Tumblr Post+ Subscription is in Beta Mode



Tumblr is now one of the social media companies that wants to let creators make money from their content. It announced Post+, which is a subscription service that is currently in beta.

Tumblr’s Post+ is our new tool that allows creators to make some of their posts exclusive to paid supporters and allows people to support their favorite creators. It’s an optional way to support and encourage your favorite creators in Tumblr, and it’s all done in the existing post form with the existing tools you all know and love.

Here’s what is known about Tumblr’s Post+ (so far):

Tumblr users who have Post+ can pick and choose which posts they want public and which posts they want only their supporters to see.

Creators who use Post+ have the ability to choose from a select set of predefined subscription pricing structures for their supporters. TechCrunch reported that the subscriber-only content starts at $3.99 per month, with additional tiers at $5.99 and $9.99.

You must be a Tumblr user in order to become a paying Post+ supporter.

If you subscribe to a creator’s Post+, your blog name and any information you share publicly on your blog will be available to the owner of the blog you are subscribing to. No personal information is shared.

Subscribers will be notified when the Post+ creator(s) they subscribe to shares something new.

You can cancel your Post+ subscription if you choose to. But, you have to cancel it at least 24 hours before the end of your current subscription period in order to avoid being charged for the next subscription period. You cannot get a refund.

According to Tumblr, +Posts can be reblogged! This is encouraged. Each reblogged +Post has a teaser section at the top of the post that is publicly viewable. Any content added to the reblog is also visible publicly.

TechCrunch reported that Post+ “lets creators choose which content they want to put behind a paywall, whether that’s original artwork, personal blog posts or Destiel fanfic”. But, that information doesn’t appear on Tumblr’s Post+ information. My hope is that Tumblr is not suggesting that people attempt to monetize content owned by big companies.

You cannot block a blog after they have become a paying supporter of your Post+ without help from Tumblr Support.

Tumblr was sold to Automattic (who owns WordPress.com) in 2019.


Clubhouse is No Longer Invite-Only



Clubhouse posted a blog called “Opening Day” on its website to inform everyone that the app is now out of beta and open to everyone. They also made a new Clubhouse logo.

Twelve never-boring months later, we’re thrilled to share that Clubhouse is now out of beta, open to everyone, and ready to begin its next chapter. This means we have removed our waitlist system so that anyone can join. If you have a club, you can post your link far and wide. If you are a creator with an audience, you can bring them all on. If you’re hosting a public event, anyone can attend. You can bring close friends, classmates, family members, coworkers, and anyone else you like – on iOS or Android.

It is my understanding that there are many people who were using Clubhouse when it was in beta, and enjoying the experience. As such, this new change will likely make them happy.

There were some big problems with Clubhouse. In February of 2021, Will Ormus posted a blog in which he provided details that make it clear that Clubhouse does not respect your privacy.

Clubhouse requires access to user’s contacts.This could include a persons doctor, acquaintances that they haven’t talked with in years, and a person’s drug dealer. Another problem is that Clubhouse will try to connect users to other users that have them in their contacts. This could be dangerous for people who have left an abusive partner, or who have been stalked by someone.

In April of 2021, CyberNews reported that Clubhouse’s SQL database containing 1.3 million user records was scraped and linked for free on a “popular hacker forum”. The information came from user profiles, and included user ID, name, photo URL, username, Twitter handle, Instagram handle, number of followers, number of people following the user, account creation date, and invited by profile name.

Clubhouse denied that the scraping had occurred, and said the public profile information in the app was viewable by anyone who can access the app.

Whether or not you choose to join Clubhouse is up to you, of course. Personally, I don’t feel that I can trust it with my contact list.


Twitter is Testing a Redesigned TweetDeck



Twitter announced that they are currently testing a new version of TweetDeck with a limited number of people. The testing is invitation-only, and those who choose to participate are agreeing to provide feedback. For now, Twitter is limiting the preview version of TweetDeck to selected people in US, Canada, and Australia.

As someone who uses TweetDeck on desktop, and who strongly prefers it to the Twitter interface, I have some concerns. I don’t want to lose the features that the current TweetDeck provides that aren’t available on Twitter. There also appears to be a rumor that Twitter is considering charging for TweetDeck in the future. The rumor is unconfirmed, but it still makes me nervous.

Twitter posted information about how the preview version of TweetDeck is different from Twitter.com. Right now, new features include:

  • Tweet composer lets you create threads and add photos, videos, GIFs, polls, or emojis to your Tweets, including scheduled Tweets.
  • Advanced search helps you find the content you’re looking for.
  • Tweet order gives you the option to view top Tweets or latest Tweets first in columns.
  • Decks let you organize your columns into groups for cleaner workspaces.
  • Access new column types like profile, topics, explore, events, moments, and bookmarks.

TechCrunch reported that the test of the redesigned TweetDeck includes a large list of column types, However, it appears that columns like Activity, Followers, Likes, and Outbox have been removed.

Overall, I’m going to take a wait and see attitude towards the test of a redesigned TweetDeck. I’m happy with how it works now. There is a reason people use the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”


Facebook is not Killing People #1541



President Biden has reversed course and said that Facebook is not killing people as he earlier suggested over the weekend. Meanwhile, the surgeon general has double-downed on his finger pointing at social media and wants them to censor what they say is misinformation.

