In beta for a while now, Twitter activated night mode in its official client today. From the ‘Me’ tab, tap the gear icon to ‘Turn on night mode.’ If you don’t see the night mode option, you may need to force quit Twitter first.
Turning night mode on.
Twitter has done a very nice job with night mode. The background is a dark blue-grey, icons and secondary text are a lighter, complimentary grey, links and certain other buttons are bright ‘Twitter blue,’ and plain text is white. The overall effect looks great. With so many apps I use everyday adding night modes and dark themes, an iOS system-level night mode feels like the natural next step.
Last week saw Twitter introduce Engage, a business-oriented analytics app for iOS. Twitter continued the roll-out of new features and products today with Twitter Dashboard, a free iOS account management app (US only) aimed at businesses that can also be accessed on the web. Dashboard, is designed to address the needs of small business in particular. According to The Twitter Small Business Blog,
Dashboard offers a single destination to get things done. It gives business owners a clear picture of what’s being said about their businesses, lets them schedule Tweets, and offers insights about their Tweet performance.
Dashboard will be familiar to anyone who has used the official Twitter client, with some interesting differences. The ‘Home’ tab defaults to a view called ‘About You’ instead of your timeline. ‘About You’ includes things like mentions, replies, tweets that use of your account name, and tweets with any other keywords that you add because you want to surface them in Dashboard. A second tab within the ‘Home’ view takes you to your timeline.
Dashboard also includes two unique tabs called ’Analytics’ and ‘Create.’ ‘Analytics’ includes some of the same information provided by Engage, but presented in a more summary fashion than in Engage. ‘Create’ serves the same purpose as a service like Buffer, allowing you to schedule tweets and save multiple drafts.
If you have used Twitter account management tools in the past, you’ll find that there is nothing revolutionary about the tools included in Dashboard. The benefit, however, is having these tools all in one place with a design that focuses on what people are saying about your business, which should make it easier for business owners to monitor what people are saying about their businesses on Twitter and also promote their businesses with Twitter.
Virtual stickers are all the rage on social networks and in messaging apps. Just two weeks ago, Apple jumped on the sticker bandwagon at WWDC with the upcoming version of the Messages app that will ship with iOS 10. This is not something particularly new (remember Gowalla?), but the pace of adoption seems to have accelerated in the past year with the growing popularity of apps like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.
Adding stickers to photos in Twitter.
Now Twitter is going all-in with hundreds of custom stickers and rotating seasonal sticker packs you can use to decorate photos. As reported by the The Verge this morning, Twitter will be rolling out stickers to all users in its official app over the next few weeks.
Twitter has its own special take on stickers. From within the official Twitter client, you will be able to
search them like hashtags. Tap on a sticker inside a tweet and you'll be taken to a new timeline that shows you how it's being used around the world.
It appears that stickers will be available through Twitter's official client only, which undoubtedly will be viewed by some people as yet another advantage of third-party Twitter clients, but I can't help but wonder if sticker-mania will have a net negative impact on third-party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific.
It’s easy to make fun of Engage, the analytics app launched by Twitter today. Using terminology like engagement, influencers, and verified users, Twitter isn’t doing itself any favors. But here’s the thing, Twitter is different things to different people. For some it’s a public forum for chatting with friends. For others, Twitter is a broadcast medium. For still others, Twitter is all about marketing. Engage is designed to help you maximize the reach of your tweets through analytics. If that’s not your thing, you may view the app as useless, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed out of hand.
What Engage does, it does well. This is not a replacement for your Twitter client, including because it pops up an alert offering to track your tweet stats in real-time after every post. Engage is more akin to a tool like Google Analytics.
Most of my time on the new Apple TV (probably around 90%) revolves around watching video (a combination of Plex, Netflix, Stan, iTunes or ABC iView). The final 10% is games and novelty apps like the hilarious GIFtv. The latest novelty app to catch my eye is Avian – a Twitter client.
