Twitter, Snapchat, robots, and why New Years resolutions don’t work

This is a version of my new weekly newsletter which, if you’re interested, you can sign up to here.

Twitter might be considering extending the 140-character limit to 10,000, but users are lobbying for an edit button.

After Tuesday’s tweet-novella from Jack Dorsey, many Twitter-fans argued that size isn’t everything and called for a way to edit tweets with inaccurate information or embarrassing misspellings. Of course, while an edit button would be kind of handy, it potentially opens up all sorts of ethical time-bombs. FWIW, the same issue was raised when Facebook gave users the ability to edit posts back in 2013.

If Twitter is dead to you now, and it just might be, how about Snapchat?

The Wall Street Journal just became the first American newspaper to get onto Snapchat Discover. Carla Zanoni, WSJ’s global head of audience development, told Re/code:

“The [Snapchat users] who are really aspirational and entrepreneurial are our next CEOs. They’re the folks who will have a very long-lasting relationship with the Journal, and we’re looking to meet them where they live today.”

Not bad for an app built on sexting.

Are the robots taking over?

Possibly. A new Tow Centre report on automated journalism — as seen at outlets including Associated Press, the New York Times and ProPublica — noted that while algorithms aren’t going to craft particularly beautiful sentences, they at least “do not get tired or distracted” like pesky humans do.

Meanwhile, bots are going to “eat the web” according to Casey Newton at The Verge, who predicts that in the future many websites will provide information via messaging apps fed by bots.

And if you need further evidence that robots could one day supersede the human race, a traffic camera in Quebec is a worthy contender for this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award after capturing this glorious image of a snowy owl in flight.

App of the week

Adobe Post — a free iOS app for creating social media graphics on the fly. Tweak one of the many pre-prepared designs or whip up your own, add text, filters and custom colours, then share your masterpiece by text, email, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, and sit back and await applause. If you’re disappointed Canva doesn’t have a mobile equivalent, this is for you.

Stuff I wrote this week

Well, nothing this week. First week back at work yo! But here’s a couple from last week instead.

I quit my job, went freelance, and moved to America. Here’s what I’ve learned.
For anyone wondering how things are going since I left Journalism.co.uk and upped sticks to America, here you go.

10 stories that got under my skin in 2015
Featuring a lot of longreads. Make time for them.

I also gave a talk to journalism students at the University of Oregon via Skype on how to produce a podcast, which I’ll write something on for next week, and I’ve been updating the conference list on my new website. Let me know if you have any events to add.

Listening to:

Rum Sodomy & The Lash while finishing off the festive booze and eating my bodyweight in cheese. Because — as we all know, deep inside — New Years Resolutions don’t really work. And besides, a Pogue is for life, not just for Christmas.

If you want more like this, you can sign-up for my weekly newsletter here: