feature that was easier to work with. Now that Twitter has integrated Periscope within its own app, they may be able to become more competitive in this area once again.

Twitter Takes a Stand Against Online Abuse

twitterIt is no secret that Twitter is a platform that has been experiencing a lot of problems with online abuse. A lot of recent data has come out showing just how badly this problem has started to effect Twitter users. In many cases, this causes Twitter users to leave the platform entirely.  In response to these problems, Twitter has started to roll out an anti-harassment update that will hopefully be the first step to getting control of this situation.

 

Twitter’s new update influences a few specific pieces of Twitter. Centered on the fact that many users said that abuse coming to them through notifications was the most disheartening, Twitter has updated its “mute” feature. While this feature previously made it so that specific accounts could be muted to specific users, it has now been extended so that users can select keywords and phrases that they don’t want to see in their notifications. This does not remove these items from the news feed yet, but does limit personal attacks. It also provides a way for users to drop out of ongoing conversations where they have been tagged.

 

Another update has been made directly to the way that tweets can be reported as abusive. Twitter is working to make this process much simpler by allowing users to choose from a few options to further elaborate on why a post is abusive. They have also trained their support teams to help them deal with harassment reports in a quicker and more sensitive way. The goal is to make the process of reporting tweets faster and more friendly.

 

Twitter’s new update is just one step toward getting control of abuse that happens over this platform. This social media site faces a common problem that comes from allowing open discourse and free speech while trying to avoid creating a hostile environment for everyone. The goal of this update is to help to make Twitter a much more welcoming platform. While they don’t expect major changes to come as a result of this first update, they are hoping that it will be the first step to much bigger changes.

Using Social Media to Predict Elections May Be a New Trend

social mediaAfter the surprising results of the election on Tuesday, many people were blindsided as the results were quite different from those predicted by traditional polls before the election. With this stunning turn of events, many have started to question the validity of traditional polls, turning instead to different ways of predicting upcoming results in elections. Some are suggesting that social media could be the best way to predict elections in the future.

 

Prior to the election, several articles came out suggesting that Trump would actually make a stunning win in the election. These articles used evidence gathered from different sources all connected to social media. In one case, a professor said that an algorithm he created predicted a win by Donald Trump. This algorithm utilized data available from Twitter that showed what people were talking about prior to the election. He had used this algorithm before with 95% accuracy to predict the 2013 Australian federal election and the 2015 Queensland election.

 

In another example, an artificial intelligence system predicted that Trump would win the election as well. This particular AI system takes a wide number of data points from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to create predictions on who will win. Earlier in the election process, the system was able to predict correctly the results of the presidential primaries. Since 2004 when this AI system was created, the system was able to predict the last three U.S. presidential elections. Now has correctly predicted this one as well.

 

There has been a great deal of success with just using social media alone as a predictor of who will win the election. While polls failed miserably at predicting the results of the election, other systems were able to predict the results by comparing the number of pro-Trump and pro-Clinton tweets in the months leading up to the election. There are some small failings in this kind of a predictor since computers are not always best at judging whether a tweet is for or against a specific candidate. Still there was much more success in predicting Tuesday’s election this way than through polling.

 

Analysts monitoring social media were able to predict the outcome of the election months in advance, while polls were still predicting an easy win for Hillary Clinton. Their data suggested that those who were responding to the polls may not be answering truthfully when confronted by a stranger on the phone. While these people may not have claimed to be voting for Trump or may have refused to answer polls, on social media they were able to speak their mind. This evidence suggests that in the future, social media may actually be the place to start when attempting to predict elections.

Looking to the Effects of Social Media in the Wake of Election Results

american flagAfter an unexpected win by Donald Trump in this year’s election, many people are starting to look into the way that social media played a role. Trump was a candidate with an undeniably large social media presence from the beginning. He received the most attention for his interactions on Twitter, but he was also present on other social media sites during his campaign. Reports from those tracking the campaign show that many supporters were able to find each other through social media and to follow campaigns through Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat.

 

Information after election day now shows us how social media has changed the way that people follow the election results and how they enter the discussion on candidates through social media. One of the key sites for election day interactions was Twitter. Between the start of election day and 3am the next day when Trump claimed his victory Twitter saw more than 75 million tweets that were related to the election. This is up from 2012, when there were only around 31 million tweets that were related to that election. It is clear from these statistics alone that more people are turning to social media when it comes to coverage of important events.

 

In a study that was conducted on how social media actually changes people’s opinions on a political subject, it was clear that social media can do more than just get people interacting with one another. The study discovered that 20% of social media users said they had changed an opinion about a social or political issue because of something they saw on social media.  Additionally, 17% reported that social media had changed their view on a political candidate. In the majority of cases, the view had changed for the worse rather than for the better.

