content, publishing, socialmedia

Twitter timeline ch-ch-ch-changes, where are we now?

So the rumours have come to fruition, a big change has begun arriving to our Twitter timelines, where we are shown an algorithm-driven stream of tweets as opposed to the current live feed unsullied by machines. The ‘best tweets first’ view is starting to appear as an option for web viewers, although users need to enable it under Settings for now – this will most likely change to the default at some point, with app updates no doubt incoming.

I’m unsure as to what the outcome will be in terms of use of the service, but #RIPTwitter was/is probably a bit premature.

From a Mashable post on the change:

The company pushed out an update Wednesday that makes its much-talked-about timeline redesign official. The new feature, which is live on Twitter’s app and website now, will show tweets that are sorted based on relevancy, rather than chronology, at the top of your timeline.

For journalists and marketers, there are other ways to view Twitter in a more focused or unfiltered fashion, Twitter lists and Tweetdeck being two solid options, see more here from FirstDraft: 10 ways local journalists can better cover their patch.

It is an inevitable conclusion to the problem of Twitter not drawing enough new users, alongside changes including the Favourites signified by stars morphing into hearts, meaning people were now ‘liking’ updates Facebook-style.

This was much to the annoyance of some (myself included) at the perception and way people had originally been using the favourite option, myself regularly as a means of bookmarking tweets to come back and view later. But we got over it and moved on, we may well do the same regarding the timeline rebirth.

Facebook users still use the service despite being delivered an artificially molded stream of updates based on various parameters. Although, via Mathew Ingram on Fortune.com:

A survey by researchers from the University of Illinois showed that 60% of users didn’t even know that Facebook filters their feed at all.

But as Mathew Ingram points out aboutalgorithms being helpful for some,they come with risks:

By definition, algorithmic filtering means that you are not the one who is choosing what to see and not see… And while this may be helpful—because of the sheer volume of content out there—it comes with biases and risks

It’s never perfect, content of real interest fails to appear high up in people’s timelines, but we survive, and there is the option to view by ‘Most Recent’ under the Settings options.

But more widely what happens if this doesn’t work? A sale on the cards surely, and then a more uncertain future… the danger is, will it kill what makes Twitter ‘fun’ – more from Mashable?:

Twitter’s struggle, though, is that most people are not like me; they never got over platform’s messy nature. I’ve always believed that hashtags, which arrived after Twitter’s launch, were an excellent organizing principle. When Twitter figured out how to display trending hashtags, I thought it was a godsend. But it wasn’t enough for regular people who, perhaps, still associated the hashtag with telephones.

Twitter has been trying for years to make the service more obvious and accessible, right up to the new Moments, a feature they’ve force fed to existing users and one that has failed to inspire new ones.

In theory at least, the timeline change helps authenticated blue-ticked profiles which should benefit from being more prominently displayed (presuming they are tweeting interesting/topical content in the right way, nudge nudge!)

Blue pill or red pill: Which timeline is for you?

I just hope that switching between the algorithm and live timeline view is relatively easy.

Timeline control details from Twitter.com support:

On twitter.com:

  1. Log in to your account on twitter.com and go to your Account settings page.
  2. Under Content, look for Timeline and toggle the box next to Show me the best Tweets first to change the setting.

Twitter for iOS:

  1. On your profile, tap the gear icon  and select Settings.
  2. Tap the account whose settings you’d like to adjust.
  3. Under Timeline, tap Timeline personalization.
  4. Next to Show me the best Tweets first, tap to turn it off.

Twitter for Android:

  1. Tap the overflow icon 
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Timeline.
  4. Next to Show me the best Tweets first, uncheck the box to turn it off.

Further reading: 5 facts you need to know, from Heavy.com

content, news, publishing, socialmedia, tools

Pablo: your new favourite social media friendly image tool

I had briefly used Buffer’s Pablo social media-friendly graphic creation tool Pablo in 2015. It has options ready for best dimensions for using on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.

But with the addition of the new Pablo (sadly only) Chrome extension, getting a tweet+pic with overlaid text was roughly 1-2 minute’s work.

Find an image (or upload your own/use from stock images within Pablo), then let the extension open it inside Pablo (no need to login at this point).

Inside Pablo’s tidy interface you can add/edit text and tweak the graphic layout using a few options. But it all looks professional and works well.

