Behold the Winners of the 280-Character Story Contest

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Stephen Aubrey, “Cohabitation”

Our first night living together, we took in that puppy howling outside the door. An auspice, I thought. But we’d never done this before. We didn’t know how small things can grow, what little space we can be left to live in. We were not the sort to abandon something until we were.

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Twitter Might Increase The Character Limit To 280 And People Responded With 2: “NO”

This is one of my favourite reactions (maybe you have to be Canadian for this to be funny):

Some of my other favourite reactions:

And check out more in this article.

The Rise of the Twitter Thread

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We don’t get to choose the literary genre of our epoch, and in this worst-of-times-worst-of-times political era, we have the Twitter thread. A series of tweets, written by one person and strung together by Twitter’s vertical border wall, the thread has emerged as this year’s ascendant form of argument: urgent, galloping, personality-driven and—depending on your view of the topic—either tacky and misleading or damned persuasive.

Readers of political Twitter know well a thread’s opening rumble. Threaders burst into being like tub-thumpers, without warning and from unexpected soapboxes; they generally announce themselves by pounding the bar: “THREAD.” (Sometimes, more recessively, they use the “1/”—a foreboding half-fraction suggesting a first installment with no end in sight.)

 

This Is Probably The Only Story You Didn’t Hear About First From Bradd Jaffy And Kyle Griffin

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For those who follow his account, the tweet is vintage Griffin: a nugget of breaking news, packaged tightly with a line of inoffensive but somewhat incredulous analysis — as if to say, ‘omg, I know.’

He’s not alone. Bradd Jaffy — an editor and writer for the NBC Nightly News broadcast — has become a Twitter celebrity with a similar string of obsessive viral news posts. Jaffy boasts a larger following than Griffin, with about 245,000 followers. The two men, who at MSNBC and NBC Nightly News work in different parts of the company, are said to share something of a rivalry, according to sources. (NBCUniversal is an investor in BuzzFeed.)

Be it a press conference on Capitol Hill, cabinet meeting pool spray from the White House, Trump golf outing, or fiery segment on Morning Joe — you’ll see it first from Jaffy or Griffin. When a reporter in the NBC News operation has an exclusive, Jaffy or Griffin are often first to post the relevant details. Between the two, they somehow manage to tweet virtually every piece of news and opinion of the day — from a fact-check of that morning’s controversial Trump tweet, to a late-night Washington Post or New York Times bombshell report — and always with plenty of screenshots.

As news cycles grow faster and more overwhelming, Jaffy and Griffin have become feeds of record for obsessive political journalists and casual Twitter users alike. Their relentless output, which, in a different environment, might have felt exhausting, is now a mooring force for a growing number who feel bombarded by breaking news and fear they might miss the next bombshell.

How Twitter Fuels Anxiety

The Twitter logo is reflected in the pupil of a brown eye.

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Twitter users have to contend with competing voices that yell at you as soon as you log on. You haven’t written a best-selling novel yet? Here’s a “30 Under 30” list of best-selling novelists! You’re over 30? Here’s an article about how you’re a bad parent! You haven’t had children yet? This bestselling author has three, and she’s under 30! Twitter is a megaphone for achievements and a magnifying glass for insecurities, and when you start comparing your insecurities with another person’s achievements, it’s a recipe for anxiety.

“Generally speaking, the comparisons that we make on social media are more likely to be ‘upward’ comparisons,” says Azadeh Aalai, a professor of psychology at Montgomery College in Maryland. “We’re comparing ourselves to the individuals who appear to be higher status and are achieving more” than we are, which can lead to feelings of envy, discontent, and anxiety. It’s also not the whole story. When I was young, my mom used to warn me against “comparing my insides to other people’s outsides.” Using Twitter, I am constantly comparing my insides—my anxieties, fears, and insecurities—with other people’s outward selves: their accomplishments, polished selfies, and edited articles. There will always be someone who’s doing better than I am in any aspect of my life. And because I, like many people, tend to follow people I admire or who are already famous, I am constantly aware of just how much better other people are. Twitter also gives me a quick and handy way to quantify my worth: this many likes, this many retweets. I’d like to think I’m more than the sum of my followers, but there are plenty of days when I don’t feel that way.

Your Tweets Know You’re Sick Before You Do

Your Tweets Know You’re Sick Before You Do

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New research demonstrates that it’s possible. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has shown that, simply by analyzing the emotions behind tweets, they can predict outbreaks of flu about 14% to 35% of the time. Add in the actual content of those tweets (like “I just can’t get out of bed today!”), and researchers say that figure skyrockets to 95%.

This phenomenon has been described as a “digital heartbeat” by many researchers