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kottke.org posts about Twitter

Interview with the @BPGlobalPR guy

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 13, 2010

Remember the @BPGlobalPR Twitter account that sharply lampooned BP’s response to their oil disaster in the Gulf? Mat Honan has an interview with the person responsible. (And it’s not Mike Monteiro.)

The idea was mine, and all the long form writing, talks, and speeches were me. But a lot of tweets — a lot of my favorite tweets — weren’t mine. I edited and maybe tweaked some of them, but there’s no way I would have been able to come up with the quality or volume of jokes without a good team. We had about 15 people, and those writers deserve a lot of the credit. Some contributed every day. My dad did one, even. I sent him a message and told him about it, and I was like, “fuck, I’m not sure what he’ll think.” But he responded immediately with a joke.

New celeb status item: your own servers at Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 08, 2010

From a tweet by Dustin Curtis quoting a Twitter employee:

At any moment, Justin Bieber uses 3% of our infrastructure. Racks of servers are dedicated to him.

When will references to “all my racks at Twitter” make it into pop/rap songs?

Intimate strangers

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 03, 2010

Susan Orlean writes about the lopsided intimacy of big cities and social media.

Life in Manhattan is like living inside a gigantic Twitter stream. What you get to know about people you don’t know simply by accidental adjacency is astonishing.

Insider tweeting

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 02, 2010

Commodity traders are following farmers on Twitter, hoping for clues about crop forecasts and such.

Last week Grisafi started receiving tweets from European farmers saying the weather was hotter and drier than weather reports indicated. He’d been short the wheat market on the assumption that prices would fall. After reading the tweets, however, he realized the commodity might be in shorter supply than the market expected and got out of his position, avoiding a loss as prices rose.

kottke.org Twitter account

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 18, 2010

This is a friendly reminder that kottke.org has a dedicated Twitter account. You can follow @kottke to keep up with all the posts on the site.

Two recent changes: 1. Twitter is going to shut off basic authentication to their API in less than two weeks. I switched @kottke to OAuth early this afternoon. 2. I am now using a local URL shortener to shorten links posted to @kottke. So, for instance, http://kottke.org/x/4oxg points to http://kottke.org/10/08/basic-rules-of-arithmetic-may-be-broken. Any bugs, lemme know.

(Oh, and my personal Twitter account is @jkottke.)

Gurus, ninjas, and experts

posted by Aaron Cohen   Aug 03, 2010

whatthefuckismysocialmediastrategy.com is certainly a veritable and powerful social media strategy generator for any business. If you need a social media strategy, you should start here before interviewing folks. You know, to make yourself conversant in the lingo. That said:

Yo, whatthefuckismysocialmediastrategy.com, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish but howtousetwitterformarketingandpr.com had one of the best snarky social media single serving site takedowns of all time. One of the best snarky social media single serving site takedowns of all time!

The jumper colon

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 14, 2010

Over at The Millions, Conor Dillon notes the increase in use of colon in contemporary journalism, including a new kind of colon called the jumper colon, “the Usain Bolt of literature”.

For grammarians, it’s a dependent clause + colon + just about anything, incorporating any and all elements of the other four colons, yet differing crucially in that its pre-colon segment is always a dependent clause.

For everyone else: its usefulness lies in that it lifts you up and into a sentence you never thought you’d be reading by giving you a compact little nugget of information prior to the colon and leaving you on the hook for whatever comes thereafter, often rambling on until the reader has exhausted his/her theoretical lung capacity and can continue to read no longer.

Bottom line: the 140 character limit of Twitter and general move towards concision in online writing is credited for the rise of the jumper colon.

Twitter changes their URL shortening strategy

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 10, 2010

From the Twitter blog:

When this is rolled out more broadly to users this summer, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL.

All links? Does that include bit.ly, tinyurl.com, flic.kr, 4sq.com, amzn.to, etc.? I’m obviously happy that they’re taking steps to get these largely unnecessary link middlemen out of the picture but some people are going to be pissed if they’re unshortening all links automatically.

