Tag: tweets

How Twitter is Driving Tweet Exposure and Virtual Hangouts

It’s hard to believe more than seven years ago Snapchat unveiled “Stories,” a feature allowing consumers to string together images and videos into a digestible, diary-esque sequence that would disappear after 24 hours. It proved so popular that several other prominent players including Instagram and LinkedIn created their own Stories doppelgängers.

Most recently, Twitter is carving its name in this space. Last month Twitter introduced its own take on stories—fleeting tweets called Fleets. Now it’s making it easier to share Tweets inside stories on other platforms.

Integrating Tweets into Instagram and Snapchat

In the latest move, users can transform Tweets into stickers within Snapchat, with the ability to customize content with other traditional creative elements found across other versions of Stories including captions, filters, and Bitmojis. Previously, if someone wanted to share a tweet on Snapchat, they’d have to resort to taking a screenshot of it and manually inserting it as an image, without having access to any of Snapchat’s camera or editing features for added flair.

Here’s the full breakdown:

  • Tap the share icon on a Tweet (it must be public — not a protected tweet)
  • Select the Snapchat icon at the bottom of the share menu to create the sticker. This will open directly to your iOS Camera and generate an immovable sticker if you are already signed in and not in the process of creating a separate Snap
  • Take your Snap — either photo or video — and customize with captions and Snapchat Creative Tools including your Bitmoji, Cameo and Filters
  • Select the blue “Send” button to distribute to individual friends or groups
  • Once shared, the Snap will link back to the Tweet  thread on Twitter where you can see the whole conversation

Outside of Snapchat, Twitter also revealed it will soon launch a small test of a similar feature to let iOS users share tweets in Instagram Stories.

Doubling down on virtual experiences and live video

In the virtual hangout realm, Twitter also announced its acquisition of the video app Squad. Per TechCrunch, the startup’s co-founders, CEO Esther Crawford and CTO Ethan Sutin, along with the rest of Squad’s team will now join Twitter’s team across its design, engineering and product departments.

Similar to the likes of Houseparty, Squad allows groups to connect with each other in real-time but the key differentiator that helps it rise above the noise is screen-sharing. As shown in this example, any chat participant can share their screen which can spur discussion around other platforms and content forms including private messages. Put differently, the objective here is context and facilitation of broader discussion around Tweets.
Squad will help Twitter “bring new ways for people to interact, express themselves, and join in the public conversation,” Twitter VP of Product, Ilya Brown, shared in a tweet.

Earlier this year, the startup noted that its usage had increased 1100% as a result of the lockdowns due to the global pandemic. It also garnered $7.2 million in venture capital from First Round, Y Combinator, betaworks, Halogen Ventures, and ex-TechCrunch editor Alexia Bonatsos’s Dream Machine amongst several other investors.

The future of multi-participant chat

2020 was a case in point that to succeed, platforms must innovate and provide new functionality to expand app usage. Tools including interactive Q&As, live chats, gaming, and livestreaming are golden tickets to ensuring longevity for their ability to help both creators and brands achieve more personal forms of entertainment and monetize their offerings.

While the future of Fleets may be uncertain, Twitter’s acquisition of Squad feels like a step in the right direction to standing the offering up. Connection to real-time trends and close friends is tablestakes in today’s landscape and perhaps this move will open the floodgate for a revamp of Twitter’s app. For instance, a dedicated tab emphasizing video clips and discussions via Squad. With the angle of simple, multi-participant chat, it also ticks another important box regarding consumers craving more intimate interactions that are welcomed versus those that are forced and disruptive.

Image credit via TechCrunch

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How Twitter is Creating a More Human Experience Through Audio

If in this period of social distancing you’ve grown tired of typing, Twitter has some good news. In a new update, you can record your voice and share that audio as a tweet to your followers. A perk? These can also be listened to as you multi-task such as checking email or working on a document — comparable to a micro podcast.

For those keeping tabs, this isn’t Twitter’s first foray into the audio space. In 2018 it launched audio-only live streams in its native platform as well as Periscope and just last month, its design team shared a mock-up of audio tweet display options that they called “Hear and Now.”

Adding a human touch to conversations

“Over the years, photos, videos, gifs, and extra characters have allowed you to add your own flair and personality to your conversations. But sometimes 280 characters aren’t enough and some conversational nuances are lost in translation,” explained Maya Patterson, Staff Product Designer, and Rémy Bourgoin, Senior Software Engineer in the blog announcement. Put simply, sometimes you just want to say what you have to say versus trying to get the tone exactly right in a written out tweet. There’s a lot that can go unsaid or uninterpreted via text, so the platform’s goal with the newest offering is to bring a more human experience to conversations.

