Twitter Makes It Easier for Consumers, Brands to Interact With Direct Messages

Twitter Makes It Easier for Consumers, Brands to Interact With Direct Messages

Micro-blogging website Twitter has launched new feature that is making it easier for businesses to directly receive messages from customers and address their problems.

Twitter in blog post Friday said, “A business can now add a deep link to their Tweets that automatically displays a call to action button, which allows the customer to send the business a Direct Message, quickly and easily.”

It added, “We’ve already started to see brands like Kaiser Permanente and Hyatt start to use this feature in order to create a better experience for their customers. In India, companies like Kotak Mahindra Bank and Reliance Communications will be among the first in Asia to use this feature to create a better experience for their customers.”

Twitter is rolling out another initiative “Customer Feedback”, to be available in the coming weeks, that will enable companies collect opinions from the users on the micro-blogging site after customer service conversations.

In its blog post, Twitter added, “Starting today, all businesses Tweeting around the world can start adding Direct Message deep links to their Tweets. Customer Feedback will begin rolling out to select brands over the next few weeks.”

Twitter is aiming to take itself to a new level amid an existential crisis. Recently, the micro-blogging website brought video support to Direct Messages to bring the service up to speed with competitors like Facebook Messenger. Twitter rolled out this feature globally to iOS and Android smartphones.

Islamic State Finds ‘Diminishing Returns’ on Twitter

Islamic State Finds 'Diminishing Returns' on Twitter: Report

The Islamic State’s English-language reach on Twitter has stalled in recent months amid a stepped-up crackdown against the extremist group’s army of digital proselytizers, who have long relied on the site to recruit and radicalize new adherents, according to a study being released on Thursday.

Suspensions of English-speaking users affiliated with Islamic State from June to October 2015 have limited the group’s growth and in some cases devastated the viral reach of specific users, according to the report from George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, which analyzed a list of accounts promoted by the militant group.

The report found that easily discoverable English accounts sympathetic to Islamic State was usually under 1,000, and that those users’ activity was mostly insular, limited to interacting with each other.Islamic State has seized control of wide swaths of Iraq and Syria and claimed credit for attacks in Paris in November that killed 130. The U.S. and other governments consider it a terrorist organization.

Twitter Inc has long been criticized by government officials for its relatively lax approach to policing content, even as other Silicon Valley companies like Facebook Inc began to more actively police their platforms.

Under intensified pressure from the White House, presidential candidates and some civil society groups, Twitter announced earlier this month it had shut down more than 125,000 terrorism-related accounts since the middle of 2015, most of them linked to the Islamic State group.

In a blog post, the company said that while it only takes down accounts reported by other users it had increased the size of teams monitoring and responding to reports and has decreased its response time “significantly.”

J.M. Berger, a co-author of the report, said Twitter is still less active than many of its rivals but that part of that is due to its relative youth as a company.

“Each company has been dragged into this kicking and screaming,” he said in an interview.

Reporting of Twitter accounts affiliated with Islamic State is a steady, low-level activity generally, but occasionally events lead to “periodic purges,” Berger said.

The study took place prior to the Paris attacks, which the researchers said likely led to a heavy wave of suspensions mostly in French and Arabic networks.

The average tweets per day measured across the lifetime of an account also declined during the monitored interval, from a peak of approximately 14.5 in June to a low of 5.5 by October, the report found. The average number of followers was measured between 300 and 400.

Twitter Launches Gif Image Search for Tweets, Direct Messages

Twitter Launches Gif Image Search for Tweets, Direct Messages

Twitter Inc’s introduction of a search function for moving images commonly used on social media prompted users of the website on Wednesday to tweet their own pictures expressing enthusiasm over the feature.

Twitter said on Wednesday in a blog post that users could search and browse a GIF library when composing a tweet or direct message. A GIF, short for graphic interchange format, is a moving image that plays over and over again. It is often used on social media to express users’ emotions.

“So if you’re looking for the perfect cat yawn or dance move to express exactly how you feel, just click the new GIF button,” the post said.

The phrase “Introducing GIF” was trending on Twitter, with several users tweeting their own image files in reaction.

Advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy (@W2Optimism) tweeted the news with a GIF of the character Snow White clapping her hands.

But some complained that they did not see a GIF button. Tech publicist Drew Olanoff (@drew) tweeted, “where’s my @twitter gif button @jack?!?!?!” The post, accompanied by a GIF of Willy Wonka character Veruca Salt throwing a tantrum, was directed at Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey.

A Twitter spokeswoman said rollout of the GIF search began on Wednesday and would become available to everyone.

Not everyone was enthusiastic about the feature. Arti (@ajpeddakotla), who identifies herself as a product manager at Context Media, a digital healthcare company, tweeted, “Really @twitter? Seems like a low value feature to me …”

Last week, Twitter shares hit an all-time low after the company said user growth had stalled for the first time since it went public in 2013. The company has been experimenting with ways to make the site more engaging.

Shares closed up 6.7 percent at $17.46 on Wednesday.

Twitter Not Reliable Predictor of Election Outcomes

Twitter Not Reliable Predictor of Election Outcomes: Study

In politics, it is said that all press is good press. But that does not necessarily apply to tweets, according to a study released this week.

In fact, it is difficult to predict the outcome of an election based on the amount of Twitter buzz a candidate gets, according to the study from the Social Science Computer Review.

The study, whose relevance to this year’s US election was sharply disputed by Twitter, focused on the 2013 German federal election and found that Twitter data was a more accurate measure of the level of interest in candidates rather than the level of support they will receive.

“Negative events, such as political scandals, as well as positively evaluated events, such as accomplishments, can (both)underlie attention for a party or candidate,” said the study, published on Monday.

Yet scandals and accomplishments affect the level of support for a candidate in completely different ways.

“The analysis does not support the simple ‘more tweets, more votes’ formula,” the study found.

For example, a video clip of a candidate’s campaign gaffe broadcast on the nightly news might lead to a spike in Twitter attention, but likely not result in more overall political support, according to the study.

“The daily volume of Twitter messages referring to candidates or parties fluctuates heavily depending on the events of the day – such as televised leaders’ debates, high-profile interviews with candidates – or the coverage of political controversies and scandals,” the study said.

The data also showed that Twitter users did not necessarily reflect the demographics of the population as a whole. In the United States, social media platforms like Twitter and Yik Yak are often more popular among millennial voters.

A Twitter spokesman argued the study was not relevant to the 2016 US presidential election.

“I’d advise passing the next time someone sends along German Twitter data from three years ago in the context of the 2016 US election,” said Nick Pacilio, a spokesman for the social media site’s government and news department.

Pacilio cited a Time magazine website report that showed Twitter chatter favored the winning candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, in the Iowa caucuses this month.

Republican and Democratic contenders are vying for their parties’ nominations for the Nov. 8 election to succeed President Barack Obama.