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To: The Ox who wrote (1103)5/18/2017 11:41:35 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 1195
Weibo has apparently discovered the "secret sauce" that has eluded Twitter.

Weibo first quarter results (thousands)

Revenue: $199,201 (100.00%)
Sales and marketing: $46,450 (23.32%)
Product development: $47,163 23.68%)
General and administrative: $10,546 (5.29%)
Operating profit (loss): $55,81 (28.04%)

Market cap (billions): $16.9

Twitter first quarter results (thousands)

Revenue: $548,251 (100.00%)
Sales and marketing: $220,339 (30.19%)
Product development: $128,728 (23.48%)
General and administrative: $69,868 (12.74%)
Operating profit (loss): ($40,278) (-7.36)

Market cap (billions): $13.5

From the article you referenced:

According to US market research company eMarketer, social media's share of online advertising in China only accounted for 10% in 2016. That figure was 28% in the United States. However, the advertising market share in China is expected to rise with social media marketing becoming more acceptable, said eMarketer.

While Twitter is generating more revenue from each user, Weibo's cost structure is considerably leaner. Factor in economic and political risks. Bet the trend (Weibo) or bet on the next fix (Twitter)?

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From: Glenn Petersen5/18/2017 11:54:57 AM
   of 1195
What you should know about Twitter’s latest privacy policy update

As it begins to store people’s off-Twitter browsing data for longer, the company adds new data controls and ends Do Not Track support.

Tim Peterson
Marketing Land
on May 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm

When you visit a site that features a tweet button or an embedded tweet, Twitter is able to recognize that you’re on that site and use that information to target you with ads. And now it’s going to hang onto that information for a bit longer but give you more control over it.

Twitter updated its privacy policy on Wednesday so that it can use the information it collects about people’s off-Twitter web browsing for up to 30 days, as opposed to the previous 10-day maximum, according to the updated document that takes effect on June 18. The extension could help Twitter when it comes to making sure its ads are aimed at enough of the right people, which could aid its struggle to attract direct-response advertisers and reverse its advertising revenue declines.

Coinciding with the update, Twitter has also
added a new section to the settings menu on its site and in its mobile apps that details the information Twitter uses to target a person with ads and lets that person deselect individual interest categories and request a list of the companies that use Twitter’s Tailored Audiences option to target them with ads based on information like their email address, Twitter handle or whether they visited the advertiser’s site or used its mobile app.

At the same time Twitter is giving people more control over how they are targeted, it is removing support for Do Not Track, which people can use to ask every website they visit not to track their behavior in order to target them with ads. Twitter made a big deal about supporting Do Not Track in May 2012, so its reversal is a surprise — unless you’ve been following the wave of major ad-supported digital platforms opting to ignore Do Not Track requests. When Hulu announced last July that it would no longer support Do Not Track, it joined nine other major digital platforms that do not respond to these opt-out requests. Now Twitter has joined that list.

Twitter explained its change in position in an update to the Do Not Track entry on its help site. “While we had hoped that our support for Do Not Track would spur industry adoption, an industry-standard approach to Do Not Track did not materialize,” according to the company.

That’s pretty much the same reason that Hulu, Facebook, Google and others have cited for not supporting Do Not Track, though the standard is slated to become an official recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in August 2017.

While Twitter will no longer support Do Not Track once its new privacy policy takes effect on June 18, the company still offers options for people to disable ads targeted based information collected off Twitter. People can pull up Twitter’s settings menu, select “Privacy and Safety,” then “Personalization and data,” and then toggle off “Personalize ads.” That menu also includes an option to disable Twitter from being able to see when a person visits a site that features a tweet button or an embedded tweet, as well as a nuclear option that also prevents Twitter from sharing a person’s data with other companies, using location-based data to personalize content on Twitter and connecting data across the different devices a person may use to log in to Twitter.

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From: Krigannie5/19/2017 7:39:30 AM
   of 1195

Twitter: Big Live Video Catalyst

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To: Krigannie who wrote (1106)5/27/2017 5:21:33 PM
From: Intelim
   of 1195
Gotta buy asap then! I'm yet to watch any show on Twitter though.

