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Archives: May 2009

Why I Deactivated Twitter's Emails And Switched To SocialToo.com

When you sign up for a Twitter account, the service helpfully sends you an email each time somebody follows you. This is useful information, certainly when you first begin to use the network.

However, as your presence on the platform matures, and with it your follower count, these emails can become a bit of a nuisance. Recently, I deactivated these updates from Twitter, and instead switched to SocialToo’s once-a-day update instead.

What Is SocialToo?

SocialToo is a web-based service that provides a lot of helpful tools to Twitter users, including auto-follows, auto-unfollows, follower synchronisation, and more.

One of the best features on SocialToo is the daily email they send out which notifies you which folk have followed and, more importantly, unfollowed you on Twitter in the last 24 hours.

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Have We Connected?

Twittercism is only a few months old but has already built a strong number of subscribers and regular visitors, with folks taking advantage of the different ways to read the content of this blog, via RSS reader, email, the Kindle, and of course the website itself.

A lot of my readers have come to this website thanks to my presence on Twitter, where through the @Sheamus account I share a lot of great content from my travels around the internet.

Others have arrived at Twittercism from social media bookmarking portals, such as Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon, thanks to the kindness of those who have been generous enough to submit my articles to these sites.

And I’ve been fortunate enough to be mentioned and quoted on many great sites such as Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, ZDNet and Techmeme.

This is all fantastic, but because of the different paths that lead everybody to this site, there’s an element of disparity about these connections. This is the time to rectify that!

Connections

The key word in social networking is, of course, social. Here are the ways we can socialise!

Twitter

As mentioned, you can follow me on Twitter by hooking up with @Sheamus (http://twitter.com/Sheamus). That’s me. :)

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Subscribe To Twittercism.com On Your Kindle

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Only 5% Of Your Followers Don't Care About Your Avatar

Earlier this month I ran a poll on Twittercism that asked my readers, “What Kind Of Twitter Profile Picture Do You Like To See?”

The survey had 130 responses which perhaps isn’t quite suggestive of the entire Twitter populace, and I’ve possibly been a trifle exaggerative with my title, but it’s enough to make the results of some interest.

There were three options available to voters:

  1. I like to see a real photo the person
  2. I don’t mind, as long as it’s not the default avatar
  3. I don’t care about the profile picture at all

You can check the results on the poll page, but the only number that I think really matters – it was, after all, my reason for submitting the question in the first place – was that only 5 per cent of voters stated that they did not care about the profile picture. This means, obviously, that 95 per cent do care, one way or another.

I invited readers to share their comments, both within this blog and on Twitter, and here are some of their thoughts. Note that unless they stated specifically commentators may have actually voted somewhere else, but their text was relevant to the designated area.

I Like To See A Real Photo Of The Person (58%)

“Prefer to see a real photo as I like to have a picture in my mind as to who I am talking to. Makes it more “real”!” (@snowleopardess)

“Re avatar, clear shot of head, but quite a obscure ones like @jackschofield or @jasonbradbury are good.” (@Thedrury)

“An honest looking photo (i.e. not a impossibly attractive portrait as the spammers prefer) as an avatar definitely sways my decision to look further, but ultimately it’s the bio and any recent tweets that determine whether I will follow or not. The use of “marketing”, “free” or “just seeing what all the fuss is about” in the bio results in being looked over though.” (@mattimago)

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69 People Who Work At Twitter (And What They Do)

UPDATE: This list was last updated on September 10, 2009. Users that are no longer in Twitter’s list of employees have been preserved within this page but their entry has been reformatted with a strikethrough. Also note there are a couple of people on this list who work at Twitter but are not yet on Twitter’s about page. Yeah, I’m confused too. Please contact me with any corrections (proof is desirable).

TIP: To save time, you can follow everybody who works at Twitter (with just one click) by visiting the page I created at TweepML.

The shenanigans of the past couple of days on Twitter have provided us with a couple of key pieces of information: one, that Twitter really needs to work on its PR, and two, that the leadership provided by Jack Dorsey (@Jack), Evan Williams (@Ev), Biz Stone (@Biz) and others, certainly in the manner of what they blog and tweet, is perhaps not as good as it might be.

Here’s the thing: while these guys are holding the reins, they aren’t the only employees Twitter has. Moreover, while we’re often enthusiastically told that Twitter is operated by a staff of just 30 people – even Twitter themselves blogged this a month or two back – according to my research, they actually have 69 individuals on the payroll, in some form or another.

How did I determine this? I looked at their about page. I urge you to do the same. However, while this provides a quick way to access these folk, it doesn’t tell you an awful lot about them. Nor, in the majority of cases, do their respective bios.

Here, then, in alphabetical order (by first name), is a list of the people who work for Twitter including, with official confirmation where possible, details of what they do. If you have an interest in keeping up-to-speed with all developments on the network, you might find following some of these accounts of enormous benefit. Indeed, from what I have seen, many of these guys are more open and communicative about changes within Twitter than their esteemed leaders.

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Twitter: The Best Of The Week (May 9-15, 2009)

This is a weekly series that looks at the best Twitter-related stories, news and articles within the Twittersphere over the last seven days. You can read previous entries in our archives.

