Twitter Adds ‘Direct Reply Count’; Will Reorder Replies Based on ‘Importance’

Twitter Adds 'Direct Reply Count'; Will Reorder Replies Based on 'Importance'Twitter has announced that the social networking company will now organise the replies to a tweet in such a way that users will get to see the “best content” first, bringing its mobile apps in line with the desktop. The company added that people may see replies in different order based of various factors.The ranking of the replies within conversations depends on the factors like whether you follow the person who has replied within a conversation and whether the reply is coming from the person who initiated the conversation.

“You may notice that some replies in a conversation are not shown in chronological order. Replies are grouped by sub-conversations because we strive to show you the best content first, and what we think you’d be most interested in,” Twitter said in its post.

Twitter is adding another feature as well. Just like users are already able to see likes and retweets for any particular tweet, with the help of the reply count, they will be able to see how many people have taken part in a particular conversation. Users will be able to see the reply count next to the reply icon, indicating the total number of replies the original tweet has received. Twitter has clarified that this number does not indicate the total number of replies in the entire conversation.
The new features will be available in Twitter apps for both Android and iOS.
Recently, the Twitter account of Jack Dorsey, the company’s CEO and co-founder, was briefly suspended due to an “an internal mistake,” as per Dorsey.

What happens if Google buys Twitter?

Initially, Google would have get right of entry to to 310 million energetic users – with 44% of them (136 million) using the platform daily. this could constitute a successful return for the employer to the arena of social networks, a space where it has already failed 3 times, with Orkut, Buzz and Google+.

As Microsoft will likely do with LinkedIn, don’t forget that Google could combine its essential gear into the Twitter platform to facilitate the manufacturing and sharing of content material. In other words, YouTube, Google docs, drive, Calendar, and others would be to be had directly inside the Twitter person interface for brief get entry to.

Possibly extra full-size, but, is the ability Twitter gives to Google’s on line marketing enterprise version, where the significant majority of its revenue is generated.

The timing of the acquisition couldn’t be better
In its wonderful beyond, Twitter resisted gives from opponents like facebook and even Google. but now the marketplace is different. The 140 man or woman-confined social network is going through warmness from its investors for failing to increase the consumer base. To make matters worse, Twitter turned into recently overtaken through Snapchat in ordinary lively users (150 million versus 136 million).

Messengers like WhatsApp and fb Messenger have already passed Twitter in total number of users. To make matters worse, after announcing losses of $521 million in 2015, Twitter’s stocks fell by way of 7 percent at the start of the 12 months. So several shareholders of the organisation see a proposal from Google as a ability to recover their lost investment.

Twitter continues to be alive. For now.

Twitter has made a few adjustments to try and make bigger its consumer base. The contemporary became to ease its ancient restriction of 140 characters; this became once something considered unchangeable and a hallmark of the business enterprise.

Now, content material including polls, GIFs, hyperlinks to photographs, the cope with of the consumer being answered and videos no longer count as part of the one hundred forty characters. The same isn’t actual of outside links.

Similarly to this, the corporation has been the usage of other assets to monetize its provider higher. One is to allow its advertisers to look at an emoji despatched with the aid of customers. This facilitates companies better target its classified ads.

Twitter changes person restrict in order that photographs and people’s names don’t count in one hundred forty-individual rule

Twitter has completely modified how its person limits paintings, letting people include snap shots, videos and those’s names with out taking up area.


humans may also be able to see any tweet that consists of someone’s name at the start. previously, human beings were forced to put punctuation before the cope with to get round the rule of thumb — and if not, conversations have been saved from clogging up human beings’s timelines.

The exchange is the first in various controversial changes that the web page is rumoured to be taking in an try to improve the carrier. that would include destiny updates with a view to allow people to attach 10,000 character posts to their regular tweets.

The replace brings in other changes along with a rule that shall we people retweet and quote tweet themselves. this is supposed to let users “resurface their tweets and add new observation” in keeping with Twitter.

previously, pics and videos had been tweeted through a link, which took up a part of the enduring one hundred forty-man or woman restrict. Now, the ones will truly be connected to the publish — leaving people with a full tweet of letters to ship, despite the fact that they’re which includes four pictures.

And the @names that people use to tag different humans on the web site may be dropped from the person remember, too. the ones previously counted as normal letters.

The site stated that the move have been supposed to simplify the website online works. It has time and again been criticised for being too complicated and for putting off its new customers.

