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Twitter is calling you out: New feature encourages users to read articles before sharing

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This new feature from Twitter has some mixed feelings, but is already making strides in encouraging mindful sharing and slowing misinformation.

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Person reading Twitter on phone seated on bench with coffee cup.

Everyone reads an article before retweeting it, right? Well, not everyone does, and Twitter will snitch on you if you don’t! In hopes of getting users to read articles before sharing them, Twitter started prompting some users to read an article before they retweeted.

In a tweet from Twitter Support, the company said, “Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before you Tweet it.” The social media platform aims to “promote informed discussion” by checking whether you have recently clicked on the article you are about to share. If you haven’t looked at the link recently, you are prompted to confirm if you want to share the article or not.

This “read before you retweet” prompt is a good way of getting people to read the content they are spreading. Without first reading what you are sharing, misleading stories with false information can spread into a virtual wildfire. Personally, I feel this is one of the few good things Twitter is doing right.

If you haven’t already started receiving the “Headlines don’t tell the full story” message, you soon might. Currently, the company is working on bringing the prompts to everyone globally, and they have a good reason for doing so.

Back in June, Twitter started testing the new prompt on a limited number of Android users first. Although the company has only been testing this feature for a few months now, they have already started seeing very promising results. According to the company’s tweet, they have seen three major changes.

First, more people are finally reading. Can you imagine that? After seeing the prompt, 40 percent more people have opened the link to read the article.

Secondly, there has been a rise in “informed tweeting”. More people are not just opening articles. There has been a 33 percent increase in the number of people opening articles before they are even thinking of retweeting them.

Lastly, they have seen some people forgo retweeting the article after opening it up. This means people are choosing to be mindful of the content they want to share.

Twitter has yet to say when the prompt will roll out to everyone, but the results they’ve received are good. Also, you don’t have to worry about the pop-up being so large and annoying, mostly. After you’ve seen the prompt once, it will be smaller the next time you see it. But if you don’t want to see it at all, just read the article before tapping retweet.

Veronica Garcia has a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV/Film from The University of Texas at Austin. When she’s not writing, she’s in the kitchen trying to attempt every Nailed It! dessert, or on the hunt trying to find the latest Funko Pop! to add to her collection.

Social Media

This habit tracker shows you insights you may not want to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The Haptic Life Tracker app documents your (good and bad) habits. But how much do you want to know?

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Haptic, a habit tracker app for Apple, shows you almost too many data points.

Ah, Facebook. We hate you for being a massive time suck. We love you for documenting our lives (seriously, that memories feature toys with my emotions daily).

If that time suck becomes too sucky and you need to break up with your feed – but you want to keep a list of what you’ve been doing – check out the brand-spanking-new app Haptic Life Tracker for iOS.

The benefits, according to the makers: “Track your habits and activities in one timeline and get insights based on your actions. See what your life looks like at a glance.”

This habit tracker lets you track useful things like how many glasses of water or cigarettes you’ve had, music you’ve listened to, or what books you’ve read. If you need another reason to feel bad about yourself, you could also track how many times you got wasted last week vs. how many times you worked out – information you may or may not want to see in the cold, hard light of your phone screen (Hey, single people. It’s COVID-19 Time, so can we all just agree not to track the number of days since we’ve had a date? Thanks).

The free version of the habit tracker starts you off with seven preset categories, including music albums, games, and flights, and lets you add five customized categories. You can also auto import data from the iOS Health app.

Paid membership ($1.49 monthly or $12.99 for a year, with a seven-day free trial) gets you a virtually unlimited number of areas to obsess over. The membership also includes more ways to get insights and parse your daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly data.

With any tracking app, the big question is privacy and who gets to see your data. The app makers address privacy right off the bat. According to them, all content lives only on your phone and is not synced with external servers. So, hopefully, Google won’t learn how abysmally low your water intake is compared with your wine log (Am I projecting a lot onto this app? I think I’m projecting a lot onto this app).

Having all that data in one place could let you delete some of the more specialized tracking apps. By way of comparison, take a look at The Muse’s “The Top 50 Apps for Tracking Everything in Your Life.” There should be at least one habit tracker you could cut to whittle down your list. Although maybe not PooLog, which tracks your bowel movements by “type, time and volume” to help identify health issues. The Muse adds: “Or it’s just great for poo aficionados.” I did not know, nor did I need to know there are “poo aficionados.”

Haptic Life Tracker was recently featured on tech-product watch site ProductHunt.com, where comments from maker Alexey Sekachov reveal they’re working on versions for Apple Watch and Android, as well as potentially adding a social component.

