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Posts Tagged ‘Twittercism’

Twitter Is…

Noisy. Boring. Pointless. Repetitive. Too Fast. Too Slow. Full Of Spammers. Stupid. Redundant. A distraction. Overhyped.

All of the above?

Take your pick. These are all relative terms – one man’s signal, and so on. But that doesn’t really matter, as you have the power. Truth? Twitter isn’t anything – except what you make it.

If you don’t like what you’re seeing in your Twitter stream, change it. Unfollow. Then unfollow again. Connect with people that fit your needs and wants. And if that doesn’t work out, move on.

Lather, rinse, repeat – until you’re satisfied. You, you, you. Forget what everybody else thinks Twitter should be – what do you think? What do you want?

Almost without fail, people who complain that Twitter is pointless, boring or noisy, are following too many pointless, boring or noisy users. It’s frustrating because it’s something that’s so easy to fix.

And if you don’t do anything about it then you can’t blame anybody but yourself, as it’s never Twitter’s fault or responsibility – it’s yours, and always will be.

Hey, @Twitter: The #Dickbar Isn't Fascinating, It Isn't Cool, And Everybody Hates It

The latest Twitter For iPhone is proving very unpopular with many users, notably because of the ill-advised ‘Quick Bar’, a new feature that displays trending topics – and, of course, promoted trends – at the top of the home screen.

(You’ll notice another annoying feature of this new build is that it is mis-dating tweets. On the upside, it pleases me immensely that this submission from the lovely Elizabeth has been immortalised forever.)

The add-on has already been re-coined as the Dick Bar by technology pundit John Gruber, in honour of Twitter COO Dick Costolo and, well, because it’s kind of a dickish move – especially in light of previous comments he made about how Twitter’s advertising masterplan was going to be innovative.

“It will be fascinating. Non-traditional. And people will love it… It’s going to be really cool.” ~ Dick Costolo


Dave Winer elaborates at

Gruber is referring to the first rumblings of the promised business model from Chicagoan Dick Costolo, the (relatively) new CEO of Twitter. He, I conclude is 1/2 of the “dick” in dickbar.

The other half is how you feel for believing that Twitter would do something classy and interesting with advertising, as we were promised when, the newly minted COO of Twitter, the same Dick Costolo told us we would love their advertising. Yeah uhuh. Us East Coast guys have a bridge we’d like to sell you. It connects Manhattan with the great borough of Brooklyn. Real cheap.

This is not only a lousy idea from Twitter, but it’s also been implemented poorly. The people aren’t happy, and despite what Costolo has said I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this feature is removed or options are provided to tuck it away in the next update.

(PS. Want your own Dick Bar for your website? For reals? Get it here.)

Twitter Valuation Up To $7.7 Billion

A recent auction of Twitter shares on the secondary market has now raised the value of the company to $7.7 billion, doubling the $3.7 billion valuation made in December of last year.

Says Reuters:

Investors have agreed to pay $34.50 a share for Twitter in the auction conducted by Sharespost, an exchange for private company shares that announced the news on Friday.

Based on the 223.7 million estimated fully diluted shares of Twitter listed by Sharespost on its website, the deal would suggest a valuation of roughly $7.7 billion.

The Twitter auction, which Sharespost said was oversubscribed, involved 35,000 shares of Twitter’s Series B preferred stock, Sharespost said.

Recently Twitter was valued at $4.5 billion after rumours of interest from J.P. Morgan’s Digital Growth Fund, although that story has since been discounted by Biz Stone. Still, this latest auction has completely surpassed that number and Twitter is now closing in rapidly on the $10 billion figure that was being touted about when Google and Facebook were also rumoured to be ‘interested’ last month.

Your Twitter Homework Assignment: Unfollow 10% Of Your Network

Is Twitter getting on top of you? Are you using lists and groups to keep up with all the people you’re following? Does the very idea of wading through your home feed make you go cold? Who the heck are most of these people, anyway?

There’s only one thing you can do: purge.

Don’t hesitate – do it now. There’s nothing to fear. It will only take 5-10 minutes, but the benefits are huge.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make a note of how many people you are currently following, and then divide that number by ten. This is your target.
  2. Go to your following page on
  3. Scroll through the names one by one.
  4. Every time you don’t recognise an avatar or username, or cannot instantly produce a valid reason why you are following that person, unfollow them.
  5. Repeat until you’ve hit your target.