“one among the most important priorities for this 12 months is to refine our product and make it less difficult,” stated Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO and cofounder. “we are targeted on making Twitter a whole lot less difficult and faster. this is what Twitter is brilliant at – what’s happening now, live conversation and the simplicity that we started the service with.”

but Mr Dorsey tried to meet folks that might argue that the modifications take away what’s Twitter’s most function function — its exceptionally small word restrict.

“we’re no longer giving up at the idea of Twitter being within the moment. That idea of brevity, speed and stay conversation – being capable of think about some thing and put it out to the world instantly – that is what’s most essential,” brought Dorsey. “we’re always going to search for possibilities to make Tweets plenty extra expressive, and permit people to say what they need to say. as long as matters are fast, clean, simple and expressive, we are going to study what we can do to make Twitter a higher revel in.”

The adjustments will seem across Twitter’s apps and web sites in the “coming months”, the web page said.

Trump or not, ‘big data’ could be huge in 2016 vote

“Big data” could play a huge role in the 2016 US election, even if Donald Trump doesn’t think so.

Trump, who sailed through the Republican primaries using unconventional campaign rallies and Twitter messages, has indicated that he sees little use for popular data analytics tools to help target specific voters.

But analysts say he may be at a disadvantage in the general election if he stays on that course.

“In the primaries, he was only looking for Republican voters, and in the general he needs all voters,” said Alan Rosenblatt, a digital political strategist.

“Unless he starts to be more sophisticated in how he targets his message, he’s not going to have a good sense of where he’s going to win and not win and where he should put his resources.”

Trump’s rise appeared to take the wind out of the sails of data crunchers and the techniques that helped the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.

Trump is defying the traditional wisdom in both political parties, which have been ramping up the way they use data to help candidates and their backers personalize their pitch to raise funds and get out the vote on election day.

Jordan Cohen at the digital marketing firm Fluent, which works with candidates, said the Trump campaign “has exhibited the least amount of digital sophistication or interest” and that this could hurt his efforts.

Cohen said email fundraising, which has become a staple for candidates, requires considerable work to build a supporter unscrambler base.

“Now that the Trump campaign wants to raise funds from the public they are certainly at a disadvantage by not having spent the past year building up a big database,” Cohen said.

Better data crunching

The 2016 campaign could see more sophisticated data efforts thanks to advances in computing technology.

Campaigns have been speeding up how they collect and analyze data to form the so-called predictive models that can help determine tactics and strategy.

Consulting firms boast of having as much as 1,500 “data points” or bits of information about voters, and dozens of “voter models” that categorize individuals for targeted messages.

The data ranges from voter registration databases to public records on hunting or fishing licenses or gun ownership, to online “cookies” or small programs which track Web browsing and purchase activity.

“This is ‘Moneyball’ for politics—it’s about running smarter, more efficient campaigns, and the more data you have, the more effective you can be,” said Tom Bonier, chief executive of TargetSmart, a political consultancy, referring to the book and subsequent hit movie using data to build a winning baseball team.

Because the campaigns can’t reach everyone, they want to find the most “persuadable” people, according to specially designed formulas or algorithms.

“In 2012 for the first time we were able to successfully model persuadability,” said Dan Porter, a member of the Obama data team who co-founded BlueLabs, a consulting firm now working with the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“We’ve had four years now and we think we are able to develop a persuasion model with more precision.”

Contacting the most persuadable voters is critical for campaigns. Reaching out to those opposed may backfire by making them even more committed to an opponent.

Beyond ‘cookies’

TargetSmart, which works with the Democratic party and political action groups, said it has begun working with Facebook data that eliminates the need for tracking cookies.

The consultancy has matched 191 million voter file records to Facebook users to be able to deliver targeted messages to people on whatever device they are using, said Bonier.

Bonier said this is more accurate than using tracking cookies because it is based on user log-ins regardless of the device.

He noted that Facebook’s platform provides important clues because it uses people’s “likes,” which can be important for political campaigns.

“We have a lot of our own data, but what Facebook brings to the table is the ‘likes,’ the attitudinal information.”

Some Republican candidates have used predictive models from a firm called Cambridge Analytica, which offers profiles of voters for so-called behavioral microtargeting.

Chris Wilson, a consultant for Republican Ted Cruz’s campaign which used the Cambridge scores, argued that using this data is positive for the democratic process.

“You have so many people who have become disenfranchised because they do not believe the political system speaks to them,” Wilson told a recent Washington forum.

“Once we are able to understand what an individual voter cares about and we are able to talk to them about that issue, it creates a level of connection between the voter and the candidate, and that is what politics should be about.”

