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Archives: March 2010

Twitter Launches New Homepage Design For

It’s only visible to users who aren’t logged in, but it’s certainly an improvement on what we had before.

Twitter Launches New Homepage Design For

With the new design, we’re intentionally featuring more dynamic content on the front page, revealing a sample of who’s here, what folks are tweeting about, and the big topics that they’re discussing. The homepage now features a set of algorithmically-selected top tweets that automatically appear every few seconds. It also highlights a random sampling of suggested sources; hover over any of them to see a profile summary and their latest tweet. Trending topics now scroll across the page, allowing us to present a large set of trends using little page real estate. Hovering over some of these trends will show a description explaining why the keyword is (or has recently been) popular.

All of our recent changes embrace the notion that Twitter is not just for status updates anymore. It’s a network where information is exchanged and consumed at a rapid clip every second of the day. With so much being shared, we know that there’s something of value for everyone. People who internalize the value of Twitter understand the power of this simple medium. But it hasn’t been easy to make that value transparent or obvious for curious folks coming to Twitter for the first time.

As they say, the homepage is very much a work in progress, and needs to be an ongoing project to reflect changes in the way the platform is seen and used.

Read more at the official blog.

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Does Your Company Suck? Find Out On Twitter

This works best if you’re fairly well-established.

  1. Go to Twitter search.
  2. Enter your company name, followed by the word ‘sucks’

(If you don’t get any results, use different words and phrases. Or maybe your business needs to be trying harder?)

Here, for example, is Comcast.

This also works with individuals. Obviously, the more unique your name is, the more genuine the results are likely to be.

You can, of course, put a positive spin on this – maybe Comcast rules – or search for any keyword, opinion or emotion you like. It just takes a little creativity. But the value is absolutely tremendous.

Maybe you could permanently run a search for your brand and a given keyword (sucks, hate, rubbish, complaint, or even an emoticon) and directly address any issues your customers are having? Twitter excels at brand and consumer management, and the first-line, first-response support possibilities are enormous.

(Tip: if your brand has more than one word, contain it within “quotation marks” and use Boolean operators to get a purer search. For example, here’s Best Buy. You can do even more with Twitter’s advanced search options, which likely will make a better starting point for novices.)

Twitter Isn't Down As Much As You Think – 99.74% Uptime Since March 2009

Some interesting stats over at, which tracks uptime since March 2009, as well as downtime and average response.

Twitter Uptime Averages 99.74%

Twitter has seen just 55 minutes of downtime thus far in March, a massive improvement on some of the frightening numbers we saw last year (although most of these can be traced back to one or two very bad days).

The uptime number is pretty impressive, but it’s interesting that the average response has been steadily getting slower since last November’s benchmark. Certainly not enough to notice, but that’s a trend that Biz Stone et al will want to see (at least) flattened. A significant reversal might be an unreasonable expectation given the growth we’ve seen in monthly tweet numbers.

Still, it does give confidence in the system, and makes you realise that Twitter isn’t as down anywhere near as much as it used to be. Although you might think otherwise judging by the number of tweets about it, even if asking ‘Is Twitter down?’ on Twitter is about as surreal as you can get.

POLL: Which Twitter Client(s) Do You Use?

I’m interested in all the ways that you interact with Twitter, including and everything else.

There’s not a lot of really good data on Twitter client usage and it would be nice if we could get a lot of votes here – my goal is to see at least a 1000 responses on this page.

Please share this poll with your friends and colleagues – click here to retweet this post and help me out. Thanks!

[poll id="14"]

If you can’t see the poll, please go here to vote.

(If you selected ‘other’, please expand on this in the comments. Thank you.)

Twitter Cuts Percentage Of Tweets Containing Spam From 11% To 1% In Six Months

An impressive-looking chart from Twitter which, if it is to be believed, warrants a deserved round of applause. In just six months, spam on the network has been slashed from around 11 per cent of all tweets, to just one.

Twitter Cuts Percentage Of Tweets Containing Spam From 11% To 1% In Six Months

(Read more at the Twitter blog.)

Are you seeing less spam? I’m not so sure it’s as dramatic as the graph would imply, but I’ve certainly noticed a difference in trending topics of late, which used to be almost entirely overwhelmed by spammy tweets looking to take advantage of the sudden popularity of a subject.

That said, reply spam is still an issue. And I’m pretty confident that direct message spam is not included here, as I’ve seen almost no improvement in this at all in my test accounts.

Of course, if you rarely venture into trending topics and maintain an optimised network, spam has likely never been much of an issue for you. But it should give us all confidence that Twitter has made this effort and seen these kinds of results.

Twitter For Business – Tips For Brands And Entrepreneurs On Twitter

There’s a new section on my website – Twitter For Business.

