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One of the biggest issues keeping many brands from promoting themselves more heavily on Twitter is the platform’s rampant trolling and abuse problems. Over the last few years, Twitter has become infamous for the rude, inappropriate, or even vulgar behavior of its users despite several attempts to address the issue.

Now, Twitter is giving users another tool to reduce the impact of trolls and other troublemakers by allowing users to hide replies to their tweets from the public.

While the feature has been rumored for months, representatives from the company have confirmed it will be rolling out the feature as a test starting in June.

As the company says in a blog post from this week:

“Starting in June, we’ll be experimenting with ways to give people more control over their conversations by giving them an option to hide replies to their Tweets.”

The tool allows you to actively moderate responses to your Tweets by individually hiding offensive or problematic responses. Users can then choose to reveal the Tweet if by selecting to show hidden replies.

Jane Manchun Wong previewed the feature, including screenshots of how it will work:

The feature doesn’t allow you to fully delete inappropriate comments like Facebook or Instagram, nor does it allow you to entirely turn off responses to your Tweets. Still, it gives brands and users more control over the toxicity in their feeds and provides healthier discussions for everyone involved.

When Twitter announced it was doubling the length limit for tweets from 140 to 280 characters, there was a lot of speculation about how it would affect the platform. Now, a year later, we finally have hard data about the effects of the new character limit, and some of the findings are surprising.

Tweets Are Not Getting Longer

Despite the extra space to say your piece, the majority of Twitter users haven’t actually taken advantage of the extra length. In fact, the average length of English language tweets has actually decreased by one character to 33 characters per tweet.

Additionally, Twitter says only 12% of English tweets are longer than the previous 140 character limit, and just 1% hit the newer 280 character limit.

Twitter Users Are Becoming More Polite

Twitter may have a reputation for rude and hateful users, but the increased tweet length may actually be subtly making the platform a nicer place to be. Twitter’s statistics indicate that users have begun using more polite phrases since the change.

Specifically, the company’s data shows that 54% more tweets include the word “please” and 22% more tweets use “thank you” since the change.

Fewer abbreviations

Another interesting shift is that the increased character limit has led to users fully writing out words instead of using abbreviations. Usage of “gr8” has dropped 36%, while “great” is up 32%. Similarly, usage of “b4” is down 13% while “before” has risen 70%.

What this means for you

The biggest takeaway is that the new character limit hasn’t drastically altered Twitter. Short thoughts are still the norm, while longer tweets are still regularly broken up into “tweetstorms” to help segment them for easier reading or dramatic flair.

What has changed is the actual content of the discussions. Writing has become more natural and user engagement is rising. These are all positive results for the social platform who has struggled in recent years to retain its identity and bring more depth to the conversations on its platform.

Yesterday Twitter revealed that it has lost approximately 9 million monthly users in its latest quarterly report.

In most cases, such a drop would be considered a huge red flag. However, the company was not only anticipating the decrease in users but sees it as a sign that the platform is improving.

Since its earliest days, Twitter has been notorious for spam and bot accounts. The huge number of inactive, fake, or malicious accounts has been so bad that Twitter users have even created nicknames for these types of accounts. The most popular sobriquet is simply calling these accounts “eggs” for the original default profile picture on Twitter.

Notably, the company removed the egg profile picture in an attempt to shake off the nickname, though the term still lingers to describe accounts that are inactive, suspicious, or spammy.

Earlier this year, Twitter launched a new initiative aimed at removing these types of bad accounts and preventing the creation of new accounts for spammy or suspicious accounts.

Based on the news that Twitter’s active monthly account number has fallen from 335 million to 326 million in the third quarter of this year, it appears the company is making significant headway in reducing the number of low-quality accounts.

As part of the initiative, Twitter says it expects to continue seeing decreases in monthly active users through the next quarter. CEO Jack Dorsey describes the move as a positive act to improve the long-term health of Twitter.

Dorsey’s perspective may not be far off, as the company has seen consistent gains in daily users and revenue. The company reported a 9% increase in daily active users year over year. Revenue is also high enough for the company to turn a profit the past quarter, marking the first full-year period the company has seen profitability.