Wilson said Cruz—who dropped out of the White House race—effectively used these tools, but that Trump prevailed because he was able to reach more people with media coverage, which he equated to “$2 billion in free advertising.”

But while better data can help campaigns operate more efficiently, the growing use of these tools also raises privacy issues, says Jules Polonetsky, who heads the Future of Privacy Forum think tank in Washington.

“There is a lot of sloshing around the system that, if breached, could put the system at risk,” Polonetsky said.

“Every piece of information tied to your name is available to these groups.”

Teen pregnancies may be on the way out but what’s replacing them could be worse

Teen girls on their phones (posed by models)

The dramatic fall in teenage pregnancies in England and Walesis undoubtedly cause for celebration. The rate has halved in 16 years – an achievement described as “extraordinary”. And so it is.

Where 47 out of 1,000 women under 18 got pregnant in 1998, now the figures are just 23 out of every 1,000. In the last year alone, the Office for National Statistics says the conception rate for under-18s fell by 6.8 per cent.

But one of the reasons cited for the trend does worry me. According to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, teenagers are spending so much time interacting with each other online that they’ve got less time to make unwanted babies.The new figures reveal something darker about society

So they’re not getting laid, but getting “likes” instead. The decline in binge-drinking tells the same story. Hurrah! Oh hang on a minute…

Being a teen mum or dad, or getting boozed-up might wreck your life, but so, we’re told, does excessive use of social media.

The very same statisticians who came up with today’s triumphant teen pregnancy figures also revealed just  a few months ago how detrimental social media can be for children. Nearly a third of kids glued to the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat for more than three hours a day reported symptoms of mental ill-health. And girls are far more likely to spend longer than is good for them on social media than boys.

These days, when a bunch of girls “hang out” (pre-teens and teens are far too grown-up for playdates, you understand), they’re often barely talking to each other, instead scrolling endlessly through Instagram posts, obsessively counting “likes”. And parents of boys report that they “play” by getting stuck into the computer game Minecraft.

Part of me thinks this is just their world, and parents have got to get with the programme. But then I think of all the malign influences of social media, and want to reach for the off button.

Social media follows our kids everywhere, so they can’t park their playground grievances at the school gates.

What’s more, there’s something horribly narcissistic about posting on Instagram or wherever, encouraging girls to agonise over their looks far more than is healthy.

Girls living their lives online isn't necessarily healthier (posted by model)

I was a girly swot at school, I played the violin, I had buck teeth and I wore heavy NHS glasses. So I’m not surprised I was a magnet for the bullies. But at least I was spared the ignominy of having my own awkwardness reflected back to me in endless selfies for my tormentors to cackle about long after school had ended.

And even if they emerge unscathed from the trials and tribulations of the teenage years, excessive screen time is in danger of cramping our children’s style as they enter the adult world. Business leaders say that new recruits find it hard to communicate, because they’re simply unaccustomed to what we’d consider a normal level of face-to-face contact.

It’s enough to make any loving parents take themselves and their children “off grid”. But that’s like kidnapping them from the modern world. I didn’t have a telly when I was little, and although in some ways I’m grateful I never had the distraction, I know I missed out on a whole cultural hinterland too.

So there’s got to be a third way.

With the help of the array of parental spyware on the market now, it’s arguably easier to keep tabs on what your kids are up to online than it was in the past for our parents to keep track of our illicit drinking or sexual experimentation.

And teenagers, too, can, with a little help, take control of their lives, moderating their social media activity before it gets out of hand.

It’s surely easier to learn the self-belief and resilience needed to cope with the vicissitudes of life online than to deal with an unwanted baby, or wean yourself off alcohol. As long as their screen life is circumscribed, (and by that I mean spend significantly less than three hours a day on Instagram and the like), growing up online might be the lesser of many teen evils. You can’t be a little bit pregnant. But you can dip a toe in the online world, and then retreat when it all gets a bit hectic.

Obama Shifts Online Strategy On Islamic State

Obama Shifts Online Strategy On Islamic StateWASHINGTON:  The Obama administration on Friday announced a wide-ranging overhaul of its efforts to respond to online propaganda from the Islamic State after months of acknowledgments that it had largely failed in its attempts to counter extremist recruitment and exhortations to violence on social media.

The administration has emphasized that it needs the assistance of some of the nation’s biggest technology companies, and a group of top White House and national security officials flew to California on Friday to plead their case with executives.