Oh, and as far as how the feature will work, I like Blake Eskin’s suggestion:

Since @ and # work so well, why isn’t there one character to tell you here comes a link, replacing http:// ?

How about %? Or maybe //? So instead of “Check out http://kottke.org” it’d be something like “Check out %kottke.org” or “Check out //kottke.org”.

Twitter is expanding shortened URLs

posted by Jason Kottke   May 26, 2010

I’ve recently noticed Twitter’s search is finding keyword matches in shortened URLs. So if http://kottke.org/tag/Pixar is hidden behind something like http://bit.ly/r3H8Aq in a tweet, a search for “pixar” will pick it up. Which means that Twitter is unpacking shortened URLs. Which means that they could be displaying original URLs in their interface and pushing them out via the API for use in third-party Twitter apps. URL shorteners still suck, so how about it guys? Or are you not really interested in the long-term health and value of your service? (This will probably never happen, BTW. Twitter and bit.ly are partners and share investors. Plus, people are using shorteners for click tracking and whatnot so we’re likely stuck with them. But I still believe that outsourcing the long-term viability of your URLs in exchange for a little bit of information is a devilish deal.)

Twitter Bans Third-Party Ads

posted by Aaron Cohen   May 24, 2010

Via its blog, Twitter has just announced that it is banning third-party ad networks from using the Twitter API to insert ads into a user’s stream.


“Why are we prohibiting these kinds of ads? First, third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created. They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform. For example, a third party ad network may seek to maximize ad impressions and click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.

In other exciting news, Britney Spears has passed Ashton Kutcher as the most followed user on Twitter, so there’s that.

Traditional media’s adoption of social media

posted by Aaron Cohen   May 22, 2010

Think about the following platforms and when the first traditional media activity/participation occurred in that platform’s history: Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Chatroulette. It was a shorter and shorter period for each platform.*

Let’s call this the adoption half-life. It’s a bastardization of Moore’s Law, but the level of adoption required for a social platform to be covered as The Next Big Thing in social platforms will continue to decrease until NBT status is bestowed upon a platform used only by those in the media.

I’d been writing a post about this that wasn’t coming out the way I wanted, so I shelved it until I saw The Onion’s take on last fall’s New York Times’ take on Foursquare. Then I decided to jam 2 posts together.

The Onion sums this all up way more succinctly:

Aging, scared newspapermen throw themselves at the latest mobile technology trend in a humiliatingly futile attempt to remain relevant.

For his part, Foursquare founder, Dennis Crowley, had this to say:

Um, The Onion poking fun of @foursquare (and me). This is the greatest moment of my entire life.

*If someone has a LexisNexis account and can find the first mention of these platforms, I’d be grateful, but since this is the internet, I don’t need sources, mirite?

Twitter’s Promoted Tweets

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 13, 2010

Twitter announced their long-awaited advertising model last night: Promoted Tweets. Companies and people will be able to purchase tweets that will show up first in certain search results or right in people’s tweet streams. Which, if you rewind the clock a few years, is exactly the sort of thing that used to get people all upset with search engine results…and is one of the (many) reasons that Google won the search wars: they kept their sponsored results and organic results separate. It will be interesting to see if the world has changed in that time.

Tweetie bought by Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 12, 2010

Tweetie, my favorite Twitter iPhone app, has been purchased by Twitter; they’ll be releasing Twitter-branded versions soon. As Gruber says:

Here’s to hoping that Twitter doesn’t fuck Tweetie up like Brizzly did to Birdfeed.

That is, Tweetie was developed as a what’s-best-for-the-user app. I’m hoping not, but a Twitter-brand app may be designed primarily as a what’s-best-for-Twitter-the-company app…which is not necessaily a good thing.

Twitter predicts future box office

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 02, 2010

A study by researchers from HP’s Social Computing Lab shows that Twitter does very well in predicting the box office revenue for movies.

