Twitter is switching off Legacy Twitter (meaning some browser add-ons will likely stop working)

The current version of Twitter was launched in Summer 2019 (it was rolled out to me on 22 July) and involved a change in appearance and functionality. Lots of long-term users disliked it and not just because we’re grumpy about change but because it made the site less usable and less appealing.

Browser add-ons like GoodTwitter and other tweaks solved the problem for several months by making your browser pretend to be an older version which couldn’t support New Twitter thereby forcing Twitter to display its legacy version. Alas this stopped working as well in mid-April 2020 and yesterday (8 May 2020) Twitter showed this notice to people using “Old” Twitter.

This is the legacy version of twitter dot com Screenshot 2020-05-08 20.25.22

It says “This is the legacy version of twitter.com. We will be shutting it down on June 1, 2020. Please switch to a supported browser, or disable the extension which masks your browser. You can see a list of supported browsers in our Help Center.

So after 1 June it looks like we’re all going to be stuck with the terrible new version of Twitter (reasons why I dislike it below). Boo. Hiss.

If I hear of ways to disable it I’ll update the post and delete the picture below.

If you can see this image it means I’ve not found out how to disable Twitter’s new ‘fix’ which forces everyone onto the awful New Twitter layout.
It says “If you can see this image it means I’ve not found out how to disable Twitter’s new ‘fix’ which forces everyone onto the awful New Twitter layout.

Meanwhile, here are some reasons why I don’t like #NewTwitter

Differences between New and Legacy Twitter
1. Top Tweets first
#NewTwitter defaults to showing you the top tweets so if you want to see the Latest ones you need to keep an eye on what it says at the top of the Home page. If your Twitter says “Home” and you want to see “Latest Tweets” click on the little star icon to the right to adjust.

Home and Top Tweets

Depending on which one you’ve currently got you’ll see either of the following and you can click to revert.

Home versus Latest Tweets

Note that in the one on the left (above) it tells you that Twitter will keep returning you to ‘Top Tweets’ (“You’ll be switched back Home…”) whether you like it or not. You can see why many users find this to be irritatingly presumptuous. I never want to see the top Tweets first and always want to see them in reverse chronological order.

2. The feed auto refreshes meaning stuff jumps around more
I follow a lot of people on Twitter though I suspect I may have to unfollow a few after 1 June to make Twitter usable because my home timeline is now more like a firehouse of rapidly updating tweets.

On old Twitter if you’ve been away or haven’t refreshed the page for a while then the tweets that have been sent in the interim appear in a bunch at the top – you click it and they are displayed. In the example pics below I’ve had 1 new notification and 6 new Tweets appeared on my home timeline.

A Twitter notification to tell me I've had one new notification

A Twitter notification to tell me there are six new tweets to see on my home timeline

I prefer this system because it means I can pause Twitter and do something else but my place is retained when I return. Not so with this new system.

Still to test: what happens when a tweet is sent and deleted.
On old Twitter if you’ve not refreshed the page you can scroll through the timeline and would still see tweets that may have been sent then deleted, so can take a screenshot. I’m not sure if the tweet will be wiped out with this new system (I once captured a forensically useful reply that someone sent to me (relating to a Trading Standards case I was involved in) which they promptly deleted after thinking better of it but was by then too late).

3. Twitter shows likes and unrelated replies
This is possibly less about the new layout and more about the functionality. It seems that Twitter wants to show you more tweets in your timeline. I’ve guessed that this may be because they tend to show a promoted / advert tweet around once every 10 tweets so the more tweets in your timeline the more adverts can appear.

I never saw these “X replied to Y” or “A liked B’s tweet” until April 2020 so I’m not sure if this is a consequence of the Good Twitter add-on failing, or a failure of the other options that I’d implemented (see number 4 in the list here).

3a. Likes
When someone retweets a Tweet they intend for it to appear in their followers’ timeline. When they like a tweet they might not particularly want to do that. Showing someone’s likes in the timeline treats that like as it if had been a retweet, and confuses the sharing intention between likes (no) and RTs (yes), and also inflates the timeline with more tweets. Liking a tweet has always been a semi-public act in that you can visit anyone’s likes page to see all the tweets they’ve liked (eg mine) so this is particularly pointless.

There seems to be no option to switch it off (eg “never show me anyone’s likes in my timeline”) and the only way to solve it seems to be to repeatedly give negative feedback (“I don’t like this” / “Not relevant”) or block the person whose tweet was liked (you’ll never see anyone else like one of their tweets!) which is a ridiculous state of affairs. You have to keep doing this every time it happens until it stops (for how long I don’t know).

Of course some people will enjoy seeing what the people they follow are interacting with but it puts me off liking tweets (knowing that it may find its way into someone’s timeline).

3b. Replies
I’ve started blocking people that I don’t follow whose tweets began appearing in my timeline with a reply from someone that I do follow. If I want to see someone’s conversations I can click on the Tweets & Replies option on their profile. In general I don’t really care if they’re having a conversation with someone that I don’t know, unless they (or someone else) chooses to RT it into my timeline. Doing that is someone’s active choice (“hey please look at this”) and is fine but having random conversations presented to me algorithmically is irritating.

Back in about 2011 / 2012 Twitter brought in an option to see (or not see) conversations between two or more people that you followed. Having the choice was nice but then they removed that option and now every time anyone replies to anyone (and you follow both) you may see the conversation pop up. Having to contend with conversations among people you don’t follow seems an irritation too far.

The lack of option to switch it off means that people who are very chatty in replies but less so in broadcast are likely to be annoying lots of people generally if there’s a high number of shared followers. The mute option is available but it seems a shame that you can’t tell Twitter you only want to see their broadcast tweets and not their chit-chat. Muting people you follow means you’ll only see tweets from them if they mention you. It’s not a great system for chatty people (eg me!).

4. Everything takes up more space
Tweets with images in seem larger, but inconsistently so. More investigation needed.

Further reading
Lawrence Abrams “Twitter warns of legacy site theme shutting down on June 1” (8 May 2020) Bleeping Computer

u/frogspa “Legacy” twitter shutting down on 1st June (8 May 2020) Reddit

 

u/Skeleton_Warrior Has To Be Possible To Keep Legacy Twitter Post-June 1st (8 May 2020) Reddit

Here are the search results for the phrase “This is the legacy version of twitter.com.” – you can see that people haven’t greeted the news with much enthusiasm!

This is the search results link copied from Legacy Twitter:
https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&q=%22This%20is%20the%20legacy%20version%20of%20twitter.com.%22&src=typd

and from ‘New Twitter’:
https://twitter.com/search?q=%22this%20is%20the%20legacy%20version%20of%20twitter.com%22&src=typed_query&f=live

It doesn’t seem to be possible to send Tweets-with-images to Instagram (easy in reverse)? Can it be done?

