Content RadarThe new year brings new opportunities, but only for marketers and content creators who know where to find them. If your new year’s resolution is to stay current on the news and buzz surrounding the world of content, this week’s Content Radar is a good place to start.

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Don’t Look Now, But Twitter Is in the Midst of a Renaissance

Social media hasn’t been around long enough for us to see a social channel fall from grace, dust itself off, and pick itself back up again. Recent history is full of channels that have tried and failed, (we’re looking at you Vine, Google+, Meerkat), but for the first time we may be witnessing the rebirth of a social channel that many industry insiders said was knocking on death’s door.

So, what is it that has led Twitter back to the precipice of glory? Well, there is no single item — but a handful of updates have led Twitter to where it stands today. Let’s take a deeper look at a few of the circumstances that have brought Twitter back to life.

The 280-character tweets have turned out OK
Twitter Quiet Renaissance

When Twitter first opened up 280-character tweets for all users, there was a minor uproar in the Twitterverse of individuals who declared 280-character tweets would ruin Twitter. Just a few months later, those critics have mostly quieted down. Among other things, 280 characters has allowed for better communication, an emphasis of quality over quantity, and (Twitter hopes) an increase of users.

Snarky accounts make Twitter a must-see for some

Accounts like Moon Pie and Wendy’s have become cultural phenomenons thanks to the accounts’ quick-witted tweets and gimmicks. It remains to be seen what the ROI for Wendy’s and Moon Pie is, but for users, the accounts are a hit.

Brand strategist Jeremy Miller commented on one instance when the Wendy’s Twitter account turned the tables on a Twitter troll to help open this new age of Twitter snark.

“Everyone took notice,” Miller said. “This thing took off. It got retweeted. It got shared. It got people engaged — Mashable picked up on it. Everyone started to pay attention to this brand that just did something pretty remarkable.”

Twitter is making people feel safer

Twitter Quiet Renaissance

Granted, the company has a long way to go, but by making a habit out of being transparent with its safety settings and by updating users about these adjustments, Twitter has come a long way in the last 12-15 months. Its most recent update in late December 2017 introduced new rules on violence and physical harm and expanded its hateful conduct policy to include images and information in bios.

Tech expert Jessica Naziri spoke to CBS Los Angeles about some of these security updates.

“The purpose is really to listen to the users on Twitter,” Naziri said. “This will eliminate a lot of this [hate speech] and allow users to take control and do something about it.”

Twitter remains a major news source

Despite all of Twitter’s flaws, one key aspect has carried the channel through its rough stretch and remains a key component: news. A study published in late 2017 concluded that even tweets shared by small publications on important topics — such as climate change or race — can have a significant effect on the overall discussion on Twitter. Given that many still come to Twitter first when news breaks, until somebody else shows it can break news better, Twitter will remain a top news source.

Content Radar

A new Chrome extension flags articles that aren’t trustworthy. The tool, called Unpartial, places stories in one of five categories, including “Fake News,” “Super Shady,” “Seems Sketchy,” “Consider a More Reputable Source,” and “Seems Legit.”

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Female marketers face the same pay-gap challenges women face in other roles. According to a recent study by the Office of National Statistics, women who work as marketing and sales directors make 12 percent less than men. Female marketing associate professionals make an average of 17 percent less.

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Amazon may be launching a channel to compete with YouTube. After refusing to allow Google to show Amazon Prime Videos on Chromecast, Amazon has filed for trademark names for what looks like might be a social video sharing site. The early frontrunner for a name for the network? AmazonTube.

Content Radar

Shutterstock says that marketers want photos that resemble real life. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. marketers are looking for photos that feature non-professionals, while 1 in 3 are using photos with more racial diversity. About 1 in 4 are using more women in photos.