The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 07:41:00 AM on Monday, September 21st, 2009
Cultivating your Twitter followers is a process that takes time, energy and planning.  Many people are skipping the processes associated with communication, engagement and quality to inflate their numbers by dumping chemical additives and building production plants instead of a more friendly neighborhood attitude.  I personally enjoy this approach as I learn more about who I want to follow and the materials they offer to me in return.  

Organic - This is the path of more work, but with greater results.  You work together with others in the community and donate quite a bit of time.  But the results are healthier relationships, trusted communication and trust in your knowledge.  You learn the strengths of each area of others in your community and they become excellent filters of information on topics they might be experts in or are striving to learn.  Many gems of knowledge are found from these types of people.

You do not:
  •  use auto-following services in hopes that you get followed back
  • ignore conversation threads
  • only post link to products you sell and only to articles, have conversation around them
  • only post referrer links in hopes of getting sales
  • never respond to any message sent to you


Chemical users blend a formula of automation so they never interact.  They are generally unaware of who is following them and who they are following back.  The climb is the supposed reach of numbers.  However, a lot of both categories, followed and following are automation tools themselves.  Responses never seem to happen at any time with no feeling of personality behind the posts.  Unfortunately, someones work who I admire has fallen into this category, Guy Kawasaki.  He could have great personal communication with tons of followers but it became AllTop driven instead of making AllTop its own persona.  Some of the stars that take time to watch their actual followers and respond earn some respect.  Others that use a team of interns they hired to make postings don't.  If you do not have the time, then don't do it. Nothing lost.  Everyone is busy.

They do the following:
  • Auto-following tools are deployed
  • auto-responders are deployed to fake engagement with canned responses
  • referrer links are embedded in most tweets
  • hire people to send tweets for them

Ever since I talked about losing Twitter to the masses, I have noticed this trend and uptake also.  It was to be expected in this medium as it happened across instant messaging and email systems.  The computerized growth that then turned to producing spam filters as we did for almost a whole week on EverythingTwitter.

by Chris Miller at 02:25:05 PM on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
TwitViewer fired up as a way to see who is stalking you on Twitter.   It quickly became a fast moving trend only to end in closing of the site as it peaked.  A quick check shows that it was registered as a domain only today.

NOTE: Do not confuse the .net site under suspicion with the .com site that is a way to enter a Twitter status id and see the entire conversation.

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
 Domain Name: TWITVIEWER.NET
 Created on: 28-Jul-09
 Expires on: 28-Jul-10
Last Updated on: 28-Jul-09

Having seen that would raise an eyebrow but someone could have been developing this for some time and never had a good domain name associated with it.  So next we look to see who is behind it and are greeted with another bad sign:
Administrative Contact:
Private, Registration TWITVIEWER.NET@domainsbyproxy.com
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
 DomainsByProxy.com
 15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160,
 PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 United States
 (480) 624-2599

A post office box private registration with no way to link or contact back to the site originators.  The site finally has a clip saying they do not understand why all this happened but they might be back under another domain name.  I imagine the crush of traffic and the the forgery marking on Firefox did not help in any way.

Mashable did a test and created a fake account and then used the service where it showed hundreds of people visiting that account name.  Highly unlikely.

by Chris Miller at 01:24:23 PM on Monday, July 13th, 2009
While investigating a tool for EverythingTwitter, the thought came to mind on how we could more effectively work with direct messages in Twitter if there was a defined set of rules that allows flexibility  With some simple additional choices we could expand our reach in how we interact with friends and followers.
  • Level 0 - We are unable to receive any DM's from anyone, but still have friends and followers
  • Level 1 - We are able to receive direct messages from those we explicitly check.  This gives us granular controls and allows us to follow more people without worrying about everyone sending DM's.
  • Level 2 - We are able to receive DM's from anyone we follow.  Basically the standard for Twitter
  • Level 3 - We are able to receive DM's from anyone on Twitter at all regardless if we follow them or not.  Sort of an open funnel approach

So with this model I am able to finely tune how I interact with everyone and generally control my openness for communication.  A person that wants IM type communication, without having to follow everyone back get sit with Level 4.  It is hard enough to watch the stream of 200 people, much less 2 or 20 thousand.

The reverse is then true where I wish to broadcast only and not have intimate communication then Level 0 is perfect.  You should be able to set this as a global level default and then tune, or leave it for me to decide when following a new person also.

 I am sure there might be reason to add a level of some kind in there, this is only meant to be a gentle suggestion.

by Chris Miller at 10:42:36 AM on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
Twitter has started some interesting trends, with one being #followfriday and the use of the hasthtag to describe it.  Well I thought it would be appropriate if we had something for each day of the main workweek.  I did find one in existence for Monday already, so my job became easier.  These are up for debate, but the idea is to get some flow and consistency going.  I want some voting and input on Thursdays
  • #musicmonday - on this day you list a link to your favorite artist, song, album, video or whatever as long as it is music.  URL shorteners please!
  • #twotuesday - you share two comparisons of something.  Maybe a product or new site.  The idea is to have conflicting sites on the topic so we get both sides to any story.  It helps you learn there is more than one side and shares it with us
  • #webwednesday - I decided this one should be where we show off hidden gems on the web.  Sites that have amazing content and should be seen by many.  Do not forget to use your URL shortener of choice please
  • #  ???   I have quite a few ideas but lets get some input on this one and decide on the best.  I don't want to be responsible for the entire web
  • #followfriday - on this day you simply list a string of @ names, such as @IdoNotes, and tell your followers they are worth following.  It is wise to suggest people that are not super celebs on Twitter to help see new and exciting people.  Like @IdoNotes   ha

by Chris Miller at 09:44:29 AM on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
Upon seeing what happened with TwitterCut over the past 24 hours, I am tending to believe that Twitter has now reached enough critical mass that it could effectively kill a company in the online and marketing world.  

Image:Can Twitter kill a company? Do we have checks and balances?