Is it possible to post a Tweet and have it appear automatically on Instagram and have the tweeted image show up in Instagram too?1 If so, how?

A friend wanted to know if it’s possible / straightforward to post a Tweet (that contains an image) and have it appear on Instagram (with image showing). I spent some time trying to set it up for her and not succeeding. After reasonably extensive searching on Google, forums, Quora, IFTTT (for a ready-made recipe) and looking at blog posts highlighting potential workarounds etc we drew a blank and it seems that it’s not a straightforward thing. We’re not technical enough to faff about with Twitter’s API. We also assume we can’t be the first people to have tried this.

Instagram to Twitter
It is easy to do the reverse (Instagram to Twitter) but you need a third party intermediate, like IFTTT (If This Then That), for an image to show up in the tweet itself because Twitter doesn’t naturally show Instagram pictures as pictures2 just as links.

A tweeted picture of beautiful pink tulips posted via Instagram linked to Twitter via IFTTT

Above: this is a screenshot of the tweet linked below (in case it renders incorrectly on any given browser). It shows a picture appearing in the tweet and a link to view the pic on Instagram.

I’d assumed it would be straightforward to reverse the IFTTT ‘recipe’ so that a posted tweet could be reposted at Instagram (but only where a particular hashtag was used, to prevent all my friend’s tweets appearing as Instaposts!).

The reason she wanted to do it from Instagram to Twitter is in part because she prefers to use a laptop and you cant upload an image to Instagram from a laptop (also it’s easier to type the accompanying text with a keyboard). Also Insta to Twitter via IFTTT truncates part of the message if too long.

I use IFTTT as the intermediary between Twitter and Instagram so that every photo I post to Instagram is automatically tweeted out and, importantly, shows up as an image and not just as a link. Without using IFTTT you can connect Twitter to Instagram (eg directly from your phone’s settings) and the same will happen, but no photo will appear.

Footnotes

1 I think this wouldn’t be possible if the tweet contained a link because links in Twitter only show up as an image if the Twitter Card has been set up (you can check any link with Twitter’s Card Validator). Instagram is a different platform and doesn’t support Twitter cards anyway (see [2]).

2 “Last week [written in 2012], Facebook-owned Instagram decided to turn off support for Twitter Card functionality for its photos. Basically, you would no longer see the full images; rather, you’d see a cropped version.” TechCrunch). Without a third party app you just see a link to view the post on Instagram, with the app you see a picture in the tweet.

How to create a Twitter Moment from yours or others’ tweets – it’s a bit like Storify

atl;dr – gathering a bunch of Tweets onto a single page for ease of reading and sharing, via a web browser (don’t think you can do this on a phone).

Note, the instructions below are for using “#NewTwitter” (which has been around for some time now). If you are using the Good Twitter browser add-on to make your Twitter look the same as it did before they rolled out the new look then you can use Twitter’s instructions (which are now slightly out of date) and you will stil be able to create a new Moment from the down arrow to the right of any tweet, which New Twitter doesn’t enable.

  1. Open the moments editing window
  2. Create a new moment
  3. Add in content
    This is where you can also create a private moment that’s visible only to people who have the link.
  4. Using search to find tweets
    1. 4a. Using search to find older tweets
    2. 4b. Finding tweets that quote tweet another tweet (ie not replies)
  5. Adding tweets
    1. 5a. Adding a tweet to your moment
    2. 5b. Adding a tweet via its link
  6. Ordering the tweets in your moment
  7. Adding images to your moment
  8. Publish or save your moment for later
  9. Edit your moment after publishing
  10. Delete your moment
  11. Finding a tweet’s link / URL

Background
We don’t have Storify anymore, there are alternatives but nothing works as well as Storify did. Twitter’s own version is… adequate (and you can only collect tweets whereas Storify let you add in anything that could be embedded).

Isn’t it just the same as a thread?
Yes-ish, but it’s all on one page and you don’t have to click to view other tweets that Twitter’s randomly hidden.

What will you collect?
Just tweets. You might use this to collect together some of your own tweets, other people’s tweets that you’ve favourited or a bunch of tweets on a topic. You can also add the tweet by its link / URL (that’s very helpful) so if it’s an older tweet you can search for it first using Twitter’s  advanced search and copy the link / URL into your Moment. (See detailed bit on [Finding a tweet’s link / URL] below).

So in the absence of Storify re-appearing, here’s how to use Moments.

Instructions
1. Open the Moments editing window
Open the Moments editing window by clicking on the blue circle with 3 dots below your avatar, then click on Moments in the menu that pops up. You can also access it by changing my name to yours in this link https://twitter.com/JoBrodie/moments

Open the Moment editing window

If you’re using the Good Twitter add-on you’ll still have a Moments tab so you can access it that way.

2. Create a new moment
You’ll see your Moments page (mine shows two Moments I’ve previously created) and the ‘create new moment’ icon is highlighted with a yellow arrow.

The Moments landing page

3. Add in content
At the top of the new page the blue bar lets you sort tweets by oldest or newest first, and lets you save [Finish later] or [Publish]. You can re-find your partially completed Moment by following Instruction #1 above. The [••• More] option on the left lets you mark if your Moment will contain sensitive material and you can also choose to share your location with Twitter (or not) though your location is not published. You can also create a private moment with the ‘Make Moment link only’ which you can then share with people privately and it won’t be published on your profile or show up to people who don’t have the link.

Starting your Moment on Twitter

Give your moment a title and description. Once you’ve added a few tweets you’ll be able to select one that has a photo to do the [Set cover] option in the middle, or you can upload an image (here are some free ones from Pixabay).

The Add Tweets to your Moment panel at the bottom has four options:

  1. Tweets you’ve liked (your favorites) – this is the default option so you’ll just see your favourites and can click on the tick symbol next to any you want to add
  2. Tweets from a particular account (could be your own) – start typing the name of an account and when it appears in the autosuggest pop-up click on it
  3. Tweets that you find via search – you can use operators like from:username or to:username to narrow things down. You could also create a search string in advanced search and copy it into the search box.
  4. Tweets where you know its link / URL – you could also use Twitter’s  advanced search and copy the tweet’s link into the Moment (see [Finding a tweet’s link / URL] below). Once you have the link just paste it in to the box, pressing enter will add it to the moment (unless it’s already there in which case the option is greyed out).

4a. Using search to find older tweets
If the tweet you’re after doesn’t show up with a basic search (or if the tweet is quite old) you might need to hunt for it using search operators in the Moment’s search bar to target it. For example this would bring up all the tweets I sent mentioning biscuits in 2017 »biscuits from:jobrodie since:2017-01-01 until:2017-12-31« (see the results for this search).

You can run the search either in Twitter’s moments and add the tweets from there, or in the main Twitter search bar and copy the link into the moment.

