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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Many of Twitter Search's Trending Topics Really Aren't: They're Just Twitter Echo

Here's the scenario. You go to your favorite Twitter search engine to see what's going on in Twitterdom. Assuming you've gone to http://search.twitter.com/, you look down at the Trending Topics to see what's on the minds of Twitteropians. You see the following phrase "Skateboarder Wanted." You're intrigued. You're wondering "what could a skateboarder have done that has him or her wanted by the police?" So you click on the link and get taken to the Twitter search results page. You see a number of postings describing a story from Germany in which a skateboarder is wanted for doing 62 mph in a 50 mph zone.

Okay, interesting enough, but Trending Topic? Hardly! At the time of this writing, there were only twenty postings that matched on a query of 'skateboarder wanted.' So how does a topic with so little interest become a Trending Topic?

To answer this question, let's start by taking a closer look at the results. Of the twenty matching posts, four of them were tweeted by a human, and the other sixteen were tweeted automatically from a feed service such as TwitterFeed.com. TwitterFeed is a terrific free service that Twitalytics uses to automatically submit our blog posts to Twitter. The way that it works is you set up an account with TwitterFeed and provide your Twitter account name and password. You set up a new feed by providing the address of the RSS feed you want to post from. You then set the frequency that you want TwitterFeed to check for new posts. Set it and forget it. It really is a very useful service.

But, as with many things, it is pretty easy to abuse this service. You see, even though the spirit of TwitterFeed is to enable you to tweet *your blog* -- you actually can tweet any blog or RSS feed. So let's return to our wanted skateboarder. That story was posted to Digg where it got enough interest to make it into the RSS feed for popular Digg stories. Now imagine a Twitter account whose only purpose in life is to re-tweet stories as they get published via RSS feeds from major sites such as Digg, TechCrunch, NY Times, CNN and so on.

Here is an example of four such accounts. @headlinenews, @headline_news, @top_news and @breaking_news. There are many others but I chose these as really good examples. What each of these has in common is the intention of tweeting news headlines from major news sources. The aggregation of the disparate sources combined to make a somewhat useful Twitter account. You can imagine that if you followed any one of these, you'd be getting a good cross-section of news stories as they occur.

The problem occurs when many people act on this idea and set up Twitter accounts for automated re-tweets of the same news sources. In the case of the skateboarder story, once the headline made it into the Digg feed, fifteen accounts (in addition to diggupdates who also tweeted the headline) re-tweeted the same exact headline. This barage of tweets dealing with the same subject in a narrow slice of time caused the phrase "Skateboarder Wanted" to achieve the status of a Trending Topic (though that didn't last very long). It really wasn't a hot topic nor did it ever become one (at least not on Twitter).

This phenomenon, which we're referring to as "Twitter Echo," occurs for most of the major news sources. The articles get published in their RSS feeds and then re-tweet accounts automatically multiply the post causing the terms in the headline to immediately spike as a Trending Topic. [Note: the phrase "Twitter Echo" has been used before but hasn't taken hold, so the terminology seems to remain up for grabs.]

Is Twitter Echo bad? Well, it creates additional noise in the system that for the most part isn't resonating with the Twitter audience. The four Twitter accounts mentioned above have a combined following of 516. That's not much. Twitter makes it very easy for a user to sign up for tweets from the news sources of interest that the user cares about. Is there really much added value from someone doing the work of news source aggregation? It's hard to imagine that there is.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Trending Topics and Hot Searches -- How Twitalytics is Different

A recent blog post on Twitter's blog Twitter Trends & a Tip talks about the Trending Topics feature of Twitter Search. There's no question about the value of this feature. Twitter Search along with the Trending Topics feature provides a real-time snapshot into what people care about at this very moment in time. This provides a level of insight into current events that was not available anywhere else on the Internet until Twitter came along. That's a very bold statement to make, but it's true.

Another exceptionally powerful tool is Twitscoop. This description is lifted from their about page: "Through an automated algorithm, twitscoop crawls hundreds of tweets every minute and extracts the words which are mentioned more often than usual. The result is displayed in a Tag Cloud, using the following rule: the hotter, the bigger (no joke here)."

Twitalytics could not do what it does without Twitscoop. And using Twitscoop inside TweetDeck is a very handy combination of functionality. One more tool that deserves mention is Twitstat which also offers a tag cloud of hot topics. To be sure, there are other Tweeters out there who are also using the tools described here to report back on the hottest topics such as @twitgeistr (uses Twitstat) and @trendingtopics but @Twitalytics aims to do something much more than just report the hot topics.

