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Creator Weekly: YouTube Live, Twitter vs. Substack, Flickr Creative Commons

Happy Easter and Passover to all who celebrate! I hope you have a sunny spring weekend!

This week Twitter went to war on Substack, YouTube launched new features for live streamers, YouTube launched new features for live streamers, Flickr's updated community guidelines prohibit copyleft trolling, and more.

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Twitter versus Substack

It has been another chaotic week at Twitter. The lesson seems to be that it’s a bad idea to use the platform to promote your business or services or newsletter or other content without a backup.

It started with an announcement from Substack

Substack is a newsletter platform where issues are also available on the web. It’s blog-like, with subscribers being able to comment on newsletter posts.

This week Substack launched Notes, where “writers will be able to post short-form content and share ideas with each other and their readers”. It has a very social feel, and tech media immediately compared it to Twitter. (Substack has also been going through some other changes, like asking users to invest in the company, which is unusual. But that is a whole ‘nother topic.)

The next day Substack users discovered it was no longer possible to embed Tweets in their newsletters.

And not long after, Twitter blocked the ability to retweet, reply to or like Tweets that include a Substack link.

The latest, as I write this, is that if you click a Substack link in a Tweet, Twitter pops up a warning that the link may be “spammy or unsafe.”

That’s rotten for people who use Twitter to promote their Substack newsletters, and is just one more actuation that is likely to push people to other platforms.

It also seems to ignore the fact that Twitter is part of an online ecosystem where embedded Tweets drive traffic to Twitter, and people share links on Twitter that drive traffic to those sites. It’s the circle of online life.

Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie used the situation to say that “Models that give writers and creators more powers are going to win on the internet.”

I think that’s important! And while writers using Substack own their email list, I’ll note that lists that use their own custom domain (rather than would likely have more continuity if they chose to switch services.

Appropriate GIF via @dotdave on GIPHY

More Twitter

A number of services have lost access to the Twitter API. Some received notices that they were violating policy. Services that no longer work with Twitter include: Feedly (RSS reader), Feedbin (RSS reader), Inoreader (RSS reader), TweetShift (posting Twitter feeds to Discord servers), third-party clients that help blind readersCheap Bots Done Quick (bot making platform and probably any bot created with it), ThreadReader App (makes Tweet thread more readable), and many more. WordPress’s JetPack Social plugin lost the ability to automatically share to Twitter, but that functionality was restored after a couple of days. And some other apps may end up paying for Twitter API access to restore service, but that is likely out of reach for many.

Twitter updated their harassment policy. In particular, they now define “targeted harassment” as behavior that is repeated, unreciprocated, and intended to humiliate or degrade an individual(s). This includes targeting people based on gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.” Of course what matters is how this is enforced, and where the line between criticism and comments that “humiliate or degrade” lies.

On April 3, Twitter’s logo was changed to the Doge dog. The Shiba Inu was part of a popular meme in 2013 (yes, 10 years ago), and is the logo for the Dogecoin cryptocurrency. Was it an April Fool’s gag launched two days late? Was it to pump up Dogecoin? Was it Musk thumbing his nose at plaintiffs in the $250 billion lawsuit against him for his promotion of Dogecoin? It was never explained, and after a few days the logo was changed back to the blue bird.

NPR’s Twitter account was labeled “state-affiliated media”, seemingly at the behest of a right-wing commentator. However, despite the name, the news and media organization is not a US government-run media outlet, and only gets about 1% of its operating budget US government grants. Previously it had explicitly been listed as an example of a news organization that is NOT “state-affiliated media”, but Twitter edited their help center article to remove that information. After pushback, Elon Musk acknowledged that maybe the label was inaccurate, but no changes have been made. NPR has stopped Tweeting until the label is removed.

Twitter Blue subscribers will start to see only half the ads in their Following and For You timelines. This will not affect ads in Explore, replies, promoted accounts or trends.

An interesting take from Lulu Cheng Meservey (currently Chief Communications Officer for Activision Blizzard): "Please just take the checkmark away!" How Twitter devalued its top status symbol and what it can do now

New Live Streaming Features on YouTube

YouTube is rolling out live stream reactions on iOS devices. Viewers can tap one of the reaction emoji during a livestream, and that reaction (but not who posted it) can be seen by other viewers. This is on by default for all channels with live streaming enabled. You can turn it off, but note that YouTube has found that “the ability to react and see how others react during certain moments strengthens the sense of community.” Learn more from Creator Insider.

