Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

Twitter makes it easier to track conversations

Twitter has announced the launch of a new feature to make it easier to keep track of conversations.

As of this week, the platform will start grouping conversations together, highlighting some of the most noteworthy exchanges underneath the initial post. Twitter will decide which tweets to highlight based on a number of factors, including whether the original user has replied.

According to Twitter:” Conversations surrounding a Tweet, particularly if they’ve sparked lots of replies and disparate conversations, can be hard to follow. So, we’re doing a few things to make this much easier”.

Facebook introduced a similar format for threaded conversations in spring 2013.

Currently available on the desktop site, Twitter plans to roll the new feature out to mobile apps at a future date.

Periscope explains why streams aren’t always live

Speaking at Airbnb’s OpenAir conference last week, a Periscope engineer shed light on why the app’s ‘live streams’ may not actually be live.

According to the spokeswoman, Twitter-owned Periscope uses an “artificial delay” to ensure more popular streams don’t get overloaded while keeping comments in sync. The imposed delay (of no more than a few seconds) helps Periscope make its broadcasts available to thousands of people at the same time. Explaining that “Everyone’s video latency is going to be variable,” the delay ensures that any subsequent comments are correctly synced.

The engineer also explained that Periscope limits how many users can make comments on popular streams, stating that: “When a room has many participants, we limit the number of people who can actually comment”. She added: “They can see the chats that are coming through, but they can’t actually participate. This allows us to scale broadcasts to thousands of users”.

The end of Facebook Connect

First introduced in 2010, Facebook Connect allowed Outlook.com users to see contact information about their Facebook friends within emails. This week, however, it has been announced that Facebook Connect will no longer be supported by Windows, severing the current integration between Facebook and Microsoft products.

While Facebook has, so far, refused to comment on the news, an official Microsoft blog post states that: “Facebook has made an update to their Graph API that will impact Microsoft apps and services.” It goes on to add: “Due to these changes, Facebook Connect features will no longer be supported”.

Facebook bows out of the space race

It’s not just Facebook Connect that has come to an end this week as far as the social media giant is concerned. Information has also surfaced that Facebook is dropping its ambitious satellite internet plans due to concerns over the ability to recoup costs. Google, which had similar satellite ambitions, cancelled its plans in this space earlier this year.
Facebook’s internet.org initiative had hoped to launch its own satellite to facilitate getting developing countries online. According to reports, the $1 billion plan has been abandoned in favour of leasing space on other satellites and partnering with existing projects.

Snapchat gets political

Snapchat has just launched its first ever political advertisement. The 10-second ad, on behalf of the American Action Network, a group closely associated with the Republican Party, formed part of a larger $900,000 lobbying campaign.

The ad featured photos and videos and appeared as part of a Snapchat-curated “live story”.

While politicians are no strangers to social media, this is the first time Snapchat has been used to reach out to voters. Commenting on the decision to use the platform, a spokesman said: “A.A.N. is using Snapchat because it’s allowing us to deliver an engaging ad experience to an audience of influencers and younger, hard to reach voters.”

Ello comes to the iPhone

This week, ad-free social networking site Ello announced the launch of its first iOS app to customers.

According to an Ello email, the app boasts “dozens of new features including real-time alerts and new ways to find your friends”. It goes on to say that “the Ello app is the best way to be inspired and share what matters most.”

The app will be available via the Apple App Store from June 18th.

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