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Twitter Tests ‘Instant Timelines’ — with Tweets from Users You Don’t Follow (Mashable)
As The New York Times reported Monday, Twitter has been testing a new feature called “Instant Timeline” on a subset of Android users since last week. Instead of manually checking off categories you’re interested in, or selecting people to follow, “Instant Timeline” scans your contacts — presuming you grant it permission to do so. It then analyzes those contacts and who they follow, and populates your stream with tweets that Twitter thinks may interest you. Wired
In a way, it breaks the original Twitter model, but the hope is that it can reduce what has traditionally been a steep learning curve for the service — something that has hindered Twitter in its ongoing efforts to expand its user base and compete with the likes of Facebook. The new Instant Timeline also helps new users navigate Twitter’s interface, providing tutorials at certain points throughout the service to explain tricky features, like direct messaging. The New York Times/Bits Blog While the feature doesn’t solve all of Twitter’s interface problems, there is no question that it’s a huge improvement to the sign-up process. Setting up an account is quick and nearly painless, and you are then plunged into Twitter’s information stream. PCWorld If the test goes well, Twitter could make it the default on-board process for all new users in the coming months. Twitter has been altering the ways it surfaces content in other ways too. A new “recap” feature shows people tweets they may have missed while they were away from Twitter. And late last year, it began showing users tweets from people they don’t even follow, something some longtime users saw as sacrilegious.

LinkedIn’s Connected Contacts App Arrives on Android (The Next Web)
Back in July, LinkedIn created Connected to replace its Contacts app on iOS. Monday, the app finally arrived on Android.

Here Is Why Twitter Still Beats Facebook for Super Bowl Brands (Adweek)
The Super Bowl placed the Facebook and Twitter platforms head-to-head in a way that shows the benefits and drawbacks of both. In some areas, Twitter dominates, and Facebook controls others.

In a Major Policy Shift, FCC Will Regulate Internet as a Public Utility (Report) (VentureBeat)
The Federal Communications Commission will later this week propose a plan to regulate the Internet in the way it might regulate a public utility. Today the Internet is regulated as an “information service” under Title I in the Communications Law.

Facebook Using Good, Old-Fashioned People to Help Tweak News Feed (SocialTimes)
Facebook has tried algorithms and surveys to help create the perfect News Feed, and now the social network is apparently turning to actual people. Steven Levy of Backchannel reported that Facebook is paying some 600 users to interact with their News Feeds four hours per day on a modified version of the social network in an effort to make better decisions on what its users want and don’t want to see in their News Feeds.

WhatsApp Begins Rollout of Voice Call Functionality (CNET)
Instant messaging service WhatsApp has seemingly begun a slow rollout of its anticipated voice-calling feature to its users in India, as reported by GSM Arena. Reddit user Pradnesh Patil aka pradnesh07 posted screenshots and a video of a WhatsApp voice call in action.

Why Twitch is the Video Network to Watch for 2015 (SocialTimes)
Twitch’s success over the past year can’t really be attributed to the Amazon acquisition, which took place in August 2014. The site audience has been growing at a solid rate, and as more viewers become cord cutters seeking alternative entertainment, Twitch is well poised to capture that market.

Foursquare’s Original Chief Technical Officer is the Latest to Leave the Company (The Verge)
Foursquare’s original chief technical officer has left the company after more than five years, The Verge has learned. Harry Heymann, who was the company’s first hire, is stepping down at the end of the week.

Infographic: Super Bowl vs. Other Major Sports Events in Facebook Ad Spend (SocialTimes)
In light of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX, SocialCode, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, analyzed the Facebook ad campaigns of one-dozen of its Fortune 500 brand clients during three major sporting events: Super Bowl XLVII, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia, and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Findings by SocialCode included: Two-thirds of the advertisers it studied spent during last year’s Super Bowl, with only one-quarter spending across multiple events.

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