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Twitter’s Set to Free-Up Unused Twitter Handles, Add Up-Front View Counts to Tweets


Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter

It’s Friday, so it’s time to check in on what’s happening at Elon’s ‘Twitter 2.0’ this week.

Musk has slowed his declarations of late, with Twitter’s upcoming $8 verification plan still in development, and other updates being worked through by Twitter’s reduced engineering team.

But there have been a few, smaller updates announced that Twitter now has in the works, which could be of interest.

First off, Musk says that Twitter will soon free up dormant accounts, making many @handles available once again:

Musk flagged this a few weeks back, noting that Twitter just needed to work out how to deal with accounts of deceased users that should possibly be memorialized in some way. It’s unclear if that’s still part of the plan, but it seems like a whole lot of Twitter handles are about to be re-released back to users.

So if there’s a handle that you’ve had your eye on, and it’s been inactive forever, it may be worth paying attention, and seeing if you can snap it up once the shift is officially announced.

On another front, Musk has reiterated that Twitter will soon show view counts on tweets, as a means to highlight engagement levels in the app.

Elon says that people’s tweets are actually reaching a lot more people than they probably think. The view here is that if Twitter can highlight the true levels of tweet exposure, that will show users that there’s more activity than their like and retweet counts would suggest, which could get people tweeting more often, because they’ll know that they’re getting some attention, even if people don’t feel compelled to interact.

But I don’t know.

Twitter’s actually experimented with this a few times in the past, notably in 2014, 2017, and in September this year, when it launched a live test of the view count display with some users.

As you can see in this example, the update will display actual tweet reach metrics, which you can already view in the separate tweet analytics tab, up front, alongside likes and retweet counts.

So, instead of thinking that people are seeing your tweets and not engaging with them because they’re just not interested, you’d actually know this for sure. Which is probably not the intended aim of this display, but it’s hard to see how knowing that 2k people saw your tweet, and none of them engaged, might act as a motivator for you to keep sharing your thoughts in the app.

Which is likely why Twitter’s never gone with this in the past – but under Elon Musk, who’s clearly a very big fan of attention, they’re trying it again, because for Elon, knowing that a million people are being shown his comments is a big deal.

It might not be for everyone else – but then again, maybe by knowing that you are actually reaching a lot more people than the like and retweet figures suggest, that will help you revise and refine your tweet approach, in order to improve engagement and response.

App researcher Jane Manchun Wong has shared two images of what the new view counts might look like (left, in the app and right, on the web), based on current testing:

Twitter-visning räknas

On another front, Elon has also spent considerable time tweeting about the ‘Twitter Files’ expose that he’s overseeing, in which he’s working with selected journalists to uncover perceived political bias and suppression under previous management at the app.

Which I’m not going into. The concerns highlighted in these reports are, at the least, being sensationalized via selective reporting, while the lack of access to the full data chain makes it impossible to clarify exactly what’s happened in each case, and how Twitter staff came to their decisions.

It’s seemingly another way to spark more attention, and get more people using Twitter – which, evidently, is working for Musk, who keeps saying that Twitter usage it at all-time highs. As such, they’ll likely keep pumping out attention-grabbing headlines and stories as a PR exercise.

But I will say that the Twitter Files reports haven’t revealed anything new, or necessarily nefarious, as yet.  

Though they could result in more insight about restrictions impacting your tweets:

That could be handy, and would provide more transparency moving forward, which could also help to ensure that users better understand any such restrictions, and help keep the conversation more civil and welcoming.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but really, the next big step is the re-launch of Twitter’s $8 verification plan, which will either see massive take-up and be a savior for the app, or it won’t.

We’ll likely find out soon.


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The Drum | ‘The Metaverse Is Dead; Long Live The Metaverse’: Emerging Tech’s Table Of Elements


The Drum | ‘The Metaverse Is Dead; Long Live The Metaverse’: Emerging Tech’s Table Of Elements

The metaverse got more than its 15 minutes of fame. There was a steady rise of hype in 2021 capped by Facebook’s renaming as Meta. Many marketers had a massive case of Fomo fever and felt pressured to jump in.