Damage that would be hard to undo and for smaller ones could be end game when they rely heavily on social media to grow.  Mashable and InfoWorld (among many others) picked this up quick and issued articles of warning yesterday.  Twitterers soon began spreading the word and my real-time searching was moving pretty darn quick and it was being retweeted over and over. Twittercut responded on the site itself:

FYI: According to several social network blog sites TwitterCut has been the bud of several rumours! Our website and its programmers can assure you that these rumours are not true and that TwitterCut is simply a Twitter train that was a work in progress! We were not phishing twitter accounts what so ever. That login script was a script I bought for 50 dollors. I see allot of sites on twitter doing the same thing as us. Were shutting down this site. - Twittercut@gmail.com


So let's assume a fast food chain really has no issue and someone drives enough interest in a possible food recall/poisoning for that chain.  Would the drive of Twitter be enough to hurt them for the next couple days?  How would they fight against it?  Spend lots of cash in marketing, TV and social promotion letting everyone know they are totally safe.  Which in turn costs them even more money on top of what was lost.

Where is the balance and checks? Who verifies the reality of the data being presented?  Are we a bunch of lemmings that as soon as a big name says no go or that there is a problem we all follow along happily?  I am not saying that TwitterCut was legitimate, just that I couldn't find much else other than it send out a tweet.  The domain was registered May 21, 2009 by someone that listed his name, address, phone number and email.  Who called Jordan or emailed him? (heck he even spelled "rumor" wrong a couple times and "dollars" on the notice he put up)

So what is a company to do in this world of social media frenzy?  Remember when Oprah made a comment about beef and there was a significant, measurable drop for a while?  Start imagining the bigger leap when CNNBRK gets hacked and someone sends a fake news alert out.  While Twitter can remove it, all of the clients that get used (not the web interface) keep it and it gets passed on.  Oprah now not only says something on her show but sends a tweet out saying ther same thing.  What kind of impact do we have on that small enterprise that makes her favorite coffee cake?  They get some overloaded it essentially stops business.  Leo Laporte does this each week highlighting a website, they call it the TWiT effect where they take the site down as thousands rush to the URL.

 I think we need a check and balance here.

by Chris Miller at 09:32:00 AM on Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Twitpocalypse is not my idea, it came from right here.  But as one of the founders of EverythingTwitter.com we have a big interest in this theory.  The idea is that the way Twitter designed the unique identifiers for each tweet, combined with the speed at which we are now consuming the available numbers (per some math calculations), Twitpocalype currently estimates that in mid June 2009 the identifiers for tweets will turn negative in number.  This means quite a few of the 3rd party apps that rely on unique identifiers may not have coded for this and could very well break.

To some of you that don't use much outside of the web interface or a random client, it may be no big deal.  For the power users out there, your favorite tool may need an overhaul or might cease for a while.  It might be possible that Twitter will just keep adding on numbers forever for each status message,  Yet I find this hard to believe.

my first Twitter message was number (via MyTweet16): 5,545,173
My current message identifier was : 1,916,116,297

A difference of 1,910,571,124 tweets in an amazingly sharp curve in time.  Any input from the 3rd party developers?  Will this affect you?  Is it even true?

by Chris Miller at 12:31:55 PM on Friday, May 22nd, 2009
So here is the deal.  A new site popped up for entry into EverythingTwitter.  As I went exploring and testing the site which allows you to upload videos from cellphones, a local file on your computer and soon webcams, there was no content rating or filtering assigned.  What I uncovered was a mixed bag of fun/silly videos, tech content and well soft porn.

Imagine the possibility of following a specific person and getting all the latest uploaded or even just recorded hot porn content?  The videos will be coming from alternate sites and not stored on Twitter.com, of course.  So your network and firewall teams will need to do some extra duty to control and maintain new link sites.  (This also goes with the fact that you should be using one of the Twitter tools that shows the expanded links that you are preparing to click on.  Too many times we have no idea where a link really goes, only that we like the description.)

Does the porn industry see a business value in this?  Could we enter the world of realtime updating of this type of content? Twitter is the medium to make it happen with a fast growing userbase.  They do not store the content and there is no rating of Twitter content types.  You are always at your own risk when browsing the stream.  Facebook patrols content and removes offending pictures.  However Twitter does not store this content and services hook in to allow you to publish pics and videos as soon as they are taken.

by Chris Miller at 08:41:00 AM on Thursday, May 7th, 2009
In the last week or so I broke 5000 tweets.  Was there a parade or confetti? Nope.  Nothing came from it when I first broke 1000 followers either.  What I did suddenly realize is how it changed my workflow as well as what other changes I need to think about.

Here is what I did learn from 0-5000:
  • Twitter is about having communication with anyone. Cross balanced with some broadcasting of thoughts, links and stuff
  • Twitter transcends multiple platforms like no other tool right now.  SMS, web, desktop clients, mobile clients and huge numbers of add-on tools
  • Twitter can be a central communication point flowing downstream into other services
  • Twitter can be an aggregation point collecting flowing data from other services
  • Twitter allows you to have meaning in what you say or just randomly chat and communicate.  It becomes how you use the tool, not what everyone else uses it for
  • Twitter is a moving wave that you cannot surf on.  You must dive in and come up for air to get the most benefit
  • Twitter needs to be constantly data mined to get the most out of it
  • Twitter serves everyone in different ways and don't be offended when someone doesn't like how you use it
  • Twitter has an api that isn't having any limits right now.  Remember the company I posted that has their manufacturing machines tweet their statistics into private feeds that then get consumed.  This saved tons of man hours walking around collecting these same stats manually
  • Twitter will have a revenue model that we all won't agree with at some point.  When it happens look for a wave of complainers
  • Twitter uses hashtags as a sorting and locating mechanism, not as a game

