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Twitter Tests New ‘Suggested Follows’ Listings on Android

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Honestly, Twitter’s efforts on content discovery are difficult to understand at times.

Back in 2015, then Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told investors in an earnings call that the platform had been struggling to grow because it lacked the mass market appeal that other platforms enjoyed.

“Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use.”

That became a key area of focus for Twitter, and since then, it’s put significant effort into making the app easier to understand for non-users, and for people to more easily be able to find profiles, and then topics, that they can follow in order to get the most out of the platform.  

And for the most part, those have made sense – but every now and then, Twitter announces something like this:

As noted by Twitter:

You can instantly add all the accounts with a single tap and easily remove the ones you don’t want to follow.”

Which seems like a lot of extra work, following clusters of around 20 accounts at a time, then going back and weeding out those that you don’t like. Seems like a surefire path to cluttering up user feeds, and while it may enable some relevant discovery, surely there’s a better way to connect people with personally relevant accounts follow, as opposed to automated suggestions based on what other people tweet.

The recommendations here, as reported by TechCrunch, are based on algorithmic considerations:

“[including] the profile you’ve just visited, or if people who follow that user tend to follow certain other users.”

So, maybe they could be relevant. Possibly. But based on experience, finding 20 relevant people to follow at once is tough, and while, as Twitter says, you can just get rid of those you don’t like, that doesn’t seem like an optimal way to guide users towards more relevant tweet content, and boost user engagement.

The issue, in Twitter’s case, lies in the signals – or lack of them – that Twitter’s able to track and utilize in providing you with more relevant recommendations.

As noted by analyst Eugene Wei in his recent assessment of the effectiveness of TikTok’s algorithm, Twitter’s lack of direct cues in its process makes it difficult for Twitter’s systems to get explicit feedback on what users want to see.

“If [Twitter’s] algorithm were smarter about what interested you, it should take care of muting topics or blocking people on your behalf, without you having to do that work yourself. That you have to follow people at all on Twitter to get interesting content is, one could argue, a design flaw for what could be a powerful interest graph.”

Wei explains that TikTok’s algorithm is particularly good at showing you more of what you like, and less of what you don’t, because TikTok clips are shown one at a time, in full screen, and all of your actions are based on each specific video, providing clear feedback on each. That enables TikTok to learn more about what you like, which other platforms are not able to do as effectively because the news feed format includes various posts on screen at once, and there are fewer explicit actions that you can take to register your interest, or lack of it.

Twitter’s probably the most susceptible to this. With so many tweets on screen, its systems can’t know what you’re reading, what you’re most interested in, and Twitter therefore needs to rely on user feedback to show you more relevant content. That puts a lot of onus on each user to curate their feeds, which leads to more manual work, and potentially, a worse user experience, at least until you’re able to cultivate a more effective, engaging feed of people who tweet things that you like.

If Twitter’s system had more inputs, it could negate some of this effort, but instead, it reverts to mass follow recommendations like this – which is even more confusing when you consider that Twitter was literally prompting some users to do the exact opposite back in 2018.

Twitter unfollow prompt

As you can see here, Twitter ran a small test in 2018 which called for users to review the profiles that they were following, in order to improve the relevance of their feed. The listings, based on accounts that users weren’t engaging with, looked to narrow down feeds, which, for most regular Twitter users, makes more sense.

But then again, the focus of this new push would be new users who are looking to establish a list. But while the two opposing prompts cater to different user subsets, it still feels like a flawed approach, cluttering people’s tweet streams with tangentially related users, then putting it on them to pare it back as they see fit.

Basically, Twitter needs to improve its content recommendation processes, and it should be able to do so by more effectively mapping user interests and correlating lists. Twitter actually is working to do this with its improving topics and list search options. But clearly, it still has a way to go, and mass-follow options like this are probably not the way forward in this respect.

The new recommendations are being shown to some users on Android.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: Born or made great?

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The Big 3 have won a total of 56 Grand Slams in their career.

Ecogastronomy, puppet arts, viticulture and enology, influencer marketing, or bakery science. In 2022, you can become anything you want and there are even specialized undergraduate degrees to help you gain all the relevant skills at university. Essentially, you can now be academically trained in any subject and learn practically everything you need to excel at your job.

In the context of sports, and particularly tennis, this is no different. There are plenty of degrees you can pursue to complement your career as an athlete, physiotherapist, or coach with useful knowledge about the human body, anatomy, and health.

This basically means that professional tennis players of the 21st century can complement their extraordinary talent and training routine with a relevant education and an elite team of professional and eminent physiotherapists, coaches, PR, and strategists. Ultimately, players have countless tools that can help them win matches, stay healthy, and be well-liked by the press and the fans.

