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Bugs & Issues

Having Trouble Accessing Twitter?

Are you having trouble accessing Twitter today? You’re not alone – it seems many users are. The horror.

But don’t worry. They’re just experiencing some “issues.” Twitter’s engineers are on it:

Patience, grasshopper. Patience.

(3D Engineer image from Shutterstock)

Rupert Murdoch’s ‘Deleted’ Tweet Hasn’t Been Deleted At All (And Everyone Can Read It Right Here)

UPDATE: Twitter has now removed the Murdoch tweet completely. As a warning for future generations and/or media moguls, the rest of this article has been left as written.

Yesterday we reported about the arrival of Rupert Murdoch on Twitter, the ‘scandal’ that’s been caused by some of the messages he’s been sending on the network, and the accidental verification of a Twitter profile that pretended to be Murdoch’s wife, Wendi, but actually turned out to be a hoax.

Egg on Twitter’s face. Even worse, a rather disparaging tweet that Murdoch wrote about Britons that he was immediately pressured into removing hasn’t been deleted it all – it’s still there, in public, and everyone can read it.

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Have Your Searches Frozen On @HootSuite? One Simple Tip To Get Them Working Again

Earlier today I noticed that the searches I had running over various Twitter profiles in HootSuite had stopped updating. Further investigation revealed that some of these had been frozen since Friday.

At first I assumed it was an issue with my computer, but after doing a little digging on Twitter I discovered it was far from an isolated incident.

Thankfully, it’s a very simple fix.

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Twitter Bug #23,423: Now When You Click On A Profile Avatar, It Gets Smaller

About a year-and-a-half ago I wrote a post that suggested that when you upload your profile avatar to Twitter it needs to a big image. Not enormous, but a decent size: say, 400×400 pixels.

Why? Because when people visit your profile and click on your avatar, they expect to see something larger appear. That’s the way the internet works – images are scaled down to fit into a given space, but if they’re clickable we expect them to get bigger. While Twitter automatically scales down your avatar to a 48×48 thumbnail for people’s streams, your profile image scales up to 128×128, and when you click on that you instinctively expect it to get even bigger, because there’s been a progression there.

This used to be what happened. But now, all of a sudden, when you click on an on avatar on a typical profile page the image doesn’t get bigger it all. It gets smaller. And it all looks a bit daft.

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HootSuite Offline for Hours: How Are You Coping?

When Twitter.com goes down, I feel extremely cut off from what’s going on in the world of Twitter. But at least I know that everyone feels this way… today, HootSuite, the popular Twitter dashboard and the one that I personally use most, is down, and I feel very left out of a conversation that I know is still going on.
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Twitter Registration Bug Leaves Thousands Of New Users Unable To Confirm Their Profiles

Back in March, Twitter unveiled some impressive statistics about the platform, one of which was the average number of new accounts created each day over the past month: 460,000.

Today that number is likely to be a lot lower, thanks to a registration error that is preventing new users from being able to authenticate their profiles.

And as you might imagine: they’re not happy about it.

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Twitter’s Server Problems Force it to Remove #NewTwitter, Trends

If you signed on to Twitter this morning and noticed that “Trends” was empty, don’t panic: it’s all part of the plan. Well, it doesn’t appear so much a “plan” as a frantic reaction to server problems that have caused multiple issues for nearly all Twitter users.
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HootSuite Pro Tip – Clear Your Cache To Speed Things Up (And Removed Unwanted Tweets)

Regular readers will be aware that I’m a long-term, big fan of HootSuite.

I’m a pro subscriber, which means I’m actually paying to tweet. That’s fine – for me, and my team at work, HootSuite is totally indispensable.

At least, for now. In this crazy, app-filled world, nothing is forever, and no product can ever hope to buy permanent loyalty. You have to keep pushing forward and over-achieving, because things can change real fast.

In my opinion, HootSuite is currently the closest thing we have to the perfect Twitter client, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect. There are a few niggles that have always bothered me. One of these is after long periods of activity and tweets the software can get bogged down and sluggish. The other is how when you block a user their tweets are meant to instantly be removed from your timeline (you know, like on Twitter.com), but HootSuite keeps them for an indefinite period – sometimes days. That sucks – nobody wants to look at ugly for that long.

Thankfully, I’ve discovered a way to eliminate both of these problems in just a couple of clicks. It’s no big secret, but it was news to me – HootSuite has an inbuilt cache which you can clear any time you like. It works like your normal browser cache, and here’s how to do it.

  1. Open HootSuite
  2. Click on the Settings icon (cog), and then Preferences.
  3. Click on ‘Clear Cached Messages’

I know, I know – it couldn’t be an easier or more obvious. But, but… I’m pretty sure that this is a new feature to HootSuite as I’ve never noticed it before. Or maybe I’m the Bruce Willis character in this particular iteration of The Sixth Sense, and the last person to know.