Here are things I am changing for 5000-9999 and then re-evaluating:
  • EverythingTwitter is moving into it's own Twitter account. It is growing fast and needs to be it's own breathing entity that you can follow for the best and latest Twitter tools.  Corvida may still have updates in her own personal stream, but we will leave that whole idea up to her
  • I will engage in more conversation as that is where most of it is taking place.  I have not logged into public IM accounts in, what a year?  I am sometimes on the one for TheSocialNetworker but only because Google is set to log me into Google Chat when I check mail.
  • I have a semi scheduled routine to trim up who I follow.  Information overflow can ensue too quickly
  • I will continue to look for the best desktop, mobile and web interfaces for my needs, not what everyone else says is best.  It is why we throw new tools out each day.  There is too many cool new ones all the time
  • I am pushing more links through Diigo and sharing through Google Reader.  I know Google Reader needs some help in the social network space, but it makes following hundreds of feeds too easy.  Plus on the BB in a crunch.  Get on it and add my as a friend on both of those.
  • I keep trying to use Friendfeed more for viewing, but like the splitting of these couple tools for feeds and just tweets.  I have rooms, groups and lists in Friendfeed already, but maybe I need more
  • Microblog companies that are popping up need to focus more on what service they can bring to a group or enterprise and stop being direct competitors.  You will then start winning your own race

(before you ask:  I make it a point to test a tool for a week or two straight unless it really just disappoints me right away.  So you will see me in Twhirl most of the time.  I just finished two weeks in Tweetdeck and have to go back.  Seesmic isn't ready just yet.  Then Chrome/Firefox  for Google Reader.  Bit.ly for URL shortening and Diigo tools for social bookmarking)

I am going to keep adding more and hopefully some of you comment with your own education from your first tweet to now

by Chris Miller at 07:33:00 AM on Thursday, March 26th, 2009


In the above video, I install Skimmer.  A new desktop social aggregator client (runs on Air) that is trying to bring together a bunch of sites:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Blogger
  • YouTube
My overall first impression was it was clean and easy to set up, but will I use it everyday?  The ability to minimize, maximize and show embedded media was nice.  The widget or full screen choice was good.  But in todays world you need the grab.  The something special.  For people coming into the social and Web 2.0 social network frenzy, this might be a great choice.  For the hardcore adopters, it is a current playtoy.  I think once they add even more services, and I mean tons more, it could be a choice for me again.

I would suggest you load this after seeing the video and give it a try.  It is easy to install and get going.  It was pleasing on the eyes.  It did what it promised outside of one error around Flickr and cookie warnings.

by Chris Miller at 02:34:57 PM on Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
As I sat in a lunch tweetup at a local restaurant today, it hit me that they are not using they social media presence ability effectively.  All they had was a sign-up sheet on the counter collecting email addresses.  The sheet had no mention of why or how often, just a simple bunch of boxes.  This restaurant is found in Brightkite, and that is about it.  So what is the additional exposure ideas?
  • Instead of sending some monthly email or random news, think about coupon blasts via Twitter and building a follower list.  Imagine you know it is normally a slow Tuesday, or weather hits the area.  You could send a "today only" coupon to drive traffic and turn tables.  Remember a free tweet (which then hits clients, web pages and SMS devices) is free to you.  Just send it in enough time for followers to make the lunch plans.
  • When there is a sporting event, run a promo for your followers.  Ask them to bring in tickets (pre-game) or stubs (post-game) for a dining special around the event.  I can't imagine the times before any concert, comedy show or game where we head down early near the event location and try to find food.  Each time it is a guessing game  You would get me there.
  • As the restaurant itself, follow the RSS or local newsletter for conventions and sporting arenas.  You will know when to target staffing and what menu to build.  Football game coming? Tailgate party.  Conference for vegetarians?  Change the menu up that day and make more items for them.  Lawyer convention coming?  Make sure everything is safe and cooked.  Ok a small joke.
  • Invest in a few dollars a month for Wifi.  Password protect it for customers and tell them it is there.  Plenty of days I do not want to tether my modem and actually use the phone while surfing and working.
  • Share a music library out on iTunes for customers to stream while there.  I encountered this once and loved it.
  • Open an online storefront for ordering, even via Twitter for known followers.  I could see being able to say "@restaurant small Caesar Salad, red pesto pasta, small drink for 12:15pm"  and they have it waiting at that time
  • Invest in sponsoring your local social media meetups or breakfasts.  Not only are you giving them a meeting place, you are building your name brand in their community
  • Create some quick videos (Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube) on preparing a dish with your location and info in the corner.  Let them see how you make that awesome food and they get a quick cooking or prep lesson while at home
  • Think about some more power outlets/charge stations/USB chargers around the place for the business workers to charge devices or simply plug up conveniently.  Amazing how much longer someone will sit there.
  • Lastly, talk to your customers on-line and in person and see what the heck they want to make you stand out.

Most everything I mentioned can be done for free or very low cost.  In today's market you need to stand out, more than just well priced food to keep me coming.  I will gladly pay the extra dollar or so to get more of the conveniences.  And if you have a slower day, as most do, get them in there with alerts and specials.  Do not be afraid to test a free tool.  One or two customers more will awaken your eyes to the power of social media.

For gosh sakes do not forget to promote your presence to your customers!!!

by Chris Miller at 02:11:52 PM on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
Twitter was a haven for the early adopters and those that could understand the ability to effectively communicate to mass amounts of people that would listen in 140 characters of text.  We started building an entire eco-structure around it (alas some were for fun and never profit).  We would talk about Twitter to new friends who would shrug and look blankly at our faces.

Those that hated how we kept babbling on happily used their cell phones for SMS mesages, but could not get their mind wrapped around the simple idea of combining the two.  They could not see the sense of talking, or broadcasting as it were, to handfuls to thousands of people for no reason or goal.  That was their downfall until the following happened.

