This Thanksgiving weekend I want to give my thanks to all of you for your support! I write about the tech news that interests me, and it makes me glad that there are folks who read what I write. Thank you!
Even though this was a holiday week in the US, there were updates for YouTube, Google Meet, Search Central and more. Plus there are tips and notes on Twitter alternatives Hive, Posts and the Fediverse.
Get your content and business ready for the holidays
AdSense has a holiday checklist for your website
Instagram Announces New Live Events Series to Assist Marketers with their Holiday Campaigns
New ways to find holiday deals on Google: new labels for coupons and promotions, deal comparisons, price insights
New Google AR shopping features for beauty products and sneakers
Pinterest TV is now available in Canada, in addition to the US, “with a focus on shopping inspiration for the holidays”
Apply for the YouTube Partner Program on Mobile
If you are a video creator who usually uses their phone or tablet, the YouTube Studio mobile app has been getting a lot of new features to make it easier to manage your channel and content.
One of the latest is the ability to easily check the progress of your channel towards eligibility for the YouTube Partner Program.
Here’s how to check (or read the text tutorial):
When your channel is eligible, you can apply for the YouTube Partner Program right from the app.
New Social Blogging Platforms Gaining Traction
With the ongoing turmoil at Twitter, alternative platforms have been gaining many new users.
But a lack of transparency, questions about terms of service, and worries that they aren’t ready for the onslaught of new people have generated some concerns.
Hive Social aims for fun, with profile music (if you have an Apple music account), color themes, and a chronological feed with “no shadow banning or higher priority account shown”. It allows NSFW and “mature” content behind a warning. But it is mobile only, at least at the moment.
It was founded in 2019 by two college students, and as of last week only had 3 employees. A major concern is that there are no content moderators, and it sounds like they are not able to even filter content like child exploitation. And there are concerns that security may not have been built into their design.
Also concerning was that their server went over capacity and allowed multiple people to register accounts with the exact same username/handle. It’s not clear how they will sort that out.
The platform seems to be particularly attractive to younger users, and might have sticking power if they can hire a team to sort things out.
On the more serious side, new platform Post News bills itself as “a Social Platform for Real People, Real News, and Civil Conversations”. In addition to being able to write posts “of any length” and monetize your content with their tip jar feature, you can also buy articles from “premium news providers.” You can comment, like, and share, and have “meaningful discussions with friends, strangers, experts, and leaders”.
Post’s creator is Noam Bardin, former CEO of Google’s Waze. Some folks have raised concerns about its use of the OpenWeb comment platform, moderation policies, and content policies.
And best I can tell, the content is not public (at least I can’t see any of the profiles people have shared on Twitter).
There is currently a waiting list for Post. It only has a few thousand users, and most “premium news providers” have not set up profiles, so it’s not clear whether “meaningful discussions” will emerge.
If you sign up using my referral code that will reduce my wait (and you will get your own referral code to share. I don’t imagine using it for serious blogging, but I am interested in whether it will turn out to be a good place to read and discuss the news.
Mastodon leads the way in what’s being called the Fediverse, with many servers that federate with each other so that you can follow people who use a different Mastodon server than you.
But beyond that, it can federate with any other site that uses the ActivityPub protocol.
Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg says that Tumblr will be getting ActivityPub integration “ASAP”. Automattic is also actively recruiting former Twitter employees for WordPress and Tumblr, which hopefully means they have enough experienced staff to truly roll out changes fairly quickly.
And SmugMug CEO Don McAskill has been considering whether to add ActivityPub to Flickr.
And there existing federated platforms like PeerTube for videos.
With ActivityPub you could, for example, follow someone’s Tumblr or Flickr Feed from your Mastodon account. While social sites like Instagram or Twitter that want people to view content on their own platform aren’t likely to join this trend, this may be an opportunity for smaller platforms to gain new users and creators to get more followers.
This feels like the future to me.
What about MeWe?
When Google+ was in the process of shutting down, MeWe actively promoted themselves as an alternative. They went so far as making it possible to import your Google+ posts.
