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Twitter Looks to New Crypto and NFT Projects with the Expansion of its Twitter Crypto Team

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Twitter has announced the hiring of a new Crypto Engineering Lead as it explores more ways to incorporate cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in various ways throughout the app.

Twitter has appointed crypto veteran Tess Rinearson in the newly created role. Rinearson has been working in cryptocurrency since 2015, most recently with the Interchain Foundation, and at Chain.com before that.

Rinearson will work closely with Twitter Product Manager Esther Crawford to help develop a range of new features, including expanded payment options and NFT display tools, as well as its broader Bluesky decentralization protocol project.

As explained by Twitter:

“Blockchain and crypto are unlocking new possibilities that align with many of our big product bets, including creator monetization and new forms of self-expression. It’s time for Twitter to explore that technology in earnest, and Tess has the experience to lead that charge.”

Twitter has already initiated several crypto projects, including payments for Ticketed Spaces, crypto transfers for on-profile tips, and NFT display options linked back to the ownership ledger.

There’s still a way to go before any of these are fully realized, and Rinearson will bring considerable expertise into the Twitter eco-system to help take these options to the next stage.  

It’s difficult to know how significant a role cryptocurrency will play in the next stage of the internet.

Many see crypto and blockchain technology each playing a fundamental part in the development of Web 3.0, and becoming key components of a more open, collaborative online experience that will facilitate broader opportunity for all in the coming next phase.

But for others, crypto and NFTs merely represent small scale fads, both marred by scams and profiteering, which are destined to be severely limited in terms of broad-scale adoption and ongoing value proposition.

There are opportunities within each, including wider exposure for digital art and artists, and new capacity to monetize their work, while cryptocurrency systems could also facilitate alternative banking processes, and fee-free international transactions, which could have a big impact for developing regions in particular.

A lot of nuance gets lost in the hype, with trend riders latching onto the latest hashtags and ticker codes, and following Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey and Gary Vee into the bright new world of shiny objects, with the lure of getting rich quick. But the majority are going to lose out. NFTs don’t offer significant long-term value, and are not, as some providers claim, ‘built for the metaverse’ – which, it’s worth noting, doesn’t currently exist in any form that would support such either way.

The NFT market is also being flooded with lower and lower quality digital images, most of which people are not buying the full re-use and ownership rights to anyway, and eventually, the value proposition of such will reduce as supply and demand crash, and clarity is left in their place.

Crypto offers more potential, but seemingly not in the ways that many are looking to use it. Still, if Twitter’s able to crack the code, and build effective crypto payments into its systems, that could prove to be a valuable addition – while Twitter can also capitalize on the NFT wave as it stands to help improve utility for more users, and maybe provide a more direct avenue for digital art ownership and re-use.

That might also leave Twitter playing the role of copyright police as to who can and can’t use certain NFTs on their profiles, but maybe simply having direct connection back to the blockchain ownership data will be enough to dissuade unauthorized use, and provide a more stable framework to enable digital artists to better monetize their work.

This could also help – according to a new finding by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Twitter is also considering making NFT profile images a different shape, which would mean that unauthorized NFTs would stand out if/when used as a profile image.

Twitter NFT display

That’s could a smart way to align with the NFT trend, and add something extra to the Twitter experience. Will that rule out use by those who don’t own the original NFT? Probably not, but this is the type of that Twitter’s now working on as it works to align with these rising elements.

Will they keep rising, and become a more significant part of Twitter more broadly? We’ll soon find out, with Twitter looking to ramp up its crypto and blockchain projects via these projects.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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Meta ‘Year of Efficiency’ call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed

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Meta 'Year of Efficiency' call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., center, departs from federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With one simple slogan, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg temporarily quelled investor discontent with his company’s multibillion-dollar investment into the futuristic metaverse.

“Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we’re focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization,” Zuckerberg said as part of the release of Meta’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

Following a 64% plunge in Meta’s share price in 2022, Wall Street cheered the report, sending the stock up almost 20%, extending a rally that began late last year. Based on after-hours pricing, Meta is trading at its highest since July.

