Category Archives: Social Media

Why Twitter’s New “More Visual Tweets” Are a Bad Idea

Starting this week, your Twitter feed is going to look a lot different. In their infinite wisdom, the social media titan has decided that their media previews should now be expanded by default in their web interface and iOS app. (You can disable it in the iOS app, but not on the web.) So if someone links to an image, you now get a Facebookesque image embedded in the tweet. Ditto for those silly looping videos from Vine.

I have a problem with this. A change, even one so deceptively small as this, can drastically alter how a social networking site is used.

Look at Facebook, for example. I don’t know about you, but my feed is an endless sea of images, with a rare plain-text status. It’s gotten to the point where if you want to say something and be heard, you have to set your text on a picture. Otherwise people will just scroll right past it, the visual noise drowning out the text. Photos, image macros and paragraphs of (frequently trite) text needlessly pasted into graphics that add next to nothing to the message.

Google+ has been even worse of late. If you join any of the “communities” Google recommends to you, even seemingly professional ones such as those for programming topics, you’re going to be seeing a lot of animated GIFs and image macros. (Or “internet cancer,” as I’ve heard them described: low-effort content that spreads across the Web, choking off interesting, insightful and informative content.)

I love words. I use Twitter because I want two things:

  1. A compact and scannable feed of short messages. The “stream of consciousness” that Twitter is famous for. Interesting things that don’t quite merit their own full-length blog posts.
  2. Links to long form articles recommended by the people I follow.

The addition of embedded media will be to the detriment of Twitter. It will encourage more image links and, potentially, tweets that solely consist of an image.

The change is already starting. On day one, I saw this:

What are you thinking, Harper Collins?

I don’t even follow @HarperCollinsUK, it was retweeted, and I’m certainly not a C. S. Lewis fan. But here’s the same kind of junk, straight out of Facebook, showing up already. I guess it’s time to brace yourselves, because the image macros are coming.

Image Macros are Coming

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Twitter API Terms Revision Ignites Controversy

Twitter recently announced the next version of the REST API that powers the many apps that hook into the popular social media service, a move which sparked much criticism among users and developers alike. Some of the changes include: Every API endpoint will require…

Digg is Back, with a New Take and New Ownership

Remember Digg, the social news titan that tanked when a new update chased off its user base? It’s back, under new ownership, and with a different strategy. After a six-week sprint to reinvent the site, it has relaunched in its new form. There are…

Blogs are the Next Big Social Network

Why do people use Facebook? What does it offer, besides an enormous user base, that makes it such an attractive internet destination? At it’s core, it’s just a tool for sharing short posts. Twitter and Tumblr also accomplish the same thing, for the most…

Twitter Launches “New New Twitter” and Ruins iOS App

Starting Thursday, Twitter began rolling out their latest redesign, dubbed “New New Twitter” by users. The new design looks okay, albeit a bit heavy on the boxes, but some of the changes it brings aren’t so welcome. It seems to me as if Twitter…

Google Adds +1 Button to AdSense Banners

Google announced on one of their blogs that their AdSense network will be getting +1 buttons on display ads. So not only can users “endorse” products or services by clicking on a +1 button, but it will cause the ads appear more often to…

Twitter to Wrap All Links with t.co Starting in October

According to the Twitter developer documentation, Twitter plans to start wrapping all links with their t.co shortener starting in October. Currently, only ones over a certain length are wrapped. So if you’re like me, and have a personal URL shortener that generated smaller links…

Reddit Becomes Reddit Inc.

Reddit is being spun-off from Condé Nast and will be a distinct corporation (Reddit Inc.) owned by Advance Publications, the conglomerate that owns Condé Nast. This means they’ll have a lot more control over things, as they will report back to their own board of…

Adding and Tracking Social Buttons

It seems like every website has social media buttons on them now. The ones leading the pack of late seem to be Twitter, Google +1 and the Facebook Like widget. This introduces one problem: loading times. Your pages are calling JavaScript files hosted on…

Klout: Measure Your Twitter Influence

Klout is a service that provides all sorts of fascinating metrics about you—and the people you interact with—on Twitter. It measures things like the number of users who are actively engaged by your tweets, the “type” of Twitter user you are, and your influence.…

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