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Posts Tagged ‘Twittercism’

The Last Twittercism Post, A Merge With, And The Beginnings Of A New Era

A month ago (to the day), Twittercism was acquired by Mediabistro, a division of WebMediaBrands.

I wrote about it here. If you haven’t read my thoughts on the how and the why, go now. I’ll wait.

Done? Good.

The day of the merger has finally arrived. Around early evening (GMT), Twittercism will go offline for a short while, and when it returns it will have been amalgamated with

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On Twitter, Change Is Much, Much Better Than A Rest

I’ve been active on Twitter for over 3 years. As of the time of writing I am following exactly 400 people.

About 100 of these are folks have been with me since my very early days on the network. I consider them my core. Many of them are friends, born out of Twitter. Some, brought in.

The rest are made up of bloggers, tech and news feeds, individuals I respect and celebrities.

Over the past 36 months or so, the amount of people I have followed has fluctuated considerably (it used to be a lot more). I would estimate I’ve probably clicked the follow button for around 3,000 users. Or, to put it another way – I’ve clicked the unfollow button about 2,600 times. 87% of those connections didn’t work out, at least long term.
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Twitter Turns 5 Today – Happy Birthday Twitter!

Twitter celebrates it’s fifth birthday today. Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet was sent on March 21, 2006, back when the site was known as Twttr.

Five years is quite a milestone for the platform, which now sees almost half a million new accounts registered each and every day, a billion tweets a week, and boasts 400 employees.

Yesterday, Dorsey reminisced about those pre-Twitter days.

Roll on birthday number six.

How Many People Have You Blocked On Twitter? And Who Were They? Find Out With Blocked By Me

Twitter’s block facility is one of the network’s biggest failings, for two important reasons. One, it isn’t a block at all. And two, when you block somebody the platform doesn’t provide any easy way for you to review (and perhaps restore) the people you’ve blocked in the past.

You can unblock people by visiting their profiles, but that means you’d have to remember or keep a list of lots and lots of users. And who does that? And how many people are we talking about, anyway?

Enter Blocked By Me. Blocked By Me does one thing, and it does it well – simply sign in with Twitter (you don’t have to enter your password, and it doesn’t store your details or – refreshingly – send out an annoying tweet to your followers), click on the ‘show my blocked users’ button and you’re instantly presented with a list of everybody you’ve ever blocked, displayed reverse-chronologically, plus that all-important total.

My number was 174. To be honest, I didn’t remember blocking probably 90% of the people in the list. Reading it through, most of them are moronic wrestling fans, which has always been an issue because of my username. Lots of spammers too. The rest are a mix of bots, mass marketers, jerks and good, old-fashioned weirdos.

What is curious is I remember most of the people I blocked back in the early days when I first joined the network, likely because spam was less of an issue then and blocking somebody seemed like a bigger deal. Times change. I don’t block lightly, but I also don’t hesitate if somebody is a nuisance, overly-aggressive or just plain bonkers.

Still, 174 isn’t very much for three years on Twitter, which averages out to just about one per week. I have to say I thought my number would be bigger. Give it time and I’m sure it will.

PS. Hit the comments to let me know your total. If anyone has more than a 1000, please speak up, although I’m probably gonna insist on some proof. I’d also be interested to hear from those who have zero blocks, especially if that stat comes with a decent network size.

Lifting A Dreamer – A Visual History Of Twitter's Fail Whale

You don’t see it quite as often nowdays, but Twitter’s Fail Whale, its personalised 404 error page, used to be quite a regular on the network.

But how did such a creature come to be?

Over on Quora, the creator of the Fail Whale, Yiying Lu (@YiyingLu) has revealed how the inspiration for her design was based on an original piece entitled Lifting A Dreamer, which Lu used for an e-greeting card for a friend.

And it featured an elephant.

In 2006, Lu, studying overseas, changed the lead animal to a whale, since she was currently residing in New South ‘Wales’.

When Lu placed the image on iStockphoto, Twitter stumbled upon it and snapped it up, replacing their current 404 page, which believe it or not was an LOLcat.

The finally piece of the puzzle came together in May, 2008, when Twitter user Nick Quaranto (@qrush), perhaps frustrated at that dark time in Twitter’s history when it felt like the site was down as often as it was up, tapped into the zeitgeist and proposed a name that stuck.

And with this, a legend was born. Yet, with its increasingly fleeting appearances, some now say that it never existed. That it was simply an urban legand. A myth. And that we made it all up.

But those of us old enough to remember know the truth. And we hope and we pray that, much as we admire the artwork, the Fail Whale is, for the most part, gone for good. Rest ye well, old fella, rest ye well.

Should You Censor Yourself On Twitter?

Sure. Sometimes. Why and when depends entirely on who you are, and what you’re trying to achieve.

Here’s the thing – in public we all censor ourselves to some degree. Twitter, as a public platform, shouldn’t be any different. While it’s important to be yourself (or, ideally, the best version of you), common sense tells us to be respectful, or at least mindful, of others. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express opinions you feel strongly about, but it does mean you should try to be polite.

(Up to a point. Remember: you can’t please everybody, and you’re on to a hiding to nothing simply by trying.)

