What’s new @Twitter?

Mark Luckie leads a panel at Social Media Weekend

It’s maybe not how most people would choose to spend their birthday, but Twitter’s manager of journalism and news, Mark Luckie, was rewarded for showing up to Columbia Journalism School’s Social Media Weekend when his audience sang to him. During the rendition of “Happy Birthday,” the weekend’s host, Columbia Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan, snapped a six-second video using Vine, Twitter’s new video-sharing app.

Vine is just one of the developments at Twitter that Luckie told the packed audience about at his 90-minute slot on Saturday morning. Use Vine to capture action behind the scenes, things that happen on the spur of the moment, Luckie said. Even if that action is blurry, shaky or upside down. “Vine is pushing the boundaries of what you can do with shortform video,” he said. “Those videos have no less impact because of quality.”

Twitter pushed its new app on Valentine’s Day with the hashtag #ValenVine, encouraging users to record romantic messages using that hashtag on Vine. But instead of joining in, CNN pinched the idea and invented its own hashtag, #CNNValentine. “CNN decided to address this solely to their community,” he explained.

Luckie told Twitter users to be selective. Don’t argue, he said, because arguing brings the whole conversation down. “Remember, you don’t have to respond,” he said.

Luckie raced through some recent improvements to the social service. He said the search function now makes it easier to find verified tweeters, while users can now search for tweets by location by typing in the search word followed by “near:location,” for example, “#smwknd near:10027.” Twitter is experimenting with data, he said, with a political index that measured how people would vote in the election based on their tweets, and a flu tracker that shows where people tweeting about flu are located. The company is in the early stages of rolling out a download function that will allow users to search and download their tweets. It is also partnering with BlueFin Labs and Nielsen to create social TV analytics.

And then there was the question of spam. “Right now, the social media weekend hashtag is getting swamped with spam,” said Amy Vernon, a manager at Internet Media Labs. “How can I follow the conversation without coming up against loads of porn?”

“For that, I apologize,” Luckie said. “We have whole teams around the globe working to combat spam. But spam is like swatting a fly, you might hit the fly, but it already has millions of babies.”

As time ran out, Luckie said there were plenty of other tips he could give. “To find out more,” he said, “you’ll just have to follow me on Twitter.”

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Hazel Sheffield is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @hazelsheffield. Tags: ,