But hey – who cares, right? I got what I wanted. And now, in one fell swoop anyone can use that button to clear all the crap that HootSuite has been building up in the background. Plus, it will also remove any lingering tweets from users you’ve long-since blocked. The latter alone is worth the price of admission.

Sure, it would be nice if this could be automated in some way, and maybe that’s just around the corner. Because as I said, HootSuite has to keep striving forward. Especially when they’re asking for our credit card.

On Twitter, Not All PR Is Good PR

The faux pas that saw @chryslerautos tweet out the F-word, alongside a rather dismissive opinion of Detroit, reminds us that while Twitter allows all of us to manage our own PR, if you’re not paying attention at all times – or have the wrong people managing your account – bad things can happen to (otherwise and generally) good people.

While not every brand is in a position to manage their own tweets (and even then anyone can make a mistake), if you take your eyes off of the wheel, even for a second, you can undo months of great work. Twitter is so fast that no matter how rapidly you delete your mistake, somebody always notices, somebody always retweets, and somebody always makes sure that your mistake doesn’t go unpunished and hits the desired amount of eyeballs. And the really unlucky part is you can almost guarantee that your apology won’t reach anywhere near as many people.

Be careful out there, because while Twitter is fantastic for damage control, it’s no slouch at causing damage, either, at a pace (matched only by the reaction) that is scary quick. Even at 140 characters – or less.

Don’t Overuse Old-Style Retweets Unless You’re A Spammer, Says Twitter (Plus 9 More Official Tips)

Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) has been attending his own Search Marketing Expo (SMX) in San Jose, California, and Twitter’s Trust & Safety team lead Del Harvey (@delbius) was the key speaker in a section entitled, Don’t Be A Twitter Spammer.

Sullivan is moderating the piece and has been live-tweeting Harvey’s comments, which are interesting, provocative and, in a few cases, more than a little controversial.

Some of Delbius’s tips are well-known and even obvious, but others are definitely new statements being made by Twitter, and there are items here that require further debate and investigation.

Don’t Be A Twitter Spammer

  1. Twitter doesn’t try to judge content but if it observes a given user being blocked repeatedly, the spam team may step in to investigate further
  2. Avoid using multiple accounts to send the exact same message
  3. Don’t spam hashtags
  4. Don’t use misleading links
  5. Avoid reply spam
  6. Don’t churn – manually or especially through the use of apps
  7. While automated DMs aren’t expressly forbidden, Twitter recommends avoiding them because they’re unpopular and lead to complaints, which results in Twitter stepping in
  8. Sponsored tweets must be disclosed by US law
  9. If you’ve been unfairly tagged as a spammer, ask for help. (“I’m super into forgiveness,” says Delbius, as the medium is so new)
  10. Avoid doing lots of old-style, manual retweets – the main reason Twitter’s internal retweet system was created was because of so many complaints about fake retweets (which, admittedly, are an ongoing problem), and it can appear to be reply spam to Twitter

This final tip is by far and away the most controversial (UPDATED: see below). Like many users, I’m a huge fan of old-style retweets because they allow you to add your own flavour and commentary. I do retweet using the new method from time to time, but only if the content is perfect as-is, which to be honest is pretty rare.

The cynic in me wonders if this statement has been made less out of truth and actual, bonafide advice, and more because Twitter is frustrated that so many users loathe and (in an awful lot of cases) completely avoid the new-style retweet. And so by introducing an element of risk they might hope to move people over in a shorter period of time. To be safe it might pay to be a little wary, although you’d think if they were really concerned they’d compromise and introduce optional annotation. But that would mean admitting they made a mistake – humility hasn’t been Twitter’s most well-played card.

On the upside, Delbius advises asking questions and retweeting items of interest to your followers, and generally being authentic. These are all plusses in the eyes of Twitter, particularly their spam team.

Also, curiously, Delbius mentioned the Miracle Whip (@miraclewhip) Twitter account as an example of an entity that is doing it right. Which, on an initial inspection, seems a little strange. But at least she didn’t go with the obvious. Or Charlie Sheen.

Lots to learn from here, and in our few interactions I’ve always found Delbius very reliable, but it might be worth taking some of these statements with a pinch of salt until they’re backed up with similar remarks from other members of the Twitter elite.

UPDATE: @Delbius has reached out to me on Twitter and clarified my concerns about the old-style retweets, as follows:


Something about it didn’t sound right, and I’m glad we’ve got that straightened out. The rest of her presentation is definitely worth taking on board. Unless, of course, you are a spammer, in which case you won’t care, and probably won’t be reading this.

(Hat tips: Danny Sullivan, Del Harvey.)

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