Twitter clients in 2014 »

Federico Viticci:

I started using the official Twitter client as my main Twitter app on my iPhone and iPad.

For the past six months, I’ve been reevaluating my entire Twitter experience based on the apps I use to read tweets and interact with people. The idea made a lot more sense once I stepped out of my preconceptions: I wanted to understand what 2014 Twitter was like and if that meant sacrificing my nerd cred and use a Muggle’s Twitter app, so be it. But at the same time, I’ve gone back and forth between Twitter and third-party clients, primarily out of habit, but also because they still offer powerful features and design details that I appreciate.

If you care about Twitter at all — as a company, as service or as an app — you should read this.

Twitter to track installed apps on users’ devices »

Twitter:

To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in. If you’re not interested in a tailored experience you can adjust your preferences at any time (read below). Additionally, if you have previously opted out of interest-based ads by turning on “Limit Ad Tracking” on your iOS device or by adjusting your Android device settings to “Opt out of interest-based ads,” we will not collect your apps unless you adjust your device settings.

This is another good reason not to install the official Twitter app, and another reason I think that someday soon, we won’t have that choice anymore.

Memphis TV accidentally tweets porn link »

Robert Sorokanich at Gizmodo:

If you’re wondering about the rain and storms in Memphis, you might have gotten a big surprise in your Twitter feed today. WREG News Channel 3 briefly directed its Twitter followers to a link that not only had zero radar information about the #memstorm — it was a PornHub user’s profile.

Whoops. And I totally don’t buy the “we were hacked” excuse.

Twitter tweaks timelines, making its users’ heads explode »

In a new support article titled “What’s a Twitter timeline?” the company dropped this little nugget of news:

Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.

My Twitter timeline is relevant and interesting to me because I set it up. Twitter’s genius is that people can build their own experiences; I don’t want an algorithm made by a hipster developer interfering with that. I definitely don’t have to respect the decision.

App.net lays off staff, keeps doors open »

Dalton Caldwell and Bryan Berg, on the state of App.net after its first major round of subscription renewals:

The good news is that the renewal rate was high enough for App.net to be profitable and self-sustaining on a forward basis. Operational and hosting costs are sufficiently covered by revenue for us to feel confident in the continued viability of the service. No one should notice any change in the way the App.net API/service operates. To repeat, App.net will continue to operate normally on an indefinite basis.

The bad news is that the renewal rate was not high enough for us to have sufficient budget for full-time employees. After carefully considering a few different options, we are making the difficult decision to no longer employ any salaried employees, including founders. Dalton and Bryan will continue to be responsible for the operation of App.net, but no longer as employees. Additionally, as part of our efforts to ensure App.net is generating positive cash flow, we are winding down the Developer Incentive Program.

Caldwell goes on to write that support and operations will be run by contractors, and that the more and more of the ADN codebase will be open sourced in the near future.

Honestly, this isn’t too surprising. I didn’t renew my paid subscription, and I heard from many, many people who made the same decision.

That said, I respect Caldwell, Berg and their team. I’ve had the pleasure of working with them over the last year or so on a couple of different things, and it pains me to read the letter. The idea and business model is still very attractive, no matter how hard it can be to pull off in a world of ad-supported content and freemium apps.

It closes this way:

We continue to believe in the usefulness of a sustainable social platform where users and developers are customers, and not the product being sold to advertisers. If this were a company without a clear business model, App.net would have disappeared long ago.

That, of course, was the dream of App.net, which was able to hit the ground running as it launched at a time of a growing unrest in the nerd community about Twitter. Clearly, however, that wasn’t enough to keep the needed number of people interested — or paying to use the service, despite the best of intentions. The good guys don’t always win.

On Tim Cook’s Twitter account 

image via Federico

The epic burns aside — I chuckled at the Microsoft CEO’s use of the word magic — this exchange highlights something that’s bothered me for a while.

I really find Tim Cook’s approach to Twitter frustrating, despite the massive retweet numbers and blog posts spurred on by each tweet. The use of hashtags coupled with the grammatical errors make him seem unprofessional. While I appreciate that it’s probably Tim himself at the keyboard, having an employee or intern look over these things before they go out the door would be great.

Twitter “gives up” on encrypting DMs »

Adrianne Jeffries at The Verge:

Twitter has shelved a project that would have made it more difficult for the government to intercept users’ private messages without a court order, sources tell The Verge, a sudden reversal for a company that has been ahead of the curve on privacy at a time of creeping surveillance.

Most of Twitter’s content is public, but there are a few channels that users consider private: personal information, protected accounts, and direct messages, which function like a limited email system.

In November, news leaked that Twitter had started work on encrypting direct messages in order to prevent unauthorized snooping by hackers or the state. But the project was dropped earlier this year without explanation, to the confusion of employees who were working on it and those in the internet security community who were aware of it.

Twitter’s share holders should push back on this move. In our post-Snowden world, canceling work like this is a big deal. However, what really worries me is that many users may assume DMs are encrypted.

Without this report, would Twitter have ever set proper expectations for their users?

I highly doubt it:

Twitter declined to comment on why its latest encryption effort has stalled, but all signs point to its overloaded to-do list rather than an abandonment of its values.

Flickr turns ten »

I first discovered photography in high school, but got more serious about in college. Flickr was a huge part of that experience; I could upload a photo and have comments on it almost immediately. I interacted with people who had similar interests in groups, and learned a ton by asking questions of other users.

The community that I once enjoyed on Flickr is no longer there – Twitter has replaced most of it — and at one point I closed my account. While I later re-joined the service, it’s just not the same, sadly. My 2013 Project 365 wasn’t nearly as fun as my previous two projects just because fewer people saw them.

All that said, Yahoo is clearly spending money and time on Flickr again, and while I don’t think it will ever reclaim the place it once held, I bet it’s got a long future ahead of it.

Instagram Direct »

Instagram:

Today, we’re excited to bring you Instagram Direct, a new way to send photo and video messages to friends.

Basically, after taking a photo, you select if it should be posted on your timeline or sent “direct” to specific people.

You know when you see a DM fail on Twitter? I can’t wait to see someone’s romantic selfies accidentally posted for the world to see.