No, Twitter does not need an edit button – and here’s why | Liam O’Dell

Adding the ability to edit tweets would not only be impractical, but would open the floodgates to further abuse of the platform.

“Sexy edit button” were the three words Twitter used today to say that it is terrified of the edit button.

While slightly unconventional, the tweet – which was in response to a post from voiceover artist and writer Summer Ray – finally provided some acknowledgement from the platform that they are aware of the repeated calls for the function. Twitter think it’s a bad idea – and they’re right.

Supporters of the introduction of the new button may well cite Facebook’s ‘edit history’ feature as an example of this setting being successful, but it is far from it. Clicking ‘view edit history’ is the only way in which we can find out if a post has been altered, and even then, we’re unlikely to click it and interrupt our automatic and robotic scrolling of our News Feed.

Transfer this over to Twitter, where a chronological algorithm makes things feel a lot more instantaneous, and the chances of us noticing that a tweet has been edited are even smaller. Even if a sign was added to suggest that it has, it would have to fight for space in a rectangle which is already populated by countless icons and pieces of information. People just wouldn’t be bothered.

The main argument for editing tweets is on the issue of spelling mistakes, where having the ability to edit out a rogue comma or a misspelling could prove useful. Indeed, while we have all fallen victim to the occasional grammatical error, how would such an edit function be enforced?

Even when one considers the detailed coding required, what would happen to a tweet when it’s edited? If it remains in situ, in its original place in the timeline, then what’s the point? The edit remains unacknowledged unless the scroller happened to retweet it onto their account. On the other hand, boosting edited tweets to the top of the timeline would be an algorithmic nightmare.

So the alternative is to leave it buried, drowned out by all the other tweets which populate our busy timelines. This is where it becomes dangerous.

Those who make the point about the feature potentially being exploited refer to how we could retweet a tweet with a statement we agree with, only to find it’s been changed to something abhorrent later. Even when we put a disclaimer in our bios saying that sharing other tweets do not imply endorsement, the association and connection is still there.

So some have suggested a character limit to prevent misuse. After all, character limits and the need to be succinct was at the heart of Twitter until it doubled its trademark 140-character count. Yet, where would such a limit end? One or two characters would be enough for a punctuation error, but may not be enough for autocorrect’s many failures. On the other hand, increasing it to account for bigger mistakes makes it easier for someone to type ‘arse’ or something far more hateful and vitriolic.

When you consider what this ‘perfect limit’ is, and how one even begins to design and implement an edit button, you start to realise that it’s probably easier to just delete and try again.


A UK debate on net neutrality could happen post-Brexit – we must be ready | The Friday Article

Pizzas, memes and American talk show hosts have all tried their hand at explaining one of the most complicated issues facing the world of technology today. On Wednesday, organisations staged a ‘day of action’ for Net Neutrality Day, showing the world what it would be like if Internet Service Providers (ISPs) had the power to prioritise certain traffic or websites over others.

Finger browsing app icons
It’s time we started talking about net neutrality across the pond.

Watching the debate from across the pond, UK citizens breathed a sigh of relief knowing that net neutrality has been enshrined into EU law. That is, until the moment they realised that we voted to leave the bloc just over a year ago. Now, just like other EU laws, the regulation that allows us to enjoy online content regardless of whom our ISP is hangs in the balance.

Cue another piece of political news which did the rounds yesterday which could put all of this at risk: the government’s not-so-great Repeal Bill. If it passes in the state that it’s in now (somewhat unlikely), then ministers will be granted the power to pass secondary legislation. Whilst it’s nice that the Conservatives want to cut Parliament’s workload (dealing with over 50,000 pieces of legislation sounds like quite the hassle), doing so in a way which avoids the scrutiny of MPs has opposition parties raising their eyebrows – and rightly so.

Even if the Tories decide not to amend the regulation without scrutiny, a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement, however flawed it may be, could see the net neutrality law scrapped. Regardless of the fact there was a ‘voluntary system’ prior to this law, given Theresa May’s calls ‘to regulate cyberspace’ and the passing of the so-called ‘Snooper’s Charter’, any opportunity to degrade internet freedoms will most likely be taken by the Tories.

We need to act now. With the latest data from the Office for National Statistics revealing that 99% of 16 to 34 year olds are recent internet users (compared to just 41% of adults aged 75 or over), a British debate on net neutrality could very well be led by the younger generation.

It would certainly be a powerful campaign from our young people, too. The Conservative Party has been left battered and bruised after the youth vote crushed her arrogance (not to mention her majority) after last month’s general election. Tory MPs scrapping net neutrality – threatening young people’s Netflix subscriptions, social media access and main campaigning platform – would be a very, very bad idea.
One must not fall into stereotypes when discussing the internet, but as much as the youth campaign should challenge any decision to allow ISP’s to control the viewing of online content, it must also ensure that older people understand the issues associated with this. Net neutrality is an issue which affects all of us. Even if an individual is offline, they will be indirectly affected by an unfair Internet.

