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Archives: March 2009

HOWTO: Use Keyboard Commands & Shortcuts To Improve Your Experience

Twitter has made some changes to the home page lately and I’ll be looking at those in more detail in the days to come. Meantime, I’ve been having a read of the updated Twitter support portal and I’ve found a few interesting things that are quite useful.

Example of the output from the WHOIS command on

Readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of TweetDeck. Probably 99.99% of my at-home Twitter usage is via this client. On the road I use Dabr. Indeed, the only times I really use at all is to make modifications to my profile.

However, while TweetDeck will continue to be my client of your choice, that usage percentage may well drop a little. Why? Because of Twitter’s command-line functions and tools which, as of now, don’t all work in TweetDeck (or, I’m guessing, anywhere else).

The Official Twitter Commands

When you visit the experience is, being quite frank, a bit underwhelming. You only have basic control and functionality and certainly when compared to TweetDeck and lots of other external applications it’s extremely limited.

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Spammers: You Have To Admire Their Tenacity

As my follower count has increased I’ve also been hit with more spammers. As I’ve said before, these guys are always pretty easy to spot and block. Usually their choice of username alone is enough.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed that often these spammers will come in pairs. You’ll get the email from Twitter saying you have a new follower, check it out, realise it’s a spammer, and then block them. Seconds later, you get another email, and while the new spammer has a different username, their real name is the same.

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16 Reasons Why We Might Unfollow You On Twitter

This topic has come up a few times from different users within the Twitter stream over the past couple of days and the responses have been quite interesting.

Why do you unfollow somebody on Twitter? Why would you want to? And are you doing anything that might increase the chances of getting unfollowed yourself?

16 Reasons Why We Might Unfollow You On Twitter

I have my reasons which I’ll list below, mixed with the opinions of other (anonymous) folk which I’ve observed. As said some of these seem to be fairly standard amongst all users, but there are one or two that are fairly controversial and certainly require some personal thought and weighing of the pros and cons.

You’re A Spammer

These are the easiest users to unfollow.

Most of the time it’s very obvious when an account is a spammer. First and foremost, they nearly always have a very skewed ratio of those they are following to those they are being followed by. Most of the time they don’t even have a profile avatar, and if they do it’s usually an attractive female.

They will also often have a username such as ’5Gbpk3′. I mean, how do you even pronounce that? ;)

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Has Twitter Done A Gmail?

I work up kind of late this morning, had some breakfast, and opened TweetDeck at about 10.30am. My first tweet was at 10.41am. I posted some other stuff before realising I hadn’t heard TweetDeck’s familiar update bleep for quite some time, had a closer look at my feed, and realised that nobody else had updated at all.

“How curious,” I observed.


It appears that Twitter has been down for about two hours. You can login and you can post, but only your updates are visible and only to yourself. This is the case on TweetDeck,, and everywhere else. As far as I can tell, nobody can see anyone else’s updates, and haven’t been able to since about 9.30am (GMT).

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Twitter: The Best Of The Week (March 14-20, 2009)

This is a new regular feature to Twittercism. Each Friday I’ll be giving props to the best Twitter articles, news stories, videos and tweets of the last seven days.

The Twouble With Twitters’s video spoof of the Twittersphere was both extremely funny and painfully true.

The Dumbest Tweet Ever?

When James Andrews got offered a new job, he decided to tweet about it:

Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.

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All Jokes Aside, Does Twitter Need To Go Pro?

Early this morning the Twittersphere was all a flutter with news that the social network was about to unveil new premium-level accounts for high-end users. This change to the service would come in four tiers: Sparrow ($5/month, 145-character limit), Dove ($15/month, 160-character limit, random celebrity follower, free t-shirt), Owl ($50/month, 250-character limit, two celebrity followers, 30 minutes of suggested list advertising) and the desirable Eagle ($250/month, 500-character limit, 1000 free random followers, three celebrities, a Twitter concierge for tweeting while you’re asleep, plus a to-die-for ‘Fail Whale’ tuxedo.)

As Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter said, “Celebrities and large corporations have begun flocking to Twitter for their social media needs, and growth has accelerated.  Many users have expressed willingness to pay for accounts, and now we give them that opportunity.”

Except he didn’t. The article was a joke, but that didn’t stop it being endlessly re-tweeted and becoming a meme in itself. The news was broken by the BBSpot website, which has been called “the world’s greatest tech humour site” by The Register. Few people re-tweeting the article seemed interested in checking their ‘about’ page. I re-tweeted the article myself, but mentioned it was a joke within my tweet. It didn’t matter. It all went a bit insane for a minute.

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Sorry, I'm Taken: Why Dabr And I Are Now (Almost) Exclusive

I’ve written before about Dabr, an alternative way to view Twitter on your mobile handset’s web browser. Dabr has significantly more functionality than Twitter mobile and while there are various downloadable Twitter clients available on most handsets (notably the iPhone and Blackberry) I’d like to discuss why I’ve now switched almost completely to Dabr for my mobile Twitter access.


I have a Blackberry Bold. I’ve been using Dabr for about a week now. Prior to this all of my mobile Twittering was done via a combination of Twitter mobile and an application called TinyTwitter.

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How To Gain 200+ Followers Overnight

Hi there. Unfortunately, I made the decision to delete this post. You can read about my reasons why in this article.

Why I Hate TweetDeck's Integration With Facebook

A new version of TweetDeck was released today (0.24 beta) which includes some Facebook support.


(Note this is a beta update and is installed at your own risk.)

TweetDeck beta 0.24

Install the software (your current settings won’t be affected) and you’ll be presented with a new checkbox with ‘Facebook’ written next to this. Check this, and every time you tweet your Facebook status (after you’ve given TweetDeck permission) will be updated as well.

I hate this. I try really hard not to be a hater, but I draw the line here. This I hate.

I’ve written before about why I believe status managers of any kind are a bad idea and I stand by it. No matter how much Facebook has tried to capture some of Twitter’s magic with its recent update the two platforms, and the two status features, are quite different. Hence, after trying out this feature on the new TweetDeck, I unticked the box immediately. I urge everybody to do the same thing. The last thing I want to see are new users to Twitter being encouraged to use any kind of cross-platform status updater. It’s a bad habit. Stop it, stop it, stop it.

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Want To Get Re-Tweeted? Memorise Your Number

Getting a re-tweet (RT) on Twitter not only feels pretty good but can go a long way to driving more traffic to your blog or website (or anywhere else that you care to recommend).

An example of a re-tweet

Problems can occur if your tweet is too long for the reader to comfortably RT. You have to remember that each RT automatically adds a string of characters to your original tweet. These include the length of your username, and five additional characters: the ‘RT’, the space after that, the ‘@’ symbol before your name, and the space afterwards.

RT_@Sheamus_The original tweet goes in here...

If you stretch your tweet out too close to the maximum 140 characters, the re-tweeter will often have to perform some crafty editing to ensure your name and those other essential characters fit within the limit of their tweet. This can be undesirable for you; because of this, sometimes key nuances and tone can be lost and occasionally your links can be accidentally edited or changed.

There’s an easy formula you can learn that takes the pain out of ensuring your tweet has a good chance of an RT and makes it a lot easier for your followers to handle.

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