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From: Intelim5/30/2017 4:10:43 PM
   of 1195
Twitter now filters DMs from people you don’t know

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To: Intelim who wrote (1107)5/30/2017 5:47:12 PM
From: Krigannie
   of 1195
They have a nice discount atm.

I am still counting on a Google buyout this year or the next.

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From: zax6/23/2017 8:29:04 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1195
Richard Greenfield on why he likes Twitter stock

Richard Greenfield, BTIG: I am bullish on Twitter and would be shocked if it wasn't bought within two years.

Posted by Business Insider on Friday, June 23, 2017

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From: Glenn Petersen6/23/2017 8:58:12 PM
   of 1195
Twitter bots get enterprising, courtesy of Sprout Social

Posted Jun 20, 2017 by Ingrid Lunden ( @ingridlunden)

These days, the idea of bots on Twitter might be associated more with accounts that auto-Tweet, auto-like, and auto-retweet messages, or are corralled into large armies that follow people and do other things en-masse. But as the idea of artificial-intelligence- driven messengers starts to take hold in the tech world, and specifically in areas like customer service, Twitter is positioning itself as a platform for these kinds of bots, too.

Sprout Social, a social media management company, is launching a new product called Bot Builder, to help clients build customer support chatbots for the platform. The bots will be used to answer basic questions to, say, verify a user’s identity and account information and other basic issues that form the start of customer support queries, so that they can progress the the next level of getting handled, Sprout Social’s co-founder Aaron Rankin said in an interview.

Enterprise bots on Twitter are not completely new, but the idea of using them for customer service is. Just last month, Twitter launched a new Direct Message Card that linked users from public timelines into direct message chats, to chat with bots.

But these were not about customer service; they were about marketing and interacting with brands for fun, such as a “bot tender” that helped you with drink recipes; or short-term and mostly fun experiments around quick transactions, such as this bot to order food from Denny’s.

Interestingly, for this move into customer service chat bots, Twitter has taken a route different from that of Facebook or others: it has chosen not to create a bot development platform of its own, but instead to work with third parties like Sprout to bring the concept to life and get more businesses using them.

“I think there are a bunch of reasons why we don’t build bot experience ourselves,” said Jeff Lesser, who heads up product marketing for Twitter Business Messaging. “There are millions of types of businesses that can use our platform, so we’re letting the ecosystem build the solutions that they need. We are focusing on building the canvas for them to do that.”

Sprout has rolled the Bot Builder into its enterprise tier of service — Sprout has some 18,000 customers using its services in all to help manage their Twitter presence — and over time may make it available in some form to other usage tiers. Twitter doesn’t take any cut at all on providing the platform for this. Its sales are made by way of the selling the Cards to businesses to direct users to using these experiences.

Turning to third parties to build these kinds of services is one way to promoting a wider developer ecosystem — something that Twitter hasn’t always been that good at doing. But another reason why Twitter may be holding bots at arm’s length is because of its history with them.

“We knew Twitter had a hesitancy about automation in accounts,” Sprout’s Rankin noted, referring to Twitter’s history with bot accounts — there areas in Twitter’s terms of service that lay out where it is still not allowed — “but now they’ve also started to introduce features to encourage some automation. I think between us and Twitter we’re responding to events happening in the world,” — specifically here, the rise of chatbots — “and looking at how to evolve the position.”

Twitter’s efforts to build more tools for enterprises is a long game for the company, with its first efforts in this area dating back to October 2015.

It’s still not as substantial a part of the business as the company’s efforts in advertising on the platform, but it’s also a very natural fit for the platform. People often turn to Twitter to reach out to businesses when they are unhappy with them or have questions because asking questions in a public forum feels much more immediate than sending emails or phoning random phone numbers.

Conversely, businesses use Twitter a lot to communicate things publicly. So pushing Twitter’s potential in doing more with customer service is a logical next step.

Rankin said that the Sprout Social service was built from the ground up, but with a very basic approach to “bots” that will potentially grow over time. “We are not focused on large AI problems,” he said. “We see utility in the low hanging fruit of getting through some of the basics.” Over time, as systems get smarter, this might change, he added.

Similarly, there are still some questions over what, exactly, the rules of engagement will be for these bots. Right now, we still don’t have a great way of identifying who is talking to you when multiple people are speaking from one account on Twitter, and you have to wonder what kind of response people will have if they know they are speaking with an actual human versus a machine.