[Researchers] found that using only the rate at which movies are mentioned could successfully predict future revenues. But when the sentiment of the tweet was factored in (how favorable it was toward the new movie), the prediction was even more exact.

But as someone noted in the comments:

Works fine until people realize it works, then they start gaming it, and it stops working.

Margaret Atwood on Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 30, 2010

She joined up last year and now she has some thoughts on the service.

Oh yes. A long time ago, back in June of 2009, when we were planning the launch of The Year of the Flood and I was building a Web site for it. Why was I doing this building, rather than the publishers? Well, they had their own sites, and I wanted to do some non-publishing things on mine, such as raise awareness of rare-bird vulnerability and heighten Virtuous Coffee Consumption (Arabica, shade-grown, doesn’t kill birds) and blog the seven-country dramatic-and-musical book tour we were about to do. Anyway, the publishers were at that time hiding under rocks, as it was still the Great Financial Meltdown, not to mention the Horrid Tsunami of Electronic Book Transmission. “That sounds wonderful, Margaret,” they said, with the queasy encouragement shown by those on the shore waving goodbye to someone who’s about to shoot Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Oops! I shouldn’t have said that. Which is typical of “social media”: you’re always saying things you shouldn’t have said.

This is probably the first article someone has written about Twitter that references Wordsworth, Hammurabi, and Greek mythology. (via mr)

Ruth Bourdain

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 11, 2010

Anthony Bourdain’s potty mouth + Ruth Reichl’s Twitter account = the luxuriously rude Twitter stylings of Ruth Bourdain.

Have you ever smoked tangerine zest in a bong? Incredible! Me and the cat are sky high

Twitter code visualization

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 10, 2010

Watch Twitter’s engineering team and code base grow as the site gets more and more popular. It gets nuts at the end.

(thx, chris)

Home Alone, the Twitter version

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 24, 2009

Follow the McCallister clan on Twitter as they fly to Paris and discover that they left their son Kevin at home, alone.

An attempt to tell the narrative of John Hughes’ classic Chistmas movie through the medium of Twitter as if its happening in real time.

This is pretty crazy/elaborate…they’re updating 22 separate Twitter accounts, one for each main character.

Vogue Italia does Twitter fashion shoot

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 07, 2009

The December 2009 issue of Vogue Italia has a spread of photos taken by Steven Meisel presented in the style of Twitpic.

Twitpic Vogue

That’s Viktoriya Sasonkina; also represented are Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Gisele Bundchen.

Web app celebs

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 03, 2009

I started a bit of stupid fun on Twitter: #webappcelebs. Some of my favorites so far:

Pablo Picasa
Favrd Flav
Eddie Van Hahlo
Bit.ly Houston
daniel craigslist
Paul Reubens on Rails
Keira Writely
Google Lou Reader
Gwyneth Paypaltrow
Sid Del.ico.us (also: Benicio Del.ico.us)
Opera Winfrey
AIM Judy Dench
Wilford Brizzly
Eartha Typekitt

And I can’t find it, but I swear I saw someone do Lucy Hululiu, which seems so much funnier that just Lucy HuLiu for some reason.

kottke.org on Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 17, 2009

The new official Twitter account for kottke.org is now @kottke. If you want kottke.org updates to appear in your Twitter stream, just follow:

http://twitter.com/kottke

The old account, @kottkedotorg, will continue to post updates for a few more days and then will go silent. HUGE 72 pt. thanks to John Resig (@jeresig), who scooped up @kottke some time ago to protect it from a spammer takeover and generously handed the keys over to me this morning. So many people have wrongly referenced @kottke in the past few months that it’s a relief to have it.

Two other things.

1. I have also been posting little extra links to Twitter — like this and this — stuff that doesn’t really fit on the site for whatever reason. I’ll eventually pull those links back into the flow here, but the only way to get them for now is to follow @kottke.

2. You may have noticed that at the end of each kottke.org post, there is now a “Post to Twitter” link. I have long resisted adding Digg This or Tumblr That or Stumble What or Jam This In Your Facebook links to posts, but increasingly people are sharing links and information on Twitter instead of on their blogs so I’m going where the action is. At least as an experiment. So, if you like something, click the link and tell your followers about it.

