World Cup/Almost Time to Go

This will be an interesting post because I only have two posts left, so I sort of need to say goodbye for a while. Also, the World Cup is here and Twitter is exploding over the great event. I can save the goodbyes for my next post which will be my last of the year.

The World Cup starts today and continues for 32 days until July 14th. The excitement is currently through the roof. For the last month, you could sense the anxiety growing among soccer fans everyday. There were countdowns being retweeted and vines being posted about the great players and their incredible goals. For at least the last week, the World Cup has continued to stay one of the most talked about topics on Twitter and has been trending basically the whole time. Now that it is here, there is really no knowing on how much this world soccer tournament will be talked about. Twitter is projecting the World Cup in Brazil to be the most talked about topic of all-time.

The World Cup is so popular that at the top of the timeline there is constantly a link that sends you to tweets about what is going on with the World Cup. I have accessed the option a couple of times and last night it led me to a 25 minute video that showcased every single goal of the South Africa 2010 World Cup. Multiple people have told me how I am tweeting way too much about the World Cup. Sorry everybody, but if you want to follow me, get ready to have the World Cup be thrown in your face for the next month!https://i0.wp.com/lh3.googleusercontent.com/-DBTuD97oYfU/AAAAAAAAAAI/AAAAAAAAAB0/irGThHMb4LM/photo.jpg?w=584&ssl=1

Spoiler Shield!

I just discovered a way to block tweets that could contain spoiler alerts to certain movies, TV shows, or sporting events. This is a pretty exciting thing to find because in today’s world, it is really hard to dodge spoiler alerts for popular shows, and/or games. Social media has become so common to people that it is hard to stay away from Twitter or Facebook when you are bored. In the past, that meant you were risking seeing something that could ruin your favorite show. Now, you can enjoy social media without having to worry about what other people are posting. Thanks to Spoiler Shield, Twitter users can now search their timeline freely if they miss that night’s episode of Game of Thrones.

Spoiler Shield is an app that can be used for computers through Google Chrome, and through phones on both iOS market as well as the Android Market. To access Spoiler Shield on your computer, you must first download the app to Chrome. Once you have done that, you can sign into Twitter and Facebook through the app to make sure that your account can be accessed. Once you have signed in, you simply scroll the choices of what you want to block. There is a television button that leads to the options of many of the most popular shows on TV right now. Also, many sports are available to be blocked as well. You can block multiple shows at one time too.

The Spoiler Shield does not make the tweets about the shows or games disappear. Instead of doing that, it covers the tweets with a Spoiler Shield banner. When you scroll your mouse over the banner, it will give you the option of accessing the tweet and seeing what that person has to say. I think Spoiler Shield is a really cool idea and I will defintely at least test it out and see if it is something I want to permanently use.

Issy Advice

I have talked many times this year about all of the different Twitter accounts popping up that are attached to Issaquah High School. As the year has progressed, the use of Twitter as an outlet to spread information has become as popular as I have seen among high schools. So far this year, I have seen these types of Twitter accounts related to Issaquah High School:

-Sports team accounts (basketball, soccer, lacrosse)

-Spirit week information

-ISSYSUPERFANS (probably the best of the Issaquah Twitter accounts)

-Even the administrators have an account that tells different things.

Recently, a new account has been created. The school news at IHS, I-Vision, is hoping to use Twitter as a way to connect with students. They had an idea of letting two of their students from the class answer questions that the students of Issaquah had. This account is @IssyAdvice. With this account, you can mention them in a tweet and have the question be public, or you can follow them and send them a direct message if you want the question to be anonymous. If you choose the second option, the students that answer will not publicize your name when they answer your question during their advice segment on I-Vision.

I am pretty excited to see the use of Twitter across our school. I know Issaquah is a pretty technologically savvy school, so I expect the trend of using Twitter to spread news and connect students to the school’s activities to continue. If you are a reader, make sure to send in a question to @IssyAdvice!