Then entered the stars and the news media.  Twitter slowly was influxed with people like Shaq, Ms Spears, porn stars, Lance Armstrong and movie/tv people.  it all went downhill fast.  The tech people we so pleasingly held high on follower pedestals were crushed beneath the power of big names.  CNN started talking about it, Jon Stewart made a parody and the newspapers finally figured out they needed to get on it and start pushing content in real-time.  Companies discovered that clones for enterprises were important and started making those.  Advertisers jumped into the fray and tried to get some money out of follower counts.

In the middle the spammers started coming on board.  While I don't see how that is an issue since it makes no difference until you follow them back, some people still complain.  In the meantime, the business value and real-time information value climbs at an astounding rate.  Twitter is becoming the place to go for quick news, breaking stories, hot trends and announcements.  As well as commentary and links from those we want to hear from.

So what are you waiting for, fall in line with the masses, look up from your cell phone screen and follow me already

by Chris Miller at 07:33:11 AM on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009


Socialtext took a huge leap forward in trying to secure a new part of the emerging enterprise market with Signals.  I was lucky enough to see some previews and live demonstrations last week, but had to hold out for the big launch today (video demos).

Socialtext took a few step approach in my opinion.  The first was to capitalize on the opportunity to partner with Adobe to bring the first enterprise application to the AIR platform.  This gives immediate cross-platform capability to the product itself, as well as the existing SocialText services that are all browser based.

Secondly they went after the enterprises that are trying to figure out Twitter.  While many startups are simply trying to be Twitter for the enterprises, Socialtext is the first with an existing large customer base they can tap into.  This gives them a clear advantage into customer penetration with the added free publicity this will generate.

Lastly, they made the smart move and brought this together with their flagship products, instead of trying to create a new silo solution.  Exposing the conversation between people is just as important as seeing when they edit a document.
Socialtext Signals provides an integrated user experience for social messaging across the Socialtext platform, such as the ability to Signal context of wiki editing.  Socialtext Signals amplifies, clarifies and complements other collaboration activities, eliminating the need for playing "email volleyball" with attachments and allowing coworkers to transparently work and collaborate on common goals

So basically they integrated the whole suite together.

I will get some screenshots but here is what I liked form the demos:
  • your "friend" list, or those you follow, gets automatically populated by those you have wiki project spaces with
  • you able able to add new friends outside of the wiki spaces easily
  • when receiving notice about new content through Signals, you only see notices for content you can see.  What a time saver and use of the technologies bundled together
  • You also get notices on changes to profiles, comments and blog posts.  So basically with the two together you get not only activities but their conversation.

Currently in Twitter, you spend enormous time building a friend and follower list and then finding the right content.  By integrating the existing capability seamlessly with Signals, Socialtext skips much of the building phase and brings the reality of enterprise micro-blogging immediately into the platform.

I prompted them for a few things I would like to see included to further ease the true integration of the public and enterprise 2.o world, they are getting a head start on the competition with Signals.

This is an open beta that you can download and play with here.

by Chris Miller at 09:30:00 AM on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
I recently got into a discussion on how spammers on Twitter were now trying to make the spam accounts look legitimate by performing a couple of preliminary steps:
  • following a handful of the top twitterers and some random others (like their other spam accounts)
  • making some quick pointless tweets over a day or two to make it look like they are starting out on Twitter
  • and then following you
The hope is that you would follow them back and they start building up a list.  Here is the catch.  The only thing they gain is a single direct message at some point with the spam.  One single message.  Nothing more. A blink in your Twitter day.

Most of us then are quick and smart enough to block that user from following us and in return unfollow them.  No real harm done and you are not swamped with tweets.  So what is all the hype about spammers using Twitter.  Where is the gain they get?  Where is the market?

One helpful item from Twitter would be a date in their profile of when they joined Twitter (yes TwitterCounter does it at the bottom of the page, but why does it take an outside tool).  While that is not always an indicator of any kind, many join just to follow along and see what Twitter is all about, it is a good start in pruning the feeble attempts from spammers.

by Chris Miller at 10:41:52 AM on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009


I debated between making this a podcast or just a screencast and embedding it.  Let me know in which way you want to see more of these that are coming.

by Chris Miller at 07:45:22 PM on Wednesday, November 12th, 2008
Recent events in Twitterland have brought into question how easily we trust any website that simply asks for our password, while informing us for no reason do they maintain or record it.  We simply shrug and willingly give it away.  So where is the breakdown?

The first one is in the difference between a new site needing access to account information that is not possible through the public feeds or profiles.  So to compensate, we get asked for our password.  In the fray of getting a ranking number, you the user, missed an entirely serious issue.  Not only were you sending your credentials to a non SSL login area, it was clear they were using the login for something far more than stated in the About pages.  I prefer the sites that offer a string that you provide (like FriendFeed) that is unique to you, but not your password.  You then enter this API information and the site goes about their business.  You can then change your API key if required to protect your account while never giving up your password.  Looking through EverythingTwitter this evening, I realized that quite a lot of the web based add-on tools (see the category there) do not ask for a password.  They have found a way to access enough information via API calls that the site in question today cannot for some reason (according to the site owner)?

Second is the amount of times we enter our password in general.  Let's presume that this site was collecting user passwords.  How many of you avid readers of mine use the same password on each site?  Almost all of you have 2-3 password strings.  You have the uber-secret string used for banking, credit and other personal items.  You have the super-secret used for controlling your blog and hosting accounts, etc.  Then you have the less secure you fire up everywhere else for any other new social service you wish to test.  The idea is limiting your exposure right?  But how log would it take you to go through each service and change/update to a new password if you get compromised?  How many of you have generated a string of text that makes each site unique?  I have, and it is now ingrained in the way I do business.  Sounds like a new posting.

