February 11, 2016 Digital Trend Update

News of Note

Twitter is at it again, continuing to roll out innovations to help find its niche. According to The Verge, Twitter will allegedly revise its algorithm leading to a new timeline format. The algorithm will re-order timelines by ranking tweets via the “while you were away feature” that Twitter introduced last year. Tweets will no longer be listed in chronological order but will show key highlights from the channel while you were signed off. Then, when users refresh the stream, the channel will revert back to the chronological timeline.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter released its fourth quarter earnings, which showcased a shocking lack of follower growth. Investors have been pressuring the company to be more like Facebook – which has grown to more than 1.5 billion users. This pressure is likely the cause of the new algorithm, which mimics the format of Facebook’s timeline. According to The Skimm, “the service is still not intuitive to use, and it comes with quirks that newcomers find difficult to grasp.” According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter has needed to cut jobs and add new executives in order to have “the opportunity to fix the broken windows and confusing aspects of our product.”

Instagram announced that consumers will be able to switch between multiple accounts beginning this week. Once the accounts are added, the consumer will see their profile photo appear throughout the app so it’s clear which account is being utilized. The upgrade is available as part of Instagram version 7.15 for iOS and Android users.
Google is developing a new virtual-reality headset for smartphones. The headset will be a successor to Cardboard, the technology that gained popularity in 2014 for its “cheap-and-cheerful VR viewer.” According to Financial Times, the VR headset will “feature better sensors, lenses and a more solid plastic casing.” The technology is expected to move into beta testing for Androids later this year.

Podcasts to tune into…

TED published a talk called, “How we’ll fight the next deadly virus,” alluding to the recent prevalence of the Zika virus. The talk is hosted by Pardis Sabeti, a scientist who released pertinent information about Ebola when it broke out in March 2014, and aims to raise awareness and prepare society to “join in the urgent fight.”

Just for fun…

Red Lobster received heavy criticism across social for its inability to respond in real-time after Beyoncé mentioned the chain in her latest song. Hundreds of users expressed their frustration that Red Lobster had not responded and when they finally did, the Twitterverse was unimpressed. This news acts as a reminder that consumers aren’t simply expecting a response from pop culture brands, but have higher expectations than ever and appetite for smart real-time responses and a digital strategy that entertains and excites. We recommend keeping this example top of mind for future live-tweeting events.