It’s been nearly seven years since Twitterrific 5 launched on the App Store, and so much about Twitter has changed since then. One major shift is the seismic increase in media shared on the platform; as our devices and data speeds have gotten faster, so too have the amount of GIFs, images, and videos we share online grown. While Twitterrific has certainly done its fair share of adapting for the times in previous updates, adding improved media controls and the like, today Twitterrific 6 introduces the most significant updates for the app’s media experience to date. There’s a new GIPHY integration, autoplaying videos and GIFs in the timeline, and a lot more. Added to that, users can now customize their Twitterrific experience in fresh ways thanks to additional themes, icons, and a new font.
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Linky is a tiny utility for iOS that I love. The app serves as an easy way to share to Twitter or Mastodon from the iOS share extension, and I use it every day to tweet MacStories articles or new episodes of Adapt. Used from Safari, the Linky share extension can automatically populate a tweet compose field with information from the site you’re viewing, such as its title, URL, and featured images. Linky’s ease of use makes it my favorite way to share content via tweets.
Earlier this week, Linky was updated with two new enhancements to its text shot feature. For years now the app has enabled easy creation of text shots for sharing portions of an article, or personal thoughts that exceed Twitter’s character limit. That text shot feature is now better than ever though thanks to the addition of highlighting and visual customization options.
After Linky has created a text shot – which happens upon activating the share extension when a portion of text is selected in Safari – you can tap that new image to enter editing mode. Inside editing mode, swiping over any portion of text in your text shot will cause it to highlight. This highlight can be one of five colors, and from the settings menu in the bottom-right corner you can choose whether the highlight is textured or solid. The feature is incredibly easy to use, and offers a great way to further call out certain words or phrases in a text shot.
Linky also offers an array of customization options for a text shot’s appearance. You can choose from one of six font options for the text, all of which look great; the background of the text shot can be white, sepia, gray, or black; you can also choose a minimalist theme or the default original. The added flexibility offered makes me far more likely to use text shots on a regular basis.
If you ever share clips of text you find online, Linky is hands-down the best way to do that. The app also includes support for multiple accounts, so you can tweet from several accounts at once, and offers annotation features for standard images. All told, I can’t recommend Linky highly enough.
Beginning today, Twitter users can add images, videos, and GIFs to their retweets / quoted tweets. The company is rolling out this new feature across Android, iOS, and Twitter’s mobile website; it’s not on desktop quite yet, however. Adding media to a retweet works just like you’d expect: tap the “retweet with comment” option and then choose the image or GIF icon in the toolbar.
This feature is long overdue for the service, and Twitter’s design implementation appears solid. Displaying media when quoting a tweet that doesn’t have any seems like it wouldn’t have been particularly hard, but the real challenge is in media tweets quoting media tweets. Twitter’s solution works well: when a tweet containing media is quoted, and you add media to your retweet, the original tweet’s content is condensed to fill a space that’s not much bigger than before, ensuring timelines don’t get too cluttered with endless stacks of media tweets quoting media tweets.
Presumably, third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific will be granted the ability to create quote tweets with media as well. Currently, each app has its own way of displaying these tweets: in tweets with media that quote more media, Tweetbot shows the original media, while Twitterrific shows that of the retweet; however, Tweetbot does display both forms of media when viewing a tweet’s Detail screen.
In addition to bringing media retweets to more platforms, it sounds like Twitter has some other enhancements already in the works for the new feature, such as increased interactivity with quoted tweets.
Another update is coming soon to make Retweets with media more interactive and easier to read … we’re also exploring more ways to help people express themselves. Stay tuned!
— Twitter Design (@TwitterDesign) May 6, 2019
Twitter already enables you to tap media thumbnails in quoted tweets to load that media in full, so it will be interesting to see what other interactivity the company plans to add in the future.
Stephen returns order to the podcast after two weeks away, Myke reads some Hex color codes and Federico turns on his hype machine.
Some interesting discussions about apps and using Twitter on this week's episode of Connected. You can listen here.
See it? Tweet it! Our updated camera is just a swipe away, so you get the shot fast. Rolling out to all of you over the next few days. pic.twitter.com/moOEFO2nQq
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 13, 2019
The new camera placement models that of Instagram, which has long enabled quick camera access via a horizontal swipe on your feed. Though this change for Twitter doesn't come with an entirely new feature, such as Stories, it does condense a couple existing features into an easier-to-access location.