“We’re encouraging a handoff to the bot that is transparent,” Rankin said. “The UX still needs to be worked out but the short answer is that there are features to do this, and the design of our product can encourage it.”

This seems to be Twitter’s view, too, the company is making efforts to personalise “accounts” for businesse, with users able to differentiate and distinguish between different individuals responding from that account.

“We don’t want brands to create new accounts for bots,” said Lesser. “We want to build them into the accounts that people are [already] used to seeing.”

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To: zax who wrote (1110)6/23/2017 9:02:05 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 1195
A good piece. Over the past year I had reduced my time on Twitter. Too much noise, The changes have brought me back.

I agree with the commentator that the acquisition of Twitter is inevitable. In this eat of be eaten world, they were unable to achieve shark status.

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From: Glenn Petersen7/2/2017 3:02:23 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1195
While this article focuses on the challenges faced by Tumblr, those challenges are also shared by Twitter.

But the truth is that running a platform for culture creation is, increasingly, a charity operation undertaken by larger companies. Servers are expensive, and advertisers would rather just throw money at Facebook than take a chance on your weird, problematic network. Generating and incubating internet culture has little market value in and of itself.

Tumblr’s Unclear Future Shows That There’s No Money in Internet Culture

By Brian Feldman
New York Magazine
June 28, 2017 4:48 pm

Earlier this month, Verizon completed its acquisition of Yahoo, incorporating the internet-portal pioneer’s slate of brands under a new umbrella corporation named, ominously, Oath. Among those Yahoo brands is the website Tumblr, a blog-based social network that you either know well to the point of obsession, or find completely incomprehensible. As Verizon completed its acquisition, a number of Tumblr employees, as well as those at other Verizon-owned properties, like the Huffington Post, were laid off.

The future of Tumblr is still an open question. The site is enormously popular among the coveted youth crowd — that’s partly why then-CEO Marissa Mayer paid $1 billion for the property in 2013 — but despite a user base near the size of Instagram’s, Tumblr never quite figured out how to make money at the level Facebook has led managers and shareholders to expect. For a long time, its founder and CEO David Karp was publicly against the idea of inserting ads into users’ timelines. (Other experiments in monetization, like premium options, never caught on: It’s tough to generate revenue when your most active user base is too young to have a steady income.) Even once the timeline became open to advertising, it was tough to find clients willing to brave the sometimes-porny waters of the Tumblr Dashboard. Since it joined Yahoo, the site has started displaying low-quality “chum”-style ads in between user posts on the Dashboard. Looked at from a bottom-line perspective, Tumblr is an also-ran like its parent company — a once-hot start-up that has eased into tech-industry irrelevance.

Looked at from another angle, however, Tumblr is among
the most important sites online — a central hub of what is nebulously known as “internet culture.” Most recently, the site gave us Dat Boi, the unicycling frog, but Tumblr’s most famous legacy is probably the reaction GIF, which was popularized by Tumblr accounts like What Should We Call Me. Tumblr’s reblog structure, which created lengthy, publicly shared conversations between strangers, also helped popularize the concept of the Discourse, the internetwide conversation happening all at once. It is also the primary meeting place for fandoms of shows like Doctor Who and Supernatural, and films like the Marvel movies — some of the most aggressive fandoms are cultivated on Tumblr.

It is rare, but not at all unprecedented, for a site to reach Tumblr’s size, prominence, and level of influence and still be unable to build a sustainable business. Twitter steers a huge portion of online culture, and has become an essential water cooler and newswire for journalists, tech workers, and otaku Nazis, but still has trouble turning a profit. Twitter itself shuttered its service Vine after just four years, even though the six-second-video social network had created more ubiquitous catchphrases and viral videos than any other social network over the same period. Reddit, the so-called “front page of the internet,” has been unable to fully capitalize on its enormous audience and influence, even after being purchased by Condé Nast (which it then spun out again; Condé Nast is very careful to specify that it does not own Reddit, though its parent company Advance Publications is a majority stakeholder). 4chan, whatever else you might think of it, is probably the most influential single website of the last decade, but its owner Hiroyuki Nishimura has said he is likely to shut it down. Even YouTube, which is synonymous with online video, still has trouble with profitability. As late as last October, CEO Susan Wojcicki was saying that the site was still in “investment mode” and that there was “no timetable” for profitability.

