Analysis of microblogging pioneer Twitter.

April 11, 2009

There’s a virus on Twitter: StalkDaily

Twitter got a virus today.  I’m updating what I know technically in my Network World post on the subject.  The gist apparently is that somebody found a way to hack Twitter pages by hacking the URLs in one’s Twitter settings,and created the hacked @GadgetBoyHah profile.  Then he got lots of clicks on it via the usual tactic of following lots of people who, upon notification, checked him out. I was infected too.

The implications for Twitter’s security are not good. The best way to disable or remove this malware is, as I write this, not yet clear, but I hope to get clarity and update the post linked above accordingly.

April 5, 2009

(Humor) You don’t exist if you’re not on Twitter!

I’d like to recommend two Twitter-related comedy videos:

But I’m still waiting for a Twitter-related takeoff on “The Trouble With Tribbles” …

April 3, 2009

Thoughts on the rumored Google/Twitter deal

Michael Arrington reports that Google and Twitter are contemplating both:

I have three initial thoughts on this:

1. Clearly, in Google’s mission to “organize all the world’s information,” there are several web areas it isn’t yet doing well in, and one of those is microblogs. What’s more, much as in the case of YouTube, it’s hard to see how Google would do that organizing any time soon unless it owned or otherwise was in bed with the leading platform for that kind of content — i.e., Twitter.

2. The YouTube example is apt in another way as well — it’s not clear where the monetization would come from. Google famously doesn’t make much advertising revenue from YouTube. And Twitter is even worse as an advertising platform; sticking ads into the tweetstream would quickly drive users elsewhere, and any other advertising scheme would likely fail because of the broad variety of interfaces — such as various mobile phones — Twitterers use to get at the service.

3. I’ve been suggesting all along that Twitter needs radical user experience enhancements. But when has Google ever made made user experience enhancements to a service? Its core search engine always looks pretty much the same. Ditto GMail. Ditto Blogger. Ditto YouTube.

March 31, 2009

Twitter shows some directions for growth

TechCrunch pointed out a Twitter jobs page. The specific job TechCrunch mentioned* isn’t up there any more, but at the moment I write this, 18 others are (copied below). That’s considerable growth, given that the same page says Twitter has fewer than 30 current employees. Note the emphasis on search and the mention of Japan.

*Care and feeding of celebrity tweeters. Celebrity tweeting is actually a subject I’ve written and even been interviewed about several times.

As of this writing, the full list is: Read more

January 8, 2009

The Twitter fail whale has resurfaced

I’ve had a multi-week service saga trying to get my Dell desktop computer fixed. So I Twittered about the fact that my last email on the matter of multiple freezes/cold reboots per day hadn’t been answered for 3 1/2 days.  A Dell representative almost immediately messaged me.  Then, like so many service representatives, he asked me to repeat what I’ve said many times before (only now 140 characters at a time).

Except I couldn’t get the direct message through for a while, because I ran into the Fail Whale.  Nor is that my first recent encounter with same.

If Twitter goes back to being maddeningly unreliable, I will likely go back to living without it.

After multiple weeks with a malfunctioning computer, I am NOT in the mood for even petty problems like this.  Arggh …

January 2, 2009

Daniel Tunkelang idealizes Twitter

Daniel Tunkelang has a couple of recent posts decrying what amounts to, at least in his eyes, the abuse of Twitter. (My word, not his.)   For example, he writes in criticism of Loic LeMeur:

Twitter is a communication platform, not a marketing platform, and there’s a subtle difference.

But I’d disagree that there’s a bright line separating the two.  In particular, I think most business blogs serve or should serve as both, in no small part because the areas of marketing and communication overlap heavily. And in my opinion Twitter (microblogging) and ordinary blogging aren’t that far apart.

Earlier this evening I posted praise of the BI expert Twitter community — of which Daniel is indeed a member — even while admitting that unlike other members, I “follow” too many Twitterers to actually keep up with their posts.  Daniel refers to following patterns like mine as an attention Ponzi scheme, Read more

January 2, 2009

Enterprise IT experts on Twitter

It was my birthday yesterday (New Year’s Day), and I remarked on Twitter that I seemed to be getting more automated greetings from message boards and the like than I was getting from real people.* Naturally, a number of folks set out to redress the imbalance :), specifically J A di Paolantonio, Rob Paller, Neil Raden, Claudia Imhoff, Gareth Horton, Donald Farmer, IdaRose Sylvester, and Seth Grimes.

*In retrospect that was a silly comment, made soon after midnight while humans were generally either partying or asleep. But it’s the set-up for the rest of this post. 😉

Sheer self-indulgence aside — “Happy Birthday To Me!!” — I see something blogworthy in that. Indeed, it reflects the emergence over the past 6 months or so of one particular Twitter community. Takeaways include: Read more

August 30, 2008

Silly Twitter statistic

In April, the widely respected Louis Gray came up with an uncharacteristically silly idea — the ratio between a Twitterer’s number of followers and total tweets. Recently, Ed Kohler posted about essentially the same thing, without obvious attribution. Gray and Kohler both seem to suggest that the number of your number of followers at any one point in time should be viewed as a guide to how many total tweets you should make over your lifetime use of the service.


At least the whole line of reasoning isn’t as bad as another one I recently discovered on the subject of information overload.

August 4, 2008

It’s too early to go back to Twitter

For a while, I’ve made very little use of Twitter. The reasons are familiar:

Back from vacation, I just tried again. My experiences include: Read more

July 20, 2008

Micro- and full-length-blogging use cases overlap greatly

Steven Hodson ranted on Mashable that Twitter is not a micro-blogging tool.  His case was, in essence, “Blogs are thoughtful and Twitter isn’t, so the two aren’t comparable.”  I disagree.  Hodson was over-glorifying blogging, while trivializing the broad variety of Twitter use cases.*  Consider, if you please, the following list of use cases that are met both by Twitter and by conventional blogging:

  1. Reporting on your life. By the way, I had a great first week in Grand Cayman, but now it’s raining heavily, which is a big part of the reason why I’m blogging.  Broadband is slow and my laptop is old, so being online is a bit frustrating, so I’m cutting a few corners in thoroughness.
  2. Expressing feelings. That’s pretty inseparable from #1.
  3. Bashing those who you feel need bashing. It works, too. 🙂
  4. Communicating news.
  5. Expressing analytical opinions.
  6. Promoting your services, opinions, and links.

*More precisely, Hodson was underrating the use cases for a version of Twitter that actually works, but I’ll try to refrain from posting at length again about that problem until I’ve looked into the changes at recent Twitter acquisition Summize.  That said, I think it will take Twitter quite a while, if it ever does, to recover from the terrible loss of momentum due to its lack of scalability.  Certainly my usage has dropped to near zero since the disastrous period in which they disabled the Replies search.

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