4b. Finding tweets that quote tweet another tweet
People often quote tweet a tweet rather than reply to it, which means that not all responses will show up as replies or in the thread. You can check if a tweet has been quote tweeted by searching Twitter for its link, just put the whole URL (eg https:// twitter .com / username / status/ 0123456789 without spaces) into Twitter’s search and press enter. All the tweets that have quote tweeted it will show up (quote tweeting is logically identical to writing a tweet and pasting in another tweet’s link). See instruction #11 for how to find a tweet’s link in its timestamp.

5a. Adding a Tweet to your Moment
The tick symbol next to any tweet will let you add it to the Moment. In the picture below I’ve added the second tweet which emerged when I ran the targeted search for tweets I’d sent in 2017 about biscuits (!).

Adding a Tweet to a Moment using the Tick symbol.png

5b. Adding a tweet via its link
The link / URL of the other biscuit-themed tweet is below…

https://twitter.com/JoBrodie/status/909517501297577984

…pasting that into the

Add tweets to a moment by their link 1 of 2.png

Add tweets to a moment by their link 2 of 2.png

If Tweet is already there you get this alert.png

If you try and add a tweet that’s already there it’ll let you know.

6. Ordering the tweets in your moment
You can also use the up and down arrows to re-order the tweets in your moment but use the option at the top of the page if you want to re-order the whole thing in chronological (or reverse chronological) order. You can remove any tweet from your moment by clicking on the X next to it.

Move up or down with the arrows and delete with the X.png

7. Adding images to your Moment
Click on the Set Cover button near the top of the page. If your moment contains tweets with images then these pictures will show up and you can pick one. There’s also the + option to upload an image from your computer.

Set Cover image 1 of 2.png

Set Cover image 2 of 2 - uploading an image.png

Once you’ve chosen your cover image you’ll likely be immediately taken to an editing page and given the option to create cropped versions for people viewing on mobiles or tablets. You can move the image around in the panel on the left and you’ll see what it will look like cropped in the view on the right. Fiddle about with it until you’re happy, then press Apply. Or choose not to crop it for mobile (I’m not really sure what happens in that case!).

On the main Moment page you can also select any other images and crop them, the icon looks like this –

Crop for mobile.png

8. Publish or save your Moment for later
Once you’ve had enough Moment-ing you can either publish it or save it for later. Publishing just means that it’s visible to everyone else if they happen to look at your Moments page (mine’s https://twitter.com/JoBrodie/moments). A suggested tweet will appear inviting you to share this fact to your followers – it’s editable, or deletable / ignorable if you don’t want to publish it.

If you come back to publishing it later, go to your Moments page, click on the Moment you want to publish, look for three of these ••• to the right of its title, click on that and EDIT is the second option. That lets you edit and then publish your Moment.

At this point Twitter might suggest that you crop any images you’ve missed, for mobile viewers, or you can ignore that suggestion and publish anyway.

Twitter may ask you to crop other images if not already done before publishing the moment but you can ignore it.png
You can ignore and publish anyway.

Ready to publish your moment.png

Share this moment - it is optional.png
Once you’ve pressed ‘Publish’ (see pic above) an optional, editable tweet is presented to you which you can amend and send or dismiss with the X if you don’t want to share it (unless you’ve made it a secret moment it will be publicly visible on your Moments profile though).

9. Edit your moment after publishing
You can also edit a Moment retrospectively and it will be updated in real time. Follow Step #1 to bring up your list of moments, click on the moment you want to edit and look for the three dots •••, you will find Edit (also Delete) among the options.

Three dots.png

Delete or edit a moment.png

Click Edit and you will be taken to the editing window and there’ll be an alert to remind you that any changes you make are automatically updated.

Editing moment - alert.png

10. How to delete a moment
As for #9 but choose Delete instead of Edit. You can’t undo it (though deleting it doesn’t delete any of the original tweets so you can remake it).

11. Finding a tweet’s link / URL
Any Tweet’s URL / link can be found in its timestamp. In the pic below you can right-click on the time-since-tweet-sent link highlighted by a green pointer and use the browser option to copy the link location, then paste it into the relevant bit in instruction #5b. Twitter has its own thing, in the down-arrow menu highlighted by a yellow pointer, which lets you embed the tweet. That opens up a new tab and auto-scrolls down the page to a section on embedding, but if you scroll back upwards you can copy and paste the link written plainly and in full. The green arrow version is much quicker (and many things will let you embed a tweet just from its link alone, without needing a bit of code – but if you need the code you can find it there).

Where to get the URL for a Tweet - timestamp or down arrow

Happy Moment-ing!

I came across this fairly random biscuit tweet of mine which I thought I’d end with 🙂

 

Twitter will let users decide who can reply to their tweets – no idea how that could even work

Three potential workarounds that may thwart this
1. Wait for someone in a ‘panel tweet’ to reply and reply to them
2. Quote tweet the original tweet
3. Send a fresh tweet mentioning the original person

As is often the case I look forward to being proved wrong 😉

 


 

Twitter announces it’s going to let you limit who can reply to your tweet
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show conference Twitter’s Suzanne Xie said that the company planned to allow people to decide, before sending a tweet, who could reply to it. Apparently it will be possible to pick who gets to be in your conversation by selecting one of four options – Statement (a tweet to which no-one can reply), Panel – only those named within the tweet can reply, Group – as for Panel plus anyone the sender follows and Global – anyone can reply. This is intended to increase the health of conversations by reducing unpleasant interactions. The idea had also come up in an October 2019 interview with Kayvon Beykpour by The Verge.

But can it work?
I can’t help wondering if this is one of those things that sounds helpful but isn’t that great in practice. Surely this could only work as intended if the settings applied to the originating tweet are applied to the whole thread, otherwise people replying to others’ replies will wreck this. I can see the following scenario happening.

Can other people reply to the replyers?
Let’s imagine you send a Panel or Group tweet. I can’t reply to your tweet because I’m not in that panel / group. Someone who is in your chosen gang can reply and does so. If I am not blocked by them then I can reply to them. My reply is now in your thread. If you’ve blocked me then you won’t see it (everyone else will) but you may see any replies sent to me that include you.

I just have to wait for someone (that I can reply to) to reply first. Or I can quote tweet it (quoted tweets show up in notifications so you’ll see my ‘reply’ that way unless you’ve blocked me).

Me being able to reply to your replyer would seem to wreck Twitter’s reply-tweaking options unless the restriction (that you applied to your first tweet) is cascaded to the whole thread.

You can certainly set things so that you see notifications only from the people you follow, though that doesn’t stop those people from being able to reply. You can also, or will soon be able to, hide people’s replies (I don’t know how well this works if they have blocked you though).