YouTube is also adding two new features in Live Control Room for livestreamers (via Creator Insider):
  • If your channel has monetization enabled, there will be a new “ads automation” option in Live Control Room which allows YouTube to automatically insert midroll ads.
  • There is also a new live control panel you can pop out from live control room with just the essential information. That can be manually docked in OBS or other platforms.

More YouTube and Video

Some YouTube channels are getting a new Podcasts tab on their channel’s Home page.

Does updating a video’s title or thumbnail “re-rank your video”? YouTube’s creator liaison answers: “the algorithm follows the audience”. If people are more likely to click the new title or thumb, that will boost your video.

TikTok is celebrating Earth Month by highlighting content about sustainability and conservation.

The Streamyard live streaming platform now allows guests to add their own live stream destinations if the Host has a paid plan. Adding a Guest Destination allows a participant to add their own YouTube channel or other platform for the live stream to simultaneously appear there. Comments from the Guest Destinations will appear in the studio, although hosts will not be able to moderate the comments on the guest’s channel or account. Learn more.

Web Publishers

Cory Doctorow reports that Flickr has updated their guidelines to prohibit “copyleft trolling”. That is where copyright holders harass and threaten to sue people who are technically out of compliance with the Creative Commons license due to small errors in attribution. The new guidelines state: "Failure to allow a good faith reuser the opportunity to correct errors is against the intent of the license and not in line with the values of our community, and can result in your account being removed." This is good news if you use licensed Flickr images on your website or blog.

Tumblr will start migrating away from its legacy post editor on May 15th. It sounds like a significant improvement, but I’m not a Tumblr user so I may be missing something.

Social Media (other than Twitter)

Meta’s recent round of layoffs “gutted” their customer service teams, leaving influencers, power users and businesses on Instagram and Facebook with no one to turn to when things go wrong.

Reddit is simplifying its feed interface to “make posts easier to digest and enables everyone to find relevant conversations faster.” The most controversial change is removing the poster handle, so that posts in the Home feed only show the subreddit where it was posted (it will still show inside the community).

Pinterest has expanded access to their Creator Inclusion Fund. Originally launched in the US, UK and Brazil, it has now expanded to Austria, Canada, France, Germany, and Switzerland. It is designed to especially support underrepresented communities (Black, Latiné, LGBTQIA+, Asian, Indigenous people and people with disabilities). Eligible creators with a focus on sustainability and eco-consciousness in the US and Canada can apply through April 13th.


Google published the results from several studies that show its Project Starline 3D video calling platform improves conversation dynamics, attentiveness, and reduces meeting fatigue. Project Starline was announced at Google I/O in 2021, and still highly experimental.

If you use a Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro to participate in a Google Meet meeting, you can use speaker separation to hear participants from the direction they appear on the screen. This requires a wired headset or phone speakers, and is not available for wireless headphones. Learn more.

Google is no longer updating third party smart displays (from Lenovo, JBL, LG), and have noted that may affect Meet (meetings and Duo call) quality. 9to5 Google notes that this is not surprising, as Google announced in early 2019 that it would no longer develop the underlying operating system.

More Reading

Do not enter queries into ChatGPT (or other “AI” services) that you don’t want the world to know. Samsung engineers used ChatGPT for coding suggestions without realizing the source code they entered became part of the bots database. Others have used ChatGPT for meeting notes, again not realizing that everything entered can be discoverable.

The Coachella Music Festival will once again be live on YouTube. As usual YouTube uses the event to highlight some of its features, including Shorts (of course), exclusive merch drops, and exclusive “pre-parties” for Premium subscribers. Tune in to the Coachella channel April 14-16 and April 21-23 to watch live.

Finally, do you know the backup rule of three? You should have critical data backed up in 3 different locations. Why? Because something like Western Digital’s My Cloud outage could be devastating if that’s the only place your data is stored.

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.

Header image background: Candy Easter Eggs by Annie Spratt from Pixabay. Free for commercial use, no attribution required.


  1. Good job as always. Twitter is getting weird for sure.


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Spam and personal attacks are not allowed. Any comment may be removed at my own discretion ~ Peggy