Tag: Twitter

It’s official! Twitter expands tweet character limit


Twitter announced on Tuesday it would double the limit for tweets to 280 characters, a bid to draw in more users and boost engagement at the social network.

Giving users twice the space to voice their thoughts ushers in a new era for the online platform, whose hallmark 140-character cap had encouraged users to craft succinct missives.

“We’re expanding the character limit! We want it to be easier and faster for everyone to express themselves,” tweeted the site, which started testing an increase to its limit in most languages in early September.

The changes will be rolling out in all languages except Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, in which space limitations have not been an issue, Twitter said.

It is the first time the tweet character cap has been raised since Twitter was founded 11 years ago.

Twitter, which has been lagging behind rival social networks in user growth and struggling to reach profitability, faced a dilemma over the change in that it could alienate longtime users and transform the nature of the service.

Product manager Aliza Rosen said in a blog post that the test showed most people still used 140 characters or fewer, suggesting the fast-moving nature of Twitter will not change.

“Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter,” Rosen said. “We’re excited to share we’ve achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue.”

Brevity endures

Rosen noted that in the first few days of the test many people used the full 280-limit because it was new and novel, “but soon after behaviour normalised.”

As a result, “the brevity of Twitter remained,” she said.

While Twitter itself changed the way people communicate in the internet age, doubling the tweet character limit promised to shift it once again, according to Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University.

“It will slow down the speed at which users consume information and will allow for more clarity,” Grygiel said.

“This might not be a bad thing during a time when world leaders are making military threats via the platform.”

US President Donald Trump favours the platform for making major policy announcements, as well as criticising allies, taunting opponents and threatening North Korea with destruction.

He sent his inaugural 280-tweet while on South Korea as part of his Asia tour: “Getting ready to make a major speech to the National Assembly here in South Korea, then will be headed to China where I very much look forward to meeting with President Xi who is just off his great political victory.”

Glances and likes

Some users have worried that longer tweets could profoundly change the nature of the one-to-many messaging platform, which is popular with journalists and politicians but has failed to win the mass appeal of rivals like Facebook.

There was also worry that raising the character cap would give blowhards and abusers more room to spout.

“I will gladly give up my extra 140 characters if Twitter will delete Trump’s account,” author and civil rights commentator DaShanne Stokes said in a tweet fired off from @dashannestokes.

Stokes said Twitter’s move gives Trump “a bigger weapon with which to hurt more people.”

Twitter, which became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit, even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter Trump.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that longer test tweets got tended to prompt more engagement by others using the service.

“In addition to more Tweeting, people who had 280 characters received more Likes, Retweets, @mentions, Followers, and were more satisfied with Twitter. So, you’ll be getting 280 too – enjoy!” Stone tweeted.

Some analysts maintain longer tweets are not the fix Twitter needs, and may even change the appealing ability to take in messages with glances.

It also risks Twitter looking a bit more like Facebook, one analyst contended, and might prompt the leading online social network to respond to what it might see as a competitive threat.

Meanwhile, many users welcomed the news and said raising the character cap was long overdue. Some people already resort to long strings of rapid-fire tweets, known as “tweet storms,” to string together lengthy comment.

Last month, Twitter reported its loss for the past quarter narrowed as the company suggested it could reach profitability for the first time in the fourth quarter.

The update showed Twitter’s monthly active user base rose slightly to 330 million, roughly in line with forecasts.

Source: Fin24

Facebook and Twitter face a levy on cyber bullying

Social-media giants such as Facebook and will have to reveal the scale of cyber bullying in the UK and face being made to pay the cost of dealing with it.

Under the latest guidance by the UK government, technology companies will be required to publish an annual report on how complaints are handled, the reported abuse that is pulled down and the extent of their efforts to moderate bullying or offensive content about children, women, gay people or religions.

One of the proposals is for “an industry-wide levy so social-media companies and communication service providers contribute to raise awareness and counter internet harms,”​ according to a statement published Wednesday that didn’t give further details.

“Behavior that is unacceptable in real life is unacceptable on a computer screen,” Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said in an email released by her office.

“We need an approach to the internet that protects everyone.”

