Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Twitter for commercial use

I’ve seen a bunch of sites/articles that are Twitter related recently. I’ve compiled them, and commented appropriately.

  • Splitweet – this is useful, as it allows multi-account Twitter management. A lot of corporations are using Twitter for business, and if you’re a small business owner, chances are you have Twitter accounts for all your businesses (if you’re social networking savvy, that is ;-)). Today? I use twhirl for that sort of thing (multiple account management, that is).
  • Twitter to begin charging brands for commercial use – I wonder how this will work? Go after the folk that have trademarked their brand? Go for people with more than n-followers? I just don’t see this as completely viable, without also affecting all those pro-twits. Maybe Twitter should acquire a service like Splitweet, and sell that interface?
  • StockTwits – this is Twitter search, for stock lovers. Looks like its only useful for the American stock market, but there can be lots of potential here. Some popular ones to look at: JAVA, GOOG, and even AAPL. Note the comments (looking to short, etc…) When will there be insider trading thanks to Twitter, one wonders?

Facebook Lexicon, the flu, and data mining

I recently found out about the Facebook Lexicon. There’s a FAQ, but in a nutshell, the Lexicon tracks and counts occurrences of words and phrases on Facebook Walls (profile, group, or even event Walls) over time. It doesn’t seem like status messages count, though maybe the new Lexicon might in due time.

Searched for “the flu“, only because I wanted to compare it with what you’d get over Google Flu Trends. Facebook doesn’t have the limitation that it has to be US only – its worldwide.

Then I thought about Twitter search, since lots of people post their updates on life, their feelings, et al – look at the results there, for the flu. Look at the mashup the New York Times built for the Superbowl on Twitter. Are there graphing tools, that track keywords? It might actually be cool.

Lots of new ways to data mine, it seems. Google shares some semblance of raw data. Facebook doesn’t. Twitter has whatever is available, that is limited by its API (what, some 3,200 entries?).

Imagine all this being used to predict flu clusters, or something more close to home, dengue clusters. Or voter turnout (status saying “voted”, even).

Reply-to-All SMS and Twitter

I was reading How Twitter Was Born, a post that has been going around the Twitterverse for a while. Twitter’s initial use, struck me:

I remember that @Jack’s first use case was city-related: telling people that the club he’s at is happening. “I want to have a dispatch service that connects us on our phones using text.” His idea was to make it so simple that you don’t even think about what you’re doing, you just type something and send it.

That was my initial use of Twitter. I wanted to tell my list of friends, what’s cool, where. Deals. Whom I saw. I never intended to have discussions or conversations, or do things like brand monitoring, and so on.

A few days ago, a friend sent an SMS message to five people, and in the message he said CC: followed by a bunch of names. Imagine if SMS, supported Reply-to-All? Then you’ll have “conversations” amongst many folk (SMS isn’t limited to 160 characters only nowadays – its 160*3!).

Today, my use of Twitter is similar to what it was before. I do write random thoughts, especially when I’m on the mobile web. When on the desktop, I end up using a client like twhirl, to keep track of conversations. I reply. I contribute. I ask questions, and expect to get answers from my collective network.

Definitely interesting to see how my Twitter usage has evolved. In fact, its interesting to see how Twitter itself has evolved. Its now awash with PR/marketing/business types, and a lot are using Twitter as a business tool.

FriendFeed room, group, for MySQL

Executive summary: There is now a MySQL Room on FriendFeed, as well as a group for mysql. Community members, developers, dabblers, users, etc. should find these extra avenues useful, in addition to the forums, mailing lists, and even the Forge. Join them now!

There has been a recent uptake of Twitter amongst the MySQL community… Early adopters have been around for ages, even (as we’re slowly approaching Twitter’s third birthday).

However, I’ve been noticing that slowly, there’s a little shift of the technical crowd, to I’ve had an account there for a while, but never really use the service much – but they’ve had updates this past week. They have group support now.

To post to the mysql group, just say:

!mysql message

The order doesn’t matter. Just have !mysql, in the body of your message. It reminds me of #hashtags on Twitter.