Buy trending words on Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 01, 2009

If you can figure out what words are gonna trend on Twitter, you can use the pretweeting site to buy and sell words to make fake money.

Make a (virtual) profit by buying and selling words on twitter. Predict what’s going to be hot and buy it up before it hits twitter, and you’ll make a killing once people start talking about it.

This is like Google Adwords except with play money. (via waxy)

Twitter = tunnel is in ore

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 03, 2009

Regarding the previous post on Twitter and the telegraph, eagle-eyed kottke.org reader Mark spotted this gem on page 401 of the telegraphic code book:

Twitter Telegraph

I heard that “tunnel is in ore” was @jack’s first name for the service; that it was shortened to Twitter makes a lot of sense now. (thx, mark)

Twitter and the telegraph

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 03, 2009

Ben Schott on the similarities between the telegraph and Twitter:

The 140-character limit of Twitter posts was guided by the 160-character limit established by the developers of SMS. However, there is nothing new about new technology imposing restrictions on articulation. During the late 19th-century telegraphy boom, some carriers charged extra for words longer than 15 characters and for messages longer than 10 words. Thus, the cheapest telegram was often limited to 150 characters.

Schott also shares about 100 words from The Anglo-American Telegraphic Code, a code book that reduced long phrases into single words in order to cut down on telegraphic transmission costs. The full book is available for reading on Google and it includes over 27,000 code words on 460 pages!

Twitter Telegraph

NY transit and traffic status on Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 27, 2009

Get traffic and transit updates for NY on Twitter…including NYC subway lines! There are separate accounts for the 123, ACE, JMZ, 456, BDFV, LS, 7, G, and NQRW. (via @bobulate)

Update: @NYCtrains also does NYC subway updates. (thx, pierre)

If DVDs were books, you’d need secret decoder glasses

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 08, 2009

Steven Garrity lists a short selection of metaphors related to technology freedoms. Like:

If Twitter were a phone company, you could only call people who used the same phone company as you.

Got any good ones to add to the list?

Fixing Twitter’s suggested followers list

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2009

Dave Winer has been irritated for some time at Twitter’s suggested users list. I don’t like the list either…it steers Twitter in a direction I don’t care for. Winer suggests several ways in which Twitter can address the problems with the list but there’s a really good simple solution:

Make the list entirely random consisting of selections from the entire Twitter userbase. After signing up, each new user sees 100 recommended accounts randomly chosen out of a HUGE pool of non-spam accounts (where HUGE = hundreds of thousands) that have been active for more than 3 months, tweet more than 5 times a week & fewer than 10 times a day, and have 2 times as many followers as followees (or something like that). Twitter has to be doing similar calculations to find spam accounts…just reverse it and whitelist accounts for the recommended list. That way, Twitter gets what they want (new users following people) and the super-user & conflict of interest problems are eliminated.

Loose tweets sink fleets

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 06, 2009

If World War III started tomorrow, these would be the propaganda posters.

Someone Tweeted

Visualizing Twitter litter

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 25, 2009

I guess I should have included “if the link is posted to TechMeme” in the Twitter litter list.

Twitter Litter

A more readable list is here.

Twitter litter

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 24, 2009

The problem with all of the “we’re tracking the most popular links on Twitter” sites is that link sharing on Twitter depends on (in order of decreasing relevance):

1. the time it takes to read/view the link (shorter is way better)
2. if the subject of the link is Twitter or Facebook
3. the sense of outrage aroused in the reader (the more the better)
4. if the link was published by fucking Mashable
5. retweets by popular Twitter users who have many parrot followers (i.e. disciples)
6. how interesting the link is

So unless you’re into brief but outrageous Twitter news from Mashable that you heard about from Robert Scoble — and it is incredible the number of people who are — these services just aren’t that useful. (As this post itself meets several of the above criteria, feel free to retweet.)