Seeking more information from Twitter
I’ve asked Suzanne Xie and Kayvon Beykpour (from Twitter) how this will work and will add further info here if I get any. Interestingly they both started using Twitter in 2008 (a month before I joined) and have tweeted fewer than 7,000 tweets so they are not particularly heavy users. I do sometimes wonder if Twitter staff are particularly familiar with their own product…

A parallel with the block function
A similar ‘security theatre’ operates with blocks. Twitter implies that if Lydia blocks Kitty then Kitty cannot (a) see or (b) reply to Lydia’s tweets. Kitty only has to log out to solve (a) but it’s true that she can’t reply directly to Kitty’s tweet. But if Lizzie replies to Lydia (and Lizzie hasn’t blocked Kitty) then Kitty can reply to Lizzie and her tweet is now in Lydia’s thread, though Lydia won’t see the reply from Kitty. She can probably infer what was said from other replies though.

What have others said about the reply-limiting news?
There are lots of people who are pleased about this and think it a good idea. A point raised by Kayvon Beykpour was that it might help live Twitter chats by limiting who could contribute (see Social Media Today link below), though there have been third party apps that have helped with that in the past.

Where people have been less enthusiastic commenters have wondered if this is just going to let people post misleading opinions that can’t be directly challenged, as caeser_pounce put it “Finally public figures will be protected from criticism“. Twitter suggests the quote tweet option for such responses, which appear in the sender’s notifications, though quoted tweets don’t self-thread into the original thread as a reply would1.

It would also reduce “getting ratioed” (when replies exceed likes and RTs by some magnitude) which is no fun for the ratioee but informative for anyone looking at the tweet as they can see the volume of disagreement.

I have assumed (see my 3rd tweet above) that people can just create a new message and use that to reply to someone, so wondered what this feature will actually prevent in terms of negative interactions.

Shenmaxiu pointed out that there’ll be more screenshots posted which doesn’t necessarily help people using screen readers (don’t forget to switch on the option to add descriptions to your screenshots or images) or those on flakier connections.

Alain-Christian suggests that if a tweet has its replies restricted then that should also restrict who can see it in the first place and safindlay1980 can’t see the point of receiving statements in their timeline from people who don’t want their views challenged and would like the option to switch these off.

TarekOmarNafee wonders if it will apply to polls, restricting who can vote.

Notes
1 You could take the URL of your quote tweet and put it in a tweet in a reply somewhere in the thread (if it’s possible for you or someone else to reply). Example.

Further reading (articles from 8 or 9 January 2020)

 

How to scrub your Twitter timeline of iffy Tweets – for potential politicians etc

Note that I use the Good Twitter browser add-on to make Twitter look and behave how it used to before the recent big changes, so my screenshots may not match yours.

Every so often someone finds an old tweet from a political candidate which embarrasses them and in some cases wrecks their chance of being selected, or elected. It might well be for the best that these are uncovered, so people know what they’re dealing with, but this post looks at ways of deleting old and embarrassing tweets.

I’d assumed that political parties would have prepared some sort of Advice to Potential Candidates on handling previous social media posts, but the continued re-publication of people’s earlier dodgy tweets suggests otherwise. I’d also have assumed that there would be some sort of Reputation Management companies that could help with this. Maybe there are and people are failing to take advantage.

Table of Contents

  1. Before you delete
  2. How to delete a Tweet / undo a ReTweet
  3. Search for the unwise Tweets you’ve sent

1. Before you delete

The point of deleting a dodgy old Tweet is to hide something that you once said and either now disagree with, or still agree with it but would rather pretend you didn’t. Deleting such Tweets is therefore largely an exercise in dishonesty and self-preservation – I’m sure you’ll go far in politics 🙂

Keep copies: It’s probably a good idea to take and keep a screenshot (how to do that) of anything you’re going to delete, perhaps including the URL / address if you’re able. I’d also recommend taking screenshot copies of the conversation thread if it’s in one, for context. Be aware that someone else may already have a screencap of your Tweet and taken out of context it may look much worse.

Will your deletions be flagged?: Politwoops UK (there are versions for several countries) records whenever a politician deletes a Tweet and if your account is being monitored then a copy of the Tweet and when you deleted it will live on there.

Tweets you send and delete seconds later may be noted: If someone is viewing Twitter via a web browser and if they leave the tab open then a build up of tweets gives a note like this, clicking on it brings up the waiting Tweets that arrived but weren’t shown and if yours was among them it will show up (even if you deleted it seconds later). This also happens if you reply to someone, and they have their Notifications page open in a tab. The tweet would disappear once they refresh the page but your tweet will likely be seen.

See Nine More Tweets sign

Is it better to own your mistake?: If you come across a dodgy tweet you’ve sent and regret it consider if saying so is better than deleting / denying it. Also will it look worse if you’re found to have deleted a tweet and then someone produces a copy of it?

It may all blow over anyway: lots of people mature over the several years they’ve been on Twitter and this progress may be more dramatic depending on how young they were when they joined. It’s not always fair to assume the worst, though of course it does depend on what people have discovered that you’ve written.

2. How to delete a Tweet / undo a ReTweet

Twitter’s help files have a whole page on how to delete a Tweet or undo a ReTweet. After the preamble on that page you’ll find an option to
“View instructions for… [Apple phones] [Android phones] [desktop computers]”

If you delete a DM (Direct Message) it’s deleted only from your own account, not the recipient’s.

3. Search for the unwise Tweets you’ve sent

Note that Twitter no longer shows every single thing in its search results. It can hide tweets it thinks are low value or ones that lots of people have reported as being offensive. Sometimes it shows the ‘best’ or ‘most relevant’ tweets first, so it’s wise to use a range of different search strategies to find Tweets if you suspect they’re there but not appearing in your results.

A basic search might involve searching from:yourname keyword and seeing if there’s anything particularly heinous in there, and deleting it if there is (while bearing in mind my earlier points about screencapping and so on).

As an example here’s everything I’ve ever said about muffins (a lot less than I’d have thought).

From:You to the world

  • My top tweets about muffins from:JoBrodie muffins
  • All my muffin-themed tweets ordered by latest first – from:JoBrodie muffins (achieved by choosing ‘Latest’ from the available options after doing the first search)

If you suspect you’ve sent a dodgy tweet to someone you can include that in your search string.

From:You to someone else

  • If you’ve replied to one of their tweets try – from:YourName to:OtherUser
  • If you’ve replied to several people including them try – from:YourName OtherUser

You can also find all the tweets you sent in 2017, or 2011 or between the 4th and 16th March 2013, using the Advanced Search (in fact I’d recommend familiarising yourself with the Advanced options anyway).

Note that the calendar input used to be be a bit skittish on Advanced Search. I’d previously recommend sticking any old date in then neatening it up on the search results page but it seems to have improved lately.

Twitter Advanced Search

Advanced Search dates uses the YYYY-MM-DD style so 2011-01-01 is 1 Jan 2011 and 2011-11-27 is 27 Nov 2011. I think of this as ‘US style’ but my friend Nick tells me it might be called something else 🙂

You can click on the bold year / month at the top to zoom out or zoom in on a particular year or month range.

