Archive for the 'Twitter' Category

2014 was the year Twitter turned world leaders into selfie-taking trolls

Wednesday 17 December 2014 @ 9:30 am
Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb shares his footwear choice.

PARIS, France – This has turned out to be the year that world leaders were drawn to Twitter like screaming teenage girls stampeding into a One Direction concert.

According to a new report from Burson-Marsteller, the number of national governments officially on Twitter has grown from just a handful four years ago to 83% of the 193 UN member countries. In addition, 68% of all heads of state now have Twitter accounts.

“You will see that digital diplomacy today is done in 140 character bursts,” said Matthias Lüfkens, digital director of Burson-Marsteller, in a recent presentation at the LeWeb 2014 conference last week. “Twitter is a formidable tool to broadcast, but also to make connections with peers.”

Great! So can we assume all these world leaders are coming together, laying down arms, and singing rounds of “It’s A Small World” as they join forces to end hunger and poverty?


Like lesser humans everywhere, these world leaders have discovered Twitter’s real uses: selfies and trolling.

“The tweets are less and less diplomatic and we see more and more personal attacks and trolling,” Lüfkens said. “My fear is that 2015 might become the year of digital warfare.”


For the record, here are the top 5 followed world leaders:


Modi is notable because his following grew massively after he became India’s new prime minister earlier this year. That dropped Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan down a notch.

Lüfkens said there were a growing number of these leaders following and tweeting each other. So he remains hopeful this may yet lead to better diplomatic relations.

“Foreign ministers use Twitter to make connections,” he said. “We don’t know how much is going on behind the scenes. But there is a digital network that has been created.”

That said…

“2014 was really the year the selfie craze hit the highest echelons of government,” Lüfkens said. “I think this is much more fun, much more interesting than handshake pictures. We still see too many handshake pictures on the Twitter streams of our world leaders.”

A year ago, Obama caused controversy by taking a selfie at the Nelson Mandela funeral. Modi made a notable contribution with a selfie from the voting booth. Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has revealed he has a bit of a footwear fetish.

But Lüfkens said it is Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak, who apparently even owns a selfie stick, who has really become the most obsessed selfie taker.

This might be silly, but in his talk, Lüfkens said much of the diplomatic back-and-forth on Twitter took a harsher turn this year. He cited the conflict in Ukraine as one example.

The Kremlin Twitter account’s most retweeted post was an announcement of its annexation of Crimea. The U.S. State Department countered by launching a campaign of support for Ukraine using the hashtag #UnitedForUkraine. The Kremlin in turn answered by also starting to use the hashtag, Lüfkens said.

Then there was this tweet from NATO:

That prompted this reply from Russia:

And after NATO tweeted satellite photos of Russian troops invading Ukraine, the Russian embassy in UAE fired back with this reply:

“We’ve seen that because of the events in the Ukraine,” Lüfkens said, “diplomacy on Twitter has really become a digital battleground.”

Here’s Lüfkens’ full talk from LeWeb 2014:

And his slides:

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Yesterday’s San Francisco storm made it rain — tweets, that is

Friday 12 December 2014 @ 3:21 pm
tweet bird twitter

The San Francisco Bay Area experienced the closest thing to a snow day it’s ever seen yesterday. But while the Pineapple Express storm caused school and business closures, traffic mayhem, electricity blackouts, and floods, we also got a flood of something else: tweets — more than 80,000 of them.

Twitter’s data team kept tabs on storm-related activity in the past couple of days and created a map of tweets with the hashtags #hellastorm, #bayareastorm, and #stormageddon. It also mapped out tweets about rain and snow around the country from roughly the same time period.

Check out these cool visualizations of storms through tweets:

According to a Twitter spokesperson, people use social media during natural disasters for four reasons: to check in with family and friends, for emotional support and healing, to determine disaster magnitude, and to provide firsthand disaster accounts.