But Avian is not a Twitter client like Tweetbot – that would be impractical for the Apple TV. Instead, Avian displays one tweet at a time, and literally places it on a map of the earth. You might be reading a tweet from the heart of New York City, and then Avian will surface a tweet from a user in Brazil, China, or New Zealand. As you transition from tweet to tweet, Avian zooms in and out, and rotates the map to the location of the tweet.
With an update released earlier today on the App Store, Twitter has extended integration with 3D Touch in their iPhone app (previously limited to quick actions on the Home screen) to peek and pop previews in the timeline and other sections of the app.
With the latest version of Twitter for iPhone, you'll be able to press on tweets, links, pictures, and profiles to bring up a 3D Touch preview of the content. By swiping a peek upwards, you'll also gain access to shortcuts to either share via direct message and iOS extensions or, in the case of profiles, mute, block, and report a user.
Twitter's extended 3D Touch support isn't as advanced as Tweetbot – for instance, peek and pop previews don't seem to work in the Notifications tab – but it's a step forward regardless.
You can get the latest version of Twitter for iPhone from the App Store.
Twitter announced some big changes today that are designed to encourage conversations and media sharing. The 140 character limit of a tweet becomes a more significant constraint as you add more ‘@names’ to a conversation or attach media to a tweet. The changes announced by Twitter, which go a long way toward addressing those constraints, will be rolled out over the coming months in Twitter’s own app and will be available to third-party Twitter clients.
Large group conversations on Twitter are hard. The more people you add to a thread, the fewer characters you have left to communicate with the group. With the upcoming change to replies, ’@names’ of up to 50 people will no longer count toward the 140-character limit of a tweet. The tweet will still be seen only in the timelines of the people @replied, but eliminating ‘@names’ from the character count should facilitate conversations among more people. I am happy to see this change overall, but I wonder whether Twitter has gone too far by allowing up to 50 ‘@names’ in a single tweet.
The change to ‘@names’ will also eliminate the quandary about what to do when you want to start a tweet with someone’s ‘@name’ that is not a reply. With the changes announced, these tweets will be treated like any other tweet and be visible to all of your followers, eliminating the need to use the convention of a period before an ‘@name’ to ensure that everyone who follows you sees the tweet.
When Twitter rolls out the changes announced, photos, videos, and GIFs will not count against the 140 character limit of a tweet, which should encourage the use of more media in tweets. The existing limits of four photos, or one video or GIF per tweet still apply. Links that are pasted into a tweet and not generated by attaching media will also still count against the 140-character limit.
Finally, Twitter announced that you will be able to retweet your own tweets. Though this struck me as strange at first, it eliminates the need for things like the ubiquitous ‘ICYM’ tweets and will allow you to share an @reply, which would normally only be visible to its recipients, with all your followers.
As first reported by MacRumors, Apple has today launched @AppleSupport, a support account on Twitter:
Apple today created an official Twitter support account to provide customers with tips, tricks, and tutorials about the company's product and services. One of the account's first tweets provides users with step-by-step instructions on how to turn lists into checklists in the stock Notes app on iPhone.
Apple's presence on social media is slowly but surely expanding. This is now the second support account that Apple runs on Twitter, following last October's launch of @AppleMusicHelp which provides help and tips relating to Apple Music.
Big news for those who are into sharing GIFs on Twitter: the company has announced today a GIF button that will make it easy to do so.
Whenever you’re composing a Tweet or Direct Message, you can search and browse the GIF library. So if you’re looking for the perfect cat yawn or dance move to express exactly how you feel, just click the new GIF button. You can search by keyword, or browse categories of different reactions like Happy Dance, Mic Drop, or YOLO.
The new button isn't available for everyone yet – as usual, it'll roll out "in the coming weeks". As Jack tweeted, it'll show up in the "Tweetbox" (I can't be the only one who misread that as Tweetbot at first).
In related GIF news, GIPHY is now integrated with Outlook on the web as well.