2022 was going to be the year of the metaverse. Crypto advertisers were all over the Super Bowl. Mass audiences were supposed to jump in, but as the year progressed, audiences didn’t show up quite as predicted. NFTs, ‘the next big thing’, began to devalue. FTX crashed. The metaverse remained at best a muddled concept.

The metaverse was and is full of promise and possibility. But it’s a work in progress: the promise of ‘interoperable’ 3D worlds that are connected to our real world. The prospects of web3 and decentralization promise to unlock new models and value. But those are forward-looking statements and not a guarantee of future performance.

The metaverse is a paradox. Many of the technologies powering it are quite mature, but the standards and norms of the metaverse are not. It’s like the early days of the internet. Or e-commerce. Or mobile. Or social. We’ve been here before.

Whether you’re a metaverse optimist or pessimist, focus on this cold, hard truth: the technologies powering the metaverse are not going away. They’ll inevitably get better, faster. The hardware will get smaller and cheaper. So don’t buy in to the myth of the demise of the metaverse. Instead, focus on the technologies that enable it.

We created the VMLY&R Metaverse Table of Elements to help organize these enablers. With apologies to any actual scientists, this construct begins to organize those elements into working groups. These are the levers we can use as marketers and experience makers.

1. Enabling technologies

At the bottom of the table are the enabling technologies: the underlying tools that make the metaverse possible. They’re essential to know and understand because they underpin so much.

It’s also important to think about non-technological foundations, like guardrails and governance. What is OK to do as a brand? What rules and best practices do you need to have in place for brand and business safety?

2. Distribution points

The metaverse was always much more than virtual worlds. It’s the integration of our digital and physical spaces, like owned and partner physical and digital locations, or extensions into social platforms or gaming. And yes, virtual worlds.

Where you choose to engage will dramatically affect the amount of control or customization that is possible for your brand and audiences. And how large of an audience you might reach. Choose wisely.

3. Hardware and interface

The next layer is hardware and interface: the doorways into the experience; the devices your audiences need to access. Web, mobile web, mobile apps and webAR are very common. Projection AR and coming AR specs and headsets and VR headsets are scaling.

Be aware of the potential reach or addressable audience of each — VR headset sales exploded in 2021 and were still strong in 2022, but they were still dwarfed by mobile phones.

4. Identity and control

How does your brand show up and what level of control do you have? Think about your personal gaming experiences: usually, you select an avatar from an existing set of choices. In many virtual worlds, you have more creative license and control over the identity you create and the character you use. That same variability exists for brands.

Marketers must consider what functionality or experiences a brand (and its audiences) can create, and how much you need to conform within a given environment or gameplay/experience structure.

5. Creating and capturing value

Brands must consider what they sell (digital or physical goods) and where they sell it (online or offline). With Web3, they can explore new ways to create value for audiences.

Although cryptocurrencies have plummeted recently, the concept and potential of digital value are still extremely high. Platforms like Fortnite and Roblox have each generated billions of real dollars from virtual goods, mostly decorations for avatars. Some of your audiences think their digital identities are the most authentic version of themselves, and they spend time and money accordingly. Think about what you might sell, and determine how they buy (fiat currency, cryptocurrencies or tokenomics).

6. Community

What communities are you engaging with and activating? Think about the existing communities already connected to the brand and the communities that are active within the new environments you’re entering.

Especially in emerging worlds, creators and influencers tend to be the same people. These are the circles of community to consider and activate through direct interactions within the game and extended social experiences through streaming and social communities.

Ready or not

Call me an optimist. I believe in the power of technology. And I have zero doubt that tech will only improve. It’s inevitable. We may or may not still be talking about the metaverse when it scales, but it’s coming.

