TIME society

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Just Topped $100 Million

More than 3 million people have donated

+ READ ARTICLE

Donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge broke the $100 million mark Friday as people around world continue to dump ice on their heads and donate to the ALS Association to help combat Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“The word gratitude doesn’t do enough to express what we are feeling right now,” ALS President and CEO Barbara Newhouse said in a statement.

The $100 million in donations came from more than 3 million donors who have contributed since the challenge went viral in late July. The ALS Association raised only $2.8 million in the same period last year.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a social media phenomenon, grabbing the attention of millions of Americans including many celebrities and political figures. Some have speculated that it might forever change the way charities approach fundraising.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 27

1. A reimagined NATO – with rapid response capability – could balance the Putin doctrine.

By David Francis in Foreign Policy

2. Hold the bucket: Focusing on a single disease isn’t a good use of philanthropy dollars.

By Felix Salmon in Slate

3. The Navy’s audacious plan for a new warfighting vessel was too good to be true. The result is a ship that meets none of our needs well. Cancel the Littoral Combat Ship.

By William D. Hartung and Jacob Marx at the Center for International Policy

4. The conventional wisdom is that social media stimulates debate, but self-censorship online actually leads to a ‘spiral of silence.’

By Keith Hampton, Lee Rainie, Weixu Lu, Maria Dwyer, Inyoung Shin and Kristen Purcell at the Pew Research Internet Project

5. Better living through design: Injectable, long-acting birth control will revolutionize family planning in the developing world.

By Heather Hansman in Pacific Standard

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME India

Rice, Not Ice: India’s Answer to the Ice Bucket Challenge

The movement's Facebook page describes it as an "Indian version for Indian Needs"

+ READ ARTICLE

How does India do the Ice Bucket Challenge? They don’t. Instead of pouring buckets of ice and water over their heads, people in India have been filling a bucket with rice and giving it to local people in need.

According to the Independent, the Rice Bucket Challenge was started by Manju Latha Kalanidhi, a journalist from Hyderabad, India. The first donation was made Sunday Morning and the movement’s Facebook page has more than 35 thousand likes so far.

As explained on the page, there are four steps to the Rice Bucket Challenge:

1) Pick up a bowl of rice from your kitchen

2) Go to the nearest needy person and give it to them

3) Click a picture and post it on Facebook with the hashtag #RiceBucketChallenge

4) Tag all your friends and ask them to take up the challenge

According to the World Bank, 312 million people in India live below the poverty line.

TIME Internet

59 Free Twitter Tools and Apps to Fit Any Need

Twitter Says 23 Million of Its Users Are Not Actually Bots
A user scrolls through a Twitter feed. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twitter is a fascinating adventure of relationships, entertainment, education, and fun. Now imagine layering on a few dozen powerups.

That’s how it feels sometimes when you find just the right Twitter tool. And there’s a tool for practically every desire or whim.

Tools for productivity, for efficiency, for research, and so much more. With such a generous API, Twitter tools have become legion—and we social sharers are better off for it.

At Buffer, we tend to come across a fair share of social media tools. We’ve collected a great bunch to share with you! Here are all the tools we’ve found helpful and many more that we’re excited to try. If there’s a free Twitter tool out there, you’re likely to find a mention here in our list.

(If we missed any good free Twitter tools, let us know in the comments!)

The big list of 59 free Twitter tools for marketers

Navigate this list fast

Looking for something in particular? Try clicking one of these categories:

Analytics | Chats | Discovery | Follow/Unfollow | Mentions & Monitoring |Scheduling | Timing | Trending Topics | Twitter Clients | Other

Twitter Tools for Analytics

1. My Top Tweet: Your Top 10 list of tweets

Find anyone’s Top 10 tweets, ordered by engagement.

2. Wildfire: Follower growth analysis

Compare your follower growth to your competitors’s follower growth. Simple, helpful, enlightening.

3. SocialBro: Analytics, optimization, and more

A nearly all-in-one platform for all things Twitter. The free plan comes with analytics, best time to tweet, follow/unfollow tools, and community segmentation.