I don’t know how many pay attention to FriendFeed, but there is also a MySQL Room on FriendFeed. I think its a lot more discussion friendly than, and would like to see it used more. We always during the Conference & Expo tend to use IRC, but maybe now, we’ll use FriendFeed. Good archives, good conversation, good tracking (one can use twhirl – an Adobe AIR app), I see it as a big win.

All in all, Twitter seems like the .com boom of the early 90’s, when businesses discovered Usenet, however seem like those private lists, where the cool kids from Usenet migrated to.

On fearing the continuity of online services

Today I read that co.mments bit the dust. Another web service (who remembers the I Want Sandy discussion a while back), ceasing to exist (though from what I see, a lot of folk are using Disqus more).

It got me a little worried. I rely quite a bit on online services.

  • Bookmarking, once previously living in my bookmark.htm file, now is shared on delicious. It has proven to be invaluable, storing 3,108 bookmarks. They are a Yahoo! run company.
  • Photo storage and sharing, once previously sitting in directories on my web server, are now kept on my Flickr account. Flickr is great, because I can share photos with just friends, family, or participate in a vibrant community of photo enthusiasts. I currently have 16,813 items stored there, with backups on various media sitting in my various homes. They are a Yahoo! run company, and I happily pay them for a Pro account.
  • I depend on Google Reader (read my shared items) to read RSS feeds. In fact, I have been sharing items as a form of bookmarking them. Ditto with adding stars to items. Don’t say Google doesn’t close services – they have.
  • I use Google Calendar, because it simply rocks. I also use Google Docs, and I also use GMail (hosted, and regular).
  • I use Twitter, who has no business model, as of yet. I like it over FriendFeed for one minor detail – I can update via SMS.

Most of these services have ways for you to get your data out of them, assuming they don’t exist in due time. But what will replace them?

Sure there are desktop applications. But with the variety of devices I utilise, I’m trying to cut down from using desktop applications and just focus on working online. In fact, all that is open now is Firefox, Adium, iTunes, TextMate (where I carve this text out), Terminal, Skype and twhirl. On my work laptop, its just Thunderbird, Firefox, Terminal, and Skype that’s open.

So maybe I need less desktop applications. It’s good, because that’s the hope of online services – live right in your browser.

But in tough(er) times, what do you do if the online service you use, disappears? Where’s the continuity (i.e. will my grandkids be able to browse my Flickr photo albums?)

I do wonder, if this will lead to more open source, peer-to-peer/federated run, online services. Like if Twitter folds up, who’s to say its excellent community won’t move to ? (till then though, the latter probably doesn’t stand a chance, besides the very geeky top-of-the-trend open source folk…)

Twitter for politics, and in the media

This is largely about social media, with a focus on Twitter.

Premieres using Twitter
Its great to see Kevin Rudd start twittering – follow him at KevinRuddPM.

He’s following in the footsteps of BarackObama. Who may just have won an election by harnessing the amazing powers social networks.

Did Obama use Ning? It would be interesting to see what Marc Andreesen has to say about the entire campaign, what was used, what was done, etc.

Twitter in Malaysian media
Oon Yeoh writes about twittering, like SMSing,is here to stay, in a column he writes for an old media newspaper.

I find it funny that he refers to the Malaysian public as “comfortable” with Facebook “status updates”, considering Friendster is still a lot more popular in Malaysia. Twitter itself is probably not big in Malaysia, because no one likes spending a premium sending a SMS overseas. I especially like:

One early adopter, who is currently studying abroad, uses Twitter as an efficient and effective way to keep her boyfriend updated about what her day is like.

Good, now she can keep her stalkers up to date as well :) Oon seems to add a questionable paragraph:

It’s not so good as an archive of news though. And that’s mainly because its search engine is quite lousy. Perhaps Google should gobble it up and improve its search capabilities.

Google did gobble up a “Twitter-like service” – its called Jaiku. Twitter themselves, gobbled up Summize, and you now have (how else do you think we update the status page on

Its just amusing how many other errors there are in the article, but this is the drivel that is the print media, yes?

Update: Read How Techies can Improve Democracy and Governance, an interview with Silona Bonewald. (I conducted a short one, a few months back, too).

Update 2: Read about Obama’s plan to use YouTube for weekly “fireside chats”. I continue to be impressed.