The Twitter @Replies Fiasco

Earlier this week, in a “small settings update“, Twitter removed the facility for users to tweak the options that determine how they see replies on the network. Previously there were three settings available to members – all @ replies, @ replies to the people I’m following, or no replies at all. Twitter adjusted this so that only the second option was available as an unchangeable default.

Well, that was the plan. Even though only 2-3 per cent of all users liked the ‘all replies’ feature, the wave of protest was so strong that the Twitter founders were forced to respond and address the issue. Well, in part, at least. Some good may come out of it yet, but in just 48 hours Twitter’s PR and approval rating took a major nosedive.

Related stories: Ajax Blog, Mashable, TechCrunch.

Celebrity Twitter Overkill

From the folks who bought you “Twouble With Twitters”, comes “Celebrity Twitter Overkill“, which like its predecessor is uncomfortably on the money.

Codename: Squirrel

This week, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced his latest venture, which is code-named Squirrel. What is it? Uh, some kind of iPhone payments system. Can’t wait.

Twitter Trends

Twitter Trends is an oldish feature that only recently has made its way to everybody’s home page on the network. Essentially, it tracks the ten most popular themes or ‘trends’ on the platform at any given time.

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Twitter Listened! They Gave Us Back Our Replies! Oh, Wait…

Last night, and in direct regard to the shenanigans of yesterday, Twitter made this announcement in their blog (“We Learned A Lot“):

This morning we received lots of great info about the replies setting we changed yesterday. Folks loved this feature because it allowed them to discover new people and participate serendipitously in various conversations. The problem with the setting was that it didn’t scale and even if we rebuilt it, the feature was blunt. It was confusing and caused a sense of inconsistency. We felt we could do much better.

Okay, fine. As I reported yesterday, the removal of all the options in our reply settings caused a huge response on Twitter, notably amongst early adopters and those who preferred the facility to see all replies. So, what will they do to make it better?

So here’s what we’re planning to do. First, we’re making a change such that any updates beginning with @username (that are not explicitly created by clicking on the reply icon) will be seen by everyone following that account. This will bring back some serendipity and discovery and we can do this very soon.

Uh, okay. So if I type @username – say, @NYTimes – as opposed to hitting the reply button, everybody who follows me will see it?

But… but… if I click on the reply button, then it will be treated as a reply, and only my followers who are following @NYTimes as well will see it?

Whaaaaaaa?

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Majority Rules: What Does Twitter's Reply Change Mean For You?

Yesterday, Twitter made what it termed a “small settings update” to their system. Specifically, they’ve updated the Notices section in your Settings (on Twitter.com) so that you now no longer have any control over the replies you see on the network.

Previously, there were three settings available to users:

  1. all @ replies
  2. @ replies to the people I’m following
  3. no @ replies

Notices

Option two is the default, and has been since December, 2007. Prior to this, there was only one setting available, and it was option one.

Now in your Notices page there are no settings available for this at all. Twitter has re-configured the system so all users can only see replies from people they are following.

Notices

(Note, with amusement, Twitter’s ‘help’ gaff on the right sidebar. The link also leads to a now outdated help page.)

This has, as you would imagine, caused a bit of a stink. But to whom? Who is affected, how will this change impact the Twitter stream, was Twitter right to act this way, and what, if anything, can be done?

A Little Bit Of Twistory

Way, way back in a time before dinosaurs, religion and bacon double-cheeseburgers – December 5, 2007, to be precise – Twitter made some changes to their reply settings. This was when we were first given the opportunity to control which replies you received on the network, as per the image I presented earlier.

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Optimize Your Twitter Stream Using UnTweeps.com

A couple of weeks back I wrote an article about how all Twitter users could (and should) clean up their follower stream by removing inactive accounts. I invite you to read this entry to fully understand my reasons.

In that piece I recommended use of Twitter-Friends.com. The TwitterFriends service provides many features and is definitely worth a moment of your time, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the process of having to remove inactive accounts manually yourself is both laborious and quite dull.

Enter UnTweeps.com.

UnTweeps.com

UnTweeps does just one thing, and it does it very well – it allows you to quickly locate and remove, en masse, inactive, or as they term it ‘stale’ Twitter accounts.

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Twitter Is A Public Forum, So Be Mindful How You Quote Me

SeoBook is a search engine optimisation (SEO) blog founded and edited by Aaron Wall. The site covers SEO marketing tips, search analysis and, quote, “whatever rants come to mind.”

Aaron Wall is a respected SEO expert and a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences. He is also on Twitter.

I’m a subscriber to SeoBook for one simple reason – a lot of the articles, either those written by Wall or his guest posters, are fantastic. I try and share and lot of strong content on Twitter and have tweeted links to SeoBook on several occasions.

When you visit SeoBook, the site utilises a pop-up window feature that advertises a free course entitled “7 Days To Success”. The pop-up goes on to describe how this has been downloaded by many thousands of people and you can claim your free course simply by completing a form.

SeoBook.com

No harm in that, and certainly nothing unusual about it. Lots of websites uses pop-up windows to promote and attract business. Seobook’s pop-up also contains two links in the bottom right – “Ask me in a week” and “Don’t ask me again”. This is great, as it allows the user to bookmark the pop-up to remind them at a later day, or remove it entirely if they don’t have any interest.

The problem is it doesn’t work.

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