4. Riffle: Data visualizations for any Twitter user

This browser plugin reveals vast insights into any Twitter user you choose. Discover statistics, popular hashtags, most shared links, connected profiles, and much more.

5. Twitonomy: Detailed analytics on users and tweets

A dashboard of analytics for whichever Twitter user you choose (even yours). Analyzes profiles, tweets, engagement, and more.

6. Klout: Twitter scores

Track your influencer score (on a scale of 1-100) and use the Klout dashboard to create and schedule new tweets.

7. SumAll: Email reports for Twitter stats

Sync your Twitter to SumAll, and start seeing daily or weekly emails on how your followers are growing, your mentions, and your engagement.

8. SocialRank: Follower analysis to find your most awesome fans

Receive a sorted list of your best followers, most influential followers, and most engaged followers. Useful to track the important people to engage with on Twitter.

9. Twtrland: A Twitter resume

Plug in your Twitter account to see a snapshot of who you follow, which demographics you fit, who’s in your close network, and more.

10. Bluenod: Community visualization

Type in a user or hashtag and see a detailed map or visualization about the community around the user or the people using the hashtag.

Twitter Tools for Chats

11. Beatstrap: Team liveblogging

Cover live news, sports, and events through Twitter, via hashtags, and collaborate with your team on the coverage. Completed “Beats” come with an embed code.

12. TweetChat: Twitter chat management

Log in to follow a specific hashtag, hang out in a room that collects the hashtagged tweets for you, and reply as you like (with the hashtag added automatically to your tweet).

13. Chat Salad: A calendar of Twitter chats

See upcoming Twitter chats and when they’re scheduled, as well as the hashtags they use (so you can follow along).

14. Twubs: Twitter chat homepages

Register a hashtag for your chat and collect/view the tweets from one location.

15. Nurph: Chat planning and organizing

Nurph channels let you plan and organize your chat, complete with follow-up stats and replays.

16. TwChat: Real-time chat rooms for Twitter chats

Submit your hashtag. Enter your chat room. Have fun!

Twitter Tools for Discovering Fresh Content and Fun Users

17. BuzzSumo: Find influencers, topic-by-topic

Type in a keyword to see which voices get the most shares on Twitter. Find influencers, sniff out headline ideas, and learn what works on Twitter and who’s working it.

18. Nuzzel: Discover what your friends are reading

As described by Twitter’s Joanna Geary, “find out what’s trending among the people the people you follow follow.” Make sense? Translation: Content discovery from friends and friend of friends.

19. Swayy: What your followers are interested in

See the content that your followers recommend plus the topics they most enjoy. View it all via the dashboard or from a daily email digest.

20. Twipho: Searchable Twitter feed of photos

Search by keyword or by location to find photos shared on Twitter.

21. Sonar Solo: Discover keyword-related content

Search any topic to see a visualization of the related topics, trends, and Twitter profiles connected to your search.

22. Topsy: A search engine for social

The most recent and most relevant tweets (and other social updates) based on a keyword search. Also shows keyword volume, sentiment score, and other analytics.

23. Digg Deeper: The best stories from your friends

An algorithmic display of the top articles and links that your Twitter followees have shared. Pair with News.me: a daily email newsletter of what your friends share on Twitter.

24. The Latest: A museum for the day’s best Twitter links

A real-time, constantly updated list of the most interesting links on Twitter, culled from the accounts of interesting people

Twitter Tools for Following & Unfollowing

25. ManageFlitter: Follow/unfollow in bulk

Segment your followers according to a number of factors: last tweet, follower count, location, language and whether or not they follow you back.

26. Tweepi: Tidy up who you follow

Cleanup inactive follows, flush those who don’t follow back, and reciprocate someone else’s follow—all done in bulk and with a few clicks of a checkbox.

27. Unfollowers: In-depth follow/unfollow

Get a complete breakdown of those you follow, and unfollow with ease.

28. DoesFollow: See who follows whom

Does A follow B? Does Bill Gates follow Skrillex? Does Guy Kawasaki follow Jay Baer?

