Why did Twitter ditch Favorites for Likes? The 3 Big Reasons

Earlier this month Twitter had people buzzing online, by and large on the platform itself, about the adoption of the like and heart to replace the favorite and star. Here are the three main reasons for the switch. To become more universal While it’s an easy assumption for some to make, equating the star to positivity with the “favorite” function isn’t necessarily known on the large scale. On the other hand, the heart is not only one of the oldest symbols on earth, it’s proven to work on other social media platforms. The heart symbol is one of the oldest icons in civilization, with origins traced back to the Ice Age. An international symbol, the heart was a staple of culture and religious practices in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greeks, Romans and early Americans. Because of the symbol’s ability to transcend time, language and cultural barriers, it has become a universal sign for expressing positivity on social media. Using love and hearts in world-wide marketing is not new and Twitter is now catering to an audience beyond the United State. Twitter needed a change So far their change is working. Twitter has reported a 6 percent increase in Like activity after one week of switching to the hearts. This is trending in a much more favorable than their user growth, which prompted the move. Forbes has reported that U.S. user growth has been flat through 2015. While internationally their have been increasing user, some speculate it’s because of the use of Twitter as strictly a messaging system. Financially too, Twitter is a stock that is slumping worse than it ever has before. A year and a half removed from selling at more than $60 a share, TWTR is currently at $26.51. While many hope the stock can blow back up like Apple and Facebook, it’s still murky Conflicting purpose While the Favorite was unique to Twitter, its purpose was not clear. While some used it to save Tweets and others to show agreement or satisfaction, the like now provides clarity in purpose. Clicking the heart means liking the Tweet, and older, less tech-savvy users will adjust better drawing from familiarity of Facebook which has a like function. While the purpose is more defined there is no change to the function of the mechanism. Tweets that are liked are still saved in a tab like favorites were. So people who want to go through their like, or snoop through the likes of others, can still do so. Our poll on Twitter said only one respondent was using the function differently after the change. If the heart is changing how people use...

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Streaming Flourishes, but Cable Still Handcuffs Consumers
Nov11

Streaming Flourishes, but Cable Still Handcuffs Consumers

As the teeter totter of streaming and cable begins to even out, more and more devices are breaking through to make streaming easier for your television. Recently Apple just released the fourth generation Apple TV, with features everyone is talking about. The big one is the integration of siri functionality. Such as allowing Netflix users to search for movies and control features easier than ever before. Also, Apple TV introduces some new gaming features that incorporate the remote, doubling as a party-style game console. The games will run on a new operating system titled tvOS, the first time Apple TV will have native games. But it hasn’t been all positive reaction for Apple. Big criticism has come around for the manual search function on the Apple TV which is simply just a single, alphabetic bar at the top. Possibly a method to prong users to use Siri? If so, a bold strategy. Also, the new Apple TV isn’t just changing how users experience it, but app developers too. The new product makes it so designers must rely on retrieving data from iCloud for use. Polygon goes into much more detail, including the breakdown of app “slicing.” What really sets Apple TV apart from its competition is the way it is making TV dependent on Apps the same way our phones have become. It’s made others take notice. In fact, Amazon is now no longer carrying Apple TV or Google Chromecast on their store. Apple TV is just one of the many options that consumers have to stream on their TV. Roku, and “streaming sticks” like Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick make it easy. But what about options that cut out the middle man and integrate the technology within the TV? SmartTVs. Samsung, Vizio and TCL are among just a few companies that provide an interface that allows you to stream without any other services, aside from an internet connection. Most of the Internet-ready TVs hover around the affordable range of $200 to $500. With TVs themselves making it this easy to stream, is the very device that was once two peas in a pod with cable contributing to its imminent extinction? Huge prices, unnecessary packages and commercials are just a few of the reasons viewers are ditching traditional TV viewing. But what about live TV? Without cable authentication, it can still be a challenge. WatchESPN requires a cable or Sling TV subscription. And CNN viewers who wish to watch coverage on an Apple TV also need a cable commitment. It’s the awkward middle ground many media find themselves, the struggle of not falling behind with streaming technology but not...