(And yes, if one of the people you can’t justify includes me, then go ahead and unfollow. I absolutely insist. I’d love to think I’ve earned a place on your feed, but otherwise I definitely should not be there. Unwanted is unwanted, and clutter is clutter.)

When you’re done, stop and take a look around. Listen. Doesn’t that feel better? Has that constant drone become a little bit softer? If it hasn’t, you need to go deeper. Move back to step one and purge another ten per cent.

But if it has… wow. Take a deep breath and enjoy. You’ve earned it.

It's Just A Plus One

So they didn’t follow you back?

Big deal. Who cares? Get over it. Unless you do the work, it’s just a plus one. And guess what? I have some lovely parting gifts for you: you can do the work without the reciprocation. Who’d have thunk it?

On Twitter, while it does matter who follows you, it absolutely does not matter who follows you back. If that’s the only reason you’re connecting with people you’re not only completely missing the point, but you’re simply wasting everybody’s time. Especially your own.

And the quicker you realise and understand this, the quicker you can get on with the business of proving them wrong.

The Price Of Defame – Courtney Love's Twitter Rant Costs Her $430,000

Rock star Courtney Love has settled the lawsuit brought against her by fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir, aka the “Bourdoir Queen”, after claiming that Love defamed her in a serious of messages sent via Twitter and Love’s MySpace profile.

The cost? $430,000. I’m not quite sure how that works out per tweet, but it’s reassuringly expensive.


There are bigger repercussions here for everybody on Twitter – not just celebrities – as defamation has long been an issue (and one that I have repeatedly highlighted).

As Reuters explains:

The settlement ends a case that was watched as closely for the unique legal issues in play as the often-erratic behavior of the defendant. Simorangkir, who became embroiled in a dispute with Love over a $4000 payment for clothing, accused the Hole frontwoman of ruining her business with a series of allegedly defamatory tweets posted during a 20 minute rant in 2009. The trial, which was originally scheduled for late January but was postponed when the parties began talking settlement, would have been the first high-profile courtroom showdown over what constitutes defamation on Twitter.

Love argued that her rantings were merely an expression of opinion and that Simorangkir could not prove how they damaged her. The fashion designer, on the other hand, pointed to Love’s influence as an entertainer and the power of social media to disseminate damaging comments, including that Simorangkir was an “asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief.”

“The amount of the settlement says it all,” Simorangkir attorney Bryan Freedman told The Hollywood Reporter. “Her reprehensible defamatory comments were completely false and $430,000 is quite a significant way to say I am sorry. One would hope that, given this disaster, restraint of pen, tongue and tweet would guide Ms. Love’s future conduct.”

Love attorney James Janowitz said he was pleased with the deal. “Because of the extended payout it’s a modest settlement,” Janowitz added, noting that Simorangkir had asked for “vastly more” in discussions. “They got out with an amount that left them bragging rights but nothing else.”

Love is no longer active on Twitter, having quit the network after ‘accidentally‘ sending explicit photographs of herself to all of her followers, instead of her boyfriend as intended. Whether she’ll return now that the case is over is unclear, but for the sake of her health – mental and financial – staying away might be for the best.

"The Tale Of Twitter Begins In 1984, In The Bedroom Of An 8-Year-Old Boy In Downtown St. Louis…"

And so begins an interesting account in Vanity Fair of Jack Dorsey (@jack), the co-founder of Twitter, and writer of the first-ever tweet.

Dorsey’s other venture, Square, the electronic payment service that allows anyone to accept credit card payments via their smartphone, is already processing $1 million in payments each and every day. But it’s the history of Twitter, and Dorsey’s relationship with fellow co-founders Biz Stone and (notably) Evan Williams that is of most interest.

Williams had expected his business to be a directory of podcasts. But when Apple incorporated one into iTunes, Odeo’s plans went out the window. In full reset mode, Williams asked his staff for new ideas, and Dorsey laid out his vision for SMS texting had just begun to take off in the U.S., so the time felt right. “Meanwhile, I was still doing this fashion thing,” remembers Dorsey. “I had about 10 classes where we built, from drawings to construction, skirts. Pencil, asymmetrical, mini. I wanted to make jeans, but you start with skirts because they’re easy. Then Twitter started taking off–and I never got to pants.”