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Art Museum in Italy Records How People Look at Paintings



The art museums and galleries are opening up again in Italy. That’s great for the museums and galleries, who may have lost revenue during the pandemic. However, as CityLab reported, at least one Italian art museum has installed technology that will gather data from the people who come in to view the art. It bothers me when the physical world wants to mimic Instagram.

A device called ShareArt was developed by a research team at Italy’s new-technologies agency ENEA. The team developed a system based on devices that can calculate how long and how closely museum and gallery visitors observe a particular work of art.

“Thanks to simple data elaboration, an observer’s gaze can be translated into a graphic,” ENEA researcher Stefano Ferriani said in an interview. “We can detect where most of the people’s attention is concentrated.”

According to CityLab, there are fourteen ShareArt devices being used in a joint project with the Instiuzione Bologna Musei. The devices, which look like a small black box with a camera in it, includes a tag that presumably explains what it does.

Using cameras that are located near the artwork, the ShareArt system soaks up data on the number of observers and their behavior as they look at a painting, sculpture or artifact, including time elapsed and distance of observation. It troubles me that the President of Bologna Musei appears to be excited to see what data the devices obtain after the mask mandate drops and people’s facial expressions can be recorded.

The purpose of the ShareArt devices is to help the museum define “attraction value” for specific works of art. The results could influence the museum to make changes in the layout and exhibit scheduling. It may also reveal situations where the museum could make some artworks more accessible than they currently are.

Personally, I don’t like the ShareArt devices. They are only being used in one museum in Italy. But, that could change. The value of art in a museum should not be defined by the number and length of views it receives as though it were an Instagram post.


Google Delays Play Billing Requirement for Android In-App Purchases



Last September, Google announced that in one year’s time, all apps distributed through the Play Store would have to use Play Billing for in-app purchases, 9to5Google reported. The original target date would have been September 30, 2021, as a deadline for when all apps in the Play Store, including Google’s own, would have to use the Play Billing IAP system.

As you may recall, the Attorneys General of 36 states and Washington D.C. sued Google in an antitrust case that challenged Google’s control over its Android app store. According to Politico, the suit is the latest challenge to Google’s plan to force all app developers who use its Google Play Store to pay a 30 percent commission on sales of digital goods or services.

On July 16, 2021, Google posted information titled: “Allowing developers to apply for more time to comply with Play Payments Policy” on the Android Developers Blog. It included the following:

“…Many of our partners have been making steady progress toward the September 30 deadline. However, we continue to hear from developers all over the world that the past year has been particularly difficult, especially for those with engineering teams in regions that continue to be hard hit by the effects of the global pandemic, making it tougher than usual for them to make the technical updates related to this policy.

After carefully considering feedback from both large and small developers, we are giving developers an option to request a 6-month extension, which will give them until March 31, 2021 to comply with our Payments policy. Starting on July 22nd, developers can appeal for an extension through the Help Center and we will review each request and get back to requests as soon as possible…”

I cannot help but wonder if Google would have provided developers with a 6-month extension to comply with Google’s Payments policy if it were not facing an antitrust lawsuit. The way Google worded their offer of an extension feels misguided. Giving developers more time to comply with Google’s Play Payments Policy is not the same as giving them a choice whether or not to opt-in.


The New Emoji 14.0 Mockups Are Viewable



Emojipedia posted original sample images visualizing how new emojis might look when they come to fruition. The mockups might, or might not, resemble the final versions from each platform vendor. The final list of 2021 – 2022 Emoji will be approved in September 2021. Here are a few new Emoji that I found interesting:

Pregnant Man and Pregnant Person are new emoji. These emoji recognize that pregnancy is possible for transgender men and non-binary people. These two new emojis are in addition to the existing Pregnant Woman emoji. All of the pregnant emojis come in a variety of skin tones.

Person with Crown shows a close up of a person who is wearing a crown and smiling. It comes in a variety of skin tones. Emojipedia explains that Person with Crown is a gender-inclusive alternative to the existing emojis for Princess and Prince.

Melting Face is a yellow smiley face melting into a puddle. Emojipedia describes Melting Face this way: “The eyes and mouth slip down the face, yet still maintain a distorted smile. This quality lends this emoji to sarcasm. It can also be used to talk about extreme heat. Can be used metaphorically to talk about embarrassment, shame, or a slowly sinking sense of dread.”

Face with Open Eyes and Hand Over Mouth is described as “An emoji with open (non-smiling) eyes and a hand over the mouth conveying a gasp, shock or surprise. Appearance is similar to Yawning Face though no mouth is visible.

Emojipedia explains: “A disambiguation of Face with Hand Over Mouth which appears to have smiling eyes on some platforms, and open / non-smiling eyes on others, creating confusion.” For example, Face with Hand Over Mouth shows non-smiling eyes when used on Twitter app and iOS. The same Emoji appears with laughing eyes when used on the Twitter website.

The purpose of creating the Face With Hand Over Mouth that is non-smiling appears to be intended to reduce the confusion as the previous version of the emoji changed how it looked on certain devices – conveying an entirely different message than the person intended.

The Coral emoji looks like an orange piece of coral with some blue bubbles around it. According to Emojipedia, the coral emoji is sometimes used as a symbol of climate change due to coral bleaching.

You can view the whole collection of the new 2021-2022 emoji on Emojipedia.