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Weekly Update - January 30, 2021: YouTube, Twitter, Account Privacy

This was a quiet week in the Googleverse. YouTube rolled out new features for Premieres, tested Clips, and CEO Susan Wojcicki outlined YouTube’s direction for the coming year. And in social media news, Twitter Birdhouse is a test of crowd-sourced identification of misinformation, Instagram has a new professional dashboard; and Facebook explained how it orders your news feed. 

January 28 was Data Privacy Day. This is the perfect time to run a privacy checkup on your Google (and YouTube), Facebook and Twitter accounts, to make sure you aren’t inadvertently sharing or displaying content you would like to keep private. You can also set how much of your data is retained and used by the big tech companies.

YouTube and Video

Blogger and Webmasters

  • Blogger is encouraging bloggers to follow Google Web Creators for “Blogger news, general blogging tips & inspiration, and product updates from Google”. In addition to the official blog, you can follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. While not all the technical updates and tips they publish are relevant for Blogger bloggers, the creator interviews are interesting. And it’s excellent to see Google focusing on its creator ecosystem.
  • Google Web Creators has some tips for Web Story Content. They suggest that a Story should not just be a teaser for your website, but should be able to stand on its own.

Social Media

  • Invite-only social audio chat app Clubhouse says they will be “welcoming more voices”. They are going to “begin work on their Android app soon”, which sounds like there won’t be an Android version available anytime soon (but at least they are thinking about it). They also will be testing monetization options like tipping, tickets or subscriptions.
  • Facebook explained how their newsfeed predicts what you want to see. And it explains why your feed tends to be more of the same.
  • Instagram has a new Professional Dashboard. It lets you track your performance, offers tools for "growing your business", and includes tips and tricks for making the most of Instagram. The Professional Dashboard is available to Creator and Business accounts.
  • Twitter acquired newsletter service Revue. This will help writers and publishers connect with their subscribers on Twitter, create "new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers" and eventually open up new monetization options. It will be interesting to see if this puts Twitter in competition with the popular newsletter platform Substack.
  • Twitter is trying to address the spread of misinformation with a new program called Birdwatch. Participants can add notes to Tweets they believe to be misleading. You can see recent Tweets with Birdwatch notes where it appears almost every post by or about a prominent US politician has a note. It’s hard to imagine how that will be useful if opened up to the community at large.
  • Pinterest introduced Story Pins following streams, which puts Stories from the Pinners you follow the top of the screen. This seems pretty much like how other social media platforms display Stories. The difference is that Story Pins don’t disappear after 24 hours, and can be shared and saved.



  • Google has open-sourced Tilt Brush, their virtual reality painting application.The product is not being actively developed by Google, so this gives the community the opportunity to update the code and build new versions.
  • The latest version of Chrome OS lets you customize the lock screen with a screensaver that displays photos from your Google Photos or from art and nature images. It also displays the time and weather, and what music is playing. Confession: I spent far too much time this week picking the just the right photos. But I love it.

That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get it here.

Image: Raindrops on leaf by Pixabay from Pexels (Free to use (CC0))