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Sitting down with Midtown Crossing
Aug05

Sitting down with Midtown Crossing

  It was a cool evening, no wind, rain or heat. Jazz music playing in the background, while chilling at a beautiful park around a friendly, diverse community. My first night at Jazz on the Green, for people like me who are new to Omaha, we look for comforting venues and forms of entertainment to relieve our stage of newcomers status. Midtown Crossing holds community events that will appeal to just about anyone. If you are new to Omaha, have yet to attend an event or just flat out love Midtown Crossing already, listen in as we sit down with a member of Midtown Crossing who goes in a little more depth to it’s successful events and what they have been able to do in just 5 short years. Will you tell us who you are, your role at Midtown Crossing and how long have you been there? My name is Suzanne Diefenbaugh, I am the graphic designer for Midtown Crossing and I have been with Midtown Crossing for 5 years – since the grand opening in 2010. Can you elaborate on a few events that are going on currently? Absolutely, summer is our busiest time of year for events – of course. Some of our staple summer events are listed below: Yoga Rocks in the Park This is a free weekly yoga class held in Turner Park every Sunday, usually starting in May and lasting about 6 to 8 weeks. The community is invited to come do yoga in the park while a live band plays music, vendors set up booths, who sell yoga related gear. Kids are welcome to attend, either doing yoga as well or going to Camp Yoga Rocks while their parents do yoga. Thursday in the Park This is our live music series that spans the whole summer starting in June. It starts with our Summer Kickoff Concert series followed by Playing with Fire, Jazz on the Green and coming up in less than 2 weeks – the End of Summer Concert Series. The concerts are held every Thursday in Turner Park.  Our retailers / restaurants set up booths, sell delicious drinks and food for concert goers to enjoy. Attendees are also allowed to bring in their own food and refreshments (just no hard alcohol). Big O Bocce We host bocce ball leagues every Tuesday in Turner Park. There is a spring and summer session, we are currently mid-way through the summer session. Monday Night at the Movies This is our weekly outdoor movie series that begins in June, usually running for about 9 weeks. We just wrapped up our 2015 series. Each Monday at Turner Park we inflate a...

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DuckDuckGo: The Little Search Engine that Can…And Will!
Jul13

DuckDuckGo: The Little Search Engine that Can…And Will!

Competitors of Google (Yahoo!, Bing, Ask.com, etc.) have never been able to rival the search volume of the tech giant. These big name companies have tried to imitate Google and have not met much success in winning over users from Google. But DuckDuckGo is trying something different – and already getting some impressive results. DuckDuckGo’s Secret DuckDuckGo offers something for its users that Google cannot – hardcore privacy. Among other features of DuckDuckGo, its radical privacy is perhaps most appealing to users. The search engine does not log your IP address, doesn’t track you with cookies, and websites cannot even tell when search terms you used that brought you to their site. Weinberg’s start-up is banking the on the fact that Google’s lifeblood is it ability to sell user (albeit anonymized) information to marketers, and that users are not OK with that. When the company started out in September of 2008, privacy wasn’t a key concern of search engine users. But since the Edward Snowden NSA Revelations of 2013, business for DuckDuckGo has skyrocketed.     Other Features Weinberg did not start DuckDuckGo with the intention of becoming a safe haven of search privacy. That came through Reddit and HackerNews user requests. Other features of the DuckDuckGo include: !bangs – this feature allows you to search for a specific site and be taken straight there. Instant recipes – A partnership with Yummly allows you to easily find any recipe without having to sort through endless confusing cooking blogs. Custom design – you can change the look and feel of the site for your own browser. DuckDuckGo’s Humble Beginnings Gabriel Weinberg first started DuckDuckGo with the idea of proving ‘instant answers’ instead of simply a list of different sites. Anyone who’s been on Google in the last year knows that Google is now using this idea as well. Fortunately DuckDuckGo had other legs to stand on.   Just Getting Started Though DuckDuckGo’s searches increase 100-500% each year, the company is still only performing a teeny-tiny fraction of the queries Google completes each day, which is nearly 4 billion. Can DuckDuckGo be David to the Google Goliath? Only time will tell, but keep your eyes on the this post-Snowden era spectacle....