So the new sites need to fully develop the solutions based on API work and refuse to ask for passwords, or we need to step ack and refuse to provide them.  I was surprised at the sheer number of people that not only attempted to use Twitterank today, but Twitterawesomeness.  An identical twin that appears to have actually copied your password no matter what the page source says.

by Chris Miller at 01:00:09 PM on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
This idea of using a private, open-source microblog service for reporting and alerts intrigued me.  I was posting some tweets and received a response from  @DomiNoYesMaybe.  What I found was that they had configured Laconi.ca for their company but went far beyond normal communication channels.  They had found out that their 'engineers' (for lack of me knowing a better word) had the daunting task of watching production machines on the shop floor.  They had to check how they were performing as well as the current status of all sorts of variables.  What they also discovered is that the software running on the machines was able to product a HTTP post/get command ability.  Before I describe, this was the outcome:
@IR_CK1_001 #data Temp:146 Hum:4.36% Yield:98.6%

What they have done is enabled each machine with it's own Laconi.ca account covering 20 plants in 10 countries in the range of 600-700 machines.  I am sharing this since his twitter feed is not private nor was this a DM.  In essence, the engineers now can run a client and subscribe, or follow, all of the machines across the globe to get a constant flow of performance.  Not only are they able to see a trend coming, but they can get to repairs and downed machines faster.  While letting the machines themselves cry out for help.

Take that to all the pundits that say there is no benefit in this type of microblogging technology

by Chris Miller at 12:20:50 PM on Friday, October 31st, 2008
It all begins with a nice light bit of music as the Twitterified client launches. Yes, you can turn that off but it is the start of a great experience so far. A sleek back background with a bit of hidden treasures. Let's dig in from there.
The application itself is responsive, and it launches you right into your normal mode of watching those you follow and being able to send tweets. There is a collapsable tweet feature which is nice to see more of the timeline, but really is not that important to the UI since you can scroll. If they blended this with the ability to always hide that persons tweets until expanded again, now that is almost a way you could "ignore" someone for a while and you have an immediate win with me. Clicking on a persons phot gets you their Twitter profile information as well as how many people follow them. That is a nice touch also.

Twitterfiied Main

One of the most interesting abilities is how they handle long strings of entry over 140 characters and the ability to grab links for video as well as take a webcam image. This adds a nice quick ability to sending instant snapshots. Now it does use photobucket for the storage and linking, so be careful what image you take :-).

Twitterfiied video

One other nice feature is how the viewing is done for the friends and followers as shown here. While you cannot do much more with it that look and click on people, it is a nice touch they will have to build features into. They have an alterante view I point to in the image below that puts all your followers in amost a flower shape. But that was quite distracting as you could not point to anyone individually.

Twitterfiied,Twitterfiied

You can set the opaqueness of the client, but that is really about it for now in terms of UI changes. I would imagine some other skins would be needed at some point to either offer a lighter or customized background.

Overall this is a winning client that has plenty of features and room to grow. I think is it a tight competitor with the basic Twitter function of Twhirl. They need to add some other social services to really win users over and suck them into this client. Once again we don't see where the monetization comes from, but what the heck, we love free!

by Chris Miller at 11:33:21 AM on Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
I have started to notice a recent trend in Twitter activity and communication.  While we, as early adopters (no matter what we all think we really are), use it on a daily basis as a knowledge engine and constant hose of information.  Many of the new followers and even comments I saw flow past have moved it back into a chat client.  The amount of information you can easily search is dropping as people begin to have private messaging conversations using directs, of course.

The only thing missing for that to take off in a wider arena is the idea of group private directs, much like a Skype, Google or AIM chat group would be.  All of you sit in one channel and have an open, multi-private conversation that is removed from the public stream.  Retweeting is then not necessary as you have already shared it appropriately.  This would be an excellent feature on one side of the argument , but would further fragment conversations that Twitter has moved back into the mainstream for all eyes.  Even someone that protects their stream can have it viewed using a simply call that was recently exposed in a Valleywag article I read.

So what does this due to an already fragile system that had exponential growth, then leveled and now as press heats up grows again?  It means that this becomes yet another chat client that has no downloadable client.  Think about it.  There is no current monitization from Twitter and with no client that they produce and can wrap advertisements around, they have to find other means.  People are beginning to write numerous clients, some with ads showing up recently (to supposedly pay for the development).  If the 3rd party developers can monitize and include features that draw you from the main Twitter channels, then the social value of using the service starts a downhill run.

How often do you backchannel on Twitter?  Lets have a backchannel conversation about it.
@IdoNotes

by Chris Miller at 05:36:29 PM on Thursday, August 7th, 2008
I started writing articles for Mashable a few weeks ago and the first 2 took hold quick.  Catch up on the conversations:

by Chris Miller at 05:57:03 AM on Friday, July 18th, 2008
I was shocked to see what Louis Gray reported on his blog yesterday:
They've also visibly tweaked the rate for authenticated API hits, first down from 70 to 20 and back up to 100. But until recently, unauthenticated API requests were unlimited, which all changed Wednesday night around 5 p.m. Pacific Time, when Twitter ratcheted them down to the same 100 per hour per IP address, effectively crushing many external services that relied on Twitter for their data. And this was done without public mention

I immediately see the good and bad movements by Twitter in this regard.  The change on their part was to keep the service alive.  With the increasing number of mashups, applications and tools being built, the servers are being slammed with traffic.  By limiting those unauthenticated applications (usually meaning not a person then) with limited or no access, they are able to survive yet another day.

With this move however, Twitter exposes themselves to losing part of the community and growth if developers are effectively shut out.  Unless you write an add-on client or one that requires a username and password to pull certain data, the current changes break your app down into a non-working webpage.

Solutions
So the solution, create a set of servers that allow unauthenticated access to the data at a slower rate.  API calls in this regard can then be only pointed at these servers instead of the primary 'cluster' that users port their tweets on.  While this may slow down the external apps in getting the most recent data, it will not shut them out completely.  Regular users and direct clients are then unobstructed.  This set of servers has it's own URL as part of Twitter and is segregated from the central user set.  Almost like a gateway.

