It's pretty hard to get a message across in 140 characters or less. I know, I'm a journalist and I've had to do it professionally. But maybe you feel you are still getting too much information that you might not want. Maybe you just have a friend who has tweeted you to save the whales twenty times too many.
Well, now you can mute them.
Twitter has just unveiled its newest feature, the mute option. With the press of a button the you can select users in your feed that you just don't want to hear any more. You will no longer see their tweets, retweets, SMS or push notifications
It's not a full block feature. The biggest difference is that they can still follow you. They can still see your feed, share and retweet your posts and reply to you. You just won't see it in your timeline. They can also send you a direct tweet. The muted user does not receive any notification that you have shut them up.
You won't have to listen to them and they won't be upset with you. Now I can get back to seeing what trending without having to save any of those darned whales.
If you thought that 140 characters was just not enough to thoroughly get your point across on Twitter, get ready, because any URLs you add to your tweet out are going to make them even shorter.
Starting today, including a URL in your tweet will leave you with 118 characters, or 117 for https links. This tweet reduction was announced in December due to a change in Twitter's t.co link wrapper, which extends the maximum length of links from the previous 20 characters to 22, and 21 to 23 for https.
What does this mean for you? You'll have two less characters to annoy people with your updates.
Read More | Twitter
Twitter is expanding on its Nielsen deal to develop social TV ratings through an acquisition of Bluefin Labs, a firm specializing in statistics for television networks. The acquisition, says Twitter, will allow the social network to create "innovative new ad products."
Second-screen apps seem to be on the rise these days, but in the case of Twitter, people are more than likely already using it while watching TV. The question is, how much money will this bring Twitter through advertising?
Nielsen and Twitter are joining forces to create Nielsen Twitter TV Rating. Twitter, as we all know, is a social media platform that sees more than a billion tweets every 2.5 days on an inexhaustible list of topics. Nielsen specializes in information, particularly what consumers watch and buy. With Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, the two companies hope to find a standardized way of measuring the conversations happening around TV shows.
The ratings will be commercially available Fall 2013, and, according to Twitter's blog, will function as "one common benchmark from which to measure the engagement of their programming." The new rating system will set in place measures to quantify the people discussing the TV shows, as well as the people who were exposed to the conversation. The goal will be to provide "the precise size of the audience and effect of social TV to TV programming."
This is not the two companies first pairing, as both came together earlier this year to measure the impact of brand advertising campaigns using Twitter surveys.
Read More | Twitter Blog
While Twitter has been described as a "self-cleaning oven" and a "truth machine," rumors do slip through and cause confusion, if briefly. A new study building on research done in 2010, analyzing tweets surrounding the Chile 8.8 earthquake, is currently researching the possibilities of sussing out the true tweets from the false ones.
The study uses 16 features to identify whether a tweet is credible or not. It seems reliable information tends to be longer and include URLs, as well as come from people with a lot of followers. The true tweets also tend to be negative in nature, and do not contain exclamation points or question marks.
A new paper by those behind the Chile earthquake study, Carlos Castillo, Marcelo Mendoza and Barbara Poblete, will appear in the journal Internet Research next month with what look to be encouraging results. Their algorithm had an AUC of 0.86, meaning that when it's presented with a false tweet and a true tweet, it would label the true tweet more credible 86 percent of the time.
It's not perfect, and actual people would probably fair better in determining which tweet was more credible. Probably. In any case, it's nice to see we're making strides toward making the Internet a more credible place. My only concern is the escalation factor; that is, the people behind the deliberately false information will only adopt better practices to fool such truth-seeking algorithms.
Read More | Slate
Instagram users are flocking to greener pastures after the photo-sharing service posted new Terms of Service this week. With the new TOS, users are required to consent to allowing the Facebook-owned service license their public photos to companies, organizations and advertisers. As CNET puts it, this could make Instagram a stock photo service in itself, without paying out to photographers.
More than likely, however, the new TOS are for Instagram users would be used in promotional images, rather than as stock photos that cheat the photographers out of money. It's the fact that the latter is a possibility that is causing some users to embark on an exodus to Flickr, Hipstamatic or Twitter.
The Verge reports that searching for Instagram on Twitter brings up several instructions for how to export your Instagram pics and cancel your account. There are also several tweets spreading about which photo-sharing services make a good Instagram replacement, such as the article Fast Company posted.
The change in its Terms of Services coincides not only with the unwelcome change in photo-cropping functionality, but also as Twitter adds its own photo filters, and Flickr releases version 2.0 of its iOS client. It may be a temporary setback for Instagram, or it could spell the beginning of the end if the service doesn't do something fast to appease its users.
The offer from Twitter, according to The New York Times, was for $525 million. Instagram's CEO, Kevin Systrom, agreed to the buy-out, but changed his mind before selling Instagram to Facebook without allowing Twitter to make a counter offer.
What's interesting is that Systrom had stated while under oath to the California Corporations Department that Instagram had never received another formal offer. None of the parties have commented on the Times article that brought this information to life, but it could mean we might be in the throes of an intense legal battle shortly.
Read More | NY TImes
If you visit the Twitter Web site, you'll see a refreshed bird logo waiting for you. Today the company unveiled a modified, sleeker (if you can call it that) version of it's iconic Twitter bird. The head feathers have been removed, and the bird now seems to be flying upwards instead of forward. It's also a darker shade of blue. We're guessing that if no one told you that the logo was new, that you probably wouldn't even notice the change. It's definitely different, but definitely subtle.
Read More | Twitter Blog
Sohaib Athar, the man who accidentally livetweeted the raid on Osama bin Laden has been hacked, he confirmed via Twitter.
Athar, who goes by the Twitter handle @ReallyVirtual, said early this morning that his blog, which was linked via his Twitter page, had been infected with malware. Websense, for its part, said in a blog post that the poorly detected malware used a "blackhole exploit kit" to serve the malware. Not surprisingly, Websense said that its customers were protected.
"Anyone going to this page would also load content from the malicious URL above, and the Blackhole Exploit Kit would then try to use several exploits to automatically install malware on the PC," the firm wrote. "The malware that the drive-by-download attempts to install is a fake system tool named 'WindowsRecovery' that claims to have found problems on the victim's computer."
The malware then would have hidden all the files and folders in the user's hard drive and desktop - then offer to restore them for a price, which a Websense graphic indicated was $79.50.
It wasn't clear from Athar's account whether he had successfully removed the malware from his blog or taken it down.
Are you Twitter obsessed? Ever fantasize about working for the microblogging giant? Mashable has put together a how-to guide on how to land a job at Twitter. They give insight on whatit's like to work at Twitter, what kind of jobs you can find, and other tips.
Read More | Yahoo!
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