Twitter’s Cash Scavenger Hunt

Last weekend, a millionaire from San Francisco was using Twitter as a home for a scavenger hunt that led to people of San Francisco finding envelopes filled with 100 dollars each.

Starting on Friday, the envelopes were distributed throughout the city in random places. The whereabouts to these cash-filled prizes could be found with clues given by the Twitter account @HiddenCash. The generous man is not known to the public. It is pretty cool to see someone spreading the love to others. It makes it even cooler that they used Twitter to accomplish the act of kindness.

As of Monday, over 20,000 excited users had followed @HiddenCash. Some of the followers even posted about racing others to get the money. From Thursday to Monday, the anonymous man behind had given out $4,000 in cash for the self-proclaimed purpose of an anonymous social experiment.

NYDailyNews.com reported about some of the tweets that came from the lucky winners. One Twitter user tweeted, “Omg again, this is amazing! We just gave away most of the money from the first one! GOD BLESS YOU!”

This seems like it could be a spark for Twitter as a great place to hold clues for scavenger hunts. What better way is there to spread information to a large number of people without having to invite them into any sort of group? Also, creators of the hunts can choose to be private. It is basically the perfect platform for someone to give clues to people, no matter what the game is. I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter becomes popular for things like this from now on.

Mariner’s Twitter Tuesdays

Because social media has become so popular, companies everywhere are now using it as a way for advertising and attracting more customers. Twitter is an everyday thing for nearly all of its users so having contests and advertising on Twitter is a great idea for companies.

This year, Root Sports Northwest begun having a night of Twitter contests every week on Tuesdays. Their competition is called Twitter Tuesdays. Twitter Tuesdays are for Seattle Mariner games and feature trivia of Seattle Mariners history and also some in-game predictions for what fans think will happen.

Some examples of in-game questions Root Sports will ask include: “What will Robinson Cano do in his first at-bat?”, “How many pitches will be thrown in the 6th inning?”, or “Who will record the game’s final putout?”. These questions are just estimated guesses from fans and can make the games more fun for fans because they are rooting for smaller things to happen during the game along with rooting for the Mariners to win.

I happened to win one of the Twitter Tuesday competitions early in the season this year. The question that was asked was a trivia question. It was the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s record 715th home run. Root Sports asked, “What team was Hank Aaron’s 715th home run against?” I responded with the California Angels and that was the correct answer. I was randomly selected as the winner of the competition and I won a signed Felix Hernandez baseball. It was totally lucky.

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Make sure to tune into Root Sports this Tuesday for the Mariners’ game and join in on the fun of Twitter Tuesdays!

 

Tweeting the Right Things (Being Positive)

I wonder quite a bit about people’s motivations for using Twitter. What makes this social media site interesting and attractive? I definitely think the main reason is because it is entertaining and provides users with many different things that are exciting. After that, I think motivations change. People like being a leader of thing and having followers that care what they say. On Twitter, anybody can become that “leader” and gain a massive amount of followers that are excited everyday to see what you think.

Because of this, there is a constant search for spreading your thoughts across Twitter and gaining more followers. So now the question is, what do you need to tweet to gain followers? I’ve recently noticed that being positive on Twitter is a big key to getting retweets and new followers. Even if you are criticized for being too sensitive or cheesy, there is a great chance many of your followers will enjoy your bright outlook on life. This idea has developed due to watching the changes of one of my best friend’s Twitter account. In the winter, he was dealing with some issues and decided to defend some bad decisions with arrogant and negative tweets. He bad mouthed others and lost friends because he was trying to prove to the world that his mistakes were okay. After a lot of soul searching, he has become a totally different person. Now, every tweet is positive and uplifting of others. Every day, I scroll through my timeline and see that almost all of his tweets are some of the more popular ones I will see all day.

The bottom line is that if you are tweeting things that other people want to see, you will see an increase in popularity on Twitter.

The Mute Button is Here!

The mute button (AKA one of the greatest things to ever happen to Twitter) is finally here.
There will be so many problems solved with Twitter’s new fixture. Basically, Twitter is making the decision on whether to keep following someone much easier.

