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Archives: September 2010

US, European Teams Banned From Twitter During Golf's Ryder Cup (In Case They Get Into Trouble)

Report over at the BBC.

“Tweeting and social network sites can get one into trouble,” said Europe’s Captain Colin Montgomerie.

“The team has come to a consensus not to do it,” added US Captain Corey Pavin. “It can be a little bit distracting sometimes, and I think it is important to focus on the Ryder Cup and playing in the matches. We’ve decided to not tweet this week, but a week today I am sure tweeting will be all over the place.”

Nine Ryder Cup players are active on Twitter and will be silenced during the three-day event, including Stewart Cink, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson.

This seems like a bit of a non-story, and comes in the wake of various minor scandals that have occurred in other sports where Twitter has been involved, but I wonder if we’re seeing the beginning of a trend here. And if so, I suspect it’s one that’s likely to move beyond sport and into entertainment and even politics.

“We want to allow the public access to our players and make them interesting to the public – because a lot of the players are very interesting people,” England’s cricket coach Andy Flower recently stated about the team’s use of Twitter. “But it has to be done in the right way. If we are to give them that freedom they must act responsibly. If they cannot do so, we’ll be forced into restricting the way they use it – and we don’t want to do that.”

So he says, but Twitter embargos might well become the norm. And while you can absolutely see the potential risk involved in adopting a laissez-faire approach to social network use – certainly from a corporate perspective – there must be a point where civil liberties are being seriously breached.

Where does it end? It will be interesting to see if Messrs Montgomerie and Pavin ban their players from speaking to the press. And ask their wives and families to refrain from using Twitter during the Ryder Cup, too. After all, a reliable source is a reliable source – even if it’s delivered via somebody – or something - else.

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Now Verified On Twitter – @Ev And @Biz (@Jack Shunned Once Again)

The verification system on Twitter is a nice idea but it still hasn’t been implemented correctly. There are good reasons why celebrities, public figures and brands should be first in the queue to get verified accounts, but there are also very good reasons why everybody should be offered the seal of approval from Twitter for their account, too, famous or otherwise.

We’re all real people. Well, aside from the millions of bots, copycats and imposters. And that‘s exactly why we all need to be verified. It would be easy enough to do – just let us verify our accounts with a bank card. If you don’t want to share this information, or don’t care about being verified, then you’d just opt out. Everybody who did care would opt in. Simples.

Still, to their credit, the Twitter three (Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan William) have taken their sweet time about getting their own accounts verified, waiting patiently whilst everybody else – even people nobody has ever heard of – got the badge ahead of them.

And while I like the idea that they kept on applying but the tech team at Twitter were routinely marking their applications as spam, Williams (@ev) and Stone (@biz) finally got themselves verified.

Which just leaves Jack Dorsey (@jack), who still hasn’t been deemed worthy of the badge.

And don’t forget – this comes just a few days after he was left out of the Twitter team’s #9 placing in Vanity Fair’s most influential people list.

He’s got to be a little pissed – he’s a Twitter co-founder, after all. Time to get even, Jack – go ahead and loosen the height control on Biz’s chair.

PS. @rickastley is now official, too. You know what to do.

Twitter Is For News, Content And Information. But It's Not A Social Network, Says Twitter VP

Twitter isn’t a social network, announces Kevin Thau (@kevinthau), Twitter’s Vice President for business and corporate development, at a Nokia World 2010 presentation yesterday.

It’s a nice soundbite, but I think it’s fair to say that for a lot of Twitter’s 145+ million users, it’s far more about the social aspect than anything else. Twitter is a fantastic resource for breaking and sharing news and information, and is now the tenth most-visited website on the internet, but, certainly from my experience on the network, as many people use the platform for chat and social interaction as they do the submission and sharing of data.

Although I guess it depends on what you label as ‘information’, but for the sake of argument let’s define it as updates that include an external link. I think it can sometimes appear differently as there’s a core, very loud and very influential group of power-users, tech blogs, news feeds and celebrities who link to external content in every submission and gobble up a lot of attention and retweets. These users can make Twitter appear to be all about sharing information, but it’s an illusion.

Of course, it very much depends on who and how many you are following, but for a lot of folks Twitter is just a fun place to hang and connect with their friends, many of whom they’ve met on the network. These individuals share and click on links too, but it’s not their primary concern.

Besides, why does Twitter have to be just one thing, or even a few? Can’t it be something different to everyone?

(Image source, and more about this story, over at RWW.)

Twitter Launches New Desktop-Style Twitter.com, Fires Angry Birds At TweetDeck, Seesmic And HootSuite

Twitter began rolling out its hugely-updated (and long-anticipated) Twitter.com interface yesterday. New features include a radical design switch, embedded photos, videos and other media content, a ‘details pane’ for clicked tweets, and more.

(Image Source: Mashable.)

They’ve even done a slightly surreal video about it.