Also on the informational treasure trove that is the Product Hunt comments feature, one commenter nailed the app’s minimalist look and feel: “Both beautiful and creepy. Black Mirror meets black turtleneck (Steve Jobs would be proud).”

The ability to use tech to gain insights into our habits and chronicle our lives is the same: Both beautiful and, if we’re honest, just a titch creepy. Haptic Life Tracker certainly has the potential to help us become more self-aware. Its potential pitfall is becoming another time suck: Obsessing over every detail of our lives. I’m looking forward to user reviews to see which idea wins.

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Real Estate Marketing

New startup seeks to make automated Twitter DMs slightly less automated

(MARKETING NEWS) This “smart Twitter greeter” pulls content from users’ recent tweets and Twitter bios to craft automated custom messages to send to new followers.

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twitter dms

Bye-bye, stock messages

If you’ve ever followed someone on Twitter and received an automated stock message, you might love what Rufus is doing. Or, it might be your worst nightmare.

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Rufus calls itself a smart Twitter greeter, and pulls content from users’ recent tweets and Twitter bios to craft automated custom messages to send to new followers. Rather than generic messages, Twitter users can now send automated call-to-actions or customized notes that may give businesses at little bit less of an automatic feel.

Blurring the lines

The obvious hesitation with a startup like Rufus is that it may make Twitter even more automated, a far step from the direct user to business interactions that some purists still admire it for.

With major companies like Uber, Amazon and Microsoft providing direct customer support via Twitter direct message, we may be blurring the lines between direct contact and automated messages.

The seemingly customized message directly responding to a recent Tweet may no longer actually have been written for you, and that certainly will anger some users.

Authentic or just less fake?

Still, perhaps even worse than the illusion of authenticity is the the flow of fake, automated “Thank you for following” messages that flow into Twitter and Instagram inboxes. With Rufus, even if the first message is still automated, real conversations may follow.

The company’s website provides two examples of possible uses, which are targeted at an HR manager and a recruiter. One responds to a previously used hashtag, pointing the new follower to a relevant blog post based on the keywords, and the second pulls the users’ career as a recruiter from his bio and starts a conversation about using social media for his work.

Other applications could be much broader though, like a band automatically messaging new followers about upcoming shows in a certain city, or an elected official sending messages about issues based on a user’s recent politically-focused Tweets. Rufus may need to continue to build out their keyword matching and engagement methods for these new applications to work, but the options are close to endless.

Rufus currently has three payment options, ranging from $10 to $59 a month and allowing for up to 12 message templates per profile. Some businesses will still prefer to write messages by hand, but if you’re tired of sending the same message to all your new followers, Rufus may be an option worth considering.

The perks are definitely there for businesses and brands; the only question is how will potential customers respond.

#Rufus

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Social Media

2016 is the year of livestreaming, is your brand already on it?

The overall market for digital video has also experienced explosive growth in the United States, with over 200 million Americans (just under two thirds of the population) watching videos online on a regular basis

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periscope live streaming

There’s you, your product and a veritable untapped audience that can potentially tune in if you plug your brand on YouTube, Facebook or any number of other social media platforms. Regarding live streaming video, why wouldn’t you want to incorporate streaming video into your marketing plan?

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Still not convinced? According to a recent toprankblog.com article, live video streaming services like Meerkat and Periscope allow users to stream and share videos in real time. “The overall market for digital video has also experienced explosive growth in the United States, with over 200 million Americans (just under two thirds of the population) watching videos online on a regular basis.” That’s a LOT of potential revenue.

Worth watching

The potential of apps like Meerkat and Periscope is fairly easy to see. Content notwithstanding, watching a video consistently ranks among the top activities on sites like Facebook and Twitter and users are getting something from the specialist apps not currently offered by the more established networks

In this context, according to the annual trend report on globalwebindex.net, the future importance of live-streaming for brands is worth watching. “As advertising-weary consumers take steps to prevent their web experience from being interrupted, there will be more emphasis on less overt forms of advertising where the consumer experience moves far beyond simply hearing about a brand or its latest product.”

Numbers don’t lie

The latest Global Web Index Blog points out that over 40% of young mobile users say they are watching native forms of video on their smartphone more frequently than they were a year ago.

Granted, a lot of what constitutes streaming content is funny video/entertainment but following closely behind are groups that express interest in watching videos broadcast by brands (26%), celebrities (21%) or vloggers (19%).

livestreaming

It’s among these audiences in particular, says toprankblog.com, that brands hope to carve out an important presence on smartphones. “The numbers might be relatively modest at the moment but they do represent a point of refuge amidst the growing anti-advertising tide.”

Apps like Meerkat and Periscope may be in the minority but they are picking up steam will be viable contenders for the marketing crown before long.

#Livestreaming

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