The campaign is part of the government’s wider strategy to force technology companies to accept greater responsibility for their content.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also called on companies to “step up” and assume moral responsibility for ridding their platforms of terrorist content, refusing to rule out the prospect of compulsion by fines or legislation.

The UK has been pushing the envelope in terms of how willing it is to go after Silicon Valley.

Efforts to end hate speech and trolling on social media have intensified in the wake of five terror attacks this year, yet the desire to regulate tech firms – in ways that are unprecedented – risks driving them offshore.

On Tuesday, Sharon White, the chief executive of UK media regulator Ofcom, said she viewed companies like Facebook as news publishers.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman, James Slack, later told reporters that the government was “looking at the role Google and Facebook play in the news environment” as well as “the roles, responsibility and legal status of the major internet platforms.”

In May 2016, a number of social-media companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube voluntarily committed to trying to take down illegal content within 24 hours.

But last month the European Commission called upon the tech firms to do more to block illegal content.

Germany has passed a law requiring hate speech to be removed within 24 hours of it being flagged, with penalties of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) for repeated failures to comply.

In September, May went further. At a meeting at the United Nations, she propose new rules requiring internet companies to take down extremist content within two hours.

Source: BusinessTech/Bloomberg

Twitter testing 280-character limit

Twitter is testing doubling its message character limit – from 140 characters to 280 characters.

The company is rolling out the feature to certain users, and aims to combat the “cramming” of messages to fit the character limit.

Twitter said most languages are impacted by cramming, except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

In Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, you can convey around double the amount of information in one character as you can in other languages.

Twitter shared the following information about Tweet behaviour on its platform:

  • 0.4% of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters
  • In English, 9% of Tweets have 140 characters
  • Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters, while most English Tweets are 34

“Our research shows that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English,” said Twitter.

“Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting.”

Source: MyBroadband 

The hashtag turns 10

Twitter is marking 10 years since the hashtag was first used on the social media site by celebrating some of the most memorable uses of the digital symbol.

Former Google and Uber engineer Chris Messina first used the symbol as a way of tagging or categorising a tweet on August 23 2007, when he suggested the symbol could be used to create group messages.

“How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]? (sic)”, he wrote.

Since then, the hashtag symbol has grown to become one of the most widely used and recognisable characters of the digital age, spreading across different social and online platforms.

Social movements and news events such as Black Lives Matter and the Ice Bucket Challenge have come to prominence partly through the use of their hashtags on social networks.

Support for victims in the wake of tragedy has also been a prominent use for the symbol, including #jesuischarlie in the aftermath of the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and #PutYourBatsOut in tribute to late Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes.

Such is its commonplace that many television shows now flash a related hashtag on screen during their programmes to direct viewers towards online conversation.

According to Twitter, the most used hashtag in 2007 – #noticias, the Spanish word for news – was tweeted around 9,000 times. In contrast, the biggest of 2017 has already been used more than 300 million times, the social media site said.

The hashtag in question, #BTSBBMMAS, refers to K-Pop band BTS and their victory at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.

Twitter UK’s managing director Dara Nasr said: “From their first use 10 years ago, hashtags have grown to be part of everyday language across the globe, with 125 million used every day on Twitter.

“From moments and movements such as #CupForBen and #BlackLivesMatter, they bring communities together to show what’s happening from every side.”

In marking the anniversary, Twitter has released data which says the most tweeted TV show hashtag is #TheWalkingDead, while the most popular movie hashtag is #StarWars.

The hashtag linked to Manchester United – #MUFC – was also named as the most tweeted team hashtag of the last decade.

The social media platform is marking the anniversary suitably with a special hashtag of its own, #Hashtag10.

By Martyn Landi for The Mirror

If you work in the content and branding space, you’ll know how great it feels to log onto your Twitter account and see your brand’s hashtag in the top trends. A plus is also that it’s so objective. Apart from promoted trends, you can’t overtly buy your way into the top trends. It takes the time and effort of a number of independent content creators that felt like having a conversation with or about your brand.