But this time around, when Twitter users are looking for an alternative, they have been notably quiet.
I signed into my account to see what’s new. Apparently it has been a haven for communities of anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and the far right, among the groups on photography, music and other interests. There are new features, like a “Discover” option for finding content. The latest development is a new “decentralized” “web3” version of MeWe using the Polkadot decentralized blockchain (pdf FAQ) that is scheduled to launch in 2023.
They clearly aren’t looking for a big influx of twitterers, and the non-public nature of posting there might not be attractive to most Twitter users anyway.
Or maybe this 🤔?
Everyone should start blogging again. Own your own site. Visit all your friends' sites. Bring back the artisan, hand-crafted Web. Sure, it's a little more work, but it's worth it. You don't even need to stop using social media! It's a "yes, and" situation, not a "no, but" one. https://t.co/BzHYh59F36
— John Scalzi (@scalzi)
Nov 24, 2022
So what's happening on Twitter?
Things are still not great on Twitter.
Some of Twitter’s “worst and most toxic people” are having their accounts reinstated after bans for harassment, violent threats and spreading misinformation. A recent study showed that hiding toxic content significantly reduces ad and content consumption, so maybe these changes are meant to increase activity on Twitter (even while making it a less pleasant place).
And some engineers who agreed to be “hardcore” rather than leave with 3 months severance were fired the night before Thanksgiving. It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to work in that environment.
One constructive update is new advertising formats with “Website Conversions Optimization”, which is great if Twitter can sell the ad space.
YouTube and Video
If you are a World Cup fan, you can use YouTube Shorts to let your viewers buy merch. Make a Short using the official FIFA World Cup Challenge song that” shows your transition into your matchday fit and your country love” with the hashtag #FIFAWorldCupChallenge. Viewers will be able to buy the 2022 World Cup T-Shirt directly from your Short.
YouTube is testing image editing and stickers on Community posts. This will only be available to creators in the test group using iOS devices. They are also testing Quizzes for posts.
YouTube released their latest transparency report, with data about channel, video, and comment removals. Most channels were removed for “Spam, misleading and scams”. For individual videos the most common reason for removal was child safety, followed by violence and nudity/sexual content.
YouTube homepage product lead Todd B explains that channel subscribers who opt in to a channel’s notifications usually have those notifications turned off on their mobile device. And almost no one views videos from their subscription feed.
Former YouTube Creator Liaison Matt Koval asks whether being a part time YouTuber might be what’s best for you.
Facebook presented their semi-annual transparency report covering government requests for data, content removals, and intellectual property issues.
In appalling news, US tax preparation websites have been sending private user information to Facebook.Ridiculously, there isn’t any other easy way to e-file tax returns.
LinkedIn is rolling out automatic captions on videos, an updated emoji picker, and, according to Matt Navarra “Any creator with a LinkedIn newsletter will have their newsletter appear prominently in search results under their name”.
Pinterest is now available in Afrikaans, Croatia and Bulgarian.
Reddit is updating their media player to create an improved consistent way to navigate videos, images and GIFs. They also plan to make it easier to comment and read comments while you’re watching a video.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri reminds everyone that you can mute people that are annoying you.
Aaron Baar at Social Media Today argues social media is getting to be less “social” and more “media”.
Google Search Central has a new guide to Google’s search ranking systes. You can find it here.
WordPress 6.1 “Misha” was released, with accessibility, performance and site building improvements. Plus it comes with the new default Twenty Twenty-Three theme.
If you are presenting or joining a Google Meet meeting from a Google Docs, Sheets or Slides file, you can now easily share that file in the in-meeting cha. You will be prompted to give meeting attendees permission to view, comment on, or edit the file.
There is now improved search in Gmail on the web, based on your recent search activity.
The emoji is having a moment, Reyhan Harmanci at the New York Times reports.
Tumblr users are creating fan art and discussing Goncharov, the greatest Martin Scorsese movie that never existed.
Header image background: Turkey feather by Josch13 on Pixabay