I think a problem is journalism is being overly concerned with writing for other journalists. Twitter, in particular. Journalists have so engaged on Twitter and it’s so empowering and gratifying to write an article your peers really enjoy that you can forget that your peers are very different from your readers. It can be a little bit problematic.
Ezra Klein, speaking to Joe Coscarelli on the launch of Vox.

Peter Kafka:

The promotion is part of a new Facebook effort to get stars posting “public content” on the service — in the way that lots of people already do on services like Twitter and Instagram. As I’ve noted in the past, Facebook has been explicit about its pitch: Publish with us, and we’ll pay you back with eyeballs.

And now we can see exactly what Facebook is offering.

Facebook, your Twitter-envy is showing. So lame.

Eriq Gardner on the latest controversy surrounding Courtney Love (yes, that Courtney Love):

The case is believed to be the first trial in a U.S. courtroom involving allegations of defamation on Twitter. Holmes was hired by Love to handle a fraud case against those managing the estate of Kurt Cobain, but in 2009, the relationship between the colorful rock star and her ex-attorney went south, and Love composed a tweet that read in part, “I was f***ing devestated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of san diego was bought off.”

Holmes sued, claiming the tweet had hurt her reputation.

I’m flabbergasted that even after all these years, Courtney Love still finds ways to inject herself in the headlines. I also love that one of her defenses was that the public tweet was meant to be a DM — which, looking at the wording, is obviously bullshit.

Steven Lehrburger:

Because the new DM app would integrate directly with Twitter, it could automatically display tweets from a conversation’s participants in the thread itself. This is a simple feature, but one that other messaging apps also could not offer, and it would give users additional context in a variety of conversations. For large groups that outgrew the constraints of @-replies, these embedded tweets would make it easy for users to see what had already been said. For small groups, these embedded tweets would enrich the conversation by giving a sense of what other participants were thinking about.

A stand-alone Twitter chat (DM) app by itself isn’t that interesting. But an app that allowed you to easily injected (public) tweets to chat about could be very interesting. I know I already do this in other chat apps — that is, paste in a link to a tweet and then talk about it with a smaller group of people.

Also interesting: a chat app that injected your own tweets into a conversation to kickstart dialogue with friends.

A Tale Of Two Twitter Personas

Over the past couple of days, I’ve lost something like 100 Twitter followers. Percentage-wise, it’s not a huge number. But I usually don’t lose Twitter followers on a daily basis.1 So what happened?

I tweeted about sports. A lot.

Twitter is a funny thing in this regard. We’re (presumably) all dynamic individuals with a range of tastes, thoughts, and opinions on a wide spectrum of topics. But that’s not typically why people follow one another on Twitter. It’s usually for information/chatter about one topic, maybe two.

For me, given my background and line of work, that’s obviously technology. But I too have other interests — shocking, I know. Film is definitely one. Beer is definitely another. And sports is way up there. Yes, some people in the tech industry are as obsessed with sports as anyone else in the world. Blasphemy!

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Jeff Bercovici on the Justine Sacco shitshow last week:

Compounding the bad judgment was a perfect storm of circumstances. Stuck on a plane for hours, Justine was unaware of the outrage she’d sparked, unable to delete or attempt to explain it. That allowed the affair to swell into a real-time news event that was fascinating even to spectators who had no particular feelings about it. Justine’s professional affiliation with billionaire Barry Diller and his well-known companies made her seem important, not just some random crank; a number of other ill-advised tweets provided fresh fodder and the outline of a caricature; her job as a communications professional lent the whole episode an irresistible irony.

Now IAC has fired her, and Justine has apologized. Both were inevitable. So what else is there to say?

Only this, maybe: Justine Sacco was not the first person to get herself fired for saying something stupid on Twitter. She won’t be the last. Every medium and technology ever invented carries its own perils, but there’s something about social media in general and Twitter in particular that invites and rewards self-damaging behavior.