The possibility of a second general election has left everyone in a political limbo, with a degree of uncertainty about what’s coming next. Depending on what side of the political spectrum people identify, it either fills them with hope or dread. Either way, for the sake of our online society, the surge of young people being interested in politics must never fade.

Messenger Day: A wrong step in the trend of multi-purpose apps | The Friday Article

Snapchat took a risk in 2013. The launch of Stories was one that some people weren’t impressed with when it first started out, but it has since become one of the app’s key features. There’s something about Snapchat’s multitude of features – text chat, photo chat and stories – which doesn’t deviate from its core message. This is in contrast to Facebook Messenger, which launched a worryingly similar version of ‘stories’ – called Messenger Day – on its app today.

Photo: Facebook Messenger.

It’s been dubbed a ‘clone’ by some tech websites, and it’s likely that not everyone will approve of the new update. Granted, people had a similar reaction to Instagram, but it’s slowly being warmed to.

What made Instagram Stories ‘work’ (something to be debated) was the fact that Stories was on-brand. The app has always been about sharing photos and videos as a snapshot of your day. It works. Messenger – as the name suggests – has always been about messages on the most basic of terms. For a long time, it’s been through GIFs, photos, texts and videos. The app has always been grounded to its role as a basic messaging tool. To add something which is about sharing photos and videos ‘as they happen’ is a bizarre and wrong step to take for the app.

Plus, it doesn’t compete against Instagram, since they are both owned by Facebook. Whilst Zuckerberg’s platform has the most users (1.86 billion people compared to Snapchat’s 160 million daily users), why would Facebook introduce a feature on Messenger which is already available on Instagram?

There’s a right way to jump on a technological bandwagon, and this isn’t it. Breaking away from the aforementioned ‘core’ definition is brave, but it won’t work when the industry is all about creating a multi-tool app with one sole purpose.

Why forced comedy means it’s the end of the Vine | The Friday Article

Given how information is being consumed as quickly as possible, a six-second video sharing app known as Vine sounded like a fitting addition to the social media industry when it was introduced in 2013. Yet, with such a strict time constraint, creators were desperate to produce content which could be the next viral hint (‘do it for the Vine’ became a phrase which mocked and tapped into this notion). The app then became overpopulated with pranks, wacky dancing videos and slapstick comedy. Vine had its moments – with personalities appearing over its three-year lifespan – but everyone knows comedy cannot be forced. Therefore, it’s no surprise that yesterday, Twitter took the decision to discontinue Vine.

The announcement that Vine was to be discontinued was announced yesterday.

In a blog post in January 2013 by Vine’s co-founder, Dom Hofmann, he shared his belief that “constraint inspires creativity”. Twitter’s 140-character limit works because we can be creative with words regardless of restraints. Video, on the other hand, is much harder to limit without impacting creativity. We can use sentences and paragraphs of various lengths to communicate a message via. text, but when most videos explore stunning scenery or convey an important message, six seconds is simply not enough.

Vine tapped into a branch of social media which was on the rise. Snapchat’s ten-second messaging encouraged a new, fast-paced way of communicating, and looped GIFs have always lingered on the Internet. Twitter’s video app had to offer something different, so it messed around with looped videos with an even tighter limit of six seconds. Whilst it was popular in the short run, people soon returned to Snapchats and GIFs, with Vines only appearing should they be a massive viral hit.

There’s something to learn from Vine’s demise. Some mediums cannot be restrained – certainly not to six seconds. Twitter’s magic number of 140 just works and Snapchat’s success comes down to having those four extra seconds.

They know their limits; you can only restrict communication to a certain extent.

Instagram Stories: The battle for being the go-to photo app is on | The Friday Article

Instagram Stories has started a new battle for social media apps. For years, the battle between Facebook and Twitter has dominated tech news, with the two websites becoming more similar each day. Now, the attention shifts towards a new type of communication and the latest trend – photo and video chats. In an attempt to adhere to the latest trends, Instagram has sacrificed its individuality. Whilst users want to be able to choose between social media platforms, they also want the one app to serve a specific purpose. It’s freedom of choice versus the desire for a social media monopoly. Twitter may be winning against Facebook as the platform for text-based communication, but now there must be one go-to app for sharing photos and videos. It’s Instagram vs. Snapchat.


Instagram’s new update exposed a conflicting desire in society: we all want a variety of apps for the collectibility aspect, but at the same time, we like all our needs being served in the form of one app. We want both a collection and an individual service. It is impossible to have both, and now that Instagram Stories is worryingly similar Snapchat, users are faced with a dilemma: to which social media platform do they remain loyal to?