You can find these ‘A teams’ all around the tour nowadays: players of the former next gen have taken advantage of their early success to incorporate experts on every specialty into their team and others like Carlos Alcaraz or Holger Rune have come directly in the tour alongside first-class teams headed by former World No. 1 and Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and respected coach Patrick Mouratoglou respectively.

Understandably, tennis legends who have been on tour for almost two decades have progressively adapted to the quest for perfection too. You must remember Novak Djokovic’s radical diet change mid-career or Rafael Nadal’s loyal sports doctor for most of his injury-prone career.

21st-century professional tennis players have learned it all as far as tennis skills are concerned. In fact, objectively any top-100 player can produce Djokovesque cross-court backhands or Nadalese down-the-line forehands any time – we have seen rallies of the highest level in practices, Challengers and junior tournaments.

So, one must think that if every player on the tour can produce top-level tennis and is surrounded by the perfect team, what is stopping them from winning 20+ Grand Slam titles like Nadal, Roger Federer, and Djokovic?


Nadal, Federer and Djokovic — the Big 3

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.

The Big 3 — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic — are living proof that in life there are things you just can’t learn, despite our self-help books saying otherwise. Tennis is different from other mainstream sports in that it remains an individual and extremely mental sport.

These three players belong at a higher level than anyone else, and it is not only the 63 combined Slam titles that separate them from their opponents. It is clearly not their physical form either, quite the opposite currently. It is the ability to remain serene, focused, confident, and indifferent to the crowd, pressure, and expectations, to play one point at a time, whether it is a break or a championship point, and to extract it from the surrounding context.

Being the best of all time does, however, not imply being the better player in all matches. We don’t have to go far back to find an example of a time when Nadal and Djokovic were the clear underdogs in a match. For instance, in Wimbledon 2022 we saw Nadal win a match with an abdominal tear and an average 80-mph serve speed (on a grasscourt!) against Taylor Fritz, a top American player in his best-ever season.

In essence, the three GOATs have had the ability to know how to win even when they are the worst players on the court, and if that greatness is something we all could learn or train for, it would stop being called so and we would see it more often.

Whether it is the experience, intelligence or just intrinsic and unique talent that has led to Big 3’s unprecedented achievements we won’t ever exactly know and, I am afraid, they are giving no opportunity to the so-called Next Gen to even dream of replicating their record book and help us make sense of what it takes to become a tennis master.

In any case, we can only feel extremely fortunate to have lived on the same timeline as the greatest trivalry in sports history. All of us, but the Next Gen, can only hope Nadal and Djokovic do not follow Federer’s retirement path anytime soon. And one only needs to watch their last matches against each other to (rightfully) assume that might not happen anytime soon.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Poll : Who will end up with most Grand Slam titles?

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

It seems like Elon Musk’s chaotic management approach at Twitter is having some broader impacts, with more companies reportedly considering lay-offs in the wake of Musk culling 70% of Twitter staff (and keeping the app running), and Meta now apparently also considering charging for blue checkmarks in its apps.

Yes, the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven overly popular on Twitter itself, is now also seemingly in consideration at Meta as well.

According to a new finding by reverse engineering pro Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebase of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’.

Paluzzi also shared a screenshot of the code with TechCrunch:

That does appear to refer to a subscription service for both apps, which could well give you a blue verification badge as a result.

Mets has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but it does seem, at least on the surface, that it’s considering offering checkmarks as another paid option – which still seems strange, considering the original purpose of verification, which is to signify noteworthy people or profiles in the app.

If people can just buy that, then it’s no longer of any value, right?

Evidently, that’s not the case, and with Twitter already bringing in around $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue subscriptions, maybe Meta’s looking for a means to supplement its own intake, and make up for lost ad dollars and/or rising costs of its metaverse development.

It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess, if people will pay, and the platforms aren’t concerned about there being confusion as to what the blue ticks actually mean.

I guess, more money is good?

Meta has, in the past, said that it won’t charge a subscription fee to access its apps. But this, of course, would be supplemental – users wouldn’t have to pay, but they could buy a blue checkmark if they wanted, and use the implied value of recognition for their own purposes.

Which seems wrong, but tough times, higher costs – maybe every app needs to start digging deeper.

Meta hasn’t provided any info or confirmation at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta’s Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta's Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are both making
headway in the intensely competitive video shorts sector.  

During Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai reported that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion
daily views. That’s up from the 30 billion reported in Q1 2022.

However, it still …



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