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Twitter’s Former Head Of Product, Daniel Graf, Has Left The Company

Friday 5 December 2014 @ 3:17 pm
graf Daniel Graf, who was just recently bumped from his role as the head of Twitter’s product team, has parted ways with the company altogether. Read More

Facebook, Google, And Twitter’s War For App Install Ads

Sunday 30 November 2014 @ 6:34 pm
app-install-ads Big brands aren’t the only ones to suck up to anymore. No one buys a car or Coca-Cola on their phone, at least not yet, so proving the return on investment of mobile ads to these businesses is tough. There is one thing people will instantly plop down a few bucks for on the small screen, though: Apps. Lured by billions in app install ad spend per quarter and hoping to grow that pie… Read More

On Twitter, twice as many people are talking about Black Friday this year

Friday 28 November 2014 @ 1:32 pm

Despite thinning crowds on what’s perhaps the biggest holiday shopping day of the year, twice as many people are talking about Black Friday on Twitter this year.

The data comes from a new report by social marketing and analytics platform Spredfast, which said it logged 2,013,943 conversations referencing “Black Friday” this year, compared to 996,306 Twitter conversations last year.

One possible explanation for the increase could be due to “Black Friday” becoming less of a term for the huge discounted sales day following Thanksgiving and more of a topic of conversation.

For example, I’ve noticed friends who normally wouldn’t mention Black Friday on social media did so this year in protest — because they had other friends and acquaintances who had to give up their holiday yesterday to prep for the crazy sales “holiday” today.

But regardless of why more people are talking about Black Friday, Spredfast did manage to collect some other interesting stats about the conversations during the holiday sales day. One instance Spredfast determined is that women are more likely to discuss Black Friday on Facebook (60 percent) than men. Also, the 25-to-34 age demographic makes up the bulk of Black Friday social conversations (36 percent), followed by the 35-to-44 age demographic (25 percent) and the 18-to 24-age demographic (15 percent).

Twitter Experiments With Engagement Stats Directly In Tweets

Thursday 27 November 2014 @ 8:40 am
tweet-analytics Want to know just how many people actually care about what you’re tweeting? A new Twitter experiment spotted by ex-Twitter platform head Ryan Sarver will show many you how users are clicking on the links in the updates you post, with a handy link directly in the expanded Tweet view in the iOS application. As usual with Twitter’s features, this is limited to a small sample pool of… Read More

Twitter might be buying Justin Bieber’s selfie app, Shots, report says

Tuesday 25 November 2014 @ 2:40 pm
twitter ipo

We might be closer to solving the riddle of the DM fail heard around the Twittesphere yesterday.

Twitter is allegedly in talks to acquire the Justin Bieber-backed social app Shots, according to a report from CNBC. Shots’ main appeal to Twitter is its user base of more than 3 million users, with nearly two-thirds of them women under 24, according to CNBC’s source.

Yesterday, Twitter chief financial executive Anthony Noto sent a public tweet he appears to have meant to send privately about an unnamed startup Twitter should acquire.

Shots, lead by John Shahidi, is all about snapping selfies — photos of yourself. The app’s user growth has been quite fast, with Shots adding more than two million users since April when it had only one million.

A year ago, Justin Bieber invested $1.1 million into the app.

“We don’t comment on rumor and speculation,” a Twitter spokesperson told VentureBeat when reached for comment on the report.

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Vine now lets you favorite accounts and get notifications when they post new videos

Tuesday 25 November 2014 @ 8:14 am
vine messages

Twitter today updated its Vine app with the ability to favorite accounts. You can download the new version now directly from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Favoriting other Vine users will result in a notification whenever they post a Vine. This includes both a push notification to your device as well as an update in your activity feed.


To favorite an account, navigate to their profile page and tap the star in the top-right corner. If you follow a large number of Vine users, this will ensure you don’t miss new videos from your favorite Viners.

The app’s changelog also says that users “may also notice some performance enhancements that make Vine, well… perform better.” Twitter didn’t share what exactly it changed or how much of a boost you can expect.

More to follow

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Gillmor Gang: Silent Noise

Saturday 15 November 2014 @ 10:12 am
Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, Keith Teare, Kevin Marks, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, November 14, 2014. Topics include: Pono, Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, Twitter Investor Day, @scobleizer’s Top Two Tips to Improve Facebook, Notification News, Amazon Echo. Time passes slowly up here in the mountains when you’re lost in a dream. Read More

CrunchWeek: Obama On Net Neutrality, Microsoft Open Sources .NET, And Twitter Meets Wall Street

Friday 14 November 2014 @ 4:33 pm
Ryan Lawler On this week’s episode of CrunchWeek, I was joined by TechCrunch writer Alex Wilhelm and editor Ryan Lawler to talk about the biggest surprises in the tech scene. Read More

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