Twitter Advanced Search 2011

After you’ve run the search you’ll see something like this, plus a whole load of tweets.

Twitter Advanced Search Results

The oval-shaped search box next to the avatar is where you can manually tinker with the dates. That search results page is linked here, you can adapt it for your search.

Other Tweets you’ve replied to
You might not be able to remember who you’ve sent a reply to, but if you think you’ve agreed with or endorsed someone else’s dodgy tweet then have a think about the sorts of things you might say in reply to them, such as “Typical”, “Agree” or “haha” etc and search for tweets you’ve sent saying that.

ReTweets
I’m afraid I don’t know how you could search for your ReTweets of other people’s tweets. You can certainly Un-ReTweet them (if you’ve found them, see above). If I find out I’ll add it here. Possibly there are more technical solutions (where you interact with Twitter’s API) but that’s beyond this blog and my skill level.

Searching through your own archive
You can download your Twitter archive (you request it by scrolling to the bottom of that page and clicking “Request data”, Twitter packages up your tweets, then revisit the page a bit later and download the zip file they give you) but it’s become much less useful recently. It used to give you a single index.htm file that you could open in a web browser and call up your previous tweets now sitting locally on your computer. You could even click through and read them on Twitter.com (and delete them if you wanted to). It doesn’t seem as straightforward now though and I’ve not really explored this option as a quick way of searching a copy of your tweets.

Twitter Download data

More from Twitter’s help files on How to download your Twitter archive

My friend Lynn wondered about downloading your tweets as a spreadsheet but I’m afraid I don’t know how it’s done – I didn’t even know it was possible (beyond copying a copy of every tweet you or someone else sends to a Google Sheet using IFTTT – note that this only works for tweets sent after you’ve set that up, not previous ones). I’ve got over 100,000 tweets though so I’m keen not to look at them in a spreadsheet format.

 

 

 

 

 

Make Twitter Useable Again

Post last updated: Sat 9 May 2020

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.56.14

Yesterday (22 July 2019) I was infected with the #NewTwitter virus meaning that I’d been upgraded to Twitter’s latest changes. I’m pretty grumpy about unnecessary change, particularly as all my carefully tweaked settings were no longer working and I was exposed to the full horrors of what Twitter’s like on desktop (web browser) without these settings. Scrolling through I could see that “So and so follows X, who sent this tweet” (who cares?) or “So and so liked this tweet” (just show me their RTs). Grim 😉

I’ve thrown everything at it to reverse this and so far it’s holding fast.

  1. Try and go back to Old Twitter [will stop working on 1 June 2020]
  2. See latest tweets first (chronological Twitter)
  3. Unsuggest the suggested tweets (X follows Y, X liked Z)
  4. Hiding side panels (“Who to follow” & “Trends”) and promoted tweets
  5. Troubleshooting
  6. Not yet solved (1): Proper Length Tweets
  7. Not yet solved (2): Blimey the images take up a lot of space in comment RTs
  8. Things I like about New Twitter

 

1. See if you can restore “Legacy Twitter” aka OldTwitter

This solution will stop working on 1 June 2020 as Twitter is switching off the legacy version of Twitter that worked on older unsupported browsers. The trick below fooled your modern current browser into behaving as if it was unsupported, so Twitter would display the older version.

1a. Simple link
To get back to legacy Twitter I’ve found that this works but perhaps it won’t after a while. It’s lost if you refresh the page, but new tweets show up in a panel at the top (‘See XX new tweets’, example below) as before so it’s fine.

You must RIGHT-CLICK and open in new tab to make this work. Don’t click on the link.

No need to refresh the page to view new tweets as Twitter provides this auto-updating feature, clicking on it shows the latest tweets.Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.42.49

1b. “Good Twitter” extension / add on
This works by convincing your browser that it’s unable to support new Twitter, forcing it to display Old Twitter. I’ve seen good things about it on Twitter but use Firefox so haven’t tested it myself.

For Chrome users

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/goodtwitter/jbanhionoclikdjnjlcmefiofgjimgca

Screenshot 2019-07-26 22.52.10

If you find afterwards that videos seem to be mucked up have a look on that page in the Reviews section, it seems to be more due to Chrome than to the add on. You might need to log out and in again to get it to work and there’s an explanation on the main page as to why it says it wants access to your browser history (apparently it doesn’t, it just needs permission to clear the cache).

Other Chrome extensions: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions

For Firefox users

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/goodtwitter/

Screenshot 2019-07-26 22.53.48

Other FireFox add-ons: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/

1c. A bit more tinkering involved
There are also add-ons that might affect more than just Twitter, and a technique for typing in a string to override something. This might be getting a bit technical for me (and 1a worked for me so I’ve not tested further). The aim with all is to fool Twitter into thinking that your browser cannot support its latest version.

User-agent switcher for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/uaswitcher/
User-agent switcher for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/user-agent-switcher-for-c/djflhoibgkdhkhhcedjiklpkjnoahfmg

and

For those who just want to make the best of the new Twitter there are options to show latest tweets first, hide Who to follow suggestions, Trends and the in-timeline suggested tweets.

2. Show latest tweets first not ‘top tweets’ (chronological Twitter)

Once your Twitter home page looks like this at the top you should just see tweets in the order in which they’re sent…
Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.01.51

…to get there click on the blue stars icon and choose ‘Latest Tweets’ over ‘Home’. The bad news is that it will spontaneously revert so this is probably not a permanent solution. I’ve already tweaked my settings so the picture below gives me the option to return to the ‘wrong’ one.

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.03.40

3. Removing the suggested tweets from timeline

This seems to be very effective though it takes quite a long time to manually paste all of the individual phrases into the ‘mute this word’ section. If anyone knows of a way to speed this up?

You can leap to your Muted Words setting on desktop here https://twitter.com/settings/muted_keywords on mobile it will be via the gear icon. See also Twitter’s help page on Muting stuff, which curiously doesn’t mention this.

For copying and pasting purposes the text types are: RankedOrganicTweet, ActivityTweet, suggested_rank_organic_tweet, suggest_sc_tweet, suggest_ranked_timeline_tweet, suggested_grouped_tweet_hashtag, suggest_pyle_tweet, suggested_recycled_tweet_inline, suggest_activity_tweet, suggest_recycled_tweet, suggest_activity, suggest_recap, suggest_who_to_follow, generic_activity_Highlights

I set these so that they were muted for everyone, forever.

4. Hiding side panels and promoted tweets

I really struggled with this one as my normal settings didn’t help. I’ve got both AdBlock Plus and UBlock Origin on Firefox (possibly they conflict with each other!). When Twitter began showing us irrelevant stuff I activated these to clear the timeline of crud but noticed that doing so also missed out other tweets. I’d toggle between having the blockers ON or OFF during searching and eventually noticed that Twitter just stopped showing me the stuff I didn’t want to see, even without the blockers on. Hmm.

