Tag Archives: Twitter

Much as we complain about Twitter, we won’t stop using it

Twitter Continues to Gnaw On the Hand That Feeds It:

I’d love to stand on a soapbox and preach “BOYCOTT TWITTER” but let’s be serious – even if they shunned every last app using its service and forced us to either use the website or their own branded apps, we’d still use Twitter. The job seekers, the self-promoters, the celebrity-obsessed groupies would continue to announce to the world the availability of their new book or recently published article, as well as their drunken 2 a.m. quips with friends.

Harry’s right, of course: you can pretty much guarantee that all of the grumbling about what Twitter does won’t amount to more than a handful of users deserting it for other platforms. 

Facebook? If there’s one service the Twitterari hates, it’s Facebook.

Google+? I like it – and I think that it’s actual target is Twitter, not Facebook – but the audience isn’t there (yet) and people are getting much more distrustful of Google.

Twitter is it. For better or worse.

(Via Curious Rat – the RSS Feed)

Page Rage: Why Twitter Doesn’t Work Better on Android

Page Rage: Why Twitter Doesn’t Work Better on Android:

A well-placed source tells us that Google’s Android team was supposed to meet with Twitter at CES about how to make Twitter work better on Android. Then, the Search Plus Your World controversy began. Eric Schmidt claimedthat Google couldn’t index Twitter and Facebook properly because those companies don’t allow Twitter to access their data. Twitter openly refuted this: The reality is Google’s bots hit Twitter hundreds of millions of times per day, sending 1,500 queries per second. Google has those Tweets, whether Twitter likes it or not.

The Google brain trust was so irritated with Twitter’s statements that the Android meeting was abruptly called off, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. There’s still no sign of the meeting being rescheduled.


I’m not even going to think about quoting “Don’t be evil” here. Nope, no, no.

(The ironic thing is that I actually like Google’s new direction. I think it makes total sense for the company and will probably, in the long run, lead to better products for users. I just wish they’d never gone down the fluffy-bunny-open-hyperama in the first place.)

(Via PandoDaily)

The real problem with Google TV

It looks like Logitech is out of the Google TV market:

The mistake, plus “operational miscues in EMEA” cost the company “well over $100M in operating profits.” De Luca did throw Google a bone by saying that he believes Google TV will have a chance sometime in the future, but it would be a “grandchild of Google TV” that would do it. Logitech clearly has no plans to help make that happen, opting instead to sit “on the bench” (as De Luca had put it in an earlier call)  until Google can find success.

The real problem, though is that “Internet on the TV” is not where TV watchers are going. Instead, most TV watching is trending towards being a two-screen experience: you watch the show on the big screen, and chat about it  on Twitter or Facebook using a mobile, laptop or tablet. The idea that you do everything on the same screen is just too ’90s.

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Unhappy with social network real name policies? Do it yourself

Hugh MacLeod:

And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly.i.e. not waiting for the green light. In the blogosphere, the only light IS the green light.

This is something the people complaining about “real names” policies need to remember. If you’re posting content on someone else’s site, you’re playing by someone else’s rules. If you’re not happy about that, don’t keep asking permission – pleading with the king for a “fair” approach won’t get you far. Do it yourself.

Facebook blocking all bit.ly links? UPDATE: Nope.

UPDATE: And it’s fixed. Looks like it was a short-term glitch in the Facebook matrix.

It appears that Facebook has decided that all links using popular link-shortener bit.ly are potentially dangerous – and has blocked them.

Bit.ly blocked on FacebookI’ve tried this with a number of bit.ly URLs, and it appears to be for everything, not just “objectionable” content that bit.ly is linking to.

I’ve got no idea whether this is a mistake on Facebook’s part, an error in their code, or deliberate – I’ll be dropping them a line when I finish this post.

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Sergey Brin on Google Buzz

Sergey Brin On His Six Months Using Google Buzz:

“Extracting signal from noise is one of our core competencies, it’s one of the key things we do in our web search product every day. And I think that now peoples’ personal communications are getting to be on a scale comparable to that of web search, so those technologies are becoming far more critical.”

And this is the bit that I don’t understand about Google Buzz: There are few actual tools to manage the flow of information you’re going to get from it. There’s no tagging of shared items to help filtering. You can’t filter out one type of content from someone you follow, so (for example) you can’t hide Twitters that you might already see in Twitter. And so on.

Overall, I’m fairly upbeat on Buzz as a long-term project. It’s easier to understand and use that the abomination that is Google Wave, and once the initial shouting has stopped, it’s a useful method of link-sharing to contacts. Viewed that way, rather than as some kind of Twitter/Facebook competitor, it’s a nice add-on to Gmail.

And, of course, it will help a lot when every other Buzz isn’t about Buzz.

(Photo of Sergey Brin by jdlasica)

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Kiwi: The best Mac Twitter client yet

As you’ll know if you follow me or this blog on Twitter, I’me a voracious Twitterer. I also can’t stand Adobe Air applications, which means that my options for Twitter applications are somewhat limited.

There’s a few around, of course. Tweetie is good, but hasn’t been developed for a little while and lacks support for “modern” Twitter features like lists and native retweet. Echofon has a lot going for it, but its support for multiple accounts is limited and, I find, a bit frustrating. And Socialite frustrates me, as it often seems to make my Mac show the beach ball of doom. Continue reading

If people don’t want journalism, we have no right to make them have it

I’ve been partially watching, partially taking part in a debate on Twitter over the future of news (what else?). It began with a tweet from John Robinson:

Tired of the media obsession with Tiger? Me too. Yet people are fascinated with it. Serve the audience or ignore ‘em & move on?”

