Engadget: Twitter tests conversation ‘subscriptions’. “Twitter is testing yet another new feature: a ‘subscribe to conversation’ button that would let users follow a thread without liking or replying to it. Twitter user and software engineer Jane Manchun Wong (who’s known for finding this kind of thing) discovered the prototype in the Android version of the app. In response to her tweet about it, Twitter said this is an attempt to make the platform more conversational. It’s now the latest in a flood of changes we’ve seen from Twitter.”
New York Times: The Anxiety of Having a Famous Follower on Twitter. “June 23, 2018, was a momentous day in the online life of Laura Pittenger, a New York playwright with roughly 1,200 Twitter followers. That was when the actor John Cusack, who has more than 1.6 million followers, retweeted her and followed her back. Ms. Pittenger was happy to have a celebrity follower. Then came the anxiety.”
CNET: Far-right Twitter accounts amplified pro-Brexit views, study finds. “Far-right Twitter users who appeared to be from the US helped spread tweets from accounts that support Britain’s controversial decision to leave the European Union, a process known as Brexit. The findings were part of a study released Tuesday by Finnish cybersecurity company F-Secure, which analyzed 24 million tweets about Brexit from 1.65 million users between Dec. 4 and Feb. 13, 2019. “
Recode: Inside Twitter’s ambitious plan to change the way we tweet. “Everything the company seems to do — from cracking down on bots to building new conversation features — has been done in the name of a healthier Twitter. When the company’s user base started shrinking noticeably last year, Twitter said that its focus on health was at least partly to blame. Measuring the health of interactions is just one part of that broader effort, but it’s one of the more challenging and confusing parts. Removing bots and spam are technical problems. Truly understanding the health of a conversation requires things like understanding who is talking, what they’re talking about, or when someone is using sarcasm. Not all arguments, of course, are bad.”
TechCrunch: Twitter confirms it’s working on a ‘Hide Tweet’ feature. “Twitter today confirmed it’s developing a new ‘Hide Tweet’ feature, which it says will give users another option to protect their conversations.”
Quartz: There’s a way to find out if your Twitter interactions are sexist. “Conversations in patriarchal societies tend to amplify men’s voices more than women’s, and Twitter is no exception to this rule. A study last year found male US political reporters retweet other men three times more than they do their female colleagues, while Harvard Business School researchers in 2009 found men in general were almost twice as likely to follow another man as a woman. Many Twitter users may not be intentionally ignoring women’s input, but these small biases add up. And there’s now a tool that shows whether you retweet and respond to men more than women on Twitter.” Just a note that the domain name in the article, at this writing, as an extra period at the end and will give you an error. Remove the period and you’ll get to the tweet analysis tool.
The Daily Beast: Whimsical and Annoying Viral Questions Are Taking Over Twitter. “Unpopular opinion time: What trend has taken over Twitter, inspiring enthusiastic fans and even more devoted haters? For the past eight months, the answer has been tweets structured just like the question above. They’re open-ended. They’re designed to elicit quick responses. And they’re absolutely everywhere.” I think they’re cute.