I’ve been lucky enough to work in spaces where social media is a key driver of success. If there’s three almost-sure-fire tactics to get enough “tweeps”: talking about your brand to get it to trend, it’s these:

Consistently publish hot content

Think about the last time you saw a post that made you stop scrolling through your feed. How long did it hold your attention for before you eventually moved on? If you’re like most people, it can’t have been more than a few minutes. If this is true for the best pieces of content, imagine how little time people have for average, or worse, below average content?

Creating content that consistently strikes a chord with your audience over time is extremely hard to do. But if you manage to pull it off, the rewards can be immense. Essentially, you’ll have built a big community of people that trust you not to waste their time and data (yes, data struggles are a real thing). Before they even see your latest post, they are ready to share it, because they know you have a reputation of not disappointing them.

Reach out to influencers (the right way)

Influencers can be separated into two categories. There are celebs who are super famous musicians, actors and other public figures. Then there are ‘twelebs’ who have a lot more followers on social media than the average user, but their fan base is generally smaller than that of celebrities. If a tweleb or a celeb shares a post of yours, it exposes your content to their gigantic audiences. Besides increasing shares for your content, it’s kind of an endorsement. If celeb X has a cooking show for instance, and she shares a link to your recipe on her Facebook page, she’s telling her followers that they can trust your page to deliver on their content needs.

Relevance is important when reaching out to ‘influencers’. I’ve seen a lot of radio chart shows tag musicians letting them know how their music is performing. This works because it’s directly about the musicians and the radio shows regularly trend on twitter as a result of the artists retweeting and interacting with shows.

Incentivise the creation of content about your brand

Between 10 and 5 held their first two-day #POSSIBLEConference earlier this year and it had a fantastic buzz on social media. A great deal of the buzz came as a result of how they incentivised attendees to create content at the event. To stand a chance of working on a campaign with Estee Lauder, a sponsor of the event, attendees had to take photos where they use certain products creatively. The conference was targeted mainly at creatives, so the incentive was extremely relevant. Dentyne SA used a similar mechanic for their #DentyneSmile competition earlier this year and the hashtag trended a number of times while the competition was running.

By Skhumbuzo Tuswa for BizCommunity

Twitter turns 10

Twitter turned 10 on Monday 21 March and, while it might be celebrating at the moment, there are some sobering facts to contend with including a 65% drop in its share price in the last year, discontent from Wall Street and concerns over whether it can continue to add users.

Jack Dorsey returned to the helm of the company he founded last year, replacing Dick Costolo, but has yet to make a big impact, though has stabilized the ship to some extent.

While revenue growth for Twitter’s 2015 fiscal year was strong, reaching $2.2 billion, a 58% year-on-year rise, monthly active users (MAUs) in its fourth quarter were 320 million, remaining flat on the previous quarter.

Adding to the problems, its advertising revenue growth is forecast to fall from 45% this year to 35% in 2017, according to eMarketer data.

For investors, MAU is a key metric and has been the reason Twitter’s stock has tanked 65% in the past 12 months to just under $17, significantly its $26 initial public offering (IPO) price.

Dorsey doesn’t mind. The Twitter co-founder recently told CNBC in an interview that he’s “building a business I ultimately want to endure beyond my lifetime”.

But critics have slammed Twitter for failing to diversify beyond just its microblogging core product.

“Twitter is broadly what it was 10 years ago,” Cyrus Mewawalla, managing director of CM Research, told CNBC Monday, highlighting a common criticism the social media service has received.

“Twitter invented the Tweet, Facebook invented the book of faces, but then they have to expand into other areas very very quickly and whilst Facebook has done that, it’s gone into mobile payments, into virtual reality, into instant messaging, into photographs, Twitter has not.”

Beyond the user base

But it has been trying. Last year, Twitter bought live streaming app Periscope and introduced story curation feature called Moments. Twitter has also been experimenting with ways to attract more advertisers. Earlier this month, it unveiled a feature called “First View”, allowing advertisers to get the top spot on a user’s timeline.

And a report from the New York Post last week suggested that Twitter and Facebook were battling to acquire the rights of conventional TV programs, highlighting the growing importance of video to both services.

But not all analysts are pessimistic on the future success of Twitter. Eleni Marouli, advertising research analyst at IHS, said Twitter “isn’t doing that badly”, citing the 500 million people who visit Twitter but don’t actually sign in. She said that combined with the MUA figure, the totally audience is 820 million.

