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Creator Weekly: Twitter is X, YouTube Studio Navigation, Facebook vs. Democracy


Creator Weekly July 29, 2023

This week the big news was Twitter’s rebrand to 𝕏, but that’s not all that’s happening. There are monetization updates on Instagram and Twitter/X, updated navigation in YouTube Studio, new Patterns for WordPress sites, and more for video creators and bloggers.

Plus several new research studies were published suggesting what people see on social media does not change their political attitudes (although there’s some argument about that).

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Export your Currents Data before August 8

The migration of Currents (formerly Google+) communities to Google Chat Spaces is complete and Currents shut down July 5.

If you were using Currents with your Google Workspace account, the deadline to export your data is August 8.

You can create an archive using Google Takeout if that option is enabled for your Google Workspace account. Note that it may take days for the archive to be created, so be sure to start now.

The Social Media platform formerly known as Twitter

Apparently Elon Musk has been dreaming of using his domain for a quarter century. It was his original company domain, and he has unsuccessfully tried to use it for other businesses he’s been involved in over the years.

But now he has his own website to change as he desires and Twitter is no more. Mostly.

Here’s what has happened this week:
  • The Twitter name has been changed to X on the web and mobile apps, although there are still lots of places where it still says “Twitter”.
  • The logo has been changed from the Twitter blue bird to 𝕏 . It seems to be just the letter X from the Special Alphabets 4 font or a unicode character (which is how I can type it 𝕏).
  • Dark mode is now the default. At one point Musk said that only dark mode would be available, but he was apparently talked out of that.
  • X (the company) appropriated the @X and @Xai handles, apparently without contacting or compensating the people using those accounts. Those users were each switched to a different handle.
  • Other official handles have changed, so, for example, @TwitterSupport is now just @Support. It looks like older Tweet links may redirect to the new handles.
  • “Tweets” have been replaced with “Posts”, but you can still “ReTweet” (at least on the web)
  • “Twitter Blue” subscriptions are now “X Blue”.
  • redirects to Deprecating the domain would break the vast number of links to the site, embedded Tweets and so forth, so it’s not clear what they will do in the long term. Possibly they will redirect URLs to URLs.

The design looks like something that would have been cool to a 20 year old in 1995. So there we are.

It’s been pointed out that Meta has the trademark for “X” for use with “social media”, and Microsoft, Alphabet (Google) and hundreds of other companies have “X” trademarks. I expect there will be litigation in the future (always a safe bet).

This made me LOL
Screenshot of Tweet "For those of you wher are going to edit the social icons on your website to change the Twitter bird to X, be assured that it's now safe to also remove the Google Plus icon at the same time."

Also this week a QAnon conspiracy account with 500,000 followers posted a child abuse image which was removed, but the account was almost immediately reinstated after a brief suspension. They are also apparently earning from the ad revenue sharing program. It will be taken well by advertisers, I’m sure.

So among all those changes, X rolled out several creator updates.

Monetization is available to more accounts. You can check your eligibility by going to your account’s monetization settings ( Click on “Subscriptions” or “Ad Revenue Sharing” to see the eligibility requirements or apply if your account is eligible. For ad revenue sharing your account must have:
  • at least 15 million impressions on your posts in the past 90 days (this was previously 5 million)
  • you must subscribe to Blue
Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today observed that the previous requirement that posts be “original, and not mostly re-posts of other content” seems to be missing, and that “could be because some of the highest-earning accounts do actually re-post a lot of content”.

Make sure your website shows its name in Google Search

The Google Search results will show the URL of a site, then the site name above that.

Google has announced they now support site names for subdomains on mobile and desktop. This is currently limited to sites in English, Japanese, French and German.

They have also improved the site name systems “to increase its ability to make selections that are representative of sites listed in search results”.

If your site is showing the wrong site name, or just the domain, in the search results, check Google’s technical guidelines.

Once you have added the WebSite structured data to your site, you can use the testing tool to make sure it is set up correctly.