Twitter still has significant hurdles to overcome to prevent stagnation or loss of inertia. While these types of steps are likely to increase users’ overall satisfaction with the platform, there are still widespread issues of abuse, spam, and manipulation of the like and retweet functions on the site. If Twitter really hopes to continue to grow in sustainable ways, it will eventually have to confront these complicated issues and make some hard decisions about the direction it wants to grow.

Twitter is trying to bring back the good old days when you could explore your feed chronologically.

The social platform announced it has changed how the option to “Show the best Tweets first” function, removing the “In case you missed it” and recommended Tweets from people users aren’t following.

By stripping all this away, it leaves users with a pure, reverse-chronological feed from people they are following.

“We’ve learned that when showing the best Tweets first, people find Twitter more relevant and useful. However, we’ve heard feedback from people who at times prefer to see the most recent Tweets,” reads the company’s statement. “Our goal with the timeline is to balance showing you the most recent Tweets with the best Tweets you’re likely to care about, but we don’t always get this balance right.”

Since the release of the default algorithmic feed in early 2016, many users have been relying on workarounds to access their feed in a chronological way. Unfortunately for those users, Twitter has recently been limiting the amount of access available to third-party developers, restricting the possibility for plug-ins or automated tools for accessing a chronological timeline.

That led to the past few days when things reached something of a boiling point. A trick to get the algorithmic feed from user Emma Kinema went viral with more than 15,000 retweets and almost 40,000 likes.

While Twitter says it has been working on this update for some time, the tweet helped underscore the demand for a simple way to access a chronological feed without all the “curated” content that Twitter had been including.

The change to how the “Show best Tweets first” option works is a temporary solution according to the company, which maintains that many users still prefer the algorithmic feed. In the meantime, it is working on a more accessible way to easily switch back and forth between “Tweets that are most relevant for you and a timeline of the latest Tweets.”

The company says it will launch within a few weeks.

Twitter is following Facebook and Instagram’s lead by prioritizing live streams in users’ feeds. The social network announced it would begin bumping live streams to the top of users’ timelines while the streams are active.

This means anytime someone you are following begins streaming, you will be able to see it automatically at the top of your feed.

As Twitter said in the announcement:

“We’re making it easier to find and watch live broadcasts. Now, when accounts you follow go live, the stream will appear right at the top of your timeline.

Catch breaking news, your favorite personalities, and can’t-miss sports moments. Rolling out now on iOS and Android.”

The decision to prioritize live streams in people’s feeds isn’t exactly shocking. While streams can be rewatched after the original event is over, being able to interact with streamers during the video is a big driver of engagement for streams. Once the initial stream is over, engagement with the post typically dwindles significantly.

This is why Facebook and Instagram have similarly prioritized live streams on their platforms by sending notifications to users and highlighting active streams in the primary feed.

Although Twitter has yet to clarify, it seems likely the boost applies to both video live streams and the new audio-only streams rolled out for users last week.

Twitter has shut down numerous accounts accused of artificially increasing the popularity of their posts using a method called “tweetdecking.”

Tweetdecking gets its name from the app TweetDeck, which can schedule posts ahead of time. Conspiring accounts were working together to retweet content in order to force it to go viral.

In this case, most of the accounts removed were using the technique to steal content (including memes and jokes) to make accounts more prominent. These accounts would then use their artificial popularity to promote other accounts or products for financial profit.

This practice blatantly violates Twitter’s spam policy. It is also just the latest instance of users and brands gaming the system to increase their online presence.

Since the earliest days of Google, brands and “black hat” users worked together to rig the search engine to ensure high visibility. Usually, this took the form of buying links to artificially appear authoritative to Google’s algorithm. The search engine has since worked to eradicate the practice, but similar tricks like buying “likes” or “retweets” have since sprung up on almost every other popular social platform.

Twitter’s latest bans are the most recent crackdown in a long-running game of whack-a-mole. Still, it provides a harsh reminder that brands who try to manipulate social networks or search engines in bad faith are nearly guaranteed to be eventually penalized or banned entirely.

It is official. After over a year experimenting with various types of longer tweets, Twitter is finally letting everyone tweet with 280-characters at a time.