Also, have developers writing clients retrieve a client id from Twitter themselves and register the client.  Twitter could then watch API traffic from each client type easily to see if it the sheer numbers of users on let's say Twhirl, or is it how the developer wrote the polling against the API. If you do not register to get a client id type, you might be throttled.  I do not see this as any paid move or a hard process, just something that must be presented to keep pulling the amount of API calls, even with authenticated access.

I would go deeper and provide diagrams and such but Twitter doesn't pay me :-)

by Chris Miller at 12:35:35 PM on Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
Twitter has no real revenue model in place.  Money is being brought in from investors still, as they struggle with growth.  Consumers of the service are actually handling business deals and negotiations, while Twitter sits idly by, while not always available recently, helping out.  If we compare how Twitter is going about earning their own revenue, they are almost announcing that they will not be in business long on their current pace.  Even with the current rumblings of it being worth 1 billion dollars.  The company is not worth the suggested market price, it is the users of the service that are being valued.  Let me explain my thought.

Everyone knows by now that Twitter sucked up the powerful Twitter search engine Summize (which kindly goes to http://search.twitter.com now).  I found it interesting this occurred after some more financing took place too.  Let's take a twist on the purchase.  Suppose they did not do it just to enhance their own ability to offer searches of past tweets.  Instead, they are bringing in Summize to augment an ad generated content stream that sees what you talk about and drives you down an ad path.  It sees keywords, topics, meta info and a billion other things.  From there, they sell ad space (in the tweets as short links) to targeted consumer spaces based on this meta information.

Imagine the amount of data you have shared about yourself via Twitter?  Location, foods, travels, friends, shows you attended, books you read, articles you read, music you listen to.  It goes on and on.  Summize has all of this, with your name attached.  You have effectivly opened yourself up to being targeted directly by vendors willing to spend money on 140 character text lines.  There is no TiVo to skip over the commercials, you will get them.  I imagine being able to block them out won't be an option either, unless you go premium paid service.  Also, all those nice little links you place in your tweets, imagine a redirector capturing where you go and what the content was.  From there, you get a small ad pop-up before you get the actual site.  The possibilities are endless, and you gave them the ammo.

Instant messaging clients followed this same trend if you had not noticed.  When the services first came out, providers such as AOL and Yahoo gave the service to members of their network.  AOL was a paid service and Yahoo was ad driven.  Then demand pushed them both into allowing anyone to use just the chat pieces.  It worked well to get their name as the leader until usage out grew infrastructure costs.  So AOL and Yahoo both inserted ads into their clients.  This ad revenue is not only blind, but based on other items of what you have done under your logged in name on their sites.  Twitter now has that same ability.

Doing a search, Aidan Henry on RWW brought this same idea up in May in this article.  He had a slightly different slant, saying maybe every 20 tweets would be an ad, but we btoh agree there would be a premium ad free model that costs users.  Coupled with this would be support for more advanced features.

by Chris Miller at 04:01:00 AM on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
After listening to a recent TWIT Episode 143.  Apparently Comcast has a team and presence now in the social media space listening to customer concerns and even responding in some instances.  So how should corporations approach this?

Business to Business (B2B) level

After some reflection, I think a presence by any and all companies is not just welcome in such a forum, but needed.  I have a TweetScan that runs daily looking for postings on a specific software topic.  My returned list during the business week consists mainly of 85% complaints.  Many of these are misinformed/untrained users or a system where the administrators have no clue on configurations.  Think of how perception can be changed by communicating and listening to the needs, wants and concerns of the actual users and not those that pay the big dollars at the corporate level.  Companies can create a custom email, RSS feed or even instant searches with such tools as TweetScan (as shown on EverythingTwitter.com).

Business to Consumer (B2C) level

I think this takes more than one person to monitor and effectively act upon.  If the company is smaller, then it might be possible to have a positive presence by listening, acting and responding timely to the needs and concerns of the consumer.  Larger companies with possibly thousands of followers will need a team to handle this.

Currently many companies already have teams in place to handle the constant flow of email that is sent in or submitted via web forms.  What is so different in moving to such tools as Twitter.  They just came from a phone only support model with tons of operators.  Email was the next migration, followed quickly by instant messaging.  Now with presence costing tons for companies to have a proper anonymous instant messaging support, free tools such as Twitter beg to be utilized.

I humorously tried to search for some names outside of http://twitter.com/ComcastCares and found http://twitter.com/TimeWarnerCares, who knows what else might be out there in alternate names.  There were definitely some organizations listed.

I sense a turn of how we interact once again with companies that are getting the impact of the social media space.

Update: I was sent this link from a comment for a story that Silicon Valley Insider did a few weeks ago.

by Chris Miller at 03:56:29 PM on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
A recent screen capture of one of many Twitter tools

Image:My Twitter wheel has spokes for days

by Chris Miller at 10:26:16 AM on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
This is just simplest way I found to see who I am following compared to who follows me. I got this link via SheGeeks. The opening screen of the site (shown below in fig 1) is very non-assuming with a giant word Whack!.

WhackFig 1

Once you Whack, it asks for your Twitter login, as expected. This is where you sit patiently and watch it run a counter. I was curious as to how it would egnerate a result. Would it be a list? Would it be icons? How about both. The result is amazing.

Followers

I was quite impressed with not only the directional colored arrows, and the timestamps of when they last posted. The icons the user has in place is pulled in and off you go. You even get a dialog box to sort the users in many ways and hide who you want to see.

Karma Sorting

Once you sort, select everyone you want to either follow or unfollow and scroll way down to the bottom where you find some bulk buttons. For those of you with thousands of followers, this could be a timesaver or a visual pain. Either way I love it!

Karma Bulk

So Corvida would give this the awesomesauce stamp of approval and I the same.

by Chris Miller at 06:27:00 AM on Monday, April 14th, 2008
I came across not just a person with VGS, but a new form of social criminal.  While stopping through a restroom at the local mall this weekend (don't ask as I hate malls), I ran across some teens in there, handling what business you would in a bathroom.

