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Twitter says it’s cracking down on abuse (again)

Fairly or not, Twitter is known the Internet over as the place the trolls are.

Stung by criticism that Twitter has allowed harassment and abuse to spread unchecked and under growing pressure from Wall Street to deliver growth, CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged “a completely new approach to abuse.” Twitter’s vice president of engineering Ed Ho said last week the company will keep working on combating abuse “until we’ve made a significant impact that people can feel.”

The pledges have been met with skepticism from critics. Twitter is out to prove that it’s taking safety on the platform seriously with a new set of updates that begin rolling out Tuesday. The changes will give users more control over what they see on the social media service, Twitter says.

Chief among them: preventing people who have been permanently suspended from Twitter from creating new accounts, focusing in particular on accounts that are created “only to abuse and harass others,” Ho said in a blog post.  Read More

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Twitter Strikes Back

The latest Consumer Sharing Trends Report is here and Twitter is back from its slump, with a major growth trajectory of 43 percent. The Twitter flock flew right past Facebook (14 percent growth), LinkedIn (12 percent growth), and Pinterest (5 percent growth). Reddit also joined the top growing channels for the first time with 25 percent growth compared to 11% decline in Q4 2013. Sharing via email continues its steep descent, with 25 percent decline in Q1.

As consumers continue to share content such as articles, photos, videos and more via their social networks at unprecedented rates, another notable trend this quarter is that surges like Twitter’s are driven by mobile sharing, which surpassed desktop sharing in Q1. Sharing on mobile devices grew 2.5 times faster than sharing on the desktop at 28 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

In addition to measuring the growth by social channel and device, our Q1 2014 report also looks at demographic sharing trends, including age and race. Key findings include:

  • iPhone vs. Android battle heats up: While the iPhone still holds the lead for the mobile device people use to share most often at 25 percent, Android smartphones are closing the gap at 17 percent, which was up at the end of the quarter from 15 percent in January 2014.

  • Age matters: Reddit attracts the youngest demographic with the highest number of 18-30 year olds sharing content, whereas LinkedIn and Facebook see the most activity from older users. Twitter and Pinterest sharers tend to be younger than Facebook and LinkedIn, but slightly older than those sharing on Reddit.

  • Hispanic consumers are driving growth in sharing: Sharing by Hispanic consumers, who make up the fastest-growing consumer group in the U.S., reinforced our findings from the Hispanic Consumer Study. Compared to African American and Caucasian sharers, Hispanic consumers shared most on Twitter with 42 percent growth and Reddit with 36 percent growth.

The quarterly Consumer Sharing Trends Report analyzes consumer sharing behavior from Q1 2014 across nearly every social channel on desktop and mobile devices. The large-scale social data offers valuable insight into what, where and how consumers share online, which is not only a true indicator of interest and intent, but also a powerful way for publishers and advertisers to drive content and brand engagement.  Read More

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Twitter Files IPO as Social Media Stocks Storm Back

Twitter Inc.’s planned IPO is likely going to be forever tied to Facebook Inc.FB -0.64%’s.

As two of the most high-profile of social-media companies, investors have been anxious the past few years to see how those companies would make money and whether they would become high flying stocks. They are constantly talked about not just on Wall Street but on Main Street too.

Facebook got out the door first with its record-setting $16 billion IPO last May. But its weak reception — its stock took a year for it to return to its IPO price — spooked investors about social media and internet stocks in general.

GrouponGRPN +1.95% and ZyngaZNGA +0.67% slumped as well last year with  each losing some three-quarters of their value in 2012.

Many expected Twitter to hold off until black cloud lifted on social-media stocks.

Well, things look better now.

Facebook shares are up 88% over the past three months as its results showed revenue growth in mobile, a key concern for shareholders at the time of the IPO. The stock hit an all-time intraday high on Thursday of $45.62.  Read More

For Social Media Viewing, Twitter Is Live TV; Facebook Is DVR

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When you follow someone on Twitter, you see everything they post. When you follow someone on Facebook, it decides what you see. Which is right? I’d say both, and it comes down to the live TV versus DVR personalities of each service.

Should Facebook Show Everything?

The issue of Facebook deciding what to show people in their Facebook news feed came up this week when Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote about how over the past year, the engagement on his posts had dropped, despite his having gained a huge increase in Facebook followers.

That echoed concerns from Star Trek alum and social media extraordinaire George Takei, who last year was alarmed that his Facebook engagement was down. He wondered, as Bilton did, if this was perhaps something Facebook was doing to get him and others to pay for better visibility. Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, also got in on the criticisms last year.

I used to be in the “Facebook should show everything” camp. For example, when the Subscribe feature (now called Follow) launched in 2011, I wished it was available for Facebook Pages, not just for people, so that the visibility of content from those pages didn’t feel so out-of-control for the publisher.

As I wrote:

If someone wants to follow a publication or website on Facebook, they shouldn’t have to hope that they’re not going to miss content they may want to see, because Facebook decided something wasn’t important enough to show.

Since then, I’ve come to realize that I don’t want Facebook to show me everything in the same way that Twitter does. Moreover, even though Twitter shows me everything, I don’t actually see everything. Time to unpack the TV metaphors.

