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Twitter Announces Communities Feature via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Twitter announced they are gradually rolling out a new way for users to discuss favorite topics, Communities. Communities are groups where like-minded people can discuss their shared interest. Joining a community is currently by invitation only and creating a community is currently limited to approved accounts.

What are Twitter Communities?

Communities are a way for people with a common interest to get together and discuss that interest.

A Twitter Community is open and visible for anyone to read what is being discussed. Also, anyone outside of the community can report the community if the community is breaking rules.

While anyone can read and report discussions in the Community, only the members of the community are able to participate in the discussions.

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The announcement described it like this:

“With Communities, moderators pick the focus, create the Community rules, and invite the people who will make it a great place for conversation.

Think of Communities as places created for conversation where the vibe and tone is set by people who share the same interests and want to have relevant conversations.”

Twitter Communities is in Testing Mode

Right now the new Communities feature is being tested. It’s not a fully developed product that is ready to be used by everyone.

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There are currently some communities being tested and Twitter promises that in a few months more people will be able to create communities.

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Healthy Conversations

Twitter stated that Communities is a way to support healthy conversations.

But some on Twitter questioned the concept of communities, asserting that this would lead to opinion silos where everyone agrees, essentially creating an echo chamber that reinforces and hardens points of views.

That is not an unreasonable view. However the Internet has a long history of forming communities around topics and still consisting of contentious
discussions about the given topic of the community.

Reddit is an example of how communities can form around a topic without becoming echo chambers of uniform opinions.

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Communities organized around topics is indeed like Reddit and a member made that observation.

Moderation of Communities

Moderators have the ability to hide tweets that the break the community rules. Strangely, they don’t have the ability to remove a member.

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Twitter noted the following moderator responsibilities and moderating abilities:

“Community moderators have the ability to hide Tweets that break Community rules. Members of the Community can report a Community Tweet (1) to be reviewed by a Community moderator if you believe a Community rule has been broken, or (2) to be reviewed by Twitter if you believe a Twitter Rule violation has occurred.

Non-members can also report Community Tweets they believe may have violated Twitter Rules to Twitter.

Note: We will be rolling out the functionality for Community moderators to remove members who do not follow Community rules.”

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Examples of Twitter Communities

Twitter noted there are only a handful of communities at the moment.

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Here are two communities that are currently live on Twitter:

Weather Community

Astrology Community

How to Create a Community

Any member with a public Twitter profile that is in good standing can join or create a community.

Because the Community feature is in a limited testing mode, potential community starters must fill out an interest form located here.

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Twitter Communities

With the new Communities feature, Twitter has finally figured out a way to become more like Facebook and Reddit. A community feature provides members with a way to find like-minded individuals and discuss topics of interest.

Citations

Read the official announcement
Communities: Talk About Your Thing with People Who Get You

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Communities FAQ
About Communities on Twitter

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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