  While one of them was in a stall he was having a conversation, that I found more than amusing, with his friends who were waiting around.  He was sending Tweets out to find out who else was in the mall, where some others were, etc.  I hesitated.  Did he say he was in there Tweeting?  Actually taking the time to craft 140 character messages while sitting with his pants low on his ankles?  In a public restroom, in a mall, with his cell phone in his hands?  He then was obviously not pacing as he waited for some return @ messages.  His concentration of his true task at hand so clouded by VGS?  Just the thought of unknowingly receiving a tweet from someone in this position.

 I chuckled and said the word V - G - S as I made my way out the door.  They looked confused as expected as I checked the public timeline.

Quick, raise your hands if you have done this?  Wait, keep them up, now go wash them, ewwwww.

by Chris Miller at 01:45:11 PM on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008


The idea is excellent and many people are trying to get into the beta. But as usual, I play devil's advocate and found a few items of concern, including a security question later.


One, Ping.fm doesn't fit into my day. Why you ask? I am glad you did. I like to post once and it to go everywhere, but I don't want to worry about answers all over the place. I currently post to Twitter, which has the following effect:

  • Blog - It shows on the right side check
  • Facebook - I am using the Facebook app so my status gets my Twitter update check
  • Jaiku - I pull my Twitter RSS into Jaiku for updates check
  • Tumblr - I pull a ton into Tumblr via RSS, including Twitter check
  • Pownce - I like it but try not to have 40 places to go
  • Twitter - that is the whole point here I think check
So they do provide a way to post to just one service at a time as shown here:
Ping.fm service posting

But here is where we run into one of the huge issues I have found. How the heck do you remove any of your accounts? There is no way to remove your data or delete the account. That is a showstopper for me in most instances. A screenshot here shows how simple it is to add an account, with no way to remove one
adding the Twitter account

On the good side, the dashboard is quite simple. It even allows you post post via email or IM. That was nice to see. If they can get a Blackberry or other mobile interface they would take another step.
Ping.fm dashboard

So overall, this will suit the needs of those trying to get deeper into being in a billion social circles. But that is what I have been untangling, streamlining my postings into one or two places and letting it filter all over. I have the map to prove it :-)

by Chris Miller at 10:55:18 AM on Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Due to the recent rush to FriendFeed (I don't know why and that post is coming shortly), let's at least be able to find and add anyone/everyone that we know since the site doesn't pull your current friend names from environments or even email address strings (a la Spokeo) to add in bulk.

so to find me  http://friendfeed.com/idonotes

search for "IdoNotes" in the search box

by Roberta Kitto at 11:45:00 PM on Thursday, January 10th, 2008


One of the hottest and most viral apps on the web right now is Twitter. Originally web based, a new crop of desktop clients have started appearing everywhere. No matter whose tweets you are reading, everyone seems to to be tweeting in a new and different way. Ah but such is the beauty of Twitter... In addition to the officially sanctioned Twitter client downloads available on the Twitter site (Twitteroo, Twitteriffic, Twitbin, Twitter Widget, Opera Widget, Spaz, Mobio and Twitter Gadget), two of the better and more popular clients are twhirl and snitter. However, there is a new contender has a few people tweeting. Witty is one of the new products to come out of Google's OpenSocial API freeforall. This twitter client for Windows Vista and XP is powered by Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). There are a lot of people who have a lot of great things to say about Witty, so, since I have Vista (yes I know... boy do I know), I thought I would see how it measures up to twhirl, which I like OK and snitter which is great!

I am not sure where all of these great reviews are coming from... I am no fan of Vista, so any software that might run more smoothly on this creeping monstrosity of an OS is welcome on my machine any time - at least for a trial run. Compared to the slightly sluggish but cool twhirl, Witty didn't fare much better, and its UI was too bland for my web 2.0-spoiled-tastebuds. Witty fans claim a lot of extras and perks, but I couldn't find one feature that neither of the others had. As a matter of fact, both Snitter and twhirl had a lot of extra customizations that were unavailable in Witty. Not being an M$ person, maybe I am missing some of the Microsoft magic inherent in Witty. I don't think so, though. For all the acclaims, I cannot see what all of the fuss is about. I will stick with the 1,000 other ways to tweet without resorting to yet another bloated Microsoft-based application on my already slow as Christmas Vista laptop.

by Chris Miller at 11:43:00 AM on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
I ran across a link to this site in Twitter with Chris Brogan asking what was different about it. Well I think I partially understand this, and even set up a podcast with Mosio to get more answers that will be out shortly.



The site is SMS based, of course. The idea is you can ask any question you need and get a real person to answer. Whether or not it is a good answer will depend, but it seemed people put effort into very direct and good answers from the ones I read and watched over the days. Ads are placed between questions and at the top banner, which answers where some revenue comes from. The site breaks down into a few areas:

  • Questionarium - this is mainstay area. You ask a question via SMS to Mosio and then someone gives you the answer. I found some myself answering a few playing around, but there are others that seem to live in answering a lot of questions sent in. There are hooks into your instant messaging clients for notification purposes. Unfortunately, I could not reply from the instant messenger which would have then added some benefit. You still have to log into a browser or answer via SMS.
  • Apps - now this got a bit more interesting. There is a find capability to let you search for any business using type of business or the exant name with city or zip. Not many people I know always know what zip code anything is in. The remind function seemed to be the most useful. You could set a reminder for anything you want in minutes/hours or a specific date and time. Mosio then pops you a reminder. Birthdays are a part of the reminder system so you will never forget again too. Here was a cool one. Currently available for 17 US cities and London (see their site for the updated lists) you can get phone numbers for taxi services just by sending a request to Taxi and the city you need. From there it gets fun with 8-Ball, Fortune, Inspire, ChuckNorris and finally a news service sending TextCasts from a few major news providers.
  • FYI - seemed to be people just sending in status updates much like Twitter. I would like to see this area go away quietly to make the service more useful and focused.
  • Search - this let you search all across Mosio from a web browser. This would be awesome from SMS if you could get links and numbers to text back to get the info or even use your phones WAP browser. A downfall of the search.

