I could start this by stating that Twitter is an incredible micro-blogging site that has revolutionized social networks and connected the world in a global conversation like never before – but I’d be stating the obvious. The truth is, Twitter is one weird place. Sure, it’s just one of the more popular corners of the Internet to hang out, but, not doubt, it inspires some odd behavior. Round up all the humans with internet access, give them 140 characters to state their opinions and the ability to read and respond to almost anybody else’s opinion, and we’ve got ourselves a straight up verbal rampage on our hands. Should be fun.
Let’s look back on the most popular Twitter trends of 2013. There are the more well known entities that you couldn’t escape if you tried such as Horse ebooks or Doge. (So done, much annoying.) And then there are the obscure such as Twitter canoes or subtweeting (The overuse of mentions and the blatant disregard of them so people don’t know they’re being talked about.). Some of these may not have reached you in your corner of the Twitter-verse because – let’s face it – Twitter is huge and some conversations don’t quite circulate far enough. One thing’s for sure: there’s no end to these trends. As long as Twitter lives, grows, and changes, so will its users and the rhetoric they use. Check out NYMag’s 2013 Twitter Glossary for more trends.
Last Thursday, Facebook revealed its latest achievement, Hack, a new programming language. When Facebook was created ten years ago, it was coded entirely in PHP. However, as Facebook became bigger, the language became harder to manage and developers were more susceptible to making mistakes. The manager of Facebook’s Hack team, Bryan O’Sullivan, helped eliminate those errors by creating Hack. The website has moved almost all of its code over to Hack in the last year. The company released an open-source version of the language for the public last week.
As an open-source programming language, Hack was designed to allow developers to write bug-free code fast. By keeping some elements of PHP and combining the structure of other programming languages, Hack was born. In order to debug code more efficiently, instead of checking while the program is running, which is what PHP does, Hack will check for errors ahead of time, which is called static typing. The language itself is most similar to PHP; O’Sullivan encourages programmers that want to use Hack to only convert the parts of their code that are the most important, as it is not necessary to redo everything. This blending of both static and dynamic typing forms a method called “gradual typing” which has been shown to provide swift feedback and incredible accuracy.
Chris Messina, a former Google designer, first proposed the hashtag idea on Twitter back in 2007. However, he wanted to use the ‘#’ symbol as a way to create “groups”. Here’s his first tweet proposing the idea:
Much to his chagrin, Twitter rejected his idea then but took it up years later as a news feed sorting technique. Had Messina patented the hashtag idea back then, he could have earned quite a sum of money. However, he had two pretty good reasons for letting the hashtag become public property. “Claiming a government-granted monopoly on the use of hashtags would have likely inhibited their adoption, which was the antithesis of what I was hoping for, which was broad-based adoption and support – across networks and mediums,” Messina explained. “I had no interest in making money (directly) off hashtags. They are born of the Internet, and should be owned by no one. The value and satisfaction I derive from seeing my funny little hack used as widely as it is today is valuable enough for me to relieved that I had the foresight not to try to lock down this stupidly simple but effective idea.”
To learn more about Messina and the birth of the hashtag, check out Business Insider’s article here.
As the age of technology grows older, more of us face the question: what do we do with a person’s social media accounts when they’ve passed away? Many families and friends choose to continue to post pictures and memories on the person’s wall in order to help keep their memory alive. However, Facebook has made it possible for people to request to memorialize an account so it is impossible to login. As a form of closure, the person’s Facebook wall becomes a sort of memorial, collecting all the thoughts of friends and family. Although it’s a bit morbid and slightly haunting, DeadSocial allows one to create a message or a series of messages through various social media sites that will only become published after they’ve passed away. The site states that its purpose is to allow people “to say goodbye in their own time and their own unique way.” Although this may be jarring in the wake of mourning, it’s also quite startling when a dead friend or family member starts liking pages on Facebook. However, this is just a sad reminder of how little control we have over our social network data. Companies will continue to use our information to make money even after we die. To learn more about social media in the Afterlife, check out Readwrite’s article here.
The allure of my headline is the fact that it declares there are things every blog post needs and the fact that you don’t know them motivates you to read further. To survive and thrive in the blogosphere, bloggers must hone their skills and commit to their craft. Their voice needs to be persuasive, their language seductive. Blog posts need to provide something for the reader – a laugh, a tip, a piece of anecdotal advice. If they’re not beneficial, they won’t be read.
Every post needs to leave their readers wanting more, obsessively checking for the next entry. And don’t underestimate the power in the simplicity of a bulleted list. The easier it is for readers to digest, the more likely it will be consumed. Check out the incredibly cool infographic in its entirety by Copyblogger here.
Social media buttons are an appealing concept when sharing your work is crucial to success. But do they actually work? According to Sam Solomon, web developer and entrepreneur: no, not really.
Anecdotal evidence shows that share buttons don’t actually garner very many shares. Scrolling to the end of an article only to find a string of logos with zeros (zero shares on twitter, zero shares on facebook, zero shares on Google+) is just going to reinforce that the article isn’t worth sharing. Even worse, the share buttons often bring up annoying pop-ups, which is a quick way to drive any user away… even if they DID like the content.
The solution is simple, but as usual, easier said than done. If you write something especially interesting to your audience, they will put in the effort to write a tweet, status, or blog post about it. Rely on the strength of your content.
Contrary to popular belief, people are actually reading more now than they ever have before. However, we’re not all cracking open Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte. The majority of information we absorb is through reading in the media. Even social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr require us to read, albeit in a very different way. Our reading comprehension is not actually suffering as it has been strained of late. With too much stimuli bombarding us at every moment, our attention spans have become shorter and shorter, limiting our ability to comprehend and absorb what we read. We need to reconsider our relationship with reading and what it means to us.
Nowadays, we are more interested on having an opinion on a topic rather than thoughtfully and critically thinking about it before commenting. While a lot of us gravitate towards sources that validate our own opinions, we should be seeking out opposing voices. This will slow down one’s reading consumption and help create a more well-rounded reading base. If reading, in whatever form that comes to you, causes you anxiety and you feel like it’s more of a chore that you have to keep up with, then you need to reevaluate how and what you read. To learn more about boosting your reading comprehension and being a smarter, more conscientious reader, check out Lifehacker’s article.
The poor period, once the innocuous mark at the end of every sentence, has taken on new meaning. Anyone who texts or chats online regularly will recognize it instantly; it’s just one more nuance in the long line of linguistic adjustments we make to infuse emotion into our textual communications. The period, especially when paired with succinct sentences, can turn a regular note into a brusque, conversation ending dead end. Of course, outside of the realm of text conversations, the period retains its’ unmistakably crucial normal role. Line breaks just can’t do it all. To see examples and read another perspective on the idea, check out the original article over at newrepublic.com.