In a reflection of just how urgent the White House views the efforts, the discussions involved officials like Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff; Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch; James R. Clapper Jr., director of national intelligence; James B. Comey, the FBI director; and Lisa Monaco, the president’s counterterrorism adviser. They met with Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, as well as top executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google.

“Given the way the technology works these days, there surely are ways that we can disrupt paths to radicalization, to identify recruitment patterns and to provide metrics that allow us to measure the success of our counter-radicalization efforts,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said before the California meeting began.

A task force will be created in the departments of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate the government’s new effort.

The State Department announced the creation of a center to respond to disinformation from extremist groups around the world by highlighting their misdeeds and creating positive images of the West.
After the terrorist attack last year that killed 130 people in Paris, President Barack Obama delivered a series of speeches seeking to reassure the country while demanding rapid changes within the administration to improve responses to jihadi propaganda.

Obama has been speaking for some time about the need for the West to more effectively counter the austere and apocalyptic pronouncements of Islamist extremists. At the United Nations in September, he told world leaders that “ideologies are not defeated with guns; they are defeated by better ideas – a more attractive and compelling vision.”

But the State Department has largely foundered in its efforts to fashion the kind of war room that would effectively counter the propaganda flowing out of the Islamic State, which is widely seen as adept at using social media to recruit and inspire followers.

For help with these challenges, the administration turned Friday to Silicon Valley. “I do have a lot of confidence that those companies that are run by patriotic Americans are not interested in seeing their tools or their technology used by terrorists to harm innocent Americans,” Earnest said.

Those executives, however, are in charge of global corporations whose revenues are increasingly derived from people outside the United States. The executives have long pushed back on demands by governments to censor posts, provide access to user accounts, or hand over the keys to encryption technologies.

If the companies begin to work with the government to monitor and remove posts or create anti-terrorism counternarratives, they might have a harder time resisting similar requests from foreign governments.

“It’s a slippery slope with free speech where if you start making exceptions, where do you stop and where do you draw the line?” said Emma Llanso, a director at the Center for Democracy in Technology, a think tank.

She said the consequence could be an erosion of trust by consumers.That erosion of trust began in the wake of revelations from Edward J. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, who showed previous coordination among some technology companies with U.S. surveillance efforts. Executives are eager to avoid a repeat.

There is also the technological challenge of sifting through vast amounts of user-generated content in different languages on a growing number of social media platforms.

Law enforcement officials for years have expressed frustration that technology companies are increasingly creating products like smartphones with encryption technologies that make it difficult, if not impossible for the government to monitor conversations. But the discussion Friday, while touching on encryption issues, was expected to focus largely on social media and how technology companies could more effectively police their platforms.

Some former top administration officials now work at prominent technology firms, including Jay Carney, a former White House press secretary, who is now a senior vice president at Amazon. Megan Smith, the administration’s chief technology officer, who worked at Google, and Alexander Macgillivray, the administration’s deputy chief technology officer, who worked at Twitter, both attended the meeting Friday in California.

“This meeting is the latest in the administration’s continuing dialogue with technology providers and others to ensure we are bringing our best private and public sector thinking to combating terrorism,” said Melanie R. Newman, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department.

Why Twitter’s Rumoured 10,000 Character Limit Is a Bad Idea

Why Twitter's Rumoured 10,000 Character Limit Is a Bad Idea

Twitter is a great way to quickly share updates and links, and to catch up with things that are happening, as they happen, around the world.

That is Twitter in 140 characters. Twitter in 10,000 characters gets a little more complicated. Twitter has been facing death and naysayers almost ever since it was launched in 2006. But while Twitter hasn’t become nearly as ubiquitous as the other social network, it is far from over. The idea that tweets might not have the 140 character limit is something that seems to have hit a nerve for a lot of users, because it takes away something that was unique about Twitter.

For many people, Twitter has become an invaluable tool for work. Its real-time nature means that it has been a key platform when news events are taking place and developing. And because of the 140 character, mostly text nature of Twitter, it’s proved to be very useful when data speeds are limited or when Internet is unreliable. Twitter is where you go when you want to know what’s going on.

chennai_floods_main.jpgThis is something that gets highlighted during emergencies such as the recent Chennai floods, where the handle was one of the most reliable and up to date sources of help and information.

For news organisations, Twitter is a great source of information, but also a place to disseminate your own reporting. Because of its open nature, sharing information on Twitter can be faster and reach a broader audience than you might expect. If something goes “viral” its reach will very quickly exceed that of your own network.

