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Medium’s 👏 new 👏 Claps 👏 reaction 👏 button 👏 lets 👏 you 👏 applaud 👏 authors 👏 you 👏 love

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Medium — home of the tedious self-congratulatory thinkpiece — has introduced a new reaction button that lets you ‘clap’ (or 👏) posts you enjoy.

What makes Medium’s clap feature special is that it isn’t a one-time thing. If you really like a post, you can applaud multiple times by mashing the clap button like an old person trying fruitlessly to use a touchscreen ATM.

Katie Zhu, who works for Medium in product and engineering, explained that the new feature was because recommends felt a bit too cheap. A recommend for a piss-taking, three minute post (like this one) is equally as valuable as a recommend on a more thoughtful, long-form article.

The Recommend — our version of a Like or upvote or fav — has been our explicit feedback signal since almost day one. Explicit feedback is the most valuable signal, both for authors and the Medium system. But a simple, binary vote has its limitations. It shows you how many people thought something was good, not how good was it?

In short, claps will let you give authors more accurate feedback on a post, and only the author can see how many claps you offer. Medium also plans to use claps in discovery, ensuring that the most appreciated stories rise to the stop.

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Nuzzel introduces LinkedIn integration and new video feed

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Nuzzel, the news curation app from former Friendster founder and CEO Jonathan Abrams, today announced a new integration with LinkedIn. Users who connect their LinkedIn accounts will now be able to access personalized business stories that are relevant to their experiences and interests, and are being widely shared by their professional contacts.

Over email, Abrams said “[i]n internal testing prior to launch, Nuzzel team members found that our professional contacts were posting very high quality professional content on LinkedIn.”

“Nuzzel’s integration with LinkedIn will encourage users to share interesting processional content back to LinkedIn,” he added.

Unlike many other news curation apps, Nuzzel has positioned itself as a place for high-quality journalism and content, intended for an audience of professionals and influencers. Previously, the service exclusively supported Facebook and Twitter. Adding the foremost professional social networking site will undoubtedly help it reach that goal.

In addition to the LinkedIn integration, Nuzzel has introduced a new video feature, which highlights popular video news content in the familiar feed format. That’s pretty smart, considering an increasing number of news organizations have pivoted away from traditional text-based journalism towards video content, like MTV News and Mic.

Videos are split into two categories: “My Videos” and “Top Videos.”  Top Videos is where you’ll discover new content. In my case, this mostly came from Business Insider, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and focused largely on culture, politics, and technology.

Otherwise, it works just like you’d expect it to. You can tap through to see conversation surrounding the clip on Twitter, and other content that might be relevant. You can also share it with your contacts on other sites.

Nuzzel’s new video feed and LinkedIn integration is available from today. You can check it out on iOS, Android, and web.

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An addict’s tale: My week without social media

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By Monday I’d deleted Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn applications off my phone and logged out of all accounts on my laptop: it had begun

Hi, my name is Inés and I’m a social media addict. But this week, I decided to go through digital detox by turning off all of my major distractions.

The challenge

The first day was tough. I would constantly press the Twitter bookmark on Chrome, or type in facebook.com, in the hope that something would show up. Nada. The login page would stare me right in the face saying “Nope. Nothing to see here.”

Tuesday morning was difficult, but also a relief. Waking up and having nothing to check is strange — simply not seeing the application icons on my phone was relaxing. No time was wasted before breakfast, I could read the news and even turned on the TV.

Wednesday and the days that followed became smoother. I wouldn’t glance at my phone at dinner, or even check notifications in the middle of a conversation (something I’m very prone to doing). One more thing I noticed as the days went by was that I had barely any new pictures — less to share, less to take.

By Thursday it already felt natural. The fear of missing out I felt initially from not seeing Instagram Stories or Facebook Events had worn out completely.

On Friday I’d found peace in the absence of social media. There were fewer distractions. It felt like a brain holiday. The time spent reading, seeing and scrolling had become free time in which I could indulge in various other activities — and that wasn’t a bad thing at all. At 10pm it was time to get back on it, but the truth is, there was nothing truly missing. Logging back in felt more of an obligation rather than a need.

What is it that we crave?

Social media algorithms are tailored to our interests — and to show us content that may interest us. This sounds normal to anyone who uses Facebook or Instagram today, but I’m not sure if we’re fully aware of how this affects us in our day-to-day lives.

In my case, Twitter is my weak point. The latest update to its algorithm, which shows tweets liked by accounts you follow, has only increased the time I spend constantly refreshing my timeline in search for news or funny tweets.

The Twitter community is a volatile one: you miss out a few days and you’ve missed out on everything.

On Facebook, it was the memes that I missed. I Craved memes. I needed memes. It led to a realization that this was what Facebook had become. Sharing life events migrated to Instagram. Facebook was now the digital home of news and meme content. While I was away, Facebook even sent me an email updating me on things that had happened while I’d been logged out.

The need to be up-to-date with the social media world has become an addiction — and it’s not one that should be taken lightly. As Facebook’s head of marketing stated earlier this year, the average adult checks their phone 30 times a day, ad the average millennial checks their phone 150 times a day.

Spending increasing amounts of time online can result in behavioral changes and the way we relate to people around us, just like any other addictions. Millennials are the main ones affected, admitting they spend more time than they’d like to on social media. Not only that, but it goes hand in hand with the need to be constantly validated by others, leading to lack of self-reflection.

Conclusions

Although I literally live off it (I found this internship through Twitter), I do not need it. The initial anxiety took a few days to wear off, but by the end of it, I found myself being much more productive. The time usually wasted infinitely scrolling through Twitter and Instagram was used to focus on other aspects of life — whether it was studying or simply taking some time off to relax. My concentration game reached its peak, which only convinced me to do a detox more often.

Social media is, in part, a way to escape real life. Even though it was only 5 days, by the end of it I was able to point out different aspects of life which needed to improvement. The lack of distraction put me face to face with real-life problems.

Just like everything else in life, social media is good in small doses. Ignorance is bliss.

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‘MeToo’ hashtag lights up Twitter and Facebook with sexual assault stories

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To say the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal has been making waves would be to downplay it. Ever since the story in the New Yorker where the women who’d encountered him spoke out, others on social media have been speaking out.

As the stories rolled in from other women who’ve been victimized by Weinstein, others also spoke up about their own experiences with sexual assault and harassment — men and women alike. Now those stories are accumulating under the hashtag #MeToo, which is spreading on social media like wildfire.

The hashtag started when Alyssa Milano, former costar of firebrand Rose McGowan, tweeted that women who’ve been through similar experiences should reply with “Me too:”

The tweet received a flood of responses, direct and indirect via the Me Too tag. This might be one of the only tweets I’ve ever seen where the replies outnumber the likes.

To me, the hashtag is significant because it’s not inherently a gendered one. One of the most interesting posts to come out of the Harvey Weinstein case is from Terry Crews, who shared a story of being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood mogul and feeling unable to fight back due to his assailant’s power and popularity. It’s an important reminder that it’s not just young actresses who can be taken advantage of by those with high personal connections and no scruples.

The hashtag is still going strong across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and shows no signs of slowing down.

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