Stopped working yesterday though and it took a few goes of pressing buttons to return to normal.

I’m using Firefox, not sure if it will be the same for other browsers. In the left panel with the small red logo is AdBlock Plus and it’s the “Block element” bit that lets you hover over an offending panel (or liked tweet) to set up an exception to hide that bit when the page loads. I think you need to add Element Hiding Helper to activate this. In the right hand panel with the large blue ON/OFF switch is uBlock Origin and it’s the dropper tool that you use to select an element you want to block.

Another solution I’ve seen for removing the distraction of trends is to change your location to a country whose language is unintelligible to you. Then you’ll still see it but it won’t mean much.

Caveat 1: be a bit careful when blocking elements and move the mouse carefully to see what is picked up. You want to block only the thing you want to block and not all the bits around it. It’s fiddly to undo.

Caveat 2: This can also hide other tweets (including your own) especially those with Twitter cards (images etc). It seems to do this fairly randomly but you will be missing tweets. If you need to run a search it’s best to switch off any blockers to ensure the best results.

Note that this automatically hides all promoted / advertised tweets. I actually didn’t mind those so much and have no objection to Twitter making some money but alas they stuffed up the user experience.

5. Troubleshooting

Now that I’ve had a couple of days playing with the adaptations I’ve made to New Twitter I’ve spotted some things that you may want to be aware of. Your own experience would depend on how much of the stuff above you’ve tweaked and what method you’ve chosen.

Not every tweet shown
Using AdBlockers and Element Hider Helper or whatever it’s called has always caused the minor glitch of some tweets with images in not showing up. If you are running a search for someone’s tweets or a hashtag and want to be sure of seeing everything it’s worth switching off the Ad Blocker or uBlock Origin temporarily (toggling off/on), and pressing refresh.

Settings
I’ve also spotted that I can no longer interact with Settings while I’ve got the blocks in place, it just shows up as a blank page. Toggling fixes.

Reply threads
Also if you’re replying to people in a thread and want to select who gets the reply that doesn’t work with the Blocks on and you need to toggle them to see a list of names to put a tick by (or remove the tick from).

Saved searches
This no longer seems to work in New Twitter. Fine in Legacy Twitter but doesn’t transfer over.

6. Not yet solved (1): Proper Length Tweets

When Twitter brought in 240 character length tweets everything suddenly took up a lot of room but the Proper Length Tweets (PLT) add-on solved that nicely. Unfortunately it no longer seems to work so the search is on for a replacement. For comparison here are tweets of mine screenshot from New and Old Twitter. It’s a lot easier to scroll through many tweets with this add-on working, particularly where people have used the full number of characters.

My example doesn’t show this off to its best effect as I’ve picked a tweet of mine that isn’t that large to begin with but you can see the difference between PLT on (top pic) and PLT off (bottom pic). When tweets have more characters the difference is more pronounced and the add-on makes scrolling much quicker as the tweets take up less space.

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.35.53

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.37.13

7. Not yet solved (2): Blimey the images take up a lot of space in comment RTs

First image shows what a comment RT normally looks like on Legacy Twitter and below is the same tweet screenshotted from New Twitter. The second one is the only tweet I can see at the time on the screen in New Twitter so it’s just taking up more space than needed.

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.30.12

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.30.26

8. Things I like about New Twitter

  • It tells you what platform (“Twitter for iPhone” or “Twitter for Android” or “Twitter Web Client” or “Twitter Web App” for desktop users) someone’s used to send a tweet. This can be vaguely informative in a mildly forensic sense – you can generally tell if someone’s tweeting from a phone or a laptop. I suspect it will also show tweets that have been sent by clicking on a ‘tweet this’ button from another website, or automated / delayed tweets, but haven’t played around with this

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.33.50

  • It tells you if a tweeted image has had an image description added for visually impaired people [how to do that] – though I’ve not worked out how to read others people’s text. See ALT in the screenshot below, can’t interact with it though.

Screenshot 2019-07-23 08.25.47

 

Image credit is spanner / wrench by me (using shapes in PowerPoint) applying pressure to the Twitter bird logo, shrunk to fit (from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/vectors/twitter-tweet-twitter-bird-312464/). Here’s a copy of the .pptx

Twitter’s bringing in a ‘hide replies’ function (available in Canada first), but will it work?

Twitter’s rolling out, first in Canada [a day after posting this the tool was temporarily suspended to fix a glitch], a new tool that lets someone hide replies to their tweets – thanks to @hapsome for tipping me off about this. This will streamline the thread though people will still be able to view what replies have been hidden, for transparency. This could be used in a positive way to quieten spam or other unhelpful replies but might also be used to downgrade tweets correcting your misinformation or merely disagreeing with you.

I’m in the UK so can’t test it yet but my immediate thought was, will the original tweeter be able to hide tweets in the thread that are sent to another reply in that thread, or only be able to act on tweets that are direct replies?

For example

You send a tweet
  |
I send a daft reply [which you can hide]

versus

You send a tweet
  |
Someone else replies agreeing with you
  |
I send a daft reply to them [but can you hide this one?]

If they can’t block replies that are sent in reply to someone else then I can’t really see the point of this new feature.

Most people actually pre-empt rogue replies from getting in the way by using the ‘add another tweet’ function in the preparation of a thread, before publishing all the threaded tweets together. This prevents anyone inserting a tweet into that thread (though they can add replies at the end) so that would seem to be a solution to maintain a thread’s integrity. [Edit – actually people can reply perfectly well to individual replies in a thread but Twitter seems to show them at the end anyway]

Incidentally replying to replies is also the way of getting a tweet in a thread of someone who’s blocked you, as you can’t reply to someone blocking you, but you can reply to a reply. It’s almost the same as the example above, with a slight variation.

You send a tweet
  |
I can’t reply because you’ve blocked me

versus

You send a tweet
  |
Someone else replies to you
  |
I reply to them so my tweet is now in your thread (or you can use this to reply to my thread if I’ve blocked you)

Hopefully people in Canada will find out what tweets in the thread they can hide, or I’ll get a chance to test it soon enough.

This also means that plenty of my answers on Quora are now instantly out of date 😉

Looks like people will be able to reply to hidden replies once they’ve spotted them in the ‘show hidden replies’ option, and the tweet to which they’re replying may show up as ‘Tweet Unavailable‘ to other people if viewing in the home timeline (see Twitter’s support page for replies linked below).

Further reading
Twitter launches the ‘Hide Replies’ feature, in hopes of civilizing conversations (17 July 2019) TechCrunch

See section on Hidden Replies in Twitter Support page on About Replies and Mentions Twitter

See more in the search results on Google for twitter canada hide replies

 

A slightly forensic Twitter example – in which a key tweet is now unavailable

Image by Pavlofox on Pixabay:
https://pixabay.com/photos/macro-cogwheel-gear-engine-vintage-1452987/


Warning: this post contains antisemitic imagery / phrases. These are used to illustrate a discussion about whether someone replying positively to a tweet (alleged to contain an antisemitic image) was being intentionally or unwittingly antisemitic.