 

Many people worry about the way that social media can effect discourse on different political subjects just because of the format of social media itself. Some argue that there is no room for educated and civil discourse when social media users are communicating in memes and in 140 character bursts. The interactions between people on either side of the political spectrum within social media, appear in general to be negative interactions that degrade quickly to name calling. There is also concern that social media gets people to focus more on scandals rather than on the policies of the candidates.

 

One thing is certain, social media appears to make political opinions and interactions much more present in people’s everyday life, making it harder for people to avoid looking at the different sides of the argument. Candidates and average citizens alike have the ability to interact in completely new ways throughout this discussion. Whether this is beneficial or problematic for political discourse in our country remains to be seen.

Twitter Begins to Tests Safari Reader Mode As a Default for Links

twitterTwitter is testing the use of Safari reader mode as their default for links within their site. Essentially what they have done is made it so that links from Twitter on some iOS phones default to open these links with the Safari reader mode this is already on the phone. This mode removes links, ads, and comments from these pages to simplify the page for reading. Twitter is still just in a testing stage with this and does not yet plan to release this to all iOS phones.

 

One of Twitter’s main claims about why they are working on testing this specific kind of a feature is that they would like to make opening links simpler for their users. Unfortunately, there are some flaws with the Safari reader mode itself. In many cases, when reader mode removes the visual formatting of a website it leaves behind text that is broken up oddly and awkwardly spaced. As Twitter is working to connect users to news sites, the mode may not be an ideal solution.

 

Reader mode isn’t something that comes from Twitter itself. This is something that Apple users could have enabled on their phone for many years now. It is a part of the Safari browser that is integral to the iPhone system. What Twitter is currently testing, is a way to enable this mode automatically when a link is clicked on within their social media site.

 

There has been some backlash about this testing from some of the news sites. These sites worry about loss of ad revenue because this mode eliminates the different ads from the page. Website owners are also concerned because they cannot customize specifically what people will see in this mode. Twitter users are also frustrated to hear of this testing because Twitter seems to once again be focusing on something that isn’t a main concern of their users. Twitter users still want to see an edit button for tweets and more control on abuse and trolling. The disconnect between what users want and what Twitter is up to is starting to become a big concern for Twitter users.

Twitter Makes Change to 140 Character Limit At Last

tweeting on twitterAfter their announcement about changes to character limits in May, Twitter users were left wondering when this was happening. Finally, some different changes were launched today. While the 140-character limit is still in effect, Twitter has gotten rid of many of the different items that used to count against it. The limit will no longer count videos, images, gifs, polls, and quotes, allowing users to have more free characters to use when Tweeting.

 

Some of the ways that this will effect Twitter users will be in the different ways they’ll be able to use Twitter. Users will now be able to provide context in replies since the quotes won’t count against you. They will also be able to add more visual pieces into Tweets in general. One of many users favorite changes is that they will no longer have to use a period prior to mentioning a name if they want that Tweet to go out to all of their followers.

 

With these many great benefits, it may come as a surprise that not all users are that excited about the changes. Many users have been pushing for these updates for a long while and are now looking for further updates. There are also some complaints that this won’t really make too much of a difference. These different elements didn’t take up too many characters before, so the lift on these counting toward Tweet length isn’t really that substantial of an increase. Many users are looking for more characters that they can use to express larger ideas.

 

While Twitter is probably making these changes to try and save its depleted user base, many are saying that this update is just too little too late. Such a small update is unlikely to be something that draws new users since those who weren’t interested in using Twitter before likely won’t be effected by this difference. Those who left already won’t be likely to come back just because of this change either. Twitter will just have to wait and see how these changes really end up effecting the number of Twitter users.

Twitter Updates Features to Attract Businesses

business communicationAs Twitter continues to fight to stay prevalent among other types of social media, it has been working on some new changes that will make it so that businesses can find new uses for the platform. Since many businesses already use Twitter, Twitter has been working on building different features that can make it so that these businesses will be able to communicate and work with their customers while using this social media platform.

 

In their new update, Twitter has added a few new features that can make it so that businesses can more easily use their Twitter accounts as a place where customers can come for customer support. They have added a customer service tag that businesses can add to their account to designate which account (if they have multiple) is the one that provides support. They have also made the message button on business pages larger so that people can easily find this button. In addition to these other changes, they have added an area where businesses can show support hours and time zones so that people know when a good time to contact them is.

 

Twitter has seen more and more companies offering support through social media so this is really the next step to make it so that businesses will be able to use Twitter in a much better way. The goal of the new changes is to make it so that Twitter is a good social media site for businesses to give support from. With many businesses doing this and customers looking for new ways to get support, this may be the best way for Twitter to encourage people to keep their accounts or to make new ones.

 

For large businesses that may already have multiple accounts on Twitter, the new features will be perfect for directing customers to the right account to send questions to. Those smaller businesses, will be given new ways to interact with their customers and by listing service hours they can set specific times to employ someone to answer these messages. With the new updates to business Twitter accounts, businesses will yet another avenue to communicate with customers.