I’m bored of Tiger too, so amen to that. Then it got interesting, as my blogging friend Mathew Ingram added his perspective:

that’s the eternal debate — give people what they want to read about, or give them what you think is important?”

Jordan Furlong added this:

It’s not a debate: you give people what they need. That’s journalism. Giving them what they want is entertainment.”

Mathew responded:

so giving people what they need is journalism — how do we know what they need?”

From my perspective, deciding what people need is simple: They tell you what they need through the merry actions of the free market. There are other ways of deciding of course, but the only other valid one is “one person, one vote” – otherwise known as democracy. And that tends not to work well for deciding what should be lead story on page six.

Mathew’s response was to differentiate between “need” and “want”:

I disagree when it comes to news – I think more people would pay for news they want (gossip) than news they need (reporting)”

And that, I think, is where the real problems start. Once you start to divide things into “what people want”  and “what people need”, you end up in a kind of paternalism, where you decide as a journalist what people should be reading. Jordan actually summed up this perspective on what journalism should be in another of his tweets:

Journalism is exercise of judgment on deliverables for civic literacy. Not a market need; it’s an enabler of effective citizenship”

If ever there was a description of how to suck the life, soul and fun out of journalism, that is it. It moves journalism out of the real world and makes it into something like a branch of the civil service, spooning out “the truth” into ears that don’t really want to listen. It basically says “people don’t want to buy it, so we’ll give it to them whether they want it or not. They’ll be grateful!”

Would you read a newspaper that was all about “civil literacy”? I’m interested in politics and society, but even I would avoid something like that like the plague. This is a form of puritan reductionism for publishing, dividing the world neatly into “things people want” and “things people don’t want but need to hear, so by God we’ll sit them in Church on Sundays and read it all out to them. They need it.” It treats readers as children, who need to be spoonfed their medicine because it’s good for them, but don’t understand why they need it.

The fact is that the best journalism has always been about entertainment as much as information, because entertainment is story telling, and story telling is about provoking an emotional response – and that’s the first, best way to help people understand and engage with the world. John Pilger’s reports from Cambodia were incredibly good journalism not only because of the facts he uncovered, but because of the tools that he used to provoke emotional engagement. He told the story.

Yes, sometimes people don’t know what they want until they hear it. If your idea of deciding what should be in newspapers is just “whatever the readers say they want in a focus group”, you’re in the wrong business.

But if you treat journalism as some kind of “enabler of effective citizenship” you will never produce stories which are compelling, interesting, provoke real emotion – and yes, which entertain too.

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A short post on the conceit at the heart of Google ChromeOS

One of the prime reasons for the success of Twitter is that it has never been reliant on a single interface. Because it has cleverly exposed everything via rich APIs, it has effectively allowed a hundred interfaces to blossom.

Don’t like the way that the web interface now handles retweets? Wait a few weeks and you’ll have a choice of other interfaces, as native (or semi-native) clients on your desktop. All of them will offer different options.

And it’s that combination of rich applications, rich APIs, and web interfaces which makes the Internet so powerful.

That’s why Google ChromeOS, which says “do everything in the web”, is so weak. Of course, there’s good reasons why Google wants you to use web interfaces for everything (MOAR EYEBALLS! MOAR ADS!) but there aren’t really good reasons for customers to want to do it.

Faster boot times? Does anyone really shut down laptops? The only time any of mine – Windows or Mac – get shut down is when they need to restart to install an update. Other than that, it’s sleep all the way, and my Mac’s two second start up from sleep makes ChromeOS’ seven second cold boot look sluggish.

Security? Really? Does no one at Google know how to install anti-virus software? And it’s not like web applications haven’t had their own security issues, or are immune from any kind of attack.

Rich applications. Rich APIs. Web interfaces. The future is all of them, not a single, ad-dominated cul-de-sac.

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Mark Cuban sums up why Rupert Murdoch doesn’t care about Google

In the comments to his points on why ““Rupert Murdoch to Block Google = Smart = Twitter has changed it all“, Mark Cuban gives the best summary about why all the traffic that Google brings to News Corp isn’t worth diddly:

“[News Corp] have tons of unsold inventory of ads right now. They dont need new traffic. BAck in the day search engines were a great way to discover new websites as sources of information. Today, that is no longer the case. Fox wants you to come to them as your destination. Just like they do for Fox News on TV. If you cant get to them through Google, you have to make a choice. Go to them directly, which they hope will become a habit, or ignore them. While they know they might lose some people, losing some visitors wont cost them money because they have excess inventory. On the flipside, they know that viewers that go directly to foxnews.com and other newscorp sites will be visitors that are far more engaged and committed to their site. That is more attractive to advertisers.” (My emphasis)

People who haven’t worked in publishing, or who have been the kind of journalists who divorce themselves from the business of publishing, very rarely get this. More traffic does not equal more revenue. A niche where you can demonstrate you are getting a particular target market and engaging them deeply is much, much more valuable.

And he’s right about Twitter, too. The percentage of links that I click on which crop up on Twitter is very, very high. My friends are my filter, which means that when a link crops up I already know it’s likely to be interesting and relevant to me. The human “editors” in my friends list perform far better filtering than any machine algorithm does – which is why Twitter outperforms Google News easily.

(Picture of Rupert Murdoch from World Economic Forum.)

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