I see this site connecting those for one reason. They have lots of questions they need answers to. How will it play out and compare to text services that Google already offers? Not sure. I know I can text Google anything from weather, searches, math, definitions, conversions and a few more I can't think of to get a SMS back. The underlying difference is this allows a real person to look up the answer or even just know it and give you something. Opinions are allowed which gives it the real element. For searching Mahalo gives you a full topic researched by people, Mosio gives you short answers known by people.

It is free, so nothing to lose. Worth a shot to try them out and see if it is useful for you.

by Chris Miller at 11:24:03 AM on Monday, December 24th, 2007
I ran across a Tweet on a site called Terraminds that let's you search across Twitter.  Seems to be a decent search that goes back 3 months of Tweets according to their website
Image:Terraminds - let’s you find..  Tweets
That screenshot is as difficult as it gets.  You pick between postings and users and off you go.  I did a search for Lotusphere and saw some postings I never would have found otherwise since I am updating some things on the topic.

Simple site, not much else to say except give it a shot.  Never know what was said on a topic unless you can somehow keep up with the public stream

by Chris Miller at 03:23:45 PM on Monday, September 10th, 2007
An interesting newsletter from Jott that takes it from a great application to a social networking application.  Which then means I make comment of it on this blog.  Jott, for those unfamiliar, allows you to call an 800 number and leave a quick voice message for yourself or someone in your contacts, and then transcribes it for you to text and as a voice message.  A great way not to forget ideas or to make quick to-dos.  We use it quite extensively after it grew on me.  You can even message entire groups in one call.

Well now they allow you to leave a Jott, but have it sent to Twitter, Jaiku and a few others.  Talk about social networking without the texting.  No more quick SMS based messages, just talk and post.  I love it.  Heck, they even let you look up addresses via Zillow and have it SMS'd to your cellphone.  Is SMS'd a word yet?  I did not see Pownce on the list just yet, but I will not be surprised to see it and Facebook pop up.

Here is a screenshot of some of the current connections they have made.  Darn right awesome I say.  I will play with this new feature and let you know how it changes how much I Jaiku and Twitter.  I know the Zillow will come in handy as we expand our real estate empire.


Image:Jott-makes-Jaikus-and-more

by Chris Miller at 02:16:27 PM on Monday, July 30th, 2007
Take a look at the following image, it pretty much shows that Twitter (in blue) leads in news and searches, with Jaiku being a flat orange and a surge of Pownce in red. This is only 2007 but everything before late 2006 was Twitter only anyway


by TheSocialNetworker at 11:00:00 AM on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
A quick online review can be found here...
http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/twittergrams-the-next-step-for-twitter34370.html

I looked at the site (too bad for them someone sneaky bought twittergramS.com to try and suck in users).  But we are moving beyond the idea of a simple small text file and heading right into higher bandwidth usage.  The basic idea of Twitter was to send short SMS based messages to keep people in sync, not to download a couple hundred K of audio bytes that in most instances will sound terrible.  Then they reply with the same audio response.  Pretty soon bandwidth becomes an issue and the instance of having to pause to download instead of reading under 160 characters quickly.  While layering technologies is the way new ideas are born, this was supposed to be a simple interface with a simple solution to meet the needs of many devices.

So who has uses TwitterGrams so far?  Any insight into whether this is just a bother or you actually like it?

by Chris Miller at 10:00:00 AM on Thursday, July 19th, 2007
So I got an invite to the site, which I could hardly read, admittedly.  But with the assistance of some online conversion and a friend I popped into a duplicate of Twiter to us.  It allows Google Talk, MSN, WAP interface and some other chat programs to interact.  There is an interesting mixture of English and Chinese characters so you can half read postings in many instances.  Fun to play with and loading the other language packs on your machine makes it all light up.  Unfortunately then you have a full page of Chinese characters instead of question marks all over that you can't read either way.

by Chris Miller at 10:42:02 AM on Friday, June 1st, 2007
Before I get into block quoting the newsletter for you, let me make my peace.  Half the items are things they didn't do.  Nowhere does it address the outages.  How can one complain about a free service?  Really you can't.  But the whining is all over the Internet when they are down.  It does appear they are looking for more developers.  I take this to mean making the code better and more features.  But where is the listing for more infrastructure and architect positions?  This is where many of the social netowrking teamsd fall flat.  They build excellent products, but do not think bandwidth and scaling appropriately.

Continue Reading here" Twitter sends a newsletter with all their 'changes' listed" »


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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

Also Known As: Chris Miller (when awake)

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Yes, I write some of those dreaded admin cert exams you take. I won't say which ones so you don't come looking for me, but I will say they are the real good recent ones that have been coming out.

Weapons/Equipment:

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Animals:

One dog, a Pug. He has been on this world before and seems to understand slippers and a fine cigar. Mind you that is him in the chair and not me.

Let us now also add a deranged cat that is in the process of being toilet trained. Update: Toilet traning was very very close.

Music:

Non-stop. At my desk, in my car, walking to work and back to my car downtown. In the house there is a crazy zoned set-up for you home automation geeks.

I am a self-proclaimed MP3 fiend, to which I have tried rehab 4 billion times to no avail. Next is the MP3 hard-drive for the car that I found. Now what kind of music you ask? I will never tell.

Languages:

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Geek class special abilities:

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Skills:

Get back to you here

Spells:

Hershey’s Stomach of Holding: Jess and I are fighting over who eats more chocolate. TWDUFF can help me out and vouch for me.

Character Bio:

This will take far more time than I have today. I will start with I was born and still live in St. Louis, MO. Even though for a couple years I was never, ever here and always on the road, this is smack in the middle of the US. Everything is just a few hour flight. That part is nice. No beach/ocean/coast isn't the best. But with the travel I make up for it.

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