Twitter Tools for Hashtags

29. Hashtagify.me: Complete analytics into any hashtag

Enter a hashtag to discover related tags, recent conversations, usage patterns, and influencers.

30. Rite tag: Hashtag recommender

Plug in a hashtag and see feedback on the tag’s reach and popularity as well as suggestions for some alternatives to try. Complete with pretty colors to see at-a-glance which hashtags are best.

31. Seen: Hashtag-based curation

Collect the media that was shared with a certain hashtag, then rank the results. Share your curation with friends and followers.

Twitter Tools for Mentions & Monitoring

32. Keyhole: LIke Google Alerts for Twitter

Ask Keyhole to notify you whenever a particular keyword, hashtag, or URL is mentioned. Helpful to track mentions of your own name or your company’s blog or campaign.

33. The One Million Tweetmap: Geolocated, real-time tweet monitoring

Track and follow keywords as they’re tweeted in real-time and at real places. Zoom in to a geotargeted area for super fine results.

34. Twilert: Real-time email alerts for keywords

Track keywords on Twitter and receive an email notification every time they’re mentioned. Great for keeping an eye on company names, new products, and branded hashtags.

35. Mention: Monitor your mentions

A listening tool for keeping up with all your mentions on Twitter. Tracks, analyzes, and displays any number of keywords via the Mention dashboard or via email digests.

36. MentionMapp: The web of you and those you mention

Get a visualization map of you and all the people you mention (and they people they mention).

37. Twazzup: Real-time keyword monitoring

Search and track any keyword, username, or hashtag. See a results page full of relevant tweets, user accounts, and influencers.

Twitter Tools for Scheduling Tweets

38. Buffer: Schedule your tweets (plus a whole lot more)

Simple social media management. Fill a queue of tweets, analyze their performance, and find new, hand-picked stories to share.

39. Tweet4me: Scheduled tweets via DM

Send a direct message to the Tweet4me account, use shorthand and prefixes to denote when to share, and let Tweet4me schedule and send the tweet for you.

Twitter Tools for Timing

40. Followerwonk: Search Twitter bios and analyze your followers

Every analysis imaginable for your Twitter feed, your profile, your followers, and your competitors.

41. Tweriod: Find the best times to tweet

Tweriod analyzes the tweets you send and your followers’s tweets to find the optimal time for engagement.

Twitter Tools for Trending Topics

42. Trends24: Detailed breakdowns of trending terms

See trending terms from the last—you guessed it—24 hours, broken out hour-by-hour and country-by-country. Enlightening for social media campaigns and geographic/timing research.

43. Trendsmap: Monitoring for local Twitter trends

A zoomable map that shows popular hashtags and terms from anywhere in the world with easy-click buttons to hone in on My City, My Region, and more.

44. iTrended: Did it trend?

Search the past 15 days to find whether certain keywords trended or not.

Top Twitter Clients

45. Tweetdeck: The king of Twitter clients

Via the app or the web, stay on top of your Twitter stream with Tweetdeck’s organization and tracking tools. Split your stream into segmented columns to stay engaged with what’s important.

46. YoruFukurou – Twitter client

A native Twitter client for Mac OS X. Dashboard views of incoming tweets, lists, and searches, split across multiple tabs. Comes highly recommended from Kottke.org.

47. Happy Friends: Mailbox-type reader

Pick the friends you want to hear from. Never miss their tweets. View all their activity via an inbox-style layout with nested updates.

Miscellaneous Twitter Tools

48. TW Birthday: Dig up the date someone joined Twitter (even if they won’t say)

For those who omit the “date joined” on their profile, there’s still a way to discover it. See how long your new favorite follow has been tweeting or when a new profile officially landed.

49. Bio is Changed: be alerted when someone changes their Twitter bio (good for job moves)

Rather self-descriptive, this tool updates you when someone changes their Twitter bio. Useful if you’d like to track job moves and major news or even to learn from how people craft unique Twitter bios.

50. Like Explorer: See shares per article

Type in a URL. See the share numbers. Simple.

51. Tweet Beat: List management

A powerful tool for managing your Twitter lists—adding, removing, discovering, and sharing.

