Posts tagged with "twitter"

TwIM: Instant Messaging Built on Twitter Direct Messages

Last December, BuzzFeed reported that Twitter built and killed a messaging app. It wasn’t the first time rumors circulated that Twitter was working on a messaging app, but for whatever reason, none has ever been released. That left a void that developer Andrew Hart has filled with his new iPhone app TwIM, a modern messaging app built on top of Twitter DMs.

There’s a lot of friction involved in trying a new messaging service. Not only do you have to want to try the service, but you have to convince friends or family to try it too or you'll have no one with whom to chat. That’s a significant disadvantage that TwIM sidesteps for anyone whose contacts are already on Twitter. What’s more, TwIM sets itself apart from the built-in direct messaging functionality of other Twitter clients with better content handling and support for the latest iOS features like Siri, interactive notifications, and 3D Touch. That gives TwIM a shot at appealing not only as a messaging app, but to anyone who wants a better direct messaging experience.

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Twitter Introduces New Tools to Combat Harassment

After years of being accused of apathy toward the harassment and abuse that takes place on its platform, Twitter has so far marked 2017 with a stronger commitment to creating a safer environment for everyone.

Last week, Twitter announced a change to the way abusive tweets could be reported. Previously, if a user had blocked you, it would be impossible to report that user's tweets as abusive or harmful, but that's no longer the case.

Today Twitter introduced three more changes:

Stopping the creation of new abusive accounts:
We’re taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts. This focuses more effectively on some of the most prevalent and damaging forms of behavior, particularly accounts that are created only to abuse and harass others.

Introducing safer search results:
We’re also working on ‘safe search’ which removes Tweets that contain potentially sensitive content and Tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. While this type of content will be discoverable if you want to find it, it won’t clutter search results any longer. Learn more in our help center.

Collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets:
Our team has also been working on identifying and collapsing potentially abusive and low-quality replies so the most relevant conversations are brought forward. These Tweet replies will still be accessible to those who seek them out. You can expect to see this change rolling out in the coming weeks.

These changes follow a series of tweets at the end of last month by Twitter's VP of Engineering, Ed Ho, who claimed the company is committed to "moving with more urgency than ever" to make Twitter a safer place. Ho tweeted again as today's changes were announced and reinforced that these actions represent just the beginning, and more changes would be made to the service in the coming days.


Twitter Moves Trending, Moments and Other Features to New Explore Tab

Twitter has replaced the Moments tab in its official app with an Explore tab. Moments are collections of tweets on a particular topic that are picked by Twitter editors. Moments haven’t gone away, but they’ve been moved under the new Explore tab along with ‘Trending Now’ and ‘Explore More’ sections, and live video. Explore is also where you go if you want to search Twitter.

According to Twitter’s blog:

Over the past year, we’ve been exploring different ways to make it simpler for people to find and use trends, Moments, and search. During our research process, people told us that the new Explore tab helped them easily find news, what’s trending, and what’s popular right now.

Although the Explore tab is only now being rolled out to all Twitter users, it has been in testing and available to some users for a few months. Twitter says the new Explore tab is being made available to iOS users today and will be available to Android users in the coming weeks.

Fabric Acquired by Google

Fabric, a suite of developer tools owned by Twitter, is being acquired by Google and will become part of Google's Developer Product Group, working with Google’s Firebase team. According to Francis Ma, Firebase Product Manager:

As a popular, trusted tool over many years, we expect that Crashlytics will become the main crash reporting offering for Firebase and will augment the work that we have already done in this area. While Fabric was built on the foundation of Crashlytics, the Fabric team leveraged its success to launch a broad set of important tools, including Answers and Fastlane. We'll share further details in the coming weeks after we close the deal, as we work closely together with the Fabric team to determine the most efficient ways to further combine our strengths.

It appears that Google is clearly interested in Crashlytics, Fabric’s crash reporting tool, but has left open the extent to which the other components of Fabric will be incorporated into the Firebase toolset.

Twitterrific Adds Enhanced Media Browsing with Center Stage

Twitterrific 5.16 is out with a new media browsing feature called Center Stage. The feature, which has multiple entry points in the app, lets you dive into images, GIFs, and videos without losing where you were reading in your timeline. I like the design of Center Stage a lot and appreciate that it's been thoughtfully implemented to enhance the Twitter reading experience without getting in the way.

Center Stage is a parallel way to browse Twitter focused primarily on media. One way to get started with the new feature is from the top of your timeline. If you tap the icon to the right of the search box that looks like as stack of photos, the most recent media in your timeline will animate into view from the bottom of the screen on a dark translucent backdrop with the related tweet at the bottom of the screen.