Regardless if you're looking at Twitter Search's Trending Topics, or Twitscoop or Twitstat, you're never getting the back story. If the word "earthquake" happens to be hot right now, do you know why? A hot word or phrase is actually of no value to you unless you know what is causing so much interest in that topic.

What all of these other services have in common is that they are powered by automation. Sophisticated algorithms comb through the Twitter stream culling out words and phrases that are occurring at an unusually high rate relative to all other words. Whether this gets reported back as a tag cloud or a simple list, the best that these algorithms can offer are the spiking words, not the understanding to explain the reasons for the spikes.

Twitalytics provides a service whereby a human rapidly performs enough research to quickly determine whether there's any importance to a spiking topic or is it just a statistical anomaly that's of no consequence. Then, upon determining that a hot topic merits the attention of our audience, we put an editorial voice to what is happening and explain why anyone should care.

Our Tweets are written as if our followers are getting these as SMS text messages on mobile devices. The goal of each Tweet is to provide enough information with the allotted 140 characters that we alleviate the need for the reader to have to visit a Web page to become informed. This is very different than how news services operate. They Tweet a news headline that usually provides a teaser but not enough information to offer understanding. This forces the user to visit the accompanying URL to get the complete picture. Twitalytics aims to deliver understanding, not teasers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tweetlog for September 4 through September 5

  • What we're not tweeting enough about: Haiti has been ravaged by three storms. People there need a lot of aid. And now Ike is coming at them
  • TaTweeting Up: tatango began offering its free group texting service to the public today http://tatango.com/
  • (espn) White Sox lose Carlos Quentin due to wrist surgery possibly for remainder of season http://twurl.nl/un1war
  • (CBS/Hilzoy) Factchecking Sarah Palin's remarks during her acceptance speech: http://twurl.nl/jnn8ud
  • (MarketWatch) McCain's acceptance speech drew more viewers than Obama's. Total viewing audience 38.9M to 38.3M across all covering networks
  • Think you know the issues? Play this game at ABC to see who you really agree with. http://twurl.nl/sjaad3
  • Twitterland anxiously awaiting official launch of Spore (sim game by SimCity creator) on Sept 7 http://twurl.nl/ub60ks
  • (npr/John Ridley) A pocket guide to speaking "Palinguage" http://twurl.nl/1y6735
  • (AP/Mercury News) US Coast Guard helicopter crashes off Hawaii coast. 3 crew members dead, one missing. http://twurl.nl/2x5vdz
  • Tweeting up: Adobe unveils Genesis at Office 2.0 conference -- a collaborative mashup client based on Adobe AIR for enterprise workers
  • (AP/Yahoo) A brewing cat fight? Obama campaign to employ more high-profile women in effort to blunt Palin's appeal http://twurl.nl/k4tzwy
  • (CNNMoney) US jobless rate hits 6.1% -- highest in five years http://twurl.nl/gibhlj
  • (MSNBC) Condoleeza Rice makes historic first visit to Libya -- highest ranking US official to visit in 50+ years http://twurl.nl/j8hgjs
  • Ike is now a category 3 hurricane expected to hit populated areas of the Carribean by Sunday and is on a path to hit South Florida next week
  • Time magazine (Joe Klein) response to Palin/Giuliani mockery of Obama's community service http://twurl.nl/dwfrpo
  • Michael Moore: on Larry King Fri @ 9pm ET/6pm PT. Release of "Slacker Uprising" http://twurl.nl/i8nh2o - Mike's Election Guide #3 NYT's best
  • East coast states from Georgia to New Jersey bracing for Hannah. "State of Emergency" issued in North Carolina and Virginia.
  • On behalf of Tweeters everywhere, TGIF!
  • Chants of USA USA USA means another protestor has been spotted and removed
  • Nice line by McCain: "we are all Americans and that 's an association that means more to me than any other"
  • Protestor in the RNC08 hall getting great coverage