52. and 53. IFTTT & Zapier: Automate your tweeting

Connect multiple apps in unique ways to your Twitter account. For example, post your Instagram pictures as native Twitter photos.

54. Be Present: Track how fast you respond on Twitter

Real-time reports on your response time, response rate, and performance based on industry benchmarks. Also, really pretty to look at.

55. SavePublishing: Tweetable snippets on any website

Install the bookmarklet, and you can reveal any tweetable sentences (140 characters or fewer) from any article.

56. Tweekly: Once-a-week email of tweets you care about

Tell Tweekly which Twitter account you want to hear from, Tweekly pulls all their tweets and emails you weekly.

57. GroupTweet: Collaborate with teammates on one account

Let your teammates and coworkers share to the same account automatically with zero password-sharing. GroupTweet can even append usernames on to the end of individual tweets.

58. Storify: Beautiful Twitter storytelling

Grab any number of tweets and media elements, and place them all into a Storify collection that you can embed and share anywhere.

59. Tweet Topic Explorer: A word cloud per user

Discover the most-used words of any user you choose (even you).

Additional resources:

What are your go-to Twitter tools?

Which tools are must-haves for you with your Twitter experience?

Which Twitter tools have you already used today?

My mornings always start with a read of News.me (the email version of Digg Deeper) and a dip into Buffer to check some stats. I spend most of my Twitter time replying to others directly from the native web app. In the evenings, I’ll grab some content suggestions from Buffer, Swayy, BuzzSumo, and a couple others and fill the Twitter queue for the next day.

I’d love to hear about your favorite Twitter tools in the comments!

 

This post originally appeared on Buffer

TIME Ukraine

Rice Slams Moscow’s Intervention in Ukraine as ‘Dangerous and Inflammatory’

Susan Rice
National Security Adviser Susan Rice listens to reporters questions during a briefing on March 21, 2014 Manuel Balce Ceneta —AP

The National Security Adviser's condemnation comes ahead of a meeting between Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice has berated Russia for continuing to pump heavy weaponry and military personnel into Ukraine’s eastern provinces, where a pro-Moscow insurgency has been taking place since April.

“Repeated Russian incursions into Ukraine unacceptable. Dangerous and inflammatory,” said Rice on her Twitter account. “Russia has no right to send vehicles or cargo into Ukraine without Govt of Ukraine’s permission,” she said in a separate tweet.

She added that the Kremlin’s incursions into Ukraine represented a “significant escalation” of the crisis.

Rice’s strong words came hours ahead of a scheduled round of talks between Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Belarus on Tuesday. They also followed confirmation from NATO commanders last week that artillery units, manned by Russian troops, were operating both outside and within Ukraine and were bombarding Ukrainian forces.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow have been in a precipitous downward spiral since the ousting of Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych by mass demonstrations earlier this year. That was followed in March by the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula — a move that inspired a pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine the following month.

Under the leadership of Poroshenko, Ukraine has incrementally beaten back the insurgency, despite the aid that the rebels are receiving.

“What we’ve seen in recent weeks is a steady advance by the Ukrainian forces and Russia trying to pull various expedients out of the hat to help their proxies over the border,” John Besemeres, professor and adjunct fellow at Australian National University’s Center for European Studies, tells TIME. “So far, at least, it doesn’t appear that any of these are working.”

On Monday, Kiev claimed to have captured a number of Russian paratroopers inside its borders.

The news came as President Poroshenko dissolved the country’s parliament and called for a new round of elections in October.

“Many deputies who are in the [Parliament] are direct sponsors or accomplices, that is to say allies of the militant separatists,” said Poroshenko, according to the Associated Press.

Approximately 2,249 people have been killed and more than 6,000 injured in Ukraine since hostilities erupted, according to an assessment by the U.N.

Despite the heavy losses, which include more than 700 Ukrainian servicemen, Poroshenko appears to be committed to eradicating the insurgents.

“We will manage to defend the independence, life and security of everyone, our right to live freely on our Ukrainian land at the cost of colossal efforts of the entire nation,” the President told the country during a national address on Aug. 24, the country’s Independence Day.

