WHAT IS MAKING THE HEADLINES?

WHAT’S NEW WITH TWITTER?

WHAT’S NEW WITH TWITTER?

Twitter has doubled its character limit, allowing us to share even more of our thoughts with the world through the micro-blogging site.[i] The 280-character upgrade has – as always- created some mixed feelings with the public, with many confused as to why an ‘edit’ function wasn’t created first.

Twitter announced in September 2017 that it was testing out a longer character limit, allowing users to express their thoughts using double the amount of characters they are used to. Interestingly, an analysis of the focus group who tested out the new feature, showed that only 5% of the tweets sent by the group were longer than the standard 140 characters.[ii]

Does this mean that we don’t really need those extra characters?

Some have said that the novelty of the extra character allowance wears off pretty quickly, but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated in a tweet:

“This is a small change, but a big move for us. We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too.

“But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.”[iii]

2017 has been a tough year for Twitter, with revenue dropping repeatedly as they struggle to attract new users. Its 317 million users seem rather small compared to the 600 million that Instagram have, and even smaller when compared with social media giant Facebook, which reached 2 billion users earlier this year.[iv] This move was possibly an attempt to attract more people, including businesses who use Twitter as a platform to announce new plans, releases and information.

What does this mean for your business?

The longer allowance gives businesses and media outlets a better opportunity to get more of their news out to followers. The Balance reported that 47% of people who follow businesses on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website, so it’s clear that Twitter is becoming a more useful resource for businesses.[v] With over 350 businesses across Northern Ireland taking part in #belfasthour and other twitter networking hours weekly. This gives them a lot more freedom to discuss on trend topics and pitch new business ideas.[vi]

 

Let us know what you think about the new character limit – check out our poll on our Twitter account and Facebook page.

To read what else is making the headlines click here.

Sources:

[i] https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/product/2017/Giving-you-more-characters-to-express-yourself.html

[ii] https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/product/2017/tweetingmadeeasier.html

[iii]https://twitter.com/jack/status/912784057863245824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwgntv.com%2F2017%2F09%2F26%2Ftwitter-says-goodbye-to-140-characters-hello-280-characters%2F

[iv] https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/top-social-network-demographics-2017-infographic

[v] https://www.thebalance.com/top-reasons-why-your-small-business-should-use-twitter-2948523

[vi] https://www.edwardsandcompany.co.uk/blog/214/belfast-businesses-to-gain-from-belfast-hour

 

40,215 PUPILS + 218 SCHOOLS = BIGGEST MATHS WEEK FESTIVAL YET!

40,215 PUPILS + 218 SCHOOLS = BIGGEST MATHS WEEK FESTIVAL YET!

2017 has proved to be the most successful year for Maths Week Ireland with over 40,215 pupils from across 218 schools in Northern Ireland taking part in a week-long series of events around the province. In County Down, a total of 47 schools took part which amounted to over 7,000 pupils.

In total over 240,000 pupils took part in Maths Week 2017 across the whole of Ireland, with an increase of 10% in participation across Northern Ireland. The weeklong event saw multi-talented maths educators and presenters perform magic, card tricks, and amazing mathematical predictions to fascinate and educate young people about maths.

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HANSEL AND GRETEL SET TO SWEETEN AUDIENCES  AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

HANSEL AND GRETEL SET TO SWEETEN AUDIENCES AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

Belfast’s award-winning arts venue, the MAC, is thrilled to announce that its 2017 Christmas show is Hansel & Gretel.

Running from 28 November to 7 January, this year’s festive show, proudly sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas, is a modern take on the classic fairy tale.

Performed with enchanting staging, a local cast and an original acoustic score, the MAC’s own production of Hansel & Gretel will take audiences on a fun adventure where they will discover why friendship, laughter and family are essential for the perfect Christmas. Written by the MAC’s Creative Director Simon Magill and Author Stephen Beggs, audiences can expect many jokes, big songs and an all-important sweetie trail.

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THE IRISH CURRY AWARDS CROWNS ULSTER’STOP INDIAN RESTAURANTS, CHEFS AND TAKEAWAYS

THE IRISH CURRY AWARDS CROWNS ULSTER’STOP INDIAN RESTAURANTS, CHEFS AND TAKEAWAYS

The Irish Curry Awards, in association with Cobra Beer, UTIS Holdings and BJ Productions, took place on Tuesday 24 October at the Crowne Plaza, Shaw’s Bridge, and celebrated the best restaurants and curries on the island of Ireland, for a second year.

An estimated 700 curry houses operate successfully between Ballyferriter in Kerry and Ballycastle in Antrim. These awards were created by Belfast-based restaurateur Askir Ali to recognise the contribution made to Ireland’s food scene by hundreds of Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and other Asian chefs, restaurant workers and managers.

Speaking on the success of the event, Founder Askir Ali said: “Curry may have been born in India, but it has grown and matured across Ireland. The Irish Curry Awards are recognition of that.