The awfulness and stupidity of what she said aside, it was fascinating to watch it unfold. At one point, my entire stream was about the tweet of one seemingly random woman.

Dan Primack:

Twitter itself obviously wanted a bit of price pop for PR and employee morale purposes, but here’s something else employees could be thinking about today: Had Twitter priced at $45.10 per share and used the extra proceeds to give out holiday bonuses, it would have worked out to more than $580,000 per employee. How’s your morale feel now?

It is interesting that Facebook maximized the amount of money it made by going public, and it was viewed as a “failure”. While Twitter clearly left a ton of money on the table, and that’s viewed as a “success”.

This is a case where perception is reality. But let’s be clear, the real winners today are the same ones who were the real losers of the Facebook IPO: the bankers.

John Herrman on the recent Twitter tweaks:

This has been described as Facebook-like, which is fair. The line between “Comment, Share, Like” and “Reply, Retweet, Favorite” is a thin one. Twitter power users are already upset about the changes on the basis of density; there are fewer tweets on your screen at a given time, which requires more scrolling. This is also a fair point, but misguided. If there’s one lesson to take from every major change in how people browse the internet over the last five years — the rise of infinite feeds, the gradual retirement of slideshows and pagination, the explosion of very tall, vertically interactive page layouts — it’s that users hate to click and don’t mind scrolling. Taps are expensive, swiping is cheap. Clicking is a choice, like jumping; scrolling is inevitable, like falling.

Those last two sentences are dead on. 

Benedict Evans:

One of the key challenges for Twitter to carry on growing, and become a truly mass-market platform, is to create things that help people over this hump - which also means mitigating an essential characteristic of the product. The contradiction is that the more that Twitter solves the on-boarding problem, the less sticky it may be. The less manual it is, the easier it is to make something similar.

This strikes me as exactly right. Some of the elements that make a product slippery to begin with are the very same things that make it sticky with continued usage. Twitter has a very fine line to walk between those two worlds.

Matthew Panzarino:

One major, very subversive feature of Tweetbot 3 is the way that it prominently displays Twitter’s Verified check mark. There’s something about seeing the blue badge right in the timeline that makes verification a bigger deal than Twitter ever has. Those avatars jump out at you and the badge is even more of a status symbol now. I have this theory that Twitter is slowly working its way toward verifying all users, but until it does, the blue check is going to become insanely sought after among users of Tweetbot.

It’s sort of fascinating that it was Tweetbot and not Twitter itself that did this. But yes, perhaps as Panzarino implies, it’s because Twitter eventually wants get most users verified and realize that if they pushed such an in-your-face feature before they could handle that flow, it could be a shitshow.

Overall, Tweetbot 3 is extremely well done (and well worth the price at either $2.99 or $4.99). And yes, like everyone else, I would like to see an option to make the fonts smaller (aside from changing the font size for the entire OS).

Nick Bilton:

Twitter does offer a star-shaped “favorite” button, but it seems there is some confusion over what it means to favorite something. I’ve been asked the following questions about it: “Is the star to say you want to save that tweet for later?” “Is the star just a way of saying you saw a person’s tweet and liked it?” “Is a favorite a like, or a dislike?”

The long-neglected favorite button sure seems like it could become something very powerful for Twitter if they can get the messaging around it correct.

Jason Gay:

This is instant and addictive, a ritual that conventional TV cannot duplicate, which is why people tether themselves to devices, and the experience of watching a game feels like participating in a loud, virtual, interactive roast. Digital chatter is often far more entertaining than the programming itself. (This is true of most live events. Nobody really hosts the Oscars anymore. Twitter hosts the Oscars.) Television attempts to harness aspects of the online mob, but it’s usually unsatisfying, corporate, stripped of the irresistible rough edges. Merely watching a game on TV—just lying there on the couch, taking in the play-by-play, the commentary—now feels as quaint as knitting.

Totally agree. What’s always been strange to me is that my Twitter habits change so much when I’m watching a live sporting event. I can’t help myself. I simply must trash-tweet.