I added the markup to a few days ago, and as of this writing the search results haven't been updated. But Google notes that can sometimes take a few weeks, so I’m trying to be patient before trying to troubleshoot.

Is Social Media Bad for Democracy?

In the last months of 2020, when the US was immersed in a polarizing runup to the presidential election, a team of scientists worked with Facebook to see how changing the feed (no reshared posts, reverse chronological order, or fewer posts from “like-minded” people) changed behavior and opinions.

The first results of those studies have just been published.

The changes seemed to have little effect on people’s attitudes, and Meta is touting this result. But an overview in the journal Science quotes other experts who note there are limitations to the studies and concerns about the research partnership with Meta.

And tech journalist Casey Newton notes “Social media changes how news gets written, how headlines are crafted, how news gets distributed, and how we discuss it. It’s possible that the most profound effects of social networks on democracy lie somewhere in this mix of factors — and the studies released today only really gesture at them.”

More Video Updates

YouTube is improving the display and navigation of the settings in the YouTube Studio app. Check out the announcement on the Creator Insider channel.

YouTube homepage product lead Todd B. (@hitsman) gave an impromptu AMA on Twitter. A few interesting things I learned:
  • Changing your video metadata (thumbnail, title) does not give it an artificial boost. “Any upticks you see are based on organic audience responses to changes.” (Post)
  • What YouTube is working on: using large language recommender models to better target videos to interested viewers. (Post)

This week TikTok launched text posts. You can get creative and add a sound, stickers, add tags and hashtags, or change background color. To make it interactive you can allow comments and Duets.

StreamYard has a new AI-driven “touch up” filter that you can enable in your camera settings.

Web Publishers

WordPress is replacing Reusable Blocks with Synced Patterns. With the next WordPress 6.3 release you will be able arrange blocks and save them as a pattern that you can reuse throughout your site. There is also a Patterns library you can copy-paste into your own WordPress site. Learn more on the WordPress blog.

WordPress also has a new free course on Newsletters 101, which you can easily set up on your WordPress site.

I learned from Roxana Stingu that you can play around and learn WordPress at

Tumblr is now letting posters display earned and purchased badges next to their blog name.

Social Media

Instagram is opening up monetization with subscriptions to creators in more countries. Initially available in the US only, creators in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom will now be able to offer paid subscriptions for exclusive content and special badges.

Threads is rapidly launching new features including a chronological Following feed (yes!), post translations, notification filters and a more prominent follow button.

Pinterest announced they are supporting the Inspired Internet Pledge. This is a collaboration between Pinterest and the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, and is “a call to action for tech companies and the broader digital ecosystem to unite with the common goal of making the internet a safer and healthier place for everyone, especially young people.”

AI Updates

Google is offering free training for small businesses interested in AI tools. There is a “Grow your productivity” course and an “Understanding Machine Learning” course. The sessions are on YouTube, and it looks like anyone can register, but they are being promoted for UK businesses specifically, so it’s on UK time.

Communication and Collaboration

If you are in a Google Meet meeting on your mobile device it’s finally possible to share audio along with your screen when you present. This is now available on iOS devices and will be available for Android devices in August. See the announcement.

Google Docs now lets you see line numbers in your text document, as long as you have it set to paged mode. This makes it easier to refer to a specific line or section of your doc.

If you use an Announcement Space in Google Chat for your Google Workspace organization, you can now allow Space members to respond to the announcement.

You can now record and share short video messages in WhatsApp.


Tom Humberstone @ The Nib proclaims “I’m a Luddite (and so can you!)” with an illustrated look at “what Luddites can teach us about resisting an automated future.”

Cindy Cohn and Rory Mir @ EFF write “FBI Seizure of Mastodon Server Data is a Wakeup Call to Fediverse Users and Hosts to Protect their Users”

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 the July 23 edition here.
Header image background: Photo by Sathesh D on Pexels. Free for commercial use.