Adding 140-second audio clips to tweets

To start, ensure you have the latest version of Twitter installed on your iPhone then open the app. If you’re included in the platform’s beta group, you’ll be able to see a purple wavelength icon next to your camera icon when you begin a new tweet. Once you select the wavelength icon, you’ll then be able to tap a red microphone icon — over a photo of your profile picture — where you can begin to record your voice. Each audio tweet can last up to 140 seconds — or two minutes, 20 seconds. If you exceed the time limit, the app will create a new recording, stringing together a thread of voice tweets.

When you’re finished, hit “Done” in the top right corner. For some added flair, add any contextual words, photos, or GIFs before sending out your tweet to your timeline. To listen to your tweet or someone else’s, just tap the image in your timeline. The audio will appear like an embedded video with a start and pause option with your profile image as the visual. If you’re using an iPhone, the video will be displayed in a new window so you can listen while you scroll through other tweets. The process, as described in the official announcement, really is not all that different from tweeting with text.

A couple of caveats to note: audio tweets will keep playing in the background if you happen to switch to another app and you can’t include audio tweets in replies or retweets with a comment — only original tweets.

Moerdation hurdles

In a recent tweet thread in conversation with accessibility advocates, Twitter software engineer Andrew Hayward revealed the company doesn’t have a team dedicated to accessibility, instead they rely on employees who volunteer their time above and beyond their usual duties. A separate spokesperson for the platform, in a statement to The Verge reiterated that the concerns are heard and that Twitter is committed to building out its advocacy resources across all products including a more stringent accessibility review and establishing a more “more dedicated group” to focus on the problem.

“We missed around voice Tweets, and we are committed to doing better — making this feature more accessible and also all features in the future. We’re constantly reviewing both the functionality of our products and the internal processes that inform them; we’ll share progress in this area.” the company shared. With the influx of audio content online driven by podcasting, this won’t be the last time accessibility comes to the forefront of decisions and it’s critical that they listen to their audiences with empathy so they can ensure an equitable and meaningful experience for all.

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How The World’s Leading Brands Are Crafting Highly Engaging Campaigns on Twitter

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the year 2014. Twitter is eight years old and primarily represents an alternative to micro-blogging, compelling users to fit within the confines of a 140 character limit per Tweet.

Fast forward to today, the conversations have evolved and increased in importance, binding people by shared values, causes, and interests. Images, GIFs, and videos give users a richer, more emotive way to communicate.

More marketers are beginning to understand the critical value of interaction and what makes people genuinely want to participate with a certain idea or message. It isn’t a case of luck. Rather, the success stories begin with listening. Putting this knowledge to work is what ultimately gives brands the best shot at success today and those that don’t simply fall victim to deaf ears and eyes.

It may sound simple enough, but to make it even simpler let’s break down six key insights, inspired by Twitter’s Influencing Culture: The Participation Playbook, that you’ll need in order to craft campaigns that people will want to engage with.

Don’t underestimate the power of social listening

Image via Twitter Marketing

There’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to the ideal marketing plan, but what most have agreed on is that it begins with acutely understanding what it is you want to achieve. Are you focused on a targeted group of people? Are you looking to bring new customers to your brand or business?

For answers, you need to tune into what is being said about your company and its competitors. When done right, you can leverage this information and apply it across business development across R&D, customer service and real-time campaigns.

An exemplar brand that recently used this insight to its full advantage is Burger King. In 2017 the restaurant chain introduced spicy chicken nuggets to its menu conveniently after seeing people on Twitter complain about Wendy’s ditching its own. These comments became the exact inspiration for its ad campaign on twitter which helped sell three months’ worth of nuggets in only four weeks. The campaign was shortlisted for a Social & Influencer Lion at Cannes 2018.

Prioritize communication over consumption

Image via Twitter Marketing

In 2015, REI and Venables Bell & Partners initiated a campaign #OptOutside, which centered around its decision to shut all stores on Black Friday to encourage people to explore the wilderness.

The result? More than 1.4 million people used the brand’s hashtag in conversation REI signed up a record number of new members to its co-operative that year.

In this example, a brand’s story was used to create a movement, not just a conversation, and it can best be explained by looking at the principle of self-identity. Put simply, it was easy for people to express their distaste for consumerism and get behind the campaign and communicate their innate sense of innate adventure and fitness in line with REI’s mission “to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all.”