MONEY

Millennials Love This Old-Fashioned Company

The 2014 Ford Escape.
As millennials get older, they're more interested in SUVs and crossovers, like the 2014 Ford Escape. courtesy of Ford

You might think of Ford as the automaker your grandpa stubbornly stuck with for decades. Millennials think of Ford as something else—the auto brand they're most likely to buy right now.

It’s a common belief that millennials are indifferent to car ownership. They aren’t buying cars anywhere near the percentage rates of previous generations, and fewer young adults even bother to get drivers’ licenses. However, none of these factoids has stopped automakers from trying to win over the business of this huge demographic—which might not be flush with cash now but will surely represent a gigantic chunk of car buyers down the road.

A new study from Maritz Research shows that one automaker has been particularly successful over the past few years in appealing to millennials, and the name may come as a bit of a surprise: It’s Ford, the staid, century-old, all-American company from Michigan. According to Maritz surveys—which have been pumped up in a Ford press release—in 2008, Ford ranked fourth among millennials as the brand they’d most likely consider buying. (Honda and Toyota held the top two spots.) By 2012, however, Ford leapfrogged over the competition to grab the No. 1 ranking.

“The jump was really at the expense of the Asian-based manufacturers,” said Maritz Research vice president Chris Travell, who pointed out that General Motors has also improved in the eyes of would-be millennial car buyers. “The North American manufacturers are making better product than they ever have. You can’t say that they’re not reliable and aren’t good quality anymore.”

Millennials have taken notice. They also aren’t likely to have much memory of the auto world of decades ago, when the perception was that American cars were overpriced and would break down quicker and more often than many imports. “Millennials don’t remember the bad stuff,” said Travell. “They’re coming in as mostly clean slates. Ford is not considered the ‘old Ford’ to this generation.”

The automaker has been catching the eye of younger buyers with its focus on techie features (admittedly, not always successfully), and, most important, a lineup of vehicles and price points that appeal to their needs right now. From 2008 to 2013, more millennials became interested in crossovers and SUVs, and fewer wanted compacts and other small vehicles, which is the strength of Asian car manufacturers like Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota. “The trend of millennials starting families comes at the same time Ford is updating or replacing nearly its entire product lineup,” Amy Marentic, Ford global car and crossover marketing manager, said via press release. “These fastest-growing segments—like small utilities—coincide with Ford’s product strengths.”

Ford has also actively targeted millennials and strategically pursued them as customers now and, ideally, in the future. “One thing we recognized is that millennials don’t want to be just fed information and trust it, necessarily,” said Lisa Schoder, Ford’s global small-car marketing manager, according to Forbes. “So how can we be part of their lives and inform them about our brands and products without overtly advertising to them? That has been our critical differentiator. They need to participate in experiences versus just being spoon-fed something.”

Accordingly, Ford introduced Focus Doug, a “spokespuppet” (a sock puppet, actually) in a series of online videos, and used social media in a variety of other unorthodox, irreverent ways to put vehicles like the Focus, Fiesta, and Escape on the radar of millennials. The Wall Street Journal just reported on Ford’s recent efforts to win over female customers via programs like Live.Drive.Love, which invites women to take Ford cars on 24-hour test drives.

What does reaching out to women have to do with millennials? Well, overall among car buyers, less than 4 in 10 of purchases were made by women in 2013. But among millennials, 53% of buyers are female.

Young women who are starting families or just want more space for mountain bikes and other gear are likely to be intrigued with Ford models like the Escape and Explorer. And those with less need for space, or those with simply smaller budgets will be more likely to go with the subcompact route, via the Fiesta. As Ford crowed last summer, the Fiesta has been a big success in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, and the Ford brand overall increased retail share among millennials by 80% from 2009 to 2013.

MORE:
10 Things Millennials Won’t Spend Money On
Check Out This Revolutionary Car-Buying Advice—Then Disregard It

TIME Family

Why Access to Screens Is Lowering Kids’ Social Skills

Brothers Watching TV
Chris Stein—Getty Images

Kids read emotions better after being deprived of electronic media

People have long suspected that there’s a cost to all this digital data all the time, right at our fingertips. Now there’s a study out of UCLA that might prove those digital skeptics right. In the study, kids who were deprived of screens for five days got much better at reading people’s emotions than kids who continued their normal screen-filled lives.