Theguardian.com posted a list of 13 reasons to mute someone. I am only posting 12 because one of them only pertains to European television watchers.  Here they are:

– I really like you but don’t want to listen to you

– I want you to follow me but I don’t care about your tweets

– I want my following list to look impressive

– Stop tweeting about football [sports]

– It’s not me, it’s your tweets

– The breakup mute

– Current work colleagues mute

– Mute a ranter

– Stop someone appearing in retweets without blocking

– ‘Trial muting’ as a precursor to unfollowing

I really enjoyed this list. This is exactly the list I would have put together. I mean the mute button is like a gift from the Twitter gods. The “I want you to follow me but I don’t care about your tweets” is perfect for me. Before the mute button, I never knew how to handle annoying tweeters. Most people on Twitter have apps that can track who unfollow them so I didn’t know what to do. The debate over keeping followers and having to see stupid tweets or just unfollowing those people is actually pretty tough. Also, I liked the “mute a ranter” point. Every once in a while, people go off on tweeting sprees that just destroy you timeline. Using the mute button on that person for the day can save yourself from a lot of irrelevant tweets.

#NFLDraft2014

I am a big sports fan and I like to discuss sports a lot over this blog. However, I think it is appropriate because there are so many times when sports dominates the Twitter scene. People just love voicing their opinion and Twitter is great way to spread sports news quickly.

This weekend, the NFL Draft has dominated my timeline. Between jokes, serious analysis, and Seahawks fans getting excited that they can once again tweet about our Super Bowl champs, there are certain points when every other tweet is about the draft. This is not that surprising considering the fact that 32 million people checked in to watch the first round of the draft Thursday night. Currently four NFL Draft topics are trending on Twitter and the NFL Draft is the most talked about show on Twitter with over 1.4 million tweets about it.

Because the topic is so popular, there are multiple topics that have been trending since Thursday that pertain to the draft. Of course, #Clowney was trending at the beginning of the draft because Jadeveon Clowney was selected first overall by the Houston Texans.

As the first round progressed and Johnny Manziel slid down the draft, many people began to poke fun at Manziel. He happens to be one of the more polarizing figures in sports right now but it is big news on Twitter any time a top prospect drops on draft night. Memes and hashtags making fun of Manziel’s fall were everywhere before he was finally selected 22nd by the Cleveland Browns.

Seahawks fans are always very vocal about their team and are even more vocal on Twitter now that they are Super Bowl champions. This trend has continued with the draft. The Seahawks finally took their first selection today with Paul Richardson and his name is now trending on Twitter. Their second pick, Justin Britt, is also currently trending on Twitter. Keep up the good work Seahawks fans!

Popular Topics of the Week

This week, there have been some events across the sporting world that have captivated users and become hot topics on everyone’s timeline. These two events are Kevin Durant’s MVP acceptance speech and the Mariners’ recent surge up the AL West standings.

Kevin Durant’s speech after winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player has been blowing up on Twitter the last two days. Everyone is talking about it. Kevin Durant was extremely humble and very emotional. He connected with everyone that watched. This is what has caused the craze on Twitter. People love seeing moments like these. When athletes make it seem like they are not any more special than the rest of us (even when they really are), it hits home with fans. Also, it is rare to see someone be such a stand-up, genuine guy when they just achieved such an amazing personal feat. The last two days, nearly every sports fan has made a comment about Durant’s speech. The video has been re-tweeted numerous times and Kevin Durant has been trending on Twitter for nearly 48 hours.

The Mariners have also been trending in Seattle every day for almost a week now. They have recently gone on a five game winning streak and have vaulted themselves into second place in the AL West. Because there is no NBA team for the people of Seattle to root for, the Mariners are the only major professional sports team to entertain people right now. Lately, they have done a good job. About half of the tweets every night are celebratory tweets exclaiming the greatness of certain players or sad tweets about a tough Mariners’ loss. I hope the Mariners can keep this trend going so they can continue to trend on Twitter as well.

