While Twitter user base grows, shadow of Instagram looms ever larger

Numbers up, numbers down

It’s a day of good news and bad news for social media icon Twitter. Good news? Over nine million people joined the Twitter nest in the last quarter, swelling the ranks to 328 users million worldwide. The bad news? Despite all the new users, Twitter continues to be a money loser, with declining ad revenue and a stock price at around 14 bucks a share – the lowest it’s ever been, despite a bump over the new numbers.

More good news? Twitter says daily user numbers are up 14 percent, but since we don’t know what percentage of the total user base is “active daily,” that figure is a bit nebulous. Less nebulous? Facebook-owned Instagram’s latest numbers, which includes a bump of 100 million new users over the last quarter or so, bringing their user base to 700 million worldwide. Analysts say that’s where those missing Twitter ad dollars may be going.

Call it what you will

Remember yesterday when 4G LTE cell service was the hot new thing? Wow, you could even stream video… some of the time. It looks like “5G Evolution” cell service is set to be the next big thing, and AT&T is saying they’re working on a limited 5G rollout. But are they? Gizmodo and several other outlets are claiming the 5G network is fake, and is actually just a rebranded 4G network tweaked to work with a select few devices – such as the new Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones.

However, 4G or 5G or whatever, the performance potential of an actual 5G millimeter wave cell service are impressive and could rival gigabit home internet service speeds. Just one problem: it hasn’t been built yet. Anywhere. 5G will require all-new physical equipment, including new antennas on cell towers, different tech in phones and so on.

But AT&T says they’re rolling out their “5G Evolution” service in 20 cities anyway, despite the fact that tech standards for 5G have yet to be finalized.

Will these green verticals keep on growing?

“Vertical farms” are a fast-growing tech segment that allows urban dwellers to grow their own tomatoes, basil and whatever else in the confines of their own homes. It’s clean, automated, and it works.

Researchers we talked with think vertical farming could scale up and eventually feed up to 30 percent of the people in large cities. But critics disagree and don’t think vertical farming can mature into the green urban dream its backers are claiming it can grow into.

Who’s right? Time will tell, but for now, vertical farming deserves a closer look – and we’ve got just that in the latest installment of our Future of Food series, so check it out right here.

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