“They haven’t been able to communicate their success that well to investors which is why the Street is not happy,” Marouli told CNBC in a phone interview.

“In terms of diversifying their offering, they were late to the video game, they now have that and it was something that the advertising industry was calling for. They are responding to signals, the challenge has always been communication.”

So where does Twitter go from here?

Investors are calling for innovation from the company to introduce services that its rivals such as Snapchat or Facebook don’t have. But with such a low share price, some analysts said that the microblogging site is a prime takeover target.

“We still have a sell on Twitter, it is still a takeover target…it’s of a size that can be taken over,” Mewawalla says.

“But I still think organically this company’s got problems so anyone that wants to take it over needs to have a clear strategy that’s different to what Twitter is doing now.”

By Arjun Kharpal for www.cnbc.com

Twitter logo

Telling stories through tweets

There was a time when fitting your thoughts into 140 characters seemed virtually impossible, especially if you wanted to squeeze in a hashtag or five.

Slowly but surely we weren’t just able to fit fully formed thoughts into a tweet, but we were able to add images and links with ease.

Our adaptation to Twitter as a user base has been remarkable, considering that we were once revelling in the freedom of ‘unlimited’ characters on Facebook – but what happens when what you want to share simply cannot fit into one tweet?

No social media platform can avoid user-driven change, and Twitter is no different. We’re experiencing a consumption shift away from condensed tweets and seeing a growing demand for long-form content in a landscape we thought was defined by the opposite.

Twitter is entering an age of storytelling, and I’m captivated by the way users are fuelling the shift.

While platforms like Facebook and Medium allow for long-form expression, they are somewhat less accommodating to conversation threads.

This is where Twitter excels: being extremely conversational and making trending content accessible. However, this environment has always seemed impeding to users who feel restricted by the character limit. This has seen many users split their thoughts into one or two tweets, but of course, this split of content is hardly deserving of being called a ‘story’.

Storytelling on Twitter is not new – many journalists and reporters use the platform as a way to ‘live-tweet’ current events like we saw on the timelines of Barry Bateman and others during the Oscar Pistorius trial. As we all know, though, social media turns each and every one of us into content creators and finding ways to curate new content for your audience is at the top of our lists.

Lately, I’ve seen some ‘tweeple’ trend by posting entertaining stories in a series of tweets; sometimes in as many as 30, and ranging from wild tales of nights on the town to sobering stories of heartbreak and betrayal. The interesting insight from the reaction to these stories is that communities we’ve labelled as being almost exclusively drawn to short-form content are spending between 10 to 20 minutes reading. Many of us have spent years perfecting how to condense what we want to say in a single tweet, but there are users who’ve worked around the restrictions to sharing their content fully- with amazing results.

An ever-present challenge when sharing first-hand accounts on social media (or at least what may seem like one) is how quickly fictional content can spread as being an eyewitness account. T

his was glaringly evident with the most recent story trend on the hashtag “#RIPKamo”. Twitter user @JustKhuthi shared a story about a girl named Kamo who was abducted, raped and left for dead in a series of over 50 tweets which went viral. The Star subsequently published an article about the event only to find out that the story and victim were fictional – a revelation to the publication and the thousands of Twitter users who were shaken by the news.

The consumption of long-form content packaged in 140 character snippets will increase steadily in 2016 but could change drastically if the rumours are true. Looming on the horizon is the potential Twitter character limit increase- which could be a ‘make or break’ feature addition.

If executed well, it could cater more intensively to the demand for storytelling content that is so popular at the moment. This possible landmark moment could usher in a new wave of storytellers in 2016, uninhibited by character limits on a social media platform perfect for conversations, but if implemented in an obtrusive way, could affect the landscape and experience of tweeting away from the familiarity we’ve grown to love.

By Atiyya Karodia, NATIVE VML social media manager

SA users embrace Twitter

Twitter is more popular than ever in South Africa, and people are using it for much more than personal updates. These are among the findings of a study commissioned by Twitter and conducted by Nielsen into the Twitter habits of South African users. The study shows that Twitter is growing in popularity and that Twitter is used for much more than personal updates.

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