Think beyond the metrics

Image via Twitter Marketing

Much like the conversations on Twitter have evolved, so too have the metrics that marketers are using as measures of determining success. The primary cause of this is the rise in bots and click farms causing distrust amongst users.

Indeed, the best margins for advertising are on the lowest cost content, typically favoring content that is fake, negative or sensational but marketers today must think bigger and more holistically. Instead, winning brand stories now hinge on real-world outcomes and deeper connections with consumers.

What this boils down is digital marketing that prioritizes the human experience, communicating deep and profound respect for a person’s time and attention, and being proactive in how you address pain points and frustrations when they occur.

For instance, In 2018, Verizon cheekily, and helpfully, responded to people’s frustrated Tweets about rival broadband suppliers.

When the company noticed people taking to Twitter to complain about dropped signals while they were trying to stream college basketball games, Verizon seized an opportunity to demonstrate it was better than its competitors by sending users written reports of what they weren’t able to follow. The campaign, which was ultimately supported by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was shortlisted at Cannes Lion the same year.

Cultivate lots of little ideas

VMLY&R‘s Jen McDonald hit the nail on the head when she said, “If you’re trying to hit a home run every single time, you’re going to strike out.”

In a digital landscape where competition is paramount and attention spans have never been shorter, it’s easy to default to the expectation that everything you do has to break the internet. Quite the contrary, some of the biggest successes seen on Twitter began by steadily engaging a base of fans with fun interactions.

For instance, Wendy’s ‎#NuggsForCarter challenging a fan to get 18 million Retweets in return for a year of free chicken nuggets became the most Retweeted Tweet of all time until earlier this year when a Japanese billionaire offered cash prizes to people who shared his Tweet. It also won a silver PR Lion at Cannes in 2017.

The takeaway here is that generally, crafting stories to appeal to lots of people tend to only gain traction amongst a few. Alternatively, creating something more micro-level, that appeals to more specialized tastes and interests, increases the likelihood that your content will spread faster and farther. Bear in mind the term “ripple effect.” Start with a pebble, not a huge rock.

Be fearless in your Twitter tone

Let’s face it, composing that perfect Tweet is a mind game. No one wants a jargon-heavy piece of writing and at the same time, no amount of clever phrasing is going to trick people into talking about your brand if your idea or campaign does prioritize their needs and interests.

In 2017, McDonald’s took to the platform to share, “All Quarter Pounder burgers at the majority of our restaurants will be cooked with fresh beef.” Wendy’s saw this and wittingly replied, “So you’ll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend.”

The Tweet received more than 175,000 Retweets and started a follow-up chain of discussion that garnered more than 7,000 replies. The main insight to take from this example is that seizing the moment of impact can be powerful. Strive for speed and take inspiration for how you want to craft your tone based on how people are actually talking.

In yet another example, Crock-Pot abandoned its usual tone of voice in 2017 when the company was blamed for [SPOILER ALERT] the death of Jack Pearson on the TV show This is Us. The Twitter damage control that ensued relied on a lot of emojis and vernacular to resonate with the show’s fans and communicate authenticity and genuity.

The campaign, created in partnership with Edelman, generated 3.7 billion impressions was awarded a Silver Lion in the PR category at Cannes. Crock-Pot also enjoyed a $300,000 bump in its February sales.

Put the customer first

Indeed the largest obstacle with social media is that we obligated to succumb to vanity metrics. The likes, retweets, and follows, and in the process comes a desire to please as many people as possible. It’s easy to know when you’re doing this well and when you’re not.

“Getting good isn’t hard. It’s a symptom you did something else right,” per the philosophy of author, entrepreneur and marketer, Seth Godin. When we chase these metrics it can be a trap of false progress and in actuality dilute our power. The focus should always be on creating and sharing the stories that matter for people who care.

“You can seek out the people who care, or you can yell at the people in the middle who are ignoring you,” says Godin.

For more insights from Seth, check out his episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast where he discussed the keys to getting at the heart of great storytelling, why empathy is overlooked as a core marketing strength, and much more.

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Twitter Testing Reply Subscriptions to Streamline Busy Conversations

As Twitter threads and “tweetstorms” have surged in popularity, users have long lamented the intricate lengths one must take to follow a poster’s tweets. If Twitter’s latest test feature is adopted by the platform, that challenge stands to disappear.

If you see a tweet ending in a notation like “/1,” users will have the option to “subscribe to replies,” ensuring that later additions to the thread won’t go missing. You’ll also be able to see how other users are responding to the poster’s tweets. “While users can already get notifications for all tweets shared by an individual account,” The Verge reported, “users in the test can now choose to get notifications for replies to individual tweets, too.”