Growth is not what’s getting investors excited. Meta reported better-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter, but sales still sank 4% from a year earlier, marking the third straight quarterly decline. And the forecast range for the first quarter suggests that year-over-year revenue could increase, but it could also fall again.

Rather, Zuckerberg’s commitment to cost cuts and efficiency is a sign that increasing profitability is important to Meta, which was known as a growth machine prior to last year’s slump.

“The first 18 years I think we grew it 20%, 30% compound or a lot more every year,” Zuckerberg said on the earnings call. “And then obviously that changed very dramatically in 2022, where our revenue was negative for growth, for the first time in the company’s history.”

In looking to the future, Zuckerberg struck a realistic tone.

“We don’t anticipate that that’s going to continue,” he said, regarding the recent drop in revenue. “But I also don’t think it’s going to go back to the way it was before.”

Meta lowered its estimates for total expenses in 2023 to be in the range of $89 billion to $95 billion, down from its prior outlook of $94 billion to $100 billion. In November, the company announced it would lay off over 11,000 workers, or 13% of its staff.

Zuckerberg said Meta will be more “proactive on cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be crucial” and that it will emphasize “removing layers of middle management to make decisions faster.”

Meta is also reducing spending as it builds new data centers that are intended to be more efficient while still able to power the company’s various artificial intelligence technologies. Capital expenditures are now expected to be in the range of $30 billion to $33 billion for 2023 instead of $34 billion to $37 billion.

Zuckerberg is selling investors on a story they want to hear, acknowledging that the company got bloated and needed more financial discipline. One of Zuckerberg’s top deputies, technology chief Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, wrote a personal essay just a few days ago echoing that sentiment.

Still, Meta has plenty of challenges ahead, in terms of both costs and reviving its core ad business.

Meta’s Reality Labs unit, which is responsible for developing the nascent metaverse, lost $13.7 billion in 2022. Finance chief Susan Li told analysts that the company isn’t planning for any reduction in that unit anytime soon. Zuckerberg still sees it as the company’s future.

Digital advertising, meanwhile, is suffering from a struggling economy, and Li gave no indication that companies are planning to dramatically increase their spending in 2023.

Meta has also yet to recover from Apple’s 2021 iOS privacy update that made it harder to target users with ads. Li said the company has been improving its online advertising system, but Apple’s update is “still certainly an absolute headwind to our revenue number.”

During the question and answer part of the call, Zuckerberg was asked about Meta’s progress in generative artificial intelligence, which has become the latest hot thing in Silicon Valley. His answer indicated that Meta is pursuing opportunities there, but will be cautious in how quickly it proceeds. Running these programs is expensive, and Meta needs to ensure it can develop them affordably, he said.

Zuckerberg said that while Meta is researching how best to incorporate the new technology, he wants “to be careful not to get too ahead of the development of it.”

Correction: Meta’s earnings report and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments occurred after the market close on Wednesday. An earlier version misstated the day.

WATCH: Meta grows in daily active users, shares pop on revenue beat

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

Pinterest is taking a unique approach to Black History Month, with a new ‘Find Your Routes’ Black Travel Hub initiative, which aims to highlight places that have strong connections to Black history, while also showcasing Black-owned businesses.

As explained by Pinterest:

“Find Your Routes” is inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book aka “The Green Book”. The Green Book was a guidebook for Black travelers during the Jim Crow era that provided a list of accessible hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, service stations and other establishments throughout the country that served Black Americans patrons.”

The Black Travel Hub, which you can find here, will present a range of travel options, along with their history, with creators from the US, Colombia, Jamaica, Brazil and more, all taking part in presenting their city.

It could be a good way to provide education alongside inspiration in the app, while also helping people to connect, and support highlighted communities.

Pinterest will also be showcasing Black-owned businesses on Pinterest TV, while internally, it’s also hosting a company-wide event ‘to help employees gain knowledge about the history, present, and future of Black travel through the lens of Black Pinployees’.

As noted, it could be a good way to both spark important conversations, and inspire new travel journeys, which include an extra level of cultural understanding and education, along with a leisure break.

It’s an interesting take on the celebration either way, and it’ll be worth noting what sort of reaction the initiative gets, and whether it inspires more travel as a result.

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