Fighting the Idea that Twitter is Dead

In my last post I wrote about and discussed the ideas of theatlantic.com. This website believes that the best of Twitter has come and gone and that the social media website is a dying breed. There are reasons to support their claim but I love Twitter and I am very happy to see that people are battling the idea that Twitter will become irrelevant in the near future.

One man in particular is battling these claims. This man is Will Oremus, the senior technology writer at Slate.com. He believes that Twitter is not only surviving but is on the cusp of getting much bigger.

Oremus makes points that are very strong in support of his argument. He argues that there should not be any comparison between Facebook usage and Twitter usage because Twitter should not be considered a social network. He says that Twitter is a media platform. He says, “Social networks connect people with one another. Those connections tend to be reciprocal. As a social network, its chief function is to help friends, family, and acquaintances keep in touch. Media platforms, by contrast, connect publishers with their public. Those connections tend not to be reciprocal. One Twitter user may be followed by millions of strangers whom she feels no obligation to follow back, any more than an evening news anchor feels the need to check in with each of her viewers every night at 6.”

After reading this, my opinion about the death of Twitter immediately changed. Before, I was worried about Twitter and how long it can stay relevant. Now, I think it will be around a long time due to how efficiently it can spread information to users across the world.

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Fears About the Death of Twitter

Sadly, Twitter is not doing so well lately. This quarter’s numbers for new users were up from last quarter but the amount of activity on Twitter has been on the decline since the first few months of 2013. Across the internet, people have noticed that something is wrong with Twitter. The stock has dropped by nearly 40% since it was released. Quarter growth for active users has dropped from nearly 130% growth in 2011 to only a little over 20% in the last quarter.

So what is wrong?

Surprisingly, some of Twitter’s unique attributes are also creating problems. Many have found Twitter a little frustrating because it has grown too large for users to only have 140 characters. Adrienne LaFrance and Robinson Meyer of theatlantic.com explain it likes this, “As such, the idea that Twitter’s 140-character format precludes it from being a place for depth has always been a red herring. But there are legitimate questions about how the format can scale. Sometimes it helps to picture Twitter as a network of overlapping concentric circles—made bigger by retweets, modified tweets, interactions, faving, hate-faving, subtweeting, snarking, trolling, etc., etc., until they get so big and the network gets so crowded that you can’t see the circles themselves anymore.”

Also, Twitter has not done a good job of stopping spam accounts, and this has led to Twitter having way too many accounts that do not benefit anyone. The median account has ONE follower. That means nearly half of all accounts are never used.

The excitement of tweeting has also lessened to some degree as well. With less new users, there are less people learning how to use Twitter and have fun with the journey of gaining followers. After a certain point, people don’t have that same excitement they used to when they get a retweet.

Many people have also complained that Twitter is just becoming the new Facebook comment page. Twitter has become a battleground and wasteland for users. Twitter fights fill up timelines, and useless content is entering the world of Twitter. That same useless content is what pushed teenagers away from Facebook.

I love Twitter and I never want to see it die. I believe that just a few changes could revolutionize the social media site and jump start its popularity once again. I really hope that these changes come soon.

New Update is Here

In one of my posts in February, I talked about how Twitter was testing a new layout for users’ profile page. This new layout was to look like a more like one of Facebook. The plan has been to release the update to select users at different times and that has been taking place ever since I first posted about it the first time. However, Twitter has now provided the option for anyone to change to this new layout immediately and all they have to do is press a button on their profile page.

Matt Peckham (@mattpeckham) of time.com just released an online article as of today that discusses 8 ideas that are tied to the new change. Here are his 8 points:

-Twitter hasn’t changed – not really… : This means that it is still centered around your tweets and doesn’t have any of the distractions that Facebook brings.

-.. but it’s clearly more like Facebook: The profile page looks a lot like Facebook. The placement and size of the cover and profile pictures are now matching. Also, info about tweets and pictures/videos are accessible through a menu at the top of one’s page.