The California research team’s findings, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior this month tries to analyze the impact digital media has on humans’ ability to communicate face-to-face.

As an experiment, 51 sixth graders from a public school in Southern California were sent to outdoor education camp, spending five whole days completely deprived of TV, phone and Internet. Contrary to the kids’ expectations, they survived just fine and actually had genuine fun.

The first pool of kids was then compared to another group of 54 sixth graders from the same school who had not yet attended the camp, but had spent the previous five days with their normal amount of screen time.

Both sets of students were given photos of people expressing emotions—sadness, anger, joy, anxiety and so on, before the camp and after the camp. Both sets of students were also shown video of people interacting and displaying emotions. The students who had been to camp got much better at discerning how the people in the photos and the videos were feeling after that five day period. They scored much higher at recognizing non-verbal emotional cues (facial expressions, body language, gestures) than they had before the camp, while the scores of the students who had not been deprived of screens did not change at all.

With online training courses being used for almost everything now, this new study may give teachers, parents and administrators pause on such widespread use of digital media in education. “Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education, and not many are looking at the costs,” said Patricia M. Greenfield, a distinguished professor of psychology at UCLA and senior author of the study. “Decreased sensitivity to emotional cues is one of the costs—understanding the emotions of other people. The displacement of in-person social interaction by screen interaction seems to be reducing social skills.”

Lead author Yalda T. Uhls, a senior researcher with the Children’s Digital Media Center, said she hopes that people won’t merely take away the idea that all screens are bad, but that face-to-face time for young people is an important part of the socialization process.

According to a survey given to the study’s participants, the kids spent an average of four-and-a-half hours texting, watching television and playing video games during a single typical school day. According to Uhls, this is on the low end–many children and teenagers spend more than seven-and-a-half-hours a day interacting with a screen of some sort. And when interacting with a screen, they aren’t interacting with a human.

“You can’t learn non-verbal emotional cues from a screen in the way you can learn it from face-to-face communication,” Uhls said.

TIME Internet

The New Science of Pairing College Roommates

499869605
Students Working Together Moving Dormitory on University Campus YinYang—Getty Images

At one school using the new app RoomSync, roommate approval was up 40 percent

This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone.

Eight years ago, when Robert Castellucci worked for a housing complex at the University of Florida, his main job was to pair roommates based on a few simple lifestyle questions. But what had once been a straightforward task – matching smokers with smokers, separating early risers from night owls – was getting difficult thanks to social media. “We’d get 30, 40, 50 calls a day asking for a new roommate based on their Facebook profile,” he says. “They didn’t get the roommates they wanted, and I couldn’t get my job done.”

(MORE: Before Belle Knox: 8 College Sex Scandals That Got ‘Extra’ Curricular)

So in 2009, Castellucci launched RoomSync, a Facebook app where students fill out a finely tuned questionnaire. An algorithm suggests possible dormmates, and students themselves get to decide whose dirty underwear they’ll be stepping over for the next two semesters.

More than 60 schools now use RoomSync, with promising results. At New Mexico State, 50 percent of students used to ask to switch roommates the school chose for them. But among students using the app, that number dropped to 10 percent, according to Julie Weber, director of housing. RoomSync user GPAs were .25 points higher, at 3.05, and their re-enrollment was up 6.6 percent, to 96 percent.

(MORE: Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses)

For decades, universities believed that acclimating to the quirks of a complete stranger was an essential part of college. That’s still the case at schools like NYU and Stanford, where the 1,700 incoming freshmen are hand-paired by two upperclassmen. “Education’s about putting people in uncomfortable situations so they start to learn about themselves,” says NYU housing head Thomas Ellett. “[Programs like RoomSync] are a good customer-service tool, but there’s a big difference between customer service and education.”