I’m not saying you have to somebody you’re not. The opposite, actually. Just don’t be too loose, and don’t be one of those people.

(You know… morons.)

This is good advice for most personal accounts. For brands on Twitter, it’s a little different. Whether run in-house or managed by somebody else, they have to censor themselves. Otherwise bad things can easily happen, either through sloppiness or letting personal feelings cloud your judgement and emotional reaction. When everything you’re doing is based on reputation and trust, you simply cannot afford to be gung ho with your community.

There’s a big difference between censoring yourself on the internet, and internet censorship as a whole. Bottom line: if your network expects you to be outspoken and controversial, then being something different wouldn’t be true to anybody, especially yourself. But there are usually obvious limits, and for most of us it pays to work out what these are as early as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, and those limits are there to be flirted with. Absolutely get out there and spread your ideas and content. But go too far over that line and you might not be invited to come back.

The Conversation Age: Social Networking Becomes The UK’s Most Popular Online Activity

Interesting report from Experian’s Hitwise, which notes that in January 2011 combined social networking traffic became the most popular online destination in the United Kingdom, moving above visits to entertainment websites for the first time.

During January 2011 social networks accounted for 12.4% of all UK Internet visits. Across the 9,000 social networks that we monitor, there were over 2.4 billion visits from UK Internet users during the month – more than in any other month on record.

The range and diversity of social networks is also on the up. Facebook may be the dominant social network in the UK, accounting for 56% of traffic to the industry during January, but social media users are rarely tied exclusively to just one social network. Indeed, the interaction between different social sites is significant, as users dart between multiple networks in order to chat to their various groups of friends and associates.

Obviously social networks compete amongst themselves for users, but many of those users have a presence on multiple networks. One in every eight people leaving a social network visits another one immediately after, something that is encouraged by the connections that exist between the networks. Facebook, for example, is a key source of traffic for many smaller social networks; while almost a fifth of people leaving Twitter go on to visit another social network.

Whether this trend continues remains to be seen, but it’s an noteworthy precedent. Download the full copy of Hitwise’s report here.

(Source: Hitwise UK.)

If You Could Pay With Twitter, Twitter Could Get Paid

Paypal is a monster – the platform has around 100 million users worldwide, and in 2009 saw revenue of $2.23 billion over $71 billion in total payment volume.

The service has its critics, for sure, but look what it has to put up with. No wonder it can seem a little off at times. But for the most part, play fair and the system will play fair with you.

And moving funds from one person to another is so simple – all it really takes is an email, but even that’s a bit of an illusion. The money doesn’t actually go anywhere. It’s still right there, on Paypal, unless you physically transfer it to your bank.

And Paypal is now so dominant, so huge, that many analysts expect it to dwarf it’s parent company within a few years. And it isn’t even classified as a bank in the United States.

So: why couldn’t Twitter blatantly steal mimic this business model?

You’d load up funds onto your Twitter account, and move cash from one person to another via direct message. “You’ve got funds!”, Twitter would (shamelessly) announce.

Retail websites would incorporate a ‘pay with Twitter’ button. At first, you’d be hesitant, but over time, and much like Paypal, it would become a standard. And because of public demand, even eBay would be forced to comply.

Retail stores would let you pay with your mobile phone – simply scan your Twitter account at the checkout, and you’re charged accordingly.

Twitter has twice Paypal’s user base. With the right people running this, the right attitude and the right amount of chutzpah, they could rapidly become a viable alternative to what is a near-monopolistic online payment system.

And that little share they took from every transaction – which, naturally, would undercut Paypal by some distance – would give them a much-needed (and entirely viable) revenue stream.

They could even call it TweetPal. After all, you know what Picasso said about great artists. If you’re going to imitate something, might as well take it all the way to the bank.

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, 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.

Twitter By The Numbers – One Billion Tweets Per Week, 460,000 New Accounts Per Day, 400 Employees

A nice summary over on the official Twitter blog that details how Twitter has grown since inception – and even in the last month.

Highlights include:

  • It took Twitter a total of 3 years, 2 months and 1 day to reach one billion tweets. It now sees that number each and every week.
  • When Michael Jackson died, Twitter set a record of 456 TPS, or tweets per second (I remember it well, as I was one of the first to break the news). Shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day in Japan, Twitter raised this mark to 6,939 TPS.
  • Twitter is now seeing an average of 460,000 new users signing up each day – or just under 14 million on a typical month. The record was set on Saturday, March 12, when 572,000 new profiles were added. At this pace, Twitter will double in size in just over a year.
  • As I’ve documented before, Twitter now has 400 employees. Three years ago, it had 8.

Good, clean, interesting statistics. But as AllThingsD observes, once again Twitter has denied us the information that we desire the most – the total number of users. Or specifically, the total number of active users. Facebook is always very forthcoming with this information, so I guess we have to assume that either (a) Twitter’s numbers are never as good as we might expect, (b) they’re really into this whole mystery thing or (c) the user statisticians are trapped under something heavy.

Whatever the reason, it’s getting a little bit old. Part of me is hoping for a buyout just so we can get some actual data.

(Source: Twitter blog.)