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Archives: March 2009

Twitter Moves From Replies To Mentions

Pretty big news from broke yesterday – the interface on the home page has been tweaked, and you no longer have an @replies feed. Instead, it’s been replaced with mentions, which are accessed via clicking on @yourusername in the sidebar (i.e., @sheamus).

From Replies to Mentions on

(click to enlarge)

This is a great step forward for Twitter. Previously the @replies inbox only listed tweets that began with an @ message to your username; now, any mention of your username (@sheamus, say) in a tweet will appear in this feed, irrespective of where it appears in the message. This includes re-tweets, #followfriday recommendations and so on.

I like this a lot because many people miss non-direct replies and this can only make the stream more engaging, certainly if you predominately use the home page as your main point of access.

However, it’s still not, in my opinion, as good as what can be done using a search pane on TweetDeck, and I’ll be doing (my very first) video tutorial about optimising TweetDeck in this way later this week, which will include tips on minimising that precious API drain. :)

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Was Twitter Right To Suspend 'Christopher Walken'?

There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post this weekend about the rise of celebrity culture on Twitter and specifically the problems that the network – and fans – face with imposters pretending to be famous folk.

The article makes some valid points and gives some nice press to Valebrity, who have done a great job of validating the vast majority of celebrity accounts on Twitter, and continue to do so. I urge you to visit if you’re at all curious if that celebrity you’re following is genuine.

The Post also mentions the suspension of the account of Christopher Walken, aka @cwalken, which took place on Saturday. At the time, Walken’s account was nearing 100,000 fans, and was wildly popular, receiving a lot of attention within the Twittersphere and the mainstream press, where the absurd tweets were often quoted.

Christopher Walken. Kinda.

The problem was the account was a fake. As Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in an email to the Post, “Impersonation is against our terms.” Visit @cwalken’s profile page and you’ll now be greeted by the dreaded suspension owl. Click on the link below the image, and you can read Twitter’s suspension policy, which includes impersonation as a breach of their terms of service.

But this is where it all gets a little hazy. When is an impersonation actually a parody, and why does Twitter ban some impersonators, and not others?

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How To Reply So You'll Get A Reply Back

The @reply function on Twitter is the core of the network. Without the facility to reply, the stream would not only be decidedly non-interactive, but almost certainly completely full of spam.

It is my opinion that all Twitter users should place the greater part of their focus on their replies. This is how you meet and engage with your followers, build relationships, solve problems and make business deals. Folk who rarely reply to others and instead use Twitter as a soapbox for their own ends aren’t going to earn a lot of respect.

There are good and bad ways to do most things on Twitter, including sharing links, knowing what to do when you’ve submitted a bad tweet, and how to correctly use the reply function. This tutorial will focus on how to word replies in a manner that will increase your own chances of a reply back, specifically if you are responding to a tweet submitted earlier in the day.

When Is A Reply Not A Reply? (Part One)

In Twitter we don’t just use the reply facility to respond to people – often we initiate conversations with it. This can be in the form of questions or the sharing of information and links.

Example Reply

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Claim Your Twitter Profile On Technorati

Technorati is an internet search engine for searching blog content. The site currently indexes over 112 million blogs and some 250 million pieces of social media.

If you’re a blogger, you probably already use Technorati. It’s a great way to get your content out into the great unknown. As more sites link to your blogs your ‘authority’ rises within Technorati. Blogs with very high authority rank well and get lots of extra traffic.

Now, you can add your Twitter profile to Technorati, too, which will likely lead to greater exposure and possibly more followers. Even if you’re not a blogger or don’t use Technorati, it might be worth opening an account to maximise your Twitter presence.

To claim your Twitter feed, follow these easy steps.

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Backup Your Twitter Account With Tweetake

Tweetake is the brainchild of Alfred Armstrong and Nikki Pilkington. Log on to the site using your Twitter username and password and you can backup your followers, friends, favourites, tweets and direct messages, either separately or all at once.


I did the ‘everything’ backup, and in about two minutes was staring at an Excel spreadsheet (the data saves in CSV format) which contained well over 3000 fields, listed in the same order as the categories above. About 2000 were my actual tweets.

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Two Things Everybody Needs to Consider Before Designing Their Twitter Profile Background

It can be fun to experiment with the design on your profile and certainly if you’re a professional having a professional-looking background can make the right impression to your followers.

Profile Design

However, before you spend days and weeks putting something amazing together, or hire somebody else to do it for you, there’s a couple of things I really think you should contemplate.

1. How Often Do People Actually Visit Your Profile?

One way to do this is to approximate yourself how often you visit the profile pages of other users. I surveyed my own followers about this a week ago.

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Twitter: The Best Of The Week (March 21-27, 2009)

These are the best Twitter stories of the past seven days. Did you see all this cool stuff?

(This is a new weekly feature. Click here for last week.)

Happy Birthday Twitter!

Twitter turned three years old on Saturday, 21 March, and much celebration was to be had. The party was great, wasn’t it? All that free beer and food, the dancing girls were amazing, and that preview of Iron Man 2 was unreal.

What? Oh. Ah. Awkward. Maybe your invite ended up in your spam folder?

The 14 Types of Twitter Personalities

Allegedly, there are fourteen different kinds of personality on Twitter. Which one are you? Click here to find out.

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Does Twitter Need Its Own Tom Anderson?

Who? Oh, come on – you know Tom. Tom was the first person who befriended you on MySpace. You remember, back when you used it. This guy:

Tom Anderson

Tom was there for you. Tom was your friend. In fact, you knew that nobody liked you when Tom unfriended you on MySpace.

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Come On, Biz. Make The Suggested Users List Relevant Or Don't Use It At All

A little less than a month ago, implemented a new feature to their homepage: suggested users.

The idea was that new users to Twitter often don’t immediately understand how to use the service and a percentage of accounts were following few people or nobody at all. Now, when somebody signs up to the network they’re presented with a list of 100 recommendations. You can also access this list at any time via the Find People link on the home page.

Twitter's Suggested Users List

This feature has been highly controversial. The benefits of being placed on this list are immediate and rewarding: more followers. A lot more followers.

Why Being On The Suggested Users List Matters

Earlier this month I wrote about the events surrounding @adventuregirl, who went from less than a couple of hundred followers to almost forty thousand in six days, simply by being added to the suggested users list. As of the time of writing, @adventuregirl now has 146,336 followers. She is still on the list.

(For more on this, see my article: “Oh, How I Wish I Could Be A Suggested User, Too.”)

This isn’t an isolated incident. Everybody on this list has seen an enormous boost in their follower counts. This is a big deal, particularly if you’re a brand or have something to sell or promote. The race to one million followers continues, and those on the suggested user list have been given a nice push by the Twitter founders.

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Celebrities Who 'Get' Twitter, Celebrities Who Don't

Earlier this week on his BBC radio show Chris Moyles (@chrisdjmoyles) waxed lyrically about Twitter, which he does fairly regularly, going on about how he totally gets it while other celebrity users of the service do not. He singled out Eddie Izzard (@eddieizzard) as an example. Izzard, he says, doesn’t get Twitter.

I found this interesting. Because Moyles doesn’t get Twitter, either. But Twitter gets him.

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