I was reluctant to publish this post on an unpleasant topic but it seems that the people involved have been being reported to various bodies, likely unfairly, and a great deal of on-Twitter commentary about the case is flat-out wrong.

My post focuses largely on the Twitter-technical side of things. If you spot any mistakes in my assumptions or thinking, or can see that I’ve missed an important piece of evidence that changes things, please let me know, thanks – @JoBrodie.


In early February 2019 I spotted that my “Remember Twitter screenshots can be faked” post was doing the rounds*, in response to a tweet sent by Wes Streeting MP who had commented on a screenshot.

The question, greatly contested on Twitter, is whether someone called Annie (whose June 2018 tweet had been included in the screenshot, saying “Good one Angela“) was replying favourably (perceived as ‘endorsing’) to a problematic tweet from someone called Angela, or if Wes had been sent and then shared a faked^ screenshot.

It is possible that more than one faked screenshot has been sent to people in order to give the impression that Annie or others were endorsing a problematic tweet, when she may have replied to an innocent one. It is also possible that Annie endorsed a problematic tweet in error, not spotting its problematic nature. And it is possible that Annie endorsed a problematic tweet. (‘Possible’ in a vaguely technical sense not taking into account how likely someone might be to respond in a particular way to a particular tweet).

From the information I’ve found I think Annie probably replied favourably to a problematic tweet, not necessarily intentionally ‘endorsing’ it though. She and many others maintain that it wasn’t intentional. It’s quite difficult to clearly distinguish among these three options, though other circumstantial evidence / balance of probabilities etc may come into play.

Table of contents

  1. Did Annie send a tweet with those words?
  2. Was her tweet sent in reply to a tweet from Angela?
  3. What was the thread in which the tweets appear?
  4. Is it possible to fake screenshots?
  5. Red herrings and faked screenshots
  6. Is it possible to be unaware that a trope is antisemitic?
  7. Doxxing claims
  8. Rounded corners etc (!) – added 12 Feb 2020
  9. How I heard about this case.

1. Did Annie send a tweet with those words?

Yes. Regardless of what tweet was being replied to Annie sent the response “Good one Angela” to someone named Angela at 11.09pm on 13 June 2018.

Original reply tweet

My avatar appears at the bottom of the screen on the left as I’m logged in as me.

2. Was her tweet sent in reply to a tweet from Angela?

Yes. Clicking in the bit saying “Tweet your reply” on the original tweet on Twitter brings up an enlarged reply box with the names of people to whom you’d be replying. As you’d be replying to Annie’s tweet her name appears first. Second in the list is Angela. This strongly indicates that Annie’s tweet had been sent in reply to Angela.

Clicking in the reply to bit uncovers the person or people to whom it was sent

There’s my avatar again on the bottom left – I’m logged in as me and clicked the reply button. If someone else was logged in they’d see their own picture.

Further confirmation can be found from Dabr (a simplified Twitter app) – here’s the same tweet showing clearly that it was sent in reply to Angela (Dabr includes all participants in a reply-tweet). It also indicates that Angela’s tweet was sent to someone called Sarah, potentially placing the tweets in a thread [see (3)].

Dabr shows to whom a tweet is sent and the app used to send it

Here’s the original tweet on Dabr (you’d need to log in to be able to see it though).

(i) A note on the timing of tweets – Dabr marks the tweets at 22:09, one hour behind the 11:09 PM timestamp on Twitter. Given that the tweet was sent in June I suspect this is just to do with the way both apps handle GMT / BST. It’s certainly the same tweet, as both URLs have the same tweet ID of 1007022280143237121.

Above a typical tweet URL and below the same tweet URL shown on Dabr

(ii) A note on ‘in reply to’ – the reply-thread makes it clear that it was a tweet sent in response, and not a spontaneous tweet to Angela. However in both cases the format of the tweet would be largely the same. What’s missing here is the phrase “in reply to” which appears on all replies on Twitter but not on spontaneous tweets sent to someone. The likely reason it is missing is probably becasuse Angela’s account is now protected.

3. What was the thread in which the tweets appear?

It appears to be the one below. Someone called Sarah sent a tweet about a band, Angela replied to it and Annie replied to that. As Angela’s account is locked and her tweets are no longer visible the current version of that Twitter thread now looks like this, giving the mistaken impression that Annie has replied directly to Sarah‘s tweet.

This may have been the likely sequence of tweets

  1. Sarah sent the tweet about the band
  2. Angela replied to it (with a now-missing tweet)
  3. Annie replied to Angela.

What we lack is screenshot proof of the three tweets in context.

This tweet shows the screenshot below (of the first and third tweet) with some more context.

Tweet thread showing C replying to A with Tweet B in the middle now missing

Twitter has since temporarily restricted Annie’s account meaning that her tweets are mostly hidden from search results, so now it would be even harder to re-run these searches, so I’m glad I did it in February.

4. Is it possible to fake screenshots?

Yes, very much so, it’s extremely easy. Here’s one to illustrate that point – however it does not seem that the tweeted screenshot sent by Wes Streeting was necessarily faked, if we look at other circumstantial evidence below.

Note that it is certainly technically possible that Wes was sent a doctored screenshot which he then shared in good faith, and that others (eg David, below) have also been sent faked screenshots of tweets which they’ve also shared. It does not seem particularly likely though.

David’s tweet (below), sent two days before the thread above, shows a different post from Angela with the same imagery.

David's tweet shows a similar post from Angela from two days earlier

After publishing this post I sent the link to someone that I’d previously discussed this with and he feels that it’s not the chain of tweets in the thread that’s at issue but the photoshopping of the image shared by Wes. Unfortunately I’m unable to investigate this myself (not a Photoshop expert) and have asked for further info – click on the tweet to see our discussion.

^ 5. Red herrings and faked screenshots

I was surprised (and a bit disappointed) that so many respondents satisfied themselves with a simplistic explanation saying that because it’s possible to find unadorned copies of the image on the web Wes (or whoever sent him the screenshot) must have tinkered with the image. That’s a bit silly.

All of these can be true

(a) a reasonably inoffensive image exists
(b) more offensive variations of this image exist
(c) a tweet was sent containing the inoffensive image, but later photoshopped for some mischief
(d) a tweet was sent already containing an offensive image, and a screenshot was taken of it
(e) someone interacting with a (d) tweet missed its offensive nature

Clearly a version of the ‘raw’ image (a) appears to have been amended (b) at some point as the original has neither the star nor the ring. I suppose it cannot be known for certain which version (c or d) was tweeted out by Angela as the original tweet is no longer available (either because her account is locked or because the tweet was deleted), but…

…an entirely separate screenshot posted by David (in (4)) provides fairly strong circumstantial evidence that Wes’ screenshot was also correct (d). Note though that it does not automatically follow that anyone endorsing such a tweet either spotted or understood the imagery (e).