And a lot of this can be traced back to the short word limits that are enforced on Twitter. The 140-character limit is not some kind of magic number – it was first devised to fit within the constraints of an SMS message, since many at the time used SMS for receiving and posting updates. But these constraints came with some benefits that make Twitter so appealing.

twitter_without_limits.jpgFor one thing, it enforced brevity – if you have to confine yourself to 140 characters, you will perforce have to strip the message down to just the important parts. A short summary and a link, a quick update in an emergency, or a picture and a caption – these are all different ways in which Twitter can be useful, but you have to pick and choose, and this meant that communication on the platform was short and to the point.

When Twitter first launched, it was known as a micro-blogging platform, not a social network, and with good reason. The early 2000s were the era when blogging was still huge, and everyone would share their .blogspot or .wordpress URLs over email (or on a Yahoo Group) – since you know, that was still how you would tell friends about things.

Compared to long blog posts, tweets that quickly get the point across were a breath of fresh air. And we’ve learned to use a lot of workarounds to make it work even better, so you’ve got tweetstorms from people you should learn to block, screenshots of large text for people who need it, and this means that if you have to say something that’s longer than 140 characters, you can do so quite easily.

At the same time, this doesn’t affect the core functionality of Twitter, or change the way users will behave on the platform. Taking away the 140 character limit and officially supporting 10,000 character “tweets”? That’s a complete reversal of what Twitter is all about.

tweets_timeline_mockup.jpgOver the years, Twitter has brought various changes to the product, and these have rarely been met with happiness by users. Just looking at reaction on Twitter, it is clear that a vocal subset does not want the word limit to change.

Another example was taking away stars, to “favourite” a tweet, and replacing them with hearts, to “like” a tweet. It was seen as another mindless way to ape Facebook, and although it didn’t really affect the functionality of Twitter, it still bothered people.

After all, you might use the action to say you’ve seen a tweet, to say you think something is interesting, but not enough to retweet, to save something as a bookmark or revisit it later, or even to highlight something you think is stupid without calling it out (here’s a longer musing on the idea) or, just maybe, to say that you like something. Replacing all those different complex interactions with a shiny red heart and a “like” just feels like Twitter doesn’t understand how its various users see the service.

The While You Were Gone box that shows you tweets you missed since you logged in last is a good idea, in theory, but the problem is that there was already a way to see the tweets you missed when you weren’t logged in. It’s called scrolling down. Ultimately, While You Were Gone seems like a way to help us spend less time on Twitter, and it also reduces the chances of serendipitously coming across content that you would have seen if you were scrolling through your timeline. And in all this, there are rumours that Twitter might do away with its reverse chronological timeline, and offer a Facebook-like feed instead.

facebook_pixabay.jpgThere are things that Twitter could do that would appeal to the users such as letting people edit tweets – Facebook has a good solution where you can click on the tweet to see the original, so that editing tweets can’t be misused. Muting hashtags is another Twitter feature that you need a third-party client for, instead of being able to just do it from the official app. Even something as minor as fixing the DM character limit is something that Twitter took forever to do, despite the fact that DMs are kept aside and don’t affect the core Twitter experience.

Many of the changes that Twitter has made over time have been unfriendly to third party developers – they might have helped Twitter to improve and reach massive growth, but Twitter has repeatedly been limiting third party developers.

Twitter is slowly turning into a social network where you can share a dozen pictures of your dinner along with detailed descriptions, in a single album. A place where you’ll see the same albums of babies, holidays, and food when you log-in in the morning, and then again in the evening, interspersed with a few links about your favourite musician or movie star. In other words, Twitter is turning into Facebook.

The problem is that Facebook already exists, and whether you like it or not, you have to admit that Facebook does a pretty good job of being Facebook. It’s not really a replacement for Twitter though, and the same is true in reverse as well.

twitter_hearts.jpgChanging stars to hearts is a minor symptom. Dropping the character limit from tweets is a bigger one, and getting rid of the reverse chronological timeline that makes Twitter so useful is a crazy idea. Except of course that each small change brings us closer to when the crazy idea just seems like another small change.

Without a timeline that you can reliably scan through for effective information, Twitter wouldn’t be useful in emergencies such as the Chennai floods. It wouldn’t be a reliable source of news during events like the terrorist attacks in France, and it wouldn’t help people in tracking and understanding events as they unfold and develop.

Yes, there are lots of people who use Twitter just as a place to vent, to share short updates about what they had for lunch, or to tell people there is something stuck in their teeth. But it’s also become a place where meaningful conversations can take place between strangers, where you will meet and discover new people whose ideas inspire you and spark new thoughts.

