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Twitter Launches Live Test of Topics in Spaces to Improve Discovery



After previewing the option in development last month, Twitter has now launched a live test of topic tags in Spaces, which will better enable the platform to highlight relevant Spaces chats to interested users as they happen, potentially broadening the reach of your audio broadcasts.

Spaces topic tags

As you can see here, the new Spaces topic tags can be added in the set-up process, with Space creators able to add up to three topic tags to each session.

As explained by Twitter:

When creating or scheduling a Space, some of you on Android can choose up to 3 Topics to tag it with from a list of our top 10 Topics. But it’s only 10 Topics for now and we’ll expand as we build together.”

So your options are fairly limited at present, with only 10 tags, in total, available, and only on Android. But still, the idea is that it will provide Twitter another way to maximize Spaces reach, by showcasing in-progress broadcasts to people based on the topics they engage with in the app.

The question then is where Twitter might look to showcase these Spaces, and how it will define reach.

Right now, Twitter will show you in-progress Spaces from people you follow at the top of the app, where Fleets once were – and maybe, with this addition, Twitter could also look to expand that to Spaces on Topics that you follow too, to keep people in the loop on relevant content.

Twitter could also look to highlight relevant, in-progress Spaces in its dedicated Spaces tab, which may or may not be coming to all users at some stage in future.

Twitter Spaces tab

Either way, it’s an important element – because while Spaces can be an engaging, interesting option, right now, for most Spaces broadcasts, you don’t have any way of knowing when they’re happening, unless you’re following all the right people in the app.

In fairness, tuning into Spaces from people you follow is probably the biggest use case for the option. But if Twitter wants to maximize audio social usage, and boost engagement through Spaces broadcasts, it needs to also showcase each Space to the biggest potential audience – and as such, honing in on key interests is a key step, which will help to boost listenership, and subscriptions, based on Spaces content.

And really, if Twitter can’t get discovery right, people will lose interest in Spaces pretty quick. Clubhouse users are already lamenting the increasing array of rooms in the app, as a result of it opening up to all users, which has made it harder to find relevant, interesting discussions at any given time.

If people can’t find things to tune into, without significant effort, they’ll stop trying – and even with topic-based sorting added, there’ll still be a level of sorting through the chaff to get to the actual, quality broadcasts and broadcasters on each topic.

Ideally, Twitter would be able to rely on its algorithm sorting to highlight relevant Spaces in each users’ Explore feed, even without the need for topic tags, as it could ascertain likely topics based on each broadcasters’ profile. But based on the topic recommendations I see from Twitter, I don’t have much faith in that – which, again, puts more emphasis on manually entered topic tags as a means to maximize listenership.

It’s an important element, and while it’s only in limited form right now, you can expect to see Twitter develop this quickly as it looks to boost Spaces in the coming months.


Meta Threatens to Ban News Publishers Amid Debate Over New Revenue Share Proposal



NFTs are Coming to Facebook and Instagram – Whether You Like Them or Not

As Meta continues to lean further into AI-based content recommendations to keep users engaged in its apps, you know what it doesn’t need anywhere near as much as it used to? News content.

Meta has made this much clear, by ending its content deals with publishers, cutting its investment into news initiatives like its dedicated News Tab, Instant Articles and newsletters, and even directly noting that it’s de-prioritizing political news in-stream.

Which is why the latest push in the US to force Meta to pay more to news publishers seems particularly ill-timed.

This week, reports have suggested that the controversial ‘Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) has been added to the annual defense authorization bill, which could see it carried into law in the new year.

The JCPA would facilitate an exemption under US antitrust law that would enable US news outlets to collectively bargain with social media platforms in order to negotiate a larger share of ad revenue, in exchange for the use of their content – i.e. it would force Meta to pay for links to news content in its apps.

Which is now, and always has been a controversial policy approach. But with the Australian Treasury Department recently reporting that its similar Media Bargaining Code has been a success, and has re-directed millions into the local media market, other nations are now taking a closer look – with New Zealand now also considering its own Media Bargaining Code along similar lines.

But again, Meta probably doesn’t need news like it used to anymore, and it could cut it off entirely in response. Which is exactly what Meta has threatened to do.

As per Meta:

If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

Now, there’s a level of posturing here, and it seems unlikely that Meta would remove news content entirely. But that is what it did in Australia last year, amid negotiations over the media Bargaining bill.

At the same time, Australia’s media ecosphere is far smaller than the US. Would Meta really move to block all US news organizations from sharing content in its apps – and if it did, what would that mean for engagement and interaction in each?

This is the key point of the debate. On one side, media organizations argue that Meta generates a heap of engagement off the back of its reporting, which then constitutes a significant chunk of its revenue, because more users engaging more often means more ads, etc.

But Meta says that news content isn’t as big a deal to it as publishers seem to think – and as Meta notes, it views this as a more reciprocal relationship, where publishers use its apps to maximize reach, which in-turn helps them drive their business.

And again, Meta has been distancing itself from news content more and more over time, and leaning into a more TikTok-like approach of showing users video clips and entertaining posts, based on AI-fueled recommendations for each user.

Given this, could Meta now be in a position to actually cut off news publishers entirely, without impacting its revenue performance?

You can bet that, with Meta announcing major cutbacks, it’s not going to be giving up any revenue easily.

It’s early days, but this could be one to watch, as Meta potentially heads for a stand-off with publishers, in several regions, in the new year.

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