The “Live TV” Of Twitter

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When you follow accounts on Twitter, everything they post flows into your Twitter timeline. You’re going to see it all. Twitter’s not sitting behind the scenes trying to decide what non-paid tweets it thinks are more important and should be shown nor what should be held back. In short, Twitter’s not trying to separate out the signal from the noise.

That’s not to say that “noise” is bad. Twitter, to me, is like having a TV on in the background while I work. I glance to it from time to time, and if something big or important happens, I look up and pay attention.  Read More

Social media at 180 mph: Las Vegas Motor Speedway turns to Twitter

If “The Bachelor” TV show can post Twitter feeds from viewers during its broadcasts, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway figures it can also offer instantaneous social networking quips at a new social media nerve center at this weekend’s NASCAR race event.

Speedway officials are rolling out the social media hub at the Neon Garage for the Thursday-Sunday NASCAR weekend, which will feature guests from Team Lowe’s Racing, NASCAR, Sprint and media churning out real-time comments. About 130,000 fans are expected for Sunday’s NASCAR main event, the Kobalt Tools 400.

The hub – dubbed the “Kobalt Social Media Command Center” – will host computers and large video monitors that will give fans a live glimpse at the racing luminaries cranking out insights on Twitter and Facebook. NASCAR racer Brad Keselowski is the circuit’s famed Twitter man, and was even fined $25,000 for sending out tweets from his car during a race.

“There’s no question it’s a must-do at this point at every major sports event and property. You have to be active in social media,” said Nancy Lough, University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor of higher education and editor of the Sport Marketing Quarterly.

Lough explained that the fans’ responses and observations to NASCAR’s social media content will allow race officials to monitor trends among their consumers.

“They’re putting out content that can be accessed by their consumers and then they can listen to what the response is by taking out the intermediary,” Lough said Tuesday. “Twitter is a monitor or meter, if you will. You can monitor what is resonating with fans.”  Read More

Why Would Apple Buy a Chunk of Twitter?

By : Shel Israel

The NY Times reported last week that Apple is considering taking a significant stake in Twitter. It observed that it might do so because it “has stumbled in its efforts to get into social media.” I found that observation odd. I follow the social media space pretty closely and can recall no effort on Apple’s part to get into social media other than to provide a hosting podcast hosting platform via the Apple iTunes Store.

Further, you have to wonder why the Times thought a traditional hardware maker should try to play in the social network space.

That being said, I think Apple would be wise to take a stake in Twitter and Twitter should welcome the investment, but I see the story as more complex than the view expressed in the Time article.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece in which I included   Apple, along withFacebookGoogle, Amazon and Microsoft as consumer technology’s Gang of Five. Each of these companies aspires to give other Gang members a bit of a run.

The word Gang sounds tough, but I chose the word, because sometimes the game is more about turf than absolute victory.

Take, for example, the 2009 introduction of Microsoft Bing.  Some people dismissed the move as too little and too late to damage arch-rival Google. No one thought Bing could ever eclipse google Search, and that estimation is probably true.  Read More

Apple Officials Said to Consider Stake in Twitter

Apple, which has stumbled in its efforts to get into social media, has talked with Twitter in recent months about making a strategic investment in it, according to people briefed on the matter.

While Apple has been hugely successful in selling phones and tablets, it has little traction in social networking, which has become a major engine of activity on the Web and on mobile devices. Social media are increasingly influencing how people spend their time and money — an important consideration for Apple, which also sells applications, games, music and movies.

Apple has considered an investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars, one that could value Twitter at more than $10 billion, up from an $8.4 billion valuation last year, these people said. They declined to be named because the discussions were private.

There is no guarantee that the two companies, which are not in negotiations at the moment, will come to an agreement. But the earlier talks are a sign that they may form a stronger partnership amid intensifying competition from the likes of Google and Facebook.

Apple has not made many friends in social media. Its relationship with Facebook, for example, has been strained since a deal to build Facebook features into Ping, Apple’s music-centric social network, fell apart. Facebook is also aligned with Microsoft, which owns a small stake in it. And Google, an Apple rival in the phone market, has been pushing its own social network, Google Plus.

“Apple doesn’t have to own a social network,” Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at a recent technology conference. “But does Apple need to be social? Yes.”

Twitter and Apple have already been working together. Recently, Apple has tightly sewn Twitter features into its software for phones, tablets and computers, while, behind the scenes, Twitter has put more resources into managing its relationship with Apple.  Read More

AP adds new social media guidelines on live-tweeting, friending/following sources

by Jeff Sonderman

The Associated Press updated its staff social media guidelines today with a new section on live-tweeting news and an updated section on how to connect with newsmakers on social media.

Journalists are instructed that live-tweeting public news events is fine, but their “first obligation is to provide full details to the appropriate news desk,” and they should not share “exclusive material” before giving the wire a chance to publish it first.

The AP says it’s OK to build social media ties with politicians, newsmakers and sources, but that staffers should “make this kind of contact with figures on both sides of controversial issues.” It also tells staffers to “avoid interacting with newsmakers on their public pages — for instance, commenting on their posts.”

Full excerpts of those sections are at the end of this post.

The update to the policy resparked a debate about the AP’s restrictions on retweeting information. The policy says staffers should go out of their way when constructing each retweet to make it clear they’re not expressing a personal opinion or endorsement.  Read More

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