Facebook on the other hand is a place that turns the gaze inwards. It’s a place where you’re surrounded by the familiar, and the comfortable. There’s a great need for both of these experiences to co-exist, and as Twitter slowly erodes its identity, it starts losing out on the things that made it appealing in the first place.

Yes, some people would like to post a 10,000 word ramble. They might even want to do so on Twitter. And there are plenty of ways to attach whatever you would like to, and share it to your followers. They could just share a link to a blog post if they wanted. But when you look at your timeline, how many people do you see that actually do this? And how many times do you feel, man, 140 characters is just too little, I wanted to write a blog post but as an attachment to a tweet.

Twitter is fast. Twitter is concise and precise. Twitter is being able to scan through a timeline and find out everything that I need to know about the world, right away. Twitter is the answer to the question, “what’s happening?” Twitter is not Facebook. At least, I hope so.

That’s Twitter in 10,000 characters. Let’s hope we can’t publish this entire article on Twitter.

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Twitter experiments reordering tweets by relevance

 Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) confirmed on Tuesday it is testing a timeline format for its tweets, calling it an experiment.

The microblogging website’s new format will result in tweets being sorted by relevance instead of in reverse chronological order.

“Yes, this is an experiment. We’re continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter,” spokeswoman Liina Potter said in an emailed statement.

The company, facing slowing user growth, has been experimenting under newly appointed Chief Executive Jack Dorsey to make its website more engaging.

“You’ll see us continue to question our reverse chronological timeline and all the work it takes to build one by finding and following accounts,” Dorsey said during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call in July.

However, users of the 320-million-strong social media website seemed to disagree with the move and took to Twitter to express discontent with the new format.

“I use @Twitter to see what happens and when. Showing posts out of order is one of the things I hate the most about Facebook. Please don’t,” a user going by the name Owen Pike tweeted.

In 2012, Facebook changed its format to the Timeline, a stream that shows you events, posts and images by relevance.

Last month, Twitter replaced its star-shaped “favourite” icon with a heart-shaped icon called “like.”


Twitter does amplify social movements: Study

 If you have ever stood up for a social cause, you must have turned to social media to garner more support.

Now a University of Pennsylvania study has said that ‘slactivists’, or those, ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ your posts indeed play a great role in mobilising support.

They are the people who tint their Facebook profile pictures with the French flag to support Parisians, or pink to get behind Planned Parenthood. They sign online petitions, share activist videos, and re-tweet celebrities who take a political stand.

Some dismiss them as ‘slacktivists’, but the new study finds that these peripheral players actually play a critical role in extending the reach of social movements – even doubling them.

Led by Professor Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon from University of Pennsylvania and Pablo Barbera from New York University, the study analysed millions of tweets surrounding a few specific social protests: the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey, and the 2012 United for Global Change campaign.

Using location data embedded in the tweets, the researchers were able to differentiate between the people who were physically at a protest site versus those who were spreading the message from afar.

They also looked at the senders’ networks to construct a model of how information flowed and spread during the protest.

“The study helps advance our understanding of the role of Twitter in protests, something that has been hotly debated.

Some critics have been passionately against the idea that Twitter plays any substantial role in social movements,” Gonzalez-Bailon said.

During the Arab Spring protests, it became quite clear that Twitter in fact does play a significant role in modern protests, with some observers even seeing it as the key instrument for organising any modern protest.

“Of course social media doesn’t push you to risk your life and take to the streets, but it helps the actions of those who take the risk to gain international visibility,” Gonzalez-Bailon added.

Twitter now allows bigger images

Twitter will now allow uncropped photos and improved multi-photo displays posted to its service.

The update is aimed at helping Twitter continue its transition from the text-based service it has been in the past to one that better supports rich media, TechCrunch reported.

One of the issues with posting photos on Twitter was that the images would be cropped in order to present a more uniform user interface.

While this may have kept things streamlined, and may have encouraged more users to click on tweets in order to expand the photo in question, it was also an annoyance as you could not see the photo the way it was meant to be viewed.

For less technical users or those who do not have the time to edit their images so that they would appear correctly in Twitter’s truncated view, it meant their photo would not be presented properly.

Twitter has now addressed this issue by posting the photos in the same size as they were when you originally snapped them — for the most part.

However, the change means that scanning tweets on your Timeline will require more scrolling than before, as the larger images take up more screen space. If you do not already see the updated format, you will shortly.