This page will house all the tips, tutorials and articles on Twittercism that are most relevant to brands and entrepreneurs on Twitter, including:

Next week, I’ll be publishing a step-by-step guide for businesses that are new to the social network, offering a ‘how to’ guide to maximise the Twitter experience. In the meantime, check out Twitter For Business, and let me know which topics you’d like to see covered in the future.

Protect Yourself From Being Phished On Twitter By Unfollowing Repeat Offenders

There’s another phishing attack on Twitter, and yet again it’s being spread by direct message.

(You can read all the details over at Mashable.)

Here’s what I think you need to do. If you get any of these malicious direct messages, please don’t click on the links, but do make a note of the user(s) that sent them to you. Is that name familiar? Have they fallen foul of these phishing scams before? Several times?

Yet Another Phishing Attack On Twitter - Please Protect Yourself By Unfollowing Repeat OffendersDo they always seem to be affected by these kinds of exploits?

If so, unfollow them. Don’t hesitate, do it right now. And seriously, seriously consider a block, too.

Reality check: it’s probably a safe bet that virtually every single one of us will be conned by something on the internet before we bite the dust. As human and artificial intelligence-slash-guile continues to develop, we’re all potential marks.

People make mistakes, and when something happens to somebody else on Twitter it’s fantastic if you can take a moment to explain to them what they did, and hopefully educate them enough so they won’t do the exact same thing a month or two later.

But if you have users in your network who are always getting tricked, and who are repeatedly getting their accounts compromised, then you need to let them go. Because nice as they might be as people, as long as you’re connected then their neglect and technical naivety becomes yours (by proxy).

It’s a phishing attack today – it might be something a heck of a lot worse this time next week. This might seem harsh, but this is your security at stake. And while there’s any kind of link between you and them, and despite how savvy you think you might be, the odds of YOU getting caught out will continue to increase dramatically each time they screw up.

(PS. If it makes you feel better, send them an email or open tweet explaining why you had no choice. Just don’t click on any links that they send back.)

Happy Birthday Twitter (Four Years Old Today!)

Twitter turns four today. Co-founder Jack Dorsey made the first tweet on March 21, 2006, at 8.50pm (PST).

Happy Birthday Twitter (Four Years Old Today!)

Note the status number at the end of the URL of that tweet – twenty. Status numbers tell us the actual number of the post on the system. Wonder what happened to tweets one through nineteen? Maybe the content was so racy and damaging that they were quickly pulled before Twitter went live?

(Or, perhaps more likely, they were used for testing purposes.)

Happy birthday Twitter!

Here’s The Schedule For Chirp, Twitter's Developer Conference (April 14-15, 2010)

The schedule for The Twitter Developer Conference, Chirp, which runs over two days from April 14, is now online.

Here's The Schedule For Twitter's April 14-15 Chirp Conference

I received an email from Twitter about the conference, which says this:

Biz Stone (@biz) will set the tone of the day with Evan Wiliams’ (@ev) delivering a visionary keynote. Ryan Sarver (@rsarver) will share Platform announcements and roadmap details and Dick Costolo (@dickc) will talk about monetization and commercial accounts. We even have a few surprises peppered throughout the day.

The second day’s schedule will be available early next week. It has something for everyone. Deep technical tracks for developers, business sessions for managers, policy talks for implementers, birds of a feather roundtables for information sharing, and more. Our goal on the second day is to create an environment for everyone to network, share knowledge and collaborate. So in addition to the formal tracks, we’ll have informal areas dedicated to impromptu, community lead conversations. Twitter employees from all areas of the company will be in heavy attendance to answer any questions you have.

(I’ll update with the day two schedule as details become clear.)

The event is going to be held at Fort Mason, at this location:

The Venue For Twitter's April 14-15 Chirp Conference

They’re also having a hack day competition on April 15.

I won’t be in attendance, but it looks like fun. And maybe, just maybe, they’ve been saving the big news – stuff like advertising and premium accounts – for Chirp? We’ll know in less than a month.

Most Popular Tweets To Rank First In Twitter Search

Over at the Twitter API announcements Google group, Twitter developer advocate Taylor Singletary has written about a beta project that their search team is working on that will rank results by popularity (as opposed to reverse-chronologically as they are now).

The Search team is working on a beta project that returns the most popular tweets for a query, rather than only the most recent tweets. This is a beta project, but an important first step to surface the most popular tweets for users searching Twitter.

You can expect many improvements as we tune and tweak our algorithms, but we want to give everyone a heads up so we can go over the implications for those consuming the search API.

It’s unclear how exactly they are going to define what it is that classes a tweet as popular. People rarely click on individual tweets, so that metric isn’t going to work at all. My guess is it’s likely to be based heavily on retweets, perhaps held up against network size, which means that Justin Bieber is going to be your authority on everything.

Most Popular Tweets Soon To Rank First In Twitter Search

For everybody’s sake, let’s hope they’re also working on an algorithm to counter that, too.

(Hat tip to Mashable.)