“I was really surprised and thrilled to see the level of support that was out there for the Irish Curry Awards and I am delighted that year two has been just as successful as the first. Nominations were up this year and the standard was too. We had in place a broad mix of judges and food critics onboard again this year.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all our judges for taking time out of the busy schedules to be part of the Irish Curry Awards; to all our supporters that have helped make this year’s awards possible and to all the restaurants that took part. Congratulations to all this year’s winners.”

UTV’s own Pamela Ballentine oversaw hosting duties for the glamourous event, allocating awards which covered a wide range of categories including Best Chef, Best Restaurant and Best Newcomer, among others. Asian restaurants had more opportunity than ever to win, as new categories were introduced this year including Best South Asian Restaurant and Best Romantic Restaurant. The judges, made up of esteemed food critics and journalists, had the enviable job of testing out the delicious food to decide who would triumph on the night.

Guests from across the industry and media were treated to a tremendous evening celebrating Asian culture in Ireland, with entertainment in the form of Bollywood dancing from the talented BJ Production team. The Irish Curry Awards is a not-for-profit event with all profits and money raised donated to the event’s official charity Children’s Heartbeat Trust. The charity delivers emotional and practical support to children and young people with heart disease in Northern Ireland and their families.

Plans have already been put in place for next year’s event which will mark the third year of the Irish Curry Awards. These awards were supported by BJ Productions, UTIS Holdings, Asian Restaurateur, Hospitality Ulster, Cobra Beer, Coca Cola, AJ Stuart, Hugh Jordan, Glenisk and Order on Chef.

Full Winners list can be viewed here: http://irishcurryawards.com/past-winners/ 

TOAST THE COAST WITH ARRIVAL OF LATEST TOURISM OFFERING

TOAST THE COAST WITH ARRIVAL OF LATEST TOURISM OFFERING

Northern Ireland’s growing tourism offering has just got even bigger with the arrival of Toast the Coast – a brand new guided food tour along part of the beautiful Causeway Coastal Route.

After identifying a gap in the market, Toast the Coast was devised by Portia Woods to shine the spotlight on the breadth of local producers, suppliers and hidden gems located along the Antrim Coast.

Beginning from either Belfast or Dublin, tourists will be taken on a culinary journey stopping off in Whitehead, Larne, Ballygally, Glenarm, Carnlough and Cushendun, tasting the very best food and drink on offer plus exploring local tourism hot spots along the way.

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MARKING THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF MATHS

MARKING THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF MATHS

The biggest maths festival in the world is almost here and there is still time to register! Maths Week Ireland is taking place from October 14th – October 22nd.

Taking place in schools, colleges, museums, universities and communities throughout Northern Ireland, Maths Week 2017 is set to deliver another spectacular programme of events designed to make maths fun.  Hundreds of schools from across the province have already registered online to join in Maths Week 2017 and organise their own in-school events supported by www.mathsweek.ie which offers resources and ideas, competitions and challenges.

With a history dating back to the Egyptian and Greek era and beyond, Maths remains the most popular A-level subject in Northern Ireland, making it an impressive three years in a row at the top of the table.

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STRIVE AND THRIVE THIS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH WITH AMERICAN AUTHOR AND ABUSE SURVIVOR FELICIA JOHNSON

STRIVE AND THRIVE THIS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH WITH AMERICAN AUTHOR AND ABUSE SURVIVOR FELICIA JOHNSON

The rise in Suicide in Northern Ireland has been described by the press as an epidemic and indeed figures show that more people took their own lives in the 16 years after the Troubles than died during them.   The Office of National Statistics recently reported that in 2014, Northern Ireland had the highest rate of suicide in the UK for the third consecutive year with 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people.

These figures are staggering showing that mental health problems and its consequences are very much on the public agenda in Northern Ireland and much needs to be done to raise mental health awareness and help local people and charities stamp out the stigma associated with it.

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£100,000 INVESTMENT MARKS NEW ERA  FOR THE CARDAN BAR & GRILL

£100,000 INVESTMENT MARKS NEW ERA FOR THE CARDAN BAR & GRILL

Purchased in 2004, The Cardan originally boasted an old pub style, formerly known as The Robins Nest, but following an initial £400,000 investment into the venue, it was been rejuvenated into a modern hub for locals. 2017 saw a need to further enhance the offering and a complete overhaul was completed in April at a further cost of £100,000. This investment marks a new era for the venue, that has further investment plans in place that will potentially create a further 10-15 local jobs.

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KERR’S TYRES & AUTO KICK OFF PARTNERSHIP WITH ULSTER RUGBY

KERR’S TYRES & AUTO KICK OFF PARTNERSHIP WITH ULSTER RUGBY

Ulster Rugby has welcomed Kerr’s Tyres & Auto onboard as the official sponsors of the Ulster Rugby Referees Society, as part of a two-year deal.

With the new rugby season kicking off, Kerr’s Tyres & Auto, one of Northern Ireland’s leading providers of tyres and automotive services, has come onboard at an exciting time for the business as it looks forward to opening the largest retail tyre centre in Europe, launching mid-way through the 2017/18 Rugby season.

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