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Posts tagged with "twitter"

Twitter Gives Tweets More Room to Breathe

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.

Apple Launches @AppleSupport Account on Twitter

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.


Twitter Adds a GIF Button

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.


Twitter’s Algorithmic Timeline Option

Following a BuzzFeed report from last week, Twitter has announced today a new option to view a summary of relevant tweets on top of the regular timeline. Unlike the traditional reverse chronological order of the timeline, tweets will be reordered algorithmically in this view, which Twitter describes as a way to not miss "the best tweets".

You follow hundreds of people on Twitter — maybe thousands — and when you open Twitter, it can feel like you've missed some of their most important Tweets. Today, we're excited to share a new timeline feature that helps you catch up on the best Tweets from people you follow.

Here's how it works. You flip on the feature in your settings; then when you open Twitter after being away for a while, the Tweets you're most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order. The rest of the Tweets will be displayed right underneath, also in reverse chronological order, as always. At any point, just pull-to-refresh to see all new Tweets at the top in the live, up-to-the-second experience you already know and love.

For now, the feature will be opt-in, meaning you'll have to visit the Settings of the Twitter app and, if available, you'll be able to turn on the option. "In the coming weeks", the feature will become opt-out (it'll be on by default) but you'll still be able to turn it off from the Settings.

Put it another way: for now, only die-hard Twitter users will check out the new timeline option (and complain about it). In the future, most Twitter users will end up with an algorithmic summary of tweets at the top of their timeline and they won't bother to turn it off.

I'm not particularly opposed to the idea of an algorithmic addition to the standard Twitter timeline. In fact, Twitter has been testing one for several months now, and it's one of my favorite touches in the app:

From Twitter's description, it sounds like the new algorithmic option is an expansion of the 'While you were away...' recap. I've found plenty of value in these summaries: especially after I've been away for a few hours, they come in handy to see a collection of interesting tweets that don't necessarily contain links (and that therefore can't be monitored by Nuzzel).

I don't want the traditional Twitter timeline to be supplanted by a completely algorithmic feed, but I'm also in favor of testing new tools to help people use Twitter more and more easily. As I wrote before, the majority of Twitter users don't spend hours carefully scrolling their timeline to read every single tweet; a summary is an obvious idea to show them interesting content they may have not seen.

Right now, I don't have access to the timeline option yet, but it should be rolling out soon. It's too bad that this option won't likely be exposed to third-party clients via the Twitter API, but, alas, I'm not surprised by that anymore.

Twitter for iOS Gets Native Periscope Stream Playback

This morning, Twitter announced a new Periscope integration with the official Twitter app on iOS: starting today, users will be able to start watching Periscope live streams directly from the Twitter app without having to jump to Periscope.

From the Periscope blog:

Since launch, there have been over 100 million broadcasts created on Periscope. Whenever a broadcast is shared on Twitter, you tap the link to open the Periscope app. Today, we’re replacing those links with the broadcast itself, autoplaying right within the Tweet. And when you tap the video, it goes full-screen and shows Periscope comments and hearts from other viewers. You don’t need the Periscope app or even a Periscope account.

And here's Casey Newton, writing about the new integration at The Verge:

In-line Periscopes are designed to look like a hybrid between the two platforms. "This brings the Periscope format to people who have never experienced Periscope, or don’t know what Periscope is," says Aaron Wasserman, a Periscope engineer. Tap a video in the stream and it will expand and begin to play sound. You can view the comments and hearts inside a broadcast on Twitter, but if you want to comment or send hearts yourself you’ll have to tap a button to open it inside Periscope.

At the same time, you can interact with the broadcasts the same way you can with other tweets: liking them, retweeting them, or replying to them. That last one is important: Periscope broadcasts are limited to 100 commenters; Twitter replies mean that big broadcasters are likely to hear directly from more viewers.

According to Periscope, they're also considering an option to store some streams permanently for preservation purposes. The Twitter timeline keeps gaining media previews and integrations that aren't available in other clients – I think native Periscope playback for streams makes a lot of sense.


On Twitter Going Beyond 140 Characters

Earlier today, a report by Re/code's Kurt Wagner indicated that Twitter is building a feature to let users share text updates longer than 140 characters:

Twitter is building a new feature that will allow users to tweet things longer than the traditional 140-character limit, and the company is targeting a launch date toward the end of Q1, according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. Twitter is currently considering a 10,000 character limit, according to these sources.

Re/code first reported about the feature in September, noting how it would enable users to share long-form content on the service.

After much speculation on Twitter and tech blogs this afternoon, Twitter's own Jack Dorsey weighed in, funnily enough, with a textshot – a screenshot of text apparently taken from the Notes app on iOS (as Jason Snell points out, a popular way to share text beyond 140 characters).

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Twitter for Mac 4.0

Every couple of years, I find myself writing that Twitter for Mac hasn't been abandoned.

Today's one of those days again, as Twitter has released version 4.0 of its new Mac client with design changes and support for some of the new Twitter features.

Here's Jason Snell:

The new app supports inline video playback, animated GIFs, group DMs, muting, and tweet-quoting support, all major Twitter platform features that previously weren’t supported by the Twitter for mac app. Previously, you had to click on a quoted tweet URL to view that tweet—not fun—and on a tweet URL to open a browser window to watch video or animations. Yuck. This is much better.

That's good news, of course, but the problem is – it looks like Twitter shipped a ton of bugs and regressions in this release, while still missing some of the latest additions for mobile platforms and the web. From a quick scan of my timeline today:

I've seen dozen of other people lamenting poor performance, odd behaviors on OS X, and random bugs with Twitter accounts. That doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, especially after you read that the app was apparently outsourced to developers outside of Twitter. Even more baffling: Twitter Moments – one of Twitter's biggest product releases of 2015 that got its own (confusing) TV commercial – aren't supported in the new Mac app.

That's disappointing, but I find some solace in the fact that I'll get to write about these bug fixes in 2017.


Nuzzel 2.0 Brings Favorite Feeds for Topics, New Search and Discover Features

In addition to my Twitter client1, Nuzzel is the other Twitter-based app I use every day, whenever I have a moment to check the news. With version 2.0, launching today for iOS, Android, and the web, the team at Nuzzel is hoping to expand the scope and utility of the service beyond Twitter and tweets from the timeline, with new ways to provide content to logged out users and discover articles inside the app.

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Twitter Teases New Twitter for Mac Coming Soon

At its Flight developer conference earlier today, Twitter showed a brand new version of Twitter for Mac – the company's neglected desktop client – coming soon with a refreshed design and modern Twitter features. In addition to a revamped look (see screenshot above), the new app will include inprovements to Direct Messages in line with the mobile versions, such as group DMs and the ability to share photos and large emoji in private conversations. Also, the next Twitter for Mac seems to offer a dark mode.

Twitter for Mac has been ignored for a long time. Even if I'm not using my Mac as my primary computer anymore, I'm curious to see what Twitter – now under Jack Dorsey's guidance (who was in an apologetic mood today) – does with it.