Don’t wonder whether you should enter the metaverse or not. Instead, ask how you might leverage these capability areas and emerging technologies to create something amazing for your brand and audiences. Explore. Experiment. How could you tell stories in more powerful and immersive ways? What can you do to improve the customer experience that may not have been feasible in the past? Today, nearly anything is possible, and it will only get better. There’s never been a more exciting time to create.

The metaverse is dead. Long live the metaverse.

For more hot takes and cold hard looks at the emerging tech landscape, check out The Drum’s deep dive on AI to web3.


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An Overview of Generative AI [Infographic]


An Overview of Generative AI [Infographic]

Generative AI is the latest big tech trend, with the latest variations of text and image generators now able to create original content that’s comparable to human outputs, opening up a range of new possibilities.

That’s also freaking a lot of people out, due to concerns that they could be out of the job entirely due to the sudden influx of impressive AI tools. And some, like digital artists, are already feeling the pinch – but it is worth noting that AI systems can only iterate on what’s come before, in order to provide similar content, they can’t come up with entirely original, unique, or even trustworthy material.

‘Trustworthy’ in this context relates to the accuracy of the text data such systems provide, with AI systems known to ‘hallucinate’ answers based on the various data points they can connect to your query. Essentially, you really have to know and understand the topics that you’re focusing on to produce the best results, because you can then view the outputs with a more critical eye, and ensure no mistakes or errors slip through.

In this sense, these tools work best as assistants – and in that context, it’s less about them taking your job, and more about them leveling up your capacity.

To provide more context as to what these systems are, and how they work, the team from Visual Capitalist has put together a basic overview of some of the key generative AI processes that you need to know about as we move into the next stage of the digital era.

Understanding these tools, and their many applications, will soon become a requisite for many roles – and the more you know, the better placed you’ll be.

Time to jump in – check out the fullständig infografik Nedan.


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US state to require parental consent for social media


Sociala medier i Niger utsattes för en massiv desinformationsattack i februari, har en AFP Fact Check-utredning funnit

Social media. – © AFP Denis Charlet

Utah on Thursday became the first US state to require social media sites to get parental consent for accounts used by under-18s, placing the burden on platforms like Instagram and TikTok to verify the age of their users.

The law, which takes effect March 2024, was brought in response to fears over growing youth addiction to social media, and to security risks such as online bullying, exploitation, and collection of children’s personal data.

But it has prompted warnings from tech firms and civil liberties groups that it could curtail access to online resources for marginalized teens, and have far-reaching implications for free speech.

“We’re no longer willing to let social media companies continue to harm the mental health of our youth,” tweeted Spencer Cox, governor of the western US state, who signed two related bills at a ceremony Thursday.

The bills also require social media firms to grant parents full access to their children’s accounts, and to create a default “curfew” blocking overnight access to children’s accounts. 

They set out fines for social media companies if they target users under 18 with “addictive algorithms,” and make it easier for parents to sue social media companies for financial, physical or emotional harm.

“We hope that this is just the first step in many bills that we’ll see across the nation, and hopefully taken on by the federal government,” said state representative Jordan Teuscher, who co-sponsored the bill.

Michael McKell, a Republican member of Utah’s Senate who also sponsored the bill, said it was a “bipartisan” effort, and praised President Joe Biden’s recent State of the Union address, in which he raised the issue.

Biden last month called on US lawmakers to restrict how social media companies advertise to children and collect their data, as he accused Big Tech of conducting a “for profit” experiment on the nation’s youth.

California has already introduced online safety laws including strict default privacy settings for minors, but the Utah law goes further.

Lawmakers in states such as Ohio and Connecticut are working on similar bills.

Platforms including Instagram and TikTok have introduced more controls for parents, such as messaging limits and time caps.

At Thursday’s ceremony in Utah, McKell pointed to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which he said highlighted the toll social media apps can have on young minds.

“The impact on our daughters — and I have two daughters — it was incredibly troubling,” he said. 

“Thirty percent of our daughters from ninth grade to 12th grade had seriously contemplated suicide. That’s startling.”


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