  • John McCain now taking the stage at #RNC08
  • While we're waiting for John McCain to start, here's a priceless video from Jon Stewart: Sarah Palin Gender Card http://twurl.nl/2mfuw1
  • Twitterland reactions to Cindy McCain's speech: put the video back on!!
  • Twitterland reactions to Cindy McCain video: we could all use a tissue right now
  • Tom Ridge has taken the stage at #RNC08
  • Video about Sarah Palin now playing at #RNC08. Theme: mother, maverick, moosehunter, maverick, mayor, maverick
  • Twitterland reactions to Senator Graham: wondering if speech was really written in anticipation of Joe Lieberman getting the VP nod
  • Senator Lindsay Graham speaking now at #RNC08
  • Tweeting up: Barack Obama being interviewed by Bill O'Reilly
  • Twitterland reactions to Senator Brownback: fell flat. Also, feeling he ripped off Hillary's "yes we will" line
  • Twitterland reactions to the new Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld TV commercial aired during the football game: not good
  • Now tweeting: Governor Tim Pawlenty just finished his speech at #RNC08 -- Twitterland reactions: boring
  • What we're watching: NFL season opener - Redskins vs Giants - Giants up 10-0 with 11 mins left in first half
  • Tweeting up: Sarah Palin's new theme song playing at #RNC08: "Barracuda" by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart
  • TO check the truthfulness of remarks made by the candidates, follow @politifact or visit: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/
  • Mass retweet: Good quote from my friend Jody: "Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor." Original: http://is.gd/2efK
  • Kevin Keegan has resigned as Newcastle United's manager
  • Cheney, speaking in Azerbaijan about Russia's invasion of Georgia "this act has been condemned by the international community." Ironic, no?
  • Latest predictions have Hannah making landfall in North Carolina early Saturday morning, then scooting up the east coast to Maine by Sunday
  • More Tweet buzz from last night at the RNC: "hick-hop" star Cowboy Troy's reading of the pledge - no one appears happy with that one
  • Now Tweeting: David Allen delivering keynote address at Office 2.0 conference - http://office20.com
  • Twitterville undecided: is it "pit bull" or "pitbull"??? According to Wikipedia, the AKC and rest of Web, it's two words -- "pit bull"
  • Tweeting from Thailand: PM Samak refusing to step down
  • Now Tweeting: tonight's NFL season opener kickoff time moved up to 7pm to avoid conflict with McCain's speech
  • Now Tweeting: tonight's NFL season opener kickoff time moved up to 7pm to avoid conflict with McCain's speech
  • Ike holding steady as a category 4 hurricane over central Atlantic ocean and moving west
  • Georgia issued a tropical storm watch for coastal areas in advance of Hannah
  • A moving van is in front of the Detroit Mayor's mansion. 'nuff said
  • C'mon America ... it's time to vote! Not for president silly, it's time to vote for your favorite tweets and tweeters http://twurl.nl/4erl0k
  • Ike has become an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane but is still out in the middle of the Atlantic away from any land masses.
  • Hanna downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm. Lingering over Bahamas and Turks & Caicos. It'll play as a dog-leg right when it hits SC
  • Twitterdom reactions to Sarah Palin: she brought her "A" game and delivered. Most were very impressed with her.
  • Twitterdom reactions to Rudy Giuliani: besides the Drill Baby, Drill chants, it was a good speech but fierce and full of attack
  • (Guardian) If elected, Obama/Biden may press criminal charges against the Bush administration http://twurl.nl/ttx20w
  • Breaking News: Plane crashes in Cassville, WI. Two U. of Dubuque students on board now in the hospital.
  • What Twitterdom had to say about Mitt Romney: he wants to throw big government liberals out of Washington. Twitterdom's reaction: HUH??
  • What Twitterdom had to say about Carly Fiorina: she knows John McCain, that's about it
  • What Twitterdom had to say about Meg Whitman: awful speaker
  • Tweetlog for September 1 through September 3