The double-sized tweets are rolling out as the default length limit for users around the world, except Japan and Korea. The iconic 140-character limit will be phased out, although Twitter suggests the change won’t affect most tweets.

According to the blog post announcing the change, most tweets stayed below the old limit even when they had the opportunity to say more. However, “we saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they tweeted more easily and more often.”

Twitter also noted that “historically, 9% of tweets in English hit the character limit.” With the new extended length, that number has dropped to only 1% of tweets.

Of course, some on the platform seem to be outraged by the break in tradition. Most, including celebrities, are celebrating the longer tweets with jokes and pointlessly long tweets for fun.

Since its creation, Twitter has been defined by one simple thing. No, not memes, politics, or the platform’s ability to spread information faster than even the biggest news networks. The hallmark trait of the social media service has always been its 140-character limit.

This week, Twitter announced that could change very soon as the company has begun testing tweets that are twice as long. A small group of randomly chosen users from around the globe have been given the ability to create tweets with up to 280-characters.

As co-founder Jack Dorsey said in a tweet announcing the test:

“This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence!”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Twitter has experimented with super-sized tweets. The company made major waves early last year when news broke that Twitter was considering expanding tweets well beyond 140 or even 280-characters. At the time, it was rumored Twitter was considering lengthening tweets up to 10,000 characters, though the idea was eventually discarded.

The big question is whether users will actually come to like the longer tweets and if it encourages more conversation. The early reaction is somewhat hostile from users who say that removing the need for brevity doesn’t actually equate to saying more.

https://twitter.com/brianrbarone/status/912788388150960130

Given that Twitter users are largely protective of the restraints they’ve come to love, the strong reaction isn’t necessarily a surprise and may not be indicative of the long-term response. While many users complain about longer tweets, a number of determined users have found workarounds so that they can get in on the 280-character party even if they weren’t selected for the limited beta test group.

The decision to expand tweets could also remove the need for old Twitter customs where users would share screenshots of longer texts as pictures or share several related tweets as a “tweet chain” or “tweetstorm”.

Ultimately, we will all just have to sit back and wait to see whether the 280-character limit catches on or if it is just another Twitter experiment that will fade into the ether.

Twitter has always been built on the idea that brevity is the soul of wit. But, it can still be hard to fit everything you need to say in just 140 characters, especially if you’re responding to someone with a long username.

Until now, user names were included in YouTube’s character limit. That is no longer the case as of this week. Twitter announced that usernames won’t subtract from your tweet’s 140 character count from now on.

Additionally, the company is changing up how replies appear to make conversations easier to follow with three new features:

  • Who you are replying to will appear above the Tweet text rather than within the Tweet text itself, so you have more characters to have conversations.
  • You can tap on “Replying to…” to easily see and control who’s part of your conversation.
  • When reading a conversation, you’ll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a Tweet.

“It’s now easier to follow a conversation, so you can focus on what a discussion is about, and who is having it,” Twitter explained in a blog post. “Also, with all 140 characters for your replies, you have more room to participate in group conversations.

repliesupdate

The new changes should be available to all users across PC, iOS, and Android already. According to the company’s testing, Twitter says the new features lead to higher engagement for conversations.

verifiedtwitter

Do you want the most coveted Twitter feature limited to only the biggest names online? You can have it with just a few simple steps.

I’m not talking about a new way to share your tweets, but this one small feature will immediately establish you as an authority across all of Twitter. That’s right, I’m talking about the famous blue checkmark showing that your account is “verified”.

Until recently, Twitter has limited verification checkmarks to specifically selected accounts of well-known actors, athletes, business personalities, artists, and authors. But, as of July, anyone can now apply to receive the lusted after sign of influence by going through Twitter’s verification application process.

It might seem like a small thing, but the checkmark is more than just a blue badge next to your name. It immediately shows that you are an established figure likely tied to a reputable organization. It grants weight to your opinions and encourages other users to follow you as an authority in your field.

If you want to get a fancy blue checkmark of your own and get your site verified, just follow the process detailed in the infographic below from SurePayroll and Ghergich & Co:

verified-twitter-03