Once you are happy, you can share immediately or embargo using Buffer’s algorithm, logging in to Buffer with your Twitter login.

You can also download the final image for use later.

A couple of examples:

A story via The Scotsman, a tale of flooding in Scotland

And an Bronze Age archaeological find in Cambridgeshire, via the Peterborough Telegraph

 

tools

Chrome memory tip: Oh yes, it’s The Great Suspender

Should well be of interest for all Google Chrome users, which can become a memory hogger. I use it for work, so necessity dictates… and here’s a potentially frustration-saving extension that freezes inactive tabs.
Chrome extension ‘ The Great Suspender’ temporarily suspends any tabs you’re not using, thus saving any memory drain.
The Great Suspender Chrome extension screenshot
The Great Suspender Chrome extension
You can set the time before they are ‘frozen’ and you can ‘whitelist’ any you want to keep ‘alive’, well worth a try.
Have had it installed for a week and it is already making a difference to my machine’s speed and memory use.
news

Try It Tuesday: Streetlife.com

A community forum with clear potential for story-sourcing, won’t be as much activity in everyone’s patch, but definitely worth local journalists signing up:

David Higgerson

The aim of Try It Tuesday – if it can be as bold as an aim – is to share a tool a week which might be useful to journalists. It might be new, it might be old but forgotten, or it might be somewhere inbetween. It’ll be something I’ve found useful though and one I’d suggest spending 10 minutes getting to know. 

6. Streetlife.com

strretlife.com

What? Streetlife.com is social networking at its most hyperlocal. Those behind it have been busy writing to millions of homes across the UK urging people to sign up and share local information. Those receiving a letter get a code which automatically selects an area for them to be added to, with the option to opt in to some nearby ones too.

Why? For journalists, especially those with a district beat or patch, Streetlife has the potential to be a great source of stories. I’ve tried it…

View original post 90 more words

socialmedia

How am I driving?: See your Twitter analytics

If you’ve not seen, Twitter users now have access to their own activity data in browser and mobile apps, and very useful live statistics they are too:

twitter-analytics-home-tab
An example of the  Twitter Analytics ‘Home’ tab showing an overview of your Twitter activity.

From your Twitter in Web browser mode, select your profile icon drop-down, then choose ‘Analytics‘ – the Twitter bods have tinkered with the layout over time, you now have an overview on a ‘Home’ tab before you delve into more detail. Here you can view your most successful tweets in terms of impressions, engagement plus monthly summaries..

From the top navigation, see your ‘Tweets’ for recent tweet stats and engagement figures on the right, or choose ‘Audiences’ to  show a breakdown of your following by interest, location, gender. Twitter Cards and Videos are also included if you use them.

You can also track ad and app conversion rates although I’ve not used them, so have no evidence to show.

The Tweets tabe will give you the impression or views, and number of user engagements and a % rate.

You can choose various date ranges and comparisons, and select from the last 18ish months of data.

This can also be seen on individual tweets on mobile Twitter app, by opening an individual original tweet and below the content, clicking ‘VIEW TWEET ACTIVTY’ to reveal live similar stats for that tweet.

journalism, socialmedia

Tweeting the news: automation vs personalisation

Updated 26 January: Automation works for some news publishers’ tweets and moreso if story headlines have been tweaked for a Web audience, but personalising them can improve their shareability: “Optimising tweets according to social channel and audience with tone of voice, variation in content and plenty of images are proven ways to drive more engagement” by Christopher Ratcliff in the Econsultancy article:
From How The Guardian became the most tweeted UK newspaper, Laura Oliver, UK social and communities editor speaking to Journalism.co.uk said ‘automation is a way for the Guardian to stay on top of the numerous stories it publishes, while at the same time allowing the team to explore different sharing options and presenting stories in different ways.’
With the help of their in -house analytics tool Ophan, Oliver continued: “It’s important for us to understand what type of stories and issues repeatedly perform well when we share them on Twitter or when they are picked up and posted by readers.”
There’s no point having an automation strategy (which clearly benefits resource-stripped news teams) without some sort of monitoring or quality control that might lead to tweaking when and how you share automatically vs the more hands-on human sharing which can react to a fast-changing news environment or audience demand.