“It seems like it’s lost touch with the spirit of innovation and creation” said YouTuber and online creator Hank Green in an Instagram story posted earlier this week. His views tapped into a larger issue in the social media industry today. It’s essentially a landscape where apps can either copy each other, or be left behind. Rather than tapping into new and exciting ideas, in order to continue their takeover of the specific market, social media websites are forced to mimic competitors. It’s not a great way for these apps to act, and leaves social media users torn between two or more great apps.

Aside from users questioning their loyalty to certain mobile applications, another dilemma comes in the form of their requests being ignored. Twitter users long for an edit button, and those who use Instagram want to see the old logo and a chronological timeline make a comeback. It’s concerning that instead of making these changes, they choose to mimic their rivals. If they are doing this out of fear for losing users, then listening to their demands would lead to them continuing to use the service, right?

Who will come out on top? I don’t know. However, whilst being the go-to app for videos and photos is an important thing in terms of keeping up with the market, listening to the demands of the public is one of the best ways to procure loyal and regular users. It’s about time that we determined the trends and updates for some of our favourite apps.


Apple’s iOS 10 goes back to basics, but lacks a monumental change | The Friday Article

It may just be down to me being a fan of milestones, but Apple’s iOS 10 – revealed at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) – is a little underwhelming. For the tenth upgrade to iPhone devices, I expected substantial upgrades, as opposed to tweaking individual apps. The big change in design happened with iOS 8, meaning there wasn’t anything too exciting for Apple to boast about this time, in terms of the user interface.

iOS 10
The full, public release of iOS 10 is expected in the Autumn. Photo: iphonedigital on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons –

Instead, iOS 10’s most exciting upgrade is the changes to Messages – suggesting that this update to the iPhone’s operating system is one which focusses on the main functions of a phone: calls and texts. Of course, Apple revealed changes to Apple Music, Siri and Notes, but it’s these changes to messaging which has defined this year’s new operating system, and dominated reports on tech websites.

Aside from the new plans for iMessage, I like to think that iOS 10 offers something exciting for the deaf community. The new upgrade will see voicemail messages being transcribed and read, rather than being listened to. It can certainly help those who struggle to hear phone calls on the phone, and may provide an alternative for profoundly deaf people as well.

Emojis for iPhone was one of the main steps for Apple in terms of making messaging more personal. Text messaging has always been problematic when it comes to communicating emotions or tone of voice. Sarcasm is usually implied through italics, but whilst the option to italicise text is available on Notes, it’s yet to make the move to iMessage.

Facial expressions were communicated with emojis, and now bubble effects will help communicate excitement and sympathy. On top of that, hand-drawn messages also add personality to texts. Now, it’s about more than just the message.

It’s also worth adding that there are some changes I hope to see in iOS 10. As a Mac owner as well as an iPhone user, I’m a bit confused with the Calendar app. Whilst on the MacBook, users can set custom appointment times such as 10:21, events in the iPhone app can only be set at five-minute intervals. It would be great if there was some continuity on that front.

Apple’s tenth upgrade to the operating system is one which centres on a key function of any phone – messaging – but lacks something substantial to define such a milestone.


Deafinitely Challenging: Phones are like Marmite

I rely on my phone a lot. Nowadays, smartphones go beyond just phone calls and texts, with a variety of applications on offer. With that in mind, smartphones are an interesting piece of technology for deaf people. They can make our lives easier in some aspects, but at the same time, it can make it just that little bit harder.

Smartphones can benefit the lives of deaf people, but they also have their disadvantages. Source: NOGRAN s.r.o on Flickr
Smartphones can benefit the lives of deaf people, but they also have their disadvantages. Source: NOGRAN s.r.o on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons –

For most deaf people, we are unable to use the phone to make or receive calls. Fortunately, my iPhone has a setting which amplifies mobile calls, but I’ve often struggled with landlines because the sound doesn’t quite enter my hearing aid. At home, whenever someone rang ‘the home phone’, I would have to go to the trouble of taking out my hearing aids before answering the phone. The only problem then is that my hearing is reduced because I don’t have my aids in.

But whether it’s on my mobile – where I can hear a little better – or on landline, you also have issues regarding the quality of the call itself. For example, if someone calls me from a noisy bar, or whilst in a car, then the background noise can interfere and I struggle to hear what is being said. For that reason, I prefer text when possible. As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, it is a universal way to talk to people.

Thankfully, when it comes to landlines, I have since been able to get hold of an amazing telephone adaptor. You can read my review here, but it really does work wonders for me. Technology can be incredibly useful for deaf people.

This brings me on to the title of this post: Phones are like Marmite. For deaf people, you either love them or hate them. Whilst I love the hearing aid setting on my iPhone and the Glide app (a video messaging service), I struggle with landlines and my mobile’s audio quality can dip from time to time. Basically, what I meant by phone’s being like Marmite is that they both carry advantages and disadvantages for the deaf community – but, then again, everyone within the deaf culture is different.

What do you think? Can writing messages down help break down barriers? Comment below!