Inside Odeo, Dorsey worked closely with several others on the project, then called “twttr.” Biz Stone, Dorsey’s close friend, did the design and user interface. Stone, aged 32 at the time, had written books on blogging and worked on projects that enabled extra-short posts. Like all great ideas, Twitter had many cooks, but no one disputes that the initial brainstorm grew out of Dorsey’s singular obsession. Shortly, they had a working product, and Dorsey authored the first tweet, cogent and Dorsey-esque: “Inviting co-workers.”

Odeo launched Twitter in July 2006, but it wasn’t until the following March that the world took notice. That’s when thousands of participants at the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference, in Austin, spontaneously began using it to swarm. The best parties that year were the ones people learned about on Twitter. The Twitter feeds defined the event for tech cognoscenti, and at Odeo it became apparent that Twitter ought to be spun off as its own company.

Williams had been struggling with Odeo’s investors and eventually bought the company back from them. Twitter seemed promising, but the firm was drifting. Employees were grumbling. Williams didn’t want to run Twitter, but instead to turn Odeo into an incubator for multiple businesses. He needed a C.E.O. But Dorsey, who had headed the venture so far, was just an engineer initially hired as a contractor. “I thought, It’s a risk, because he’d never even been a manager,” says Williams. “But Twitter wasn’t a huge deal at the time, and I thought, He has the vision. He’s got the technical chops. Let’s put him in charge.”

Dorsey got serious. “I took my nose ring out after our first round of financing,” he says, matter-of-factly. Twitter raised $5 million, largely from a single V.C. firm, Union Square Ventures. But managing a new company from Odeo’s wreckage was daunting. “Suddenly I became the boss of all my peers in a very damaged culture,” says Dorsey. “The morale was low.”

Twitter usage continued growing quickly–too quickly. Dorsey and his staff struggled to keep the service from going down. Looking back, Dorsey admits he was a flawed manager: “I let myself be in a weird position because it always felt like Ev’s company. He funded it. He was the chairman. And I was this new guy who was a programmer, who had a good idea. I would not be strong in my convictions, basically, because he was the older, wiser one.” Dorsey did a poor job explaining where he wanted the company to go.

“It just got a lot bigger a lot faster than anyone expected,” says Williams. “A year and a half later we’d raised $20 million, and the servers were crashing every day It wasn’t so much that the ship was sinking, but more ‘Great job, Jack–we’ve got to up our level of experience and lay some foundation for a much bigger organization.’ ” Others say the two were barely speaking by then, and in October 2008, Williams took the C.E.O. job for himself. Dorsey became chairman, but was no longer an employee.

He was devastated to be ejected again from a company that was building a product he’d conceived. “It was like being punched in the stomach,” he says in a rare moment of candor on the subject. Fred Wilson, who had joined Twitter’s board, puts a more benign spin on the breakup: “Ev and Jack are a little like John and Paul. They made great music together for a while, but then they both kind of got ambitious about things and didn’t see eye to eye anymore.”

Head on over to Vanity Fair to continue reading about who Dorsey reveres for design inspiration (no surprises), his ambitions for Square, and the lessons he learned about what went wrong, for him at least, at Twitter.

(Source: Vanity Fair.)

Who's Really #Winning Now @CharlieSheen And His Millions Of Fans Are On Twitter?

Yesterday I wrote about Charlie Sheen’s (@charliesheen) explosive arrival on Twitter, which saw the troubled/free-living star (take your pick) sign up hundreds of thousands of fans in just a few hours. He’s now well above the million follower mark, which is surely a record for the network.

Ever since is very-first tweet, Sheen has made repeated references to ‘winning’, which for him is indicative of how taking matters into his own hands regarding his highly-publicised celebrity meltdown has been a success. You’ll have to judge the merits of that campaign for yourself, but it’s come to light that at least one other Twitter-related organisation might be enjoying a little bit of Sheen-related win of their own.

The Forbes magazine blog has taken a look at Twitpic, the popular Twitter photo sharing service, and analysed how they’ve benefited from Sheen’s arrival on the network. Twitpic (like virtually everybody else) generates an income by serving ads to users. Each visitor to the site adds just a fraction of a penny to their coffers, but with Sheen’s influence those visits have gone through the roof. And then some.