  • Twitterville is anxiously awaiting Sarah Palin's speech tonight at the #RNC08. The tweets will be flyin' tonight!
  • Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick expected to plead guilty to felony charges in text message scandal today
  • Tweeting up: Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan on MSNBC speaking critically of Palin pick unaware they're live - video: http://twurl.nl/bebjnn
  • Is everyone in the world now a friend of a friend of a friend? According to this O2 commissioned study they are ... http://twurl.nl/h3fvxo
  • Twitter speak: "Twitter spam" the result of Twitter accounts automatically retweeting popular Twitterers causing dozens of repeated tweets
  • Now Tweeting: Adium users experiencing AIM outage
  • (LAFD) Explosion reported at LAX in baggage area. No injuries reported at this time.
  • AT&T says mobile data outage that affected the northeast since early this morning was fixed shortly before noon
  • Rewarding good Twitter behaviors http://is.gd/2aet
  • Now Tweeting: Jesse Ventura at Ron Paul event rallying the crowd and talking about running for the Presidency in 2012 on CSPAN-2
  • A baby is being delivered live on ustream.tv http://tinyurl.com/37vdjm
  • Hey Ultimate Fighting fans, Randy Couture is expected to return to the UFC to face Brock Lesnar on Nov 15 in Portland, OR
  • (AP) The New Orleans Saints will play their season opener this Sunday at home in the Superdome
  • hey boys and girls, another Twitter meme has started! This one is for #chromefact http://twurl.nl/c1a2ce
  • Country recording star Jerry Reed died today at the age of 71. He played the "Snowman" in"Smokey & The Bandit" and wrote its theme song. RIP
  • Now getting twitterttention: Google Chrome has a feature called "stats for nerds" ... way to call it what it is Google
  • American Airlines flt 1586 has touched down safely and is on the ground
  • Landing of American Airlines flt 1586 is being streamed live on CBS http://is.gd/29hn
  • American Airlines flight 1586 is now 8 miles or 2 minutes from touch-down
  • Breaking Tweets: American Airlines flight with shredded front tire is circling LAX, dumped fuel, preparing for emergency landing
  • Ike (central Atlantic), Josephine (east Atlantic) and Karina (east Pacific, not to be confused with Katrina) next three storms being tracked
  • Google Chrome to offer an incognito mode enabling private Web browsing ... which has made many in Twitterland very happy ... hmmm
  • Google Chrome press announcement ... available for download at http://www.google.com/chrome for Windows Vista/XP
  • Tweeting up: (engadget) Apple event "Let's Rock" confirmed for September 9, 2008 at 10am in San Francisco http://twurl.nl/t0zq5v
  • Hot Twopic: Google's new Web browser Chrome: a threat to Microsoft? to Mozilla? both?
  • Now Tweeting: interest in Twittad.com ... enabling Twitter accounts to display advertising on a Twitter account profile page
  • Ubiquitous movie trailer voice-over guy Don "in a world" LaFontaine died at the age of 68 from complications of pneumothorax
  • bbcnews: OECD says the UK economy will fall into recession in the second half of 2008 http://tinyurl.com/5r7byb
  • Ubiquitous movie trailer voice-over guy Don "in a world" LaFontaine died at the age of 68 from complications of pneumothorax
  • 25 ways we spent Labor Day - September 1, 2008 http://is.gd/285A
  • #RNC08: Laura Bush and Cindy McCain, speaking at the convention, appeal to GOP'ers to donate time/money to those affected by Gustav
  • James Carville on CNN's Larry King Live: Sarah Palin is "uniquely and supremely unqualified"
  • Now Tweeting: Rep. Michele Bachmann on CNN: Sarah Palin's 2 yrs of executive experience is more than Obama and Biden combined
  • #RNC08 - Democracy Now radio host Amy Goodman and two Democracy Now producers arrested - YouTube video: http://bit.ly/2WFD9
  • College Football: UCLA vs Tennessee is on the tube
  • What we're watching: Gossip Girls and Blair Waldorf is back!
  • Thailand declares state of emergency in Bangkok, Thai soldiers deployed after clashes
  • What we're watching: CNN Campbell Brown's tough interview of Tucker Bounds
  • 25 ways we spent Labor Day - http://twurl.nl/reppnk
  • Hurricane Hanna now battering Turks and Caicos and the Bahama Islands. Projected to hit southeast US by end of week.
  • Miss Minnesota - Angie McDermott - opening #RNC08 with national anthem. Twitteropolis questioning her singing abilities.
  • Now Tweeting: Google Chrome comic book unveils new open source browser project from Google http://twurl.nl/p7a6jl
  • Internet rumors that Bristol Palin is the mother of 4 month old Trig proved false by fact that 17 y.o. Bristol is 5 months pregnant.
  • 11 Tweets for the "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" release today, August 31, 2008 http://is.gd/26ja
  • nprnews: Thai Protesters Threaten To Disrupt Water, Airports http://tinyurl.com/66tc63
  • #Gustav bearing down on New Orleans. Storm center less than 100 miles away
  • Tweetlog for August 29 through August 31