For social media managers wanting to monitor tweets calling for user-generated content, this could be an easy way to keep track of submissions. Similarly, if one wanted to track the replies to the similar tweet of a competitor, the feature could be similarly useful here. And for those curious about the reception that a prospective influencer might receive on certain tweets, this could be one of a few methods used to track their reported impact.

Lest you worry that such a move would inundate the subscriber with all replies indiscriminately, TechCrunch reports that responses would be algorithmically sorted, and “top replies will include those from the author, anyone they mentioned, and people you follow.” The move is one of several Twitter is making to allow conversations to be more focused, followable, and fun to be a part of.

This last trait is one that Twitter continues to work to provide, as accusations of hate, harassment, and toxicity continue to barrage Twitter’s support and developer teams. Tests like this and their also-in-testing option to hide replies, are all “focused on making conversations on its platform easier to follow, participate in and, in some cases, block.”

And while measures like this are designed to show that the company is listening to its most aggrieved users, fixes like this do more to isolate conversations of interest than they do crackdown on harmful behavior’s origins. Put another way, The Verge’s Jay Peters notes, “Twitter seems to be focusing on getting users to spend more time on the platform, but still isn’t doing enough to ensure a better experience while they’re there.”

The feature is currently being tested on both iOS and Android, with no official word on when the decision will be made to adopt the feature across all operating versions.

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Twitter Crackdown on Hate Speech Finally Includes Misgendering and Deadnaming

Twitter users have long decried the platform’s ineffectual means of handling abuse, hate speech, and other factors that have contributed to disintegrating discourse. But in its latest overhaul of its hateful conduct policy, the company seems to have finally gotten the message about how their inaction has decayed discourse on the platform…and as a result has acted on behalf of its most vulnerable users.

Among the most prominent changes to its Hateful Conduct policy is the explicit prohibition of misgendering or “deadnaming” (using the former name of) trans* individuals. PinkNews explains the danger of these practices by saying, “These offensive techniques—which involve using the wrong gender to refer to a trans person or a trans person’s old name—are often used on Twitter to insult and erase trans people’s identities and right to exist.”

This now-explicit rule (Twitter claims these practices were previously a violation of their policies) is part of a larger section banning “repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone.” Such behavior went unaddressed in the platform’s previous Hateful Conduct policy.

Whereas the prior edition of the policy seemed to treat all forms of hateful conduct and speech as equal, this latest edition makes the distinct step of acknowledging some users are more likely to experience hate and harassment:

We recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves. Research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online. This includes; women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities. For those who identity with multiple underrepresented groups, abuse may be more common, more severe in nature and have a higher impact on those targeted.

The latest edition of the policy also leads with language expressly condemning hate against other users “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” It also explicitly names other actions that previously fell through the cracks of Twitter’s safety enforcement including “media that depicts victims of the Holocaust,” “media that depicts lynching,” and “images depicting others as less than human, or altered to include hateful symbols, e.g. altering images of individuals to include animalistic features.”

This more nuanced understanding of the nature of, and motivation for, hateful conduct is new for Twitter, and demonstrates a kind of learning on the part of the platform’s leadership. And indeed, much of the feedback about the new policy recognizes the shift—while also acknowledging that such a change was considerably overdue.

With that said, how these rules will be enforced is still unclear. In the case of deadnaming or misgendering, The Verge’s Adi Robertson notes, “the rule could theoretically refer to mentioning well-known pre-transition names of celebrities (like Caitlyn Jenner) without clear malice. Or Twitter could reserve it for users who maliciously publicize old names in a way that’s designed to hurt specific trans users, which seems to be the intent of the policy.” In time, we’ll see how having these new and nuanced rules on the books affects action (and reactions) on the platform, and what it does to help improve the “health” of the platform that CEO Jack Dorsey and his colleagues have repeatedly claimed to be prioritizing for Twitter’s future.

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Twitter Seeks Transparency In Its Latest Safety Efforts

“You don’t want to see a Tweet you’ve reported, but you do want to know we’ve done something about it. And all those Tweets that break our rules? You should know we’ve done something about them too.”

On October 17th, Twitter Safety announced the latest changes to its reporting measures with the above tweet. The “report” function, designed to cull offensive content and harassment, has repeatedly come under fire by the platform’s users. This latest change aims to address two challenges inherent in prior iterations of the process. One, a user who reports a tweet is rarely informed of a claim’s outcome; two, the objected-to content was visible as Twitter made its ruling.