(MORE: 50 Things Millennials Know That Gen-Xers Don’t)

But in the past half-decade, universities have moved to more modern systems – by 2012, about 70 percent allowed incoming freshmen to select roommates, according to one informal survey. Besides RoomSync, there are similar programs like Roomsurf and RoommateFit; some schools have proprietary systems, like Oregon State, which lets incoming freshmen use a school-only social network to choose future bunkmates.

But as all are quick to admit, one reason these programs work so well is that students are less likely to complain when they get to pick their own roommate. “That way, they are more invested in who they have selected,” says Weber. “They can’t blame us for it.”

(MORE: In Pics: Millennials’ Most Earth-Shaking Sexual Moments)

 

TIME twitter

Your Twitter Favorite Button Just Got a Lot More Powerful

Social Media Site Twitter Debuts On The New York Stock Exchange
Getty Images

This is why mysterious tweets are showing up in your Twitter timeline

If you’ve noticed tweets from people you don’t follow popping up on your Twitter timeline, you’re not going crazy.

Twitter has updated its help document with information explaining why new tweets, in addition to sponsored tweets and ads, now show up in your timeline, in addition to the regular digest of tweets from Twitter accounts that you follow.

“When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting,” says the updated document.

Importantly, favoriting something is not the sole decider in whether the new tweet shows up on your timeline.

TIME could not immediately confirm with Twitter what, exactly, qualifies a tweet as “popular or relevant,” but it seems to involve how many retweets and favorites something gets–meaning that the once relatively impotent little star next to a tweet has just been given new–if rather ambiguous–life.

TIME Social Media

Is This Woman the World’s Selfie Queen?

Meet the mysterious Thai woman who's posted more than 12,000 photos of herself

Kim Kardashian’s new book, Selfish, reportedly has 1200 selfies. But a woman from Bangkok, Thailand, makes her look like an amateur. Mortao Maotor, as she calls herself on Instagram, has posted more than 12,000 pictures of herself to the internet, often at a clip of more than 200 a week. She has about 20,000 followers, a not particularly high number, but she more than makes up for it in her dedication to her craft. So we’re wondering: could she be the selfie queen?

By way of comparison, Mr. Pimpgoodgame, the self-proclaimed selfie king from Texas, has 10 times as many followers but has posted a paltry 600 self portraits. Jen Selter, who has garnered more than 4,000,000 followers with pictures of her unusually rounded rump, has posted only 457 shots at last count. And then there’s Ms. K., with her millions of followers–but counting her self-portraits would be as absurd as counting sand. The Kardashians play in a their own selfie league.

Mortao, which is not her real name, defies the stereotype of the selfie-taker. She’s 40-ish, not famous and is married to the owner of Room of Art, an antique store/art gallery in Bangkok at which she takes many of her photos. Mortao doesn’t speak English, but through a woman who answered the phone at the Room of Art and said she was Mortao’s husband’s daughter, she declined to comment on why she posts so many selfies, saying it was “quite personal.” Other posts suggest she has older siblings and loves dogs and desserts.

It’s not all that surprising that Thailand, a country which reportedly has more mobile phone subscribers than it has people, might be the home of world’s most dogged selfie taker. During the coup in May, some locals even took selfies with the soldiers enforcing martial law. The country’s Ministry of Health was moved to issue a warning that taking and posting selfies was not helpful to the self-esteeem of young Thais.

Not all of Mortao’s pictures are of her face. She also likes to shoot her legs and her iced drinks or meals (many of her pictures are taken from a Bangkok Starbucks or an After You cafe.) But the overwhelming majority of them are classic selfies. She has fondness for shots taken in apparently the same bathroom mirror, perhaps the one in the Pantip Plaza in Ngam Wong Wan near Bangkok, which is often geolocated in the photos. While her photos often draw risque comments, and some are suggestive, none of her images are pornographic, and she only replies to the clean remarks, with unfailing politeness.

Mortao, whose account was first brought to our attention by the social media analysts at Nitrogram (now called Totems), is an impressive candidate for the biggest Practitioner of Selfie Taking Extraordinarily Regularly (POSTER), but we’d be willing to entertain others.

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