To navigate Center Stage, you swipe left or right through media. The options for interacting with tweets in Center Stage are more limited than from your regular timeline, but you can still retweet and like tweets. Depending where you enter Center Stage, a rewind button will appear on the left or right that takes you to where you began browsing media. In addition, tapping on the screen hides onscreen controls so you can focus on the media without any distractions.

From Center Stage, swipe down to dismiss the tweet and tap to hide controls.

From Center Stage, swipe down to dismiss the tweet and tap to hide controls.

The tweet at the bottom of Center Stage can be dismissed with a downward swipe leaving just the media. When a tweet is dismissed, the Center Stage icon appears in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. That’s because dismissing the tweet takes you out of Center Stage and into the standard media-preview mode. Tapping or swiping a media preview closes the view and returns you to your timeline. To jump back into Center Stage from preview mode, just tap the Center Stage icon. You can also exit from Center Stage and return to your timeline by tapping the close icon in the top-left corner of the screen or tapping the tweet at the bottom of the screen.

Another way to enter Center Stage is from a media preview. Instead of scrolling to the top of your timeline, you can preview something from anywhere, tap the Center Stage icon, and the related tweet will animate into view, ready for you to swipe through the surrounding media. Center Stage is also available from user profiles. If you tap on a media thumbnail in someone’s Twitter profile, Center Stage opens, immediately allowing you browse among the photos, GIFs, and videos someone has posted with the added benefit of the related tweets.

Timeline, media preview, and Center Stage modes.

Timeline, media preview, and Center Stage modes.

Center Stage is great for casual browsing of media in your timeline, but I expect I will use it most at events like WWDC. When I’m in San Francisco for Apple’s developer conference, I don’t want to miss friends’ photos and videos of the event, but I also don’t have time to read every tweet in my timeline. With Center Stage I can go straight to those photos and videos and dip into my timeline later when I have more time.

The Iconfactory has raised the media browsing bar among third-party Twitter clients with Center Stage. The feature does a fantastic job of working hand in glove with the traditional browsing experience, enhancing and supporting it rather than getting in the way.

Twitterrific is a free download on the App Store with In-App Purchases for certain features.

Twitter Announces New Steps to Combat Abuse

Twitter announced steps it has taken to curb abuse on its service. The first is an extension of the mute feature. The ability to mute an account has been available for a long time, but Twitter is adding the ability to mute keywords, phrases, and conversations in notifications. The feature will begin rolling out world-wide to all users ‘in the coming days.’

With respect to reporting abuse, Twitter says:

Our hateful conduct policy prohibits specific conduct that targets people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. Today we’re giving you a more direct way to report this type of conduct for yourself, or for others, whenever you see it happening. This will improve our ability to process these reports, which helps reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse, and helps to strengthen a culture of collective support on Twitter.

Finally on enforcement, Twitter reports that it has retrained its support teams, is instituting refresher training, and has introduced new internal tools and systems for combating abuse.


Twitter Automates Customer Service Direct Messages

Twitter revealed two new features for businesses that use direct messaging as a customer service channel – welcome messages and quick replies. Welcome messages are automated responses to customers who direct message companies. Quick replies present customers with a series of choices to reduce text input and, according to Twitter, are designed to work alongside welcome messages to speed up the customer service process.

Twitter’s Advertising Blog explains that:

These features are designed to help businesses create rich, responsive, full-service experiences that directly advance the work of customer service teams and open up new possibilities for how people engage with businesses on Twitter.


Twitter Is Shutting Down Vine

Earlier today, from the Vine company blog:

Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold. Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app.

Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today. We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website.

Vine had the best seconds-to-laughs ratio of any modern social network. Its constraints bred a unique form of creativity I'm sad to see go away.

See also, this story by Brian Feldman:

Most important, the engines of this creativity were groups poorly served by, and often shut out from, mainstream cultural creation and consumption. Vine wasn’t just dominated by teenagers — it was dominated by teenagers of color. Especially black teens, who created a disproportionate number of popular Vines and used the social network to demonstrate wit, intelligence, creativity, and comic timing that was rarely given a spotlight elsewhere. That included dance trends like the yeet.


Tweetbot Updated with Support for Longer Tweets

When Twitter rolled out support for longer tweets yesterday, we mentioned that Tweetbot – the popular third-party client – would soon support the new format natively. Tapbots has released updates to the iOS and macOS apps today that let you view and create longer tweets (where media, polls, and quotes don't count against 140 characters) without having to rely on Twitter's official app. You can get the iOS update here.