In a compromise, Twitter addressed the latter with a shield to hide the post—unless the user requests to see it. “Before, Twitter had experimented with both showing or hiding the tweet you reported, but users told the company they sometimes needed to refer back to the tweet – like when they’re trying to report it to law enforcement, for example,” TechCrunch reported. “Now, Twitter says it will hide the tweet behind an informational notice, but allow you to tap the notice to view the tweet again.”

In regards to the former, updates on the timeline will distinguish between a post removed by Twitter for violation of the site’s guidelines, and a post removed by a user. If the post is a violation, “[Twitter] will display a notice that states the tweet is unavailable because it violated the Twitter Rules. This will also include a link to those rules and an article that provides details on how Twitter enforces its rules.”

These measures are the most significant Twitter has taken to date in cracking down on the harassment culture. Even after a wave of reforms was announced in December 2017, hate speech, violence, and user targeting persists, much of it allegedly still falling within the company’s user guidelines. While these latest changes are a step in the right direction, many have argued that other features (Moments, circular avatars, character limits and live programming) have wrongfully taken precedence over their vital need to make the space safer for users.

Even as these changes take hold, the burden remains largely on the victim of objectionable content to report it to Twitter. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey claimed naiveté more than once as the issue grew, but former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has another theory: there’s no incentive for him to care. “[S]ocial media companies and the leaders who run them are rewarded for focusing on reach and engagement, not for positive impact or for protecting subsets of users from harm,” Pao wrote for WIRED earlier this month. “If they don’t need to monitor their platforms, they don’t need to come up with real policies—and avoid paying for all the people and tools required to implement them.”

Now that voices of hate and harassment are hurting Twitter’s bottom line, it’ll be interesting to watch how change is received and what additional measures Twitter will take to satisfy the concerns of critics and their most vulnerable users.

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How Apple Dominated Twitter Without Tweeting

This past week, Apple has conducted a master class in how to take over Twitter—and they did it without a single organic tweet.

If you visit @Apple on Twitter, you’ll notice that despite over 2.2 million followers, the company has not tweeted even once.

And yet during the #AppleEvent, when the company unveiled their new line of products, including the iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4, not only were people’s timelines packed with updates from journalists and thought leaders dishing and delving into the devices, but the company spent what some call “a significant amount” on ads.

Why would a company that doesn’t deign to tweet from its own account spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid posts?

Well, they’re trillion-dollar Apple—they can do whatever they want. But there’s more to it than that.

Here’s how Apple dominated Twitter for the #AppleEvent

Digiday had a rundown of the prices Apple likely paid for all their advertising on Sept. 12, including:

  • A promoted trend: $200,000/day
  • A custom “like for reminder” build: $250,000 for several days
  • Promoted tweets in 12+ languages (ranging from $0.50 to $8)
  • A “hashflag” (custom Twitter emoji) and a livestream of the event (likely free)

And indeed, no matter where you went on Twitter on Sept. 12, you couldn’t avoid the #AppleEvent hashtag and hashflag. The feed was flooded with tweets about what Apple was unveiling, which was the product of both Apple’s paid efforts and tweets from writers and journalists (more on that in a second).

Apple wasn’t running any ads on Facebook. Why is that? Isn’t Facebook the biggest social media platform, with the most reach? How could Apple avoid it on Apple Event day?

Twitter is where conversations start

Perhaps the biggest draw of Twitter is that it’s built to get conversations started. Journalists, early adopters, and other people who make a living covering and have a passion for Apple products know that Twitter is better for breaking news than Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other major platform.

Apple recognizes this. By meeting users on Twitter—supplying them with a livestream (that’s where this writer watched the event), creating a rare “like for reminder” tweet that helped users remember when the event would take place, and tweeting in languages used all around the world—Apple was actively encouraging and helping those users to have more informed and productive conversations about their products.

For whatever reason, tweeting doesn’t fit Apple’s brand. Tweets from other people do, however. So by pouring money into the platform at the right moment, Apple found a way to boost those tweets, to make them more visible and engaging. Again, that’s without sending a single tweet from their own account.

While Apple has plenty of money, they’re not in the business of wasting it. This was a showcase in how to pick your spots on social media and use each platform—even platforms you don’t engage in yourself—to maximize value.

Images via Apple

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Twitter Is Finally Loosening Its 140-Character Limit

Twitter has been talking for some time about loosening up the 140-character limit on tweets, and on Monday the company took the first step in that direction. As of today, any photos, videos, animated GIFs and polls posted with a tweet won’t count towards the total. According to The Verge, the service is also experimenting…