Says Forbes:

The company best poised to capitalize on Sheen’s move to social media would be, a Twitter-based image sharing website founded in 2008 by Noah Everett. – one of many photo sharing sites utilized by Twitter users – is clearly Sheen’s service of choice; it has been the medium for six of Sheen’s eleven tweets at press time. Sheen’s first photograph – which features the actor posing with chocolate milk, a Naked juice bottle, and a porn star – has racked up 1.2 million views in less than 24 hours. By contrast, one of’s most recognizable photos, of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, has received only 656,000+ views in its considerably longer lifespan.

So how much, exactly, is TwitPic making per page view served? And how is Charlie Sheen helping?

So assuming the site is making somewhere in the ballpark of $3 per thousand page views, how much has TwitPic potentially brought in via its newest celebrity advocate? So far, Sheen’s six photos have racked up around 3.2 million page views. Some back-of-the-napkin math at a CPM of $3 gives us a total revenue number for those six photos at a little bit under $10,000, or around $1600 per picture. Sheen seems to have a way with words, but if the old adage is right, TwitPic shows that those words may only go for around $1.60 each.

$10,000 might not sound like a whole heck of a lot, but it certainly isn’t bad for one day’s work. If Sheen continues his PR assault, and if Twitpic is seeing just a fraction of these amounts from some of the other high-profile celebrity accounts, they might have to start tweeting about all the winning that they’ve been doing, too.

(Source: Forbes blog.)

Ashton Kutcher's Twitter Account Has Been Hacked. 8 Hours Later, Nobody Is Doing Anything About It

Remember the days when Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) ruled the Twitter roost as the most-followed (and by definition, most popular) user on the network? Kutcher will always hold a very important milestone as the first profile to reach one million followers.

Well, times change, and Kutcher is rapidly on his way out of Twitter’s top 10 most-followed accounts. Give it a few months, and he’ll be gone.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough for Ashton, now his Twitter profile has been hacked. And the exploiter’s messages have been retweeted by hundreds of people.

Kutcher, who is currently attending TED 2011, appears to have been hacked by somebody with a very firm agenda – namely, Twitter’s insistence on using non-secure encryption for user sessions. Which in plain English means that while they maintain this level of security, everybody is at risk of being hacked, certainly if you access Twitter whilst out and about.

As senior technology consultant (and online security maestro) Graham Cluley explains at Naked Security:

Tools such as Firesheep make it child’s play for anybody sitting close to you to jump onto your Facebook or Twitter session if you’re using unencrypted WiFi without an SSL connection, for example at a free WiFi hotspot.

Wouldn’t it be great if Twitter forced the use of HTTPS at all times? Clearly whoever hacked into Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter account feels the same.

The insecure Twitter and Facebook accounts of some celebrities offer a very tempting target for cybercriminals who may wish to spread their dangerous or spammy links to millions of followers. We should just be grateful that on this occasion the hack appears to have taken place to promote better awareness of the need for better security, rather than with more malicious intent.

8 hours later, Kutcher’s account still appears to be hacked, as the messages are intact and nobody is doing anything about it. How embarrassing, especially whilst at such a high-profile, super-intellectual think-tank as TED. And you have to wonder if this would have taken so long to repair if Ashton was still Twitter’s top dog.

(Hat tip: Graham Cluley.)

I Don’t Want To Be A Product Of Twitter – I Want Twitter To Be A Product Of Me

When they first sign up for a service like Twitter, many people have an overwhelming desire to quickly be accepted and fit in.

This is normal to a point, but it can mean mimicking those around you, or seeking out and clinging onto the advice of a guru (who is anything but), which in turn can lead to adopting bad habits and sloppy practices. Innocently enough, of course, but that doesn’t make this course of action any less ill-advised. Or unremarkable.

It’s OK to want to be accepted, but not at the expense of doing something exceptional, and making your mark. Separate yourself from the pack, and be unique.

Be different.

Believe me, there’s enough of everybody else on Twitter for YOU to stand alone, and to not be part of the crowd. And really, when you think about it, why would anybody want that? Safety in numbers? How about being invisible, lost amongst the ever-expanding herd?

Have the guts to be yourself. All those other, lesser roles have long been taken. And with any luck, you might just inspire somebody else to be different, too.