(Learn more here.)

Earlier this month it was revealed that Twitter.com commands some 78% of all unique users that interact with the platform. That’s already a pretty high number, but Twitter wants more. And this switch to the desktop-style approach is, whether they want to admit it or not, a direct attack on TweetDeck, Seesmic Desktop, HootSuite, and all the other popular – but annoyingly external and thus largely non-monetizable – clients.

The new interface is rolling out as we speak, but could take several weeks before it reaches all users.

The goal, of course, is simply to encourage users to spend more time on Twitter.com. Where they can serve you more ads and sell you more stuff. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s business. And assuming they keep making improvements to the home page and enriching the user experience, then it’s a decision that’s hard to fault.

Mark Zuckerberg Tops Vanity Fair's 100 Most Influential People; Evan Williams & Biz Stone Rank #9

Poor Jack Dorsey – always the bridesmaid.

1. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
2. Steve Jobs, Apple
3. Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Google
4. Rupert Murdoch, News Corp
5. Jeff Bezos, Amazon
6. Bernard Arnault, LVMH
7. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor NYC/Bloomberg L.P.
8. Larry Ellison, Oracle
9. Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Twitter
10. John Malone, Liberty Media

Other notables – Johnny Depp (#20), Lady Gaga at (#23), Jon Stewart (#29), Mark Pincus of Zynga (#44) and Seth McFarlane (#81).

Check out the rest of the list here.

Is Your Company Scared Of Social Media?

Today’s Dilbert.

Unfortunately, and while perhaps a smidgen exaggerated, situations like this are still incredibly common. The norm, even – I have several friends and loved ones who experience versions of this very same thing. Some companies are not only ignorant about the use of social media – they’re scared of it. To the point of hostility.

How relaxed is your company about the use of (work-specific) social media during work time? Are they proactive and enthusiastic, or regressive and terrified?

And if it’s the latter… what are you going to do about it?

IRL

I’ve touched on this before, but the message is worth repeating.

Throughout social media (and, indeed, the internet) people like to talk about real life, making the distinction between that and whatever else it is they’re doing online.

There is no difference. Twitter, Facebook, Google – these are all a part of your reality, and therefore a part of your life. And as usage numbers rise month-on-month, the void that became a blur is now a bond. That stuff you’re doing and saying in your status updates has an impact everywhere else, too. And vice versa.

If you’re faking it on one side in the hope that this will help you make it on the other, you’re kidding yourself. Everybody has secrets behind closed doors, but if the internet you is being painted with a very different brush to the ‘real’ you then you’re playing a very dangerous game. Even if you (somehow) make it into overtime, this simply increases the odds that you’re going to get caught out.

Trust me on this – somebody has already noticed. What happens when they blow the whistle?

(Image credit: Klikkers.)

Twitter Has 145 Million Registered Users (And 16% Of Them Now Start On A Mobile Handset)

So says the official Twitter blog.

They also have an interesting (and we’ll assume definitive) chart that shows the top 10 most popular ways unique Twitter profiles use to access the service. Twitter.com is far and away the most popular method, but it’s quite a feat that Twitter For iPhone already has almost three times TweetDeck’s share – including TweetDeck for iPhone, too.

The following chart shows the top ten applications people have used to access Twitter in the last 30 days. This is based on number of unique users. That is, out of all the people who logged into their Twitter account during the month, what percentage did so via each service. (The total is more than 100% because people often use more than one app.)

It’s great to see this kind of variety and growth in the ecosystem as it moves beyond basic Twitter clients. These new services help people get the most out of Twitter, contributing to user growth and new business opportunities–both of which are critical to the long-term viability of the ecosystem. We’re making great progress in these areas–we currently have more than 145 million registered users and the performance of our Promoted Products has exceeded our expectations. But we still have lots of room to grow and improve. We look forward to seeing what’s next.

145 million users is a leap of some 20 million since I last wrote about this in June, a number likely assisted by the significant growth in mobile users (which is up 62% overall since mid-April). More importantly, the platform is running a lot smoother since those heady days, although to be fair we aren’t up against a World Cup, so it’s not the best of tests. Still, as Twitter says, onward and upwards.

Twitter Launches Twitter For iPad

Twitter For iPhone is the best Twitter iPhone app (period), so if Twitter For iPad is anywhere near as good then it’s an essential (and free) download.

Features include panes, inline video and media and various pinch and pull gestures.

Today we are bringing Tweets to a device that really lets content shine – the iPad. Twitter for iPad takes advantage of the iPad’s fluid touch interface, letting you move lots of information around smoothly and quickly – without needing to open and close windows or click buttons. There are a few things we want to point out that make this app a really fast and fun way to read real-time content.

I’m not fortunate enough (yet) to own an iPad, but if you do and have downloaded the Twitter app, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

In the meantime, you can read more on the official Twitter blog.