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7 Ways to Grow with Self-Education
Jul08

7 Ways to Grow with Self-Education

“If a man empties his purse into his head no man can take it from him. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin   Self-Education: It is something invaluable and we all take it for granted from time to time. I truly believe you have to be motivated by an ultimate goal in order to sustain consistent personal growth. Find that goal and instill everyday in your head, how can I become a better person, mentally, physically, spiritually, etc.? Many think that they aren’t in school anymore or they become so comfortable with where they are, that they believe they have reached a ceiling. Anyhow, that is not the case, knowledge can be attained outside of a classroom. Some even find that they flourish much more this way, compared to a classroom setting. Self-education can come in many ways whether it is in school, internet, books or your own experience. I highly encourage everyone to find a way to make self-education a good habit, the following are ways I have tested my limits or ideas I plan on doing in the future.   7 Ways to Grow with Self-Education   Stay In Sometimes you need that every once in awhile. I think a majority of people go through a phase where they go out every week and do things they regret in the morning. I believe it is called “college”. It is so crucial that you know when to leave that phase, if you don’t I like to call those people professional partiers. Some professional partiers can thrive and achieve many things and I applaud those because it is extremely difficult for me. Everybody is different, that is the special thing about this. There is so much information out there to learn. To clarify, I am not telling you not to go out anymore because you might meet some of the coolest people by doing so or have the best memories if you hadn’t. Nonetheless, you’ll find the next morning you feel good about yourself and ready to take on whatever is in store for that day.   Attempt to Learn a Language Download Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, whatever language learning software it is, before you know you will find yourself addicted to it, if you truly are committed to learning another language. Even if you just learn a few words or sentences it is better than nothing. You never know when you can spark up a conversation with a foreigner or even connect with somebody by simply saying one or two words in something other than English. Do what ever it takes, heck go to...

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Lexus Hoverboard is Awesome, Still Disappoints
Jun29

Lexus Hoverboard is Awesome, Still Disappoints

We are now well into the year 2015, the year to which Marty McFly travelled in the science fiction blockbuster Back to the Future Part II. Companies have been increasingly cashing in on the Back to the Future franchise as October 21 (the exact day Marty McFly came to 2015) approaches. The latest company to join in the fun is the luxury automobile brand Lexus. As part of the company’s “Amazing in Motion” campaign, they have announced the development of their own Lexus hoverboard. http://alwayscurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/lexus_hoverboard_slide_film_high_mov_20bdf6e18bca2a839ab64d1e4d409ec32fe74e60_low.mp4   Looks pretty sweet, right? There’s a catch. It only works in a controlled environment. The concrete that Lexus Hoverboard levitates over in the  video has magnets beneath it. I find this revelation disappointing in a few ways. The first is that Lexus is making a huge deal of what is essentially a middle school science project on steroids. The actor never even puts all his weight on the Lexus hoverboard! They’ve even trying to make #LexusHover a thing. I think the people excited about this thing clearly skipped the part of the press release that says it doesn’t work and it’s not for sale. The second disappointment is not on the part of Lexus, but on civilization’s development of technology as a whole. We’ve figured out smartphones and iPads, so how have we not created a functioning hoverboard yet? Based on our willingness to believe Tony Hawk’s hoverboard prank of 2014, there is clearly a demand for the invention. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the Lexus Hoverboard looks awesome. I want to ride a hoverboard just as badly as anyone. The hoverboard in the movie is made by Mattel and looks to be made for small children – Sidenote: you can get your very own non-functioning Mattel hoverboard just like in the movie for around $450. The Lexus’ hoverboard is certainly an upgrade from that. So even though I’m let down that I can’t get my own, I suppose a working hoverboard can now be lightly penciled onto the list of correct 2015 predictions made by the Back to the Future II writers. For more Back to the Future fun, check out this list of hilariously wrong and shockingly spot-on predictions made by the writers of the movie....

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