6. Is it possible to be unaware that a trope is antisemitic?

Yep. Here’s me learning about one myself.

In Annie’s defence she is a very high-volume tweeter with over 225,000 tweets (this includes tweets and RTs) sent since May 2010 (about 70 tweets a day). I think of myself as pretty chatty on Twitter but have sent ‘only’ 116,000 since June 2008 (about 30 tweets a day). With her fast-pace Twitter exchanges it’s entirely believable that she might have missed the nuance of a piece of imagery when responding.

7. Doxxing claims

A separate discussion on Twitter was about whether Wes had published Annie’s personal information (doxxing) in sharing her real name and whether this breaks Twitter’s rules or those of the Labour Party. I think I’d describe what Wes had done as having ‘surfaced’ information that was publicly available elsewhere, but which hadn’t been explicitly shared on Twitter before. In Annie’s own Twitter account she uses her real initials – that doesn’t in itself give her name away but if you come across her name elsewhere it would be confirming evidence.

I don’t think Wes can reasonably be said to have doxxed her, given the ease with which her info can be found (as she has also used the same account name for other services you can find and confirm her info quite easily), however I’d agree that it was a bit ‘ungallant’ of him to have done so as it brought her a lot of unwanted and unpleasant attention (and to him too). It does not appear to break Twitter’s rules about sharing personal information (I don’t know about the Labour Party’s own rules) and I don’t believe it’s illegal, but it may well be ‘GDPR-problematic’.

Edit: 7 March – in fact if you type Annie’s account name into a search on Twitter it will show you a separate account of hers which also uses her real name, that account is also followed by someone who shares the same family name.

This blog post suggests that a police investigation is underway but I don’t know if that’s definitely the case. Lots of people apparently tweeted that they were reporting Wes for faked images and doxxing – but that in itself doesn’t prove that they did of course. Here, lots of people discuss the blog post on Twitter.

8. Rounded corners etc (!) – added 12 Feb 2020

These two tweets (from Jimbo and Jenny) point out that there’s a discrepancy with the roundedness of the corners on the image. This is more likely to be due to how a particular tweet is presented (or to updates to the app, as LatestMessiah pointed out) than to wrongdoing (photoshopping a picture but failing to take account of how Twitter presents the corner edges) though wrongdoing can’t be discounted.

Jimbo also points out that the symbolism on the arm’s sleeve may have been missed (as he had done so himself – “I missed it on first viewing as I focussed on the quote” – particularly as Twitter often crops images anyway, see below). I wonder if a saliency heat map (when you test, using eye cameras etc, what people actually look at on a picture) of the full image would show that the main focus was the text.

An example of how Twitter truncated images

The screenshots below of an old tweet of mine were all taken on a desktop browser (Firefox) today 12 Feb 2020 to illustrate how various settings can affect appearance.

Top panel = Old Twitter
Bottom panel = New Twitter

Note: in ~July 2019 Twitter updated how things appeared (“#NewTwitter” as opposed to what then became the older “#LegacyTwitter”) so I’ve shown both. I am using the browser add-on ‘Good Twitter‘ so that I only ever see the ‘old’ Twitter.

From left to right
(i) how image appears in a tweet while the tweet is part of a larger timeline, as you scroll through a bunch of tweets
(ii) how the image appears when the tweet is selected and shown on its own page
(iii) how the image appears when the image is selected, to enlarge it

Screenshot 2020-02-12 15.27.14Screenshot 2020-02-12 15.27.30

Note that screenshots taken on various phone / tablet apps, Tweetdeck etc would likely show a different view, so ‘cropped’-ness and ’roundedness’ of corners may not always be that instructive and the time a screenshot was taken, and the app / platform on which a tweet was viewed (and whether it was viewed as (i), (ii) or (iii) would need to be taken into account.

 

* 9. How I heard about this case.

I regularly run a Twitter search for this blog. Its most-shared post, at the time of writing, is “Hate seeing other people’s likes on Twitter? Some options to try” which looks at the options to avoid seeing “Your friend X liked Y’s tweet”. When people share my post they often include additional solutions that they’ve found out, with which I then update the post (I say as much in that post). Searching Twitter for howtodotechystuff.wordpress.com brings up any public tweet containing a link to this blog.

 

 

How to know if the link you’re sharing on Twitter will produce an in-tweet image preview

tl;dr – check if the link you’re sharing can produce an inline image preview by running it though Twitter’s Card Validator. If it doesn’t you can cheat by manually uploading or pasting in an image.

The order and type of links in your tweet can affect things: pasting in a link to a tweet always displays that tweet regardless of other links involved or their order but for any two (or more) non-tweet links included in your tweet the last one is displayed. You can prevent a link from displaying an image by converting it to an is.gd shortened link (not bitly though), or override by adding an image to the tweet.

Instagram is a law unto itself and linking your Twitter & Instagram won’t display your Insta posts, you need a third party app for that.

In my previous post, How the order of links in tweets determines which one gets its accompanying image displayed, I played around with the order (in a tweet) of links that either do or don’t produce an inline image preview.

This is what an inline image looks like.

Screenshot 2019-02-17 08.59.42

The picture below the text appears automatically after I shared a link (the link itself becomes hidden and is replaced with the image) to a post on this blog about Instagram images. Instagram doesn’t support Twitter cards so letting Instagram autopost your Insta posts to Twitter doesn’t work in terms of displaying an image, you need a third party app to do that – details in that post I’ve just linked to.

  1. For an inline image to appear the site being linked to must have Twitter cards set up correctly [technical info for web developers].
  2. You can check if any given link will work by plugging it into Twitter’s Card Validator (note that the S in HTTPmay be important so try that first if you’ve copied over an HTTP address).
  3. If (2) doesn’t work and you aren’t able to set up (1) you can always cheat by just uploading an image or pasting in a screenshot of the image you’d like to appear. The link you share won’t disappear (it’ll show up as a clickable link) but hardly anyone will notice this workaround 🙂

If you include links to two or more posts that have Twitter cards working then the last one mentioned in your tweet will have its image preview shown. If you include a Twitter-card link alongside a non-card link then the card link will always show its image and the order of the links doesn’t matter. For an enjoyably pedantic (YMMV) examination of the effect of the order of links have a look at my earlier post: How the order of links in tweets determines which one gets its accompanying image displayed.

Note that if you include in your tweet a link to another tweet (even if included with a link that would normally produce an inline image) it seems that the link to the tweet will always take precedence and show up, regardless of the order you write them in your tweet. In the example below (using my testing account) I’ve reversed the order of two links, one to a post on this blog about getting rid of ‘your friend liked this tweet‘ notifications, the other to a tweet of mine about a Wikipedia page I created.

Screenshot 2019-02-15 23.25.19