Upon opening the new camera screen, you can tap the Capture button to snap a quick shot for tweeting, or hold down that button to record video clips that can be strung together and shared as a single video – both of these features existed before in the tweet compose screen, but they'll now be more prominent than ever. The new camera interface also grants quick access to Twitter's live-streaming feature, which previously was also limited to the compose screen. The idea here is that sharing photos, video, or livestreams of current happenings should be as seamless as possible.
As demonstrated in the video above, photos and video captured by the new camera are formatted in a special way. Casey Newton of The Verge describes the new look: "Once you’ve snapped your image, a colorful chyron appears on top, ready to add an optional location and caption. You can change the chyron from the default blue to one of five other colors."
Though Twitter's new camera doesn't bring with it big feature changes, it does serve as a key indicator of direction for the company. By providing a new, prominent method for accessing the camera, Twitter is signaling that it likely has more camera-focused moves up its sleeve for the future.
Every few months, I like to use Twitter's official app for iPhone and iPad for a while and reassess its advantages over third-party clients, as well as its shortcomings. This is something I've been doing for several years now. While I've often come away unimpressed with Twitter's native offerings, switching back to Tweetbot or Twitterrific after a couple of days, it's been a week since I started using the official Twitter app on my iPhone and iPad again and I don't find myself craving Tweetbot's UI design or timeline as much as I thought I would.
In an interesting move that highlights Twitter's recent efforts to develop its product more openly, soliciting feedback from its user base, the company invited The Verge's Casey Newton to a meeting where it shared details on a handful of new features it's working on.
A new design that more clearly indicates how to reply to tweets was one project in the works. Current prototypes resemble the sort of UI found on Facebook and Instagram, with a reply button indented underneath tweets. Related to that change, and in another modeling of other popular social networks, the UI for threads is being worked on to better resemble a conversation rather than a string of individual tweets.
hey Twitter. we've been playing with some rough features to make it feel more conversational here. presence and reply threading. still early and iterating on these ideas. thoughts? pic.twitter.com/3U3NvpHWPy
— sara haider (@pandemona) August 31, 2018
One of my favorite ideas from those shared with The Verge was something Twitter calls "ice breakers." Newton writes:
Another feature Twitter is considering is a twist on the pinned tweet designed to promote conversations. The company showed me a design that would let you pin an “ice breaker” to the top of your profile to let people know you wanted to talk about something specific. The company’s design director, Mike Kruzeniski, told me it could help Twitter users channel their followers’ enthusiasm into discussions they wanted to have — whether it be about a new project, a current event, or some other item of interest.
The current implementation of pinned tweets is fine, but I love the idea of conversation starter tweets that can be changed up over time as users’ interests and desires for connection change.
Finally, presence indicators and status indicators are two similar features that would, respectively, let the world know when you're online and ready for conversation, and share a status within your status such as “at WWDC19.” While I'm generally not a fan of presence indicators, according to Newton Twitter’s will be entirely optional, which I appreciate. If the feature were used sparingly enough, it could be a replacement for the standard AMA (“ask me anything”) tweets that are common when a user is free and open for conversation. Most likely though, Twitter will activate presence indicators by default for all users, making that specific use case doubtful.
None of these changes are set in stone, so be sure to make your voice heard if you feel strongly about any of them. As Twitter’s Sara Haider told Newton:
“Coming up with a product in a silo and dumping it on people is not going to work,” she said. “Some people are going to love it. Some people are going to hate it. We want to understand what people’s feedback is, and then tweak and iterate on the product.”
TechCrunch has confirmed that Apple is expanding how its September 12th keynote can be consumed. In years past, Apple keynotes were limited to streaming in Safari and the Apple Events app. This past summer, Apple expanded browser-based streaming to include Firefox and Chrome.
— Apple (@Apple) September 10, 2018
Yesterday, Apple began offering reminders of its event via Twitter, which the company has done in the past. As Sarah Perez of TechCrunch notes, however, the wording for tomorrow’s event was a little different:
Instead of saying “follow” the event on Twitter, the tweet says “…watch the #AppleEvent live on Twitter.” (Emphasis ours).
Watch implies a live stream, and the tweet itself featured an animated GIF as another hint.
That wording kicked off speculation that Twitter would stream the keynote, which TechCrunch and other media outlets have since confirmed.
Apple will hold its special event at the Steve Jobs Theater tomorrow at 10 a.m. PDT. Besides the Apple Events app and Twitter livestream, the event will be available on apple.com.