  • Opening day schedule (Monday) of the Republican National Convention #RNC08 expected to be greatly reduced due to Hurricane Gustav's arrival.
  • Now Tweeting: tweeters watching the last "30 Day Challenge" live show on ustream http://twurl.nl/ozuftr #30dc
  • 11 Tweets for the "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" release today http://twurl.nl/7ip0vs
  • Standing room only for uber-geek Wil Wheaton's panel at PAX
  • Amidst excitement of today's release of the game "Mercenaries 2" comes a real call for mercenaries to aid New Orleans http://twurl.nl/61vzks
  • (BBC) Israeli PM Olmert and Palestinian Authority Pres Abbas met in Jerusalem for further US-backed peace talks http://twurl.nl/d7vpqx
  • "Go straight to Angola." Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Mayor Nagin talks tough to would-be looters.
  • Retweet: cnnbrk: President Bush, Vice President Cheney to skip Republican convention because of Hurricane Gustav, White House says.
  • "oh no you didn't" -- Twitter Mercenaries loving the new Mercenaries 2 TV ad - YouTube video: http://twurl.nl/xl41c7
  • "oh no you didn't" -- Twitter Mercenaries loving the new Mercenarios 2 TV ad - YouTube video: http://twurl.nl/xl41c7
  • Two interesting sites to monitor election tweeting: http://www.govtweets.com/ and http://www.politweets.com/
  • New Orleans has begun "contraflow" procedures: both sides of interstate highways are going outbound from the city only.
  • From the neat science experiments dept - (NY Times) Lines and Bubbles and Bars, Oh My! New Ways to Sift Data http://twurl.nl/gvnut6
  • (NOAA) Gustav now Cat 3 hurricane. Max winds of 120mph. Expected to strengthen to Cat 4 before landfall on Monday. http://twurl.nl/ncsg0o
  • (engadget-Nilay Patel) First plug-in Priuses to hit fleets next year http://twurl.nl/5oqqgl
  • Tweet Heat: (Daily KOs-ArcXIX) Sarah Palin is NOT the mother of Trig, her daughter Briston is. http://twurl.nl/iosdl8
  • 15 Tweets during Clemson v Alabama College Football Game - August 30, 2008 http://is.gd/250J
  • One week ago today: the birth of Twitalytics http://is.gd/250I
  • (CNN) New Obama ad avoids criticizing Palin, keeps focus of message on McCain. Video: http://twurl.nl/kyxlp0
  • (Xinhua) BEIJING: a 6.1 mag earthquake hit China's SW Sichuan province Saturday, killing 22, injuring more than 100 http://twurl.nl/346g0i
  • Twitter Viewers are watching Rick Sanchez of CNN on TV who likes to tweet while he talks
  • NOAA: The worst of Gustav is expected to hit New Orleans between Sunday night and Monday night.
  • NOAA: The worst of Gustav is expected to hit New Orleans between Sunday night and Monday night. http://twurl.nl/8mgn1y
  • 15 Tweets during Clemson v Alabama College Football Game http://tinyurl.com/5watsm
  • uhm ... this isn't cool: (Salon) Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis http://twurl.nl/klqlzd
  • from DC @RedCross: pass the word -- get help or give help during Gustav 1-800 REDCROSS
  • Breaking tweets: police in Cretin, MN have pulled over an "Earth Justice" bus on I94 in St. Paul bound for #RNC08 ... "much police activity"
  • College football: Michigan succumbs to Utah 25-23. Now tweeting: Clemson v Alabama
  • (CNN) Mayor Ray Nagin "strongly, strongly encouraging everyone in [New Orleans] to evacuate" http://twurl.nl/jt8lsh
  • Twitter's Bumberfans rocking out at Bumbershoot - Seattle's Music and Arts Festival. http://www.bumbershoot.org/
  • (AP) Planes missed each other by 15 feet in near collision at Fresno Yosemite Int'l airport http://twurl.nl/58fha0
  • Bihar, India: Flood hits hard requiring three army medical teams, five army choppers and 84 boats to help carry out relief measures
  • Big Ten College Football: we're watching the Michigan-Utah game. Michigan scored first.
  • College football upset: East Carolina (ECU) beats Virginia Tech (VT) 27-22
  • Gustav upgraded to a fearsome category 4 hurricane
  • Day two at PAX gets under way. Gamers recovering from last night's parties. No clear show-stopper games yet.
  • New Orleans gas pumps running dry, some Louisiana residents being ordered to evacuate by 4pm
  • Now Tweeting: How to "roll your own lightning at sunset desktop" at Lifehacker.com http://tinyurl.com/6ju3kg
  • California police searching for serial killer who killed at least 11 prostitutes and drug users over 23 yr period http://tinyurl.com/58qkfk
  • Trekkies making final voyage to Star Trek: The Experience. This Las Vegas attraction is closing its doors Monday. http://tinyurl.com/5q7oo8
  • Roddick and Federer advance to the third round at the US Open
  • McCain/Palin ticket puts Roe v Wade in spotlight. Dems concerned un-informed voters will thinks Palin, as a woman, would be pro-choice.
  • Gustav becomes category 3 hurricane off the shore of Cuba. New Orleans residents have begun evacuating.
  • Eraserheads reunion concert in Manila cut short Saturday night. Front man Ely Buendia was rushed to the hospital during intermission.
  • Elite triathlete Barbara Warren (65) died from bike crash at Santa Barbara Triathlon. She placed at Kona Ironman 5x - http://twurl.nl/gvaag6
  • Growing