What makes these sites so friendly to creative expression? To begin with, there’s a focus on frictionless, near-immediate sharing — making posting hassle-free. 4chan doesn’t even require an account, whereas Vine limited its clips to a mere six seconds. It also has to be easy for users to iterate or remix content: The core function of Tumblr is the reblog, which lets users attach their own comments and photos to other posts like Lego blocks.

Importantly, iteration, and a meme’s growth, is much easier to track and understand when platforms use strict chronological timelines, which allow users to see a visible progression of online discourse, rather than trying to piece it together like a puzzle. Algorithmic timelines, like Facebook’s News Feed, are terrible for collaborative online culture. If Twitter has seemed a bit more staid over the last year, it might have something to do with its algorithmic timeline (which you can turn off).

Lastly, there is light content moderation. This can be a blessing and a curse, but allowing users to feel safe posting whatever is what allows these communities to grow, whether it’s via 4chan’s lolcats or Tumblr’s porn GIFs. When heavy-handed moderation is put in place, you not only limit expression, you run the risk of alienating the creators — like when top YouTubers like PewDiePie began to rebel against the platform after advertisers withdrew over content they found objectionable.

Advertisers, ultimately, are part of the problem. The general thinking in the rise of social networks was that if you make stuff that gets a lot of attention (or, better yet, own the real estate on which others are making stuff for free), brands will put their ads next to it. But with a small handful of exceptions, the advertising riches never really materialized. There are many reasons for this — for one thing, it’s tough to sell a high-quality ad experience to executives at Coca-Cola when you first have to explain what a meme is and why it’s “viral.” On top of all that, there are reams of porn, hate speech, copyright infringement, and more porn floating around on these platforms, easily accidentally placed adjacent to a company’s studiously inoffensive ad.

Maybe more importantly, Tumblr and Vine and the like never had data-mining operations as sophisticated as, say, Facebook. That’s why most of the advertising money in the industry has drained toward Facebook, which has 2 billion users, mounds of data, and can better assure advertisers of content cleanliness. Facebook is instructive: It’s less a place for creation or debate than it is for hosting all of the nitty-gritty, more boring data about your life. For much of its life, Facebook aggressively trafficked not in collecting rage comics and funny video clips, but in collecting bland lists of favorite movies and where you went to college — personal information that it can use to target ads with alarming specificity. And by selling ads against people’s identities, rather than their creative content, the company has churned out impressive profits, and given a wider impression that an ad-supported content platform is viable. (One of the great ironies of Twitter’s and Tumblr’s inability to make sustained profits is that Instagram and Facebook are both full of videos and posts screenshotted and stolen from their more productive, less wealthy rival platforms.)

But the truth is that running a platform for culture creation is, increasingly, a charity operation undertaken by larger companies. Servers are expensive, and advertisers would rather just throw money at Facebook than take a chance on your weird, problematic network. Generating and incubating internet culture has little market value in and of itself.

Which means Tumblr has to hope for patience and kindness from Verizon while it seeks a way to make money. It’s not an impossible task (though Verizon’s hope that Yahoo will be the content arm of a major advertising operation is not promising for the company). There are signs that the internet-culture machines are finding ways to make themselves sustainable: YouTube is not shutting down anytime soon, but pre-roll ads weren’t doing the job, and now it has a premium subscription service in order to collect revenue directly from users. The next hubs of internet culture will learn from the mistakes of the past decade, hopefully by doing one of two things: developing a way to collect revenue directly from its audience, like Twitch or Patreon allow now, or by eschewing the notion of a sustainable business at all. It can be easy, in the era of just a handful of megaplatforms, to forget that the internet used to be a much more decentralized place, where things went viral across disparate platforms and websites and forum threads, rather than within a single one.

All of this is running in parallel to a larger internet movement away from public spaces: group messaging, private forums, and chat rooms, ephemerality. The overall stumbles of building centralized hubs of internet culture mean that, going forward, content might soon be consumed not by one large audience on a single platform, but by thousands of smaller audiences across a variety of online spaces.

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