-Isn’t the new font for tweets kinda gargantuan?: With the new change, tweets that are more important (lots of favorites and retweets) are now given a larger font and definitely stand out.

-You’ll want a 400 x 400 profile picture: The new layout now expands the profile pictures from 256 x 256 photos to 400 x 400 photos. With the expansion, it would be smart to take time and resize photos or just pick a new one entirely. Photos that fit well and are not pixelated look much more attractive to potential followers.

-You’ll want a 1,500 x 500 header, too: This is even more crucial than your profile picture! The change destroys old photos that are too small now. My cover photo looked horrible now that it was expanded. Just take the short time and get a new cover photo that works for this new layout.

-The menu has more data angles, and they’re important ones: I’ll let Peckham describe what is going with this point because he does a great job explaining it. He writes, “Ever since Twitter added the option to include inline photos and videos, we’ve been accruing repositories of visual content. Under the old design, these were jammed into a lefthand box that, when clicked, swapped your tweet column for a stacked picture/video column. In the new design, picture/video is just another menu option next to tweets and followers. When clicked, it smartly hijacks both the center and righthand side of your view, giving you two full columns to peruse more content at once.”

-You can fine-tune your Twitter stream: This means that there is now an option to view regular tweets and replies separately, along with accessing the tweets you favorited in a different area as well. This can give potential followers a better taste of what you actually tweet instead of having to scroll through hundreds of tweets from one conversation with one person.

-You can pin your best stuff to promote conversations: You can move your favorite tweets to the top of your profile page for other people to see and potentially comment on or retweet. This is a great move by Twitter. This will expand the use of conversations on Twitter greatly in my opinion.

Twitter in Education

I enjoy finding how Twitter is popping up in the news. I usually check every week and most of the time I find inspiration from the recent Twitter news. This week, I found a great article that really excited me. This one happened to be about how Twitter could be instrumental in the classroom in the near future.

The article from thenewsstar.com was written by Scott Rogers. In the article he stated that Kris Bista, a professor from the University of Louisiana-Monroe, had been studying the pros and cons that Twitter could have as an education tool among students. It stated, “According to Bista, Twitter provides a platform and opportunity for students and faculty to engage in social and academic activities as a new pedagogical tool.”

I think Bista has a very solid point when it comes to using Twitter as an education tool. Social media is becoming a popular area to share news and Twitter is an easy way to update students. I currently have a teacher that uses Twitter to post our assignments and reminders for other things we might need to do for class. He has also used it as a way for students to take notes during movies as well. It actually worked well in my opinion. It made us sum up main ideas that came from the movie and using hashtags helps sum up those ideas even more.

I do believe that the transition towards Twitter as an education tool will be extensive due to the fact that many teachers will reject it, I think it definitely should be considered as a way to insert some excitement into classrooms and maybe make learning and organization more efficient.

Making Smart Decisions on Twitter

Just this last week, one of the dumbest tweets in Twitter’s existence was sent out. A fourteen year-old Dutch girl tweeted at American Airlines pretending to be a terrorist. Here is the exact tweet: “Hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye.”

Seems too stupid to be true, right? Wrong. This actually did happen and American Airlines quickly responded with this, “Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.”

Once the girl figured out this was a serious mistake, she tried everything in her power to apologize. She begged for forgiveness, and even tried to blame her friend for the tweet. Nothing she said had affected the company’s or the police’s response to the situation. Somewhat unfortunately, the girl was arrested for false terrorist threats. She was released but is still a suspect while the police investigates.

The worst part about this was that the girl ended up almost seeming happy about this tweet. She tried auctioning off her account once she began gaining lots of new followers. She also tweeted “I feel famous omg”. I cannot believe someone can follow up such a dumb tweet with that idiotic follow up. Thankfully, the girl’s account has since been suspended.

This should serve as a lesson for everyone on Twitter. Obviously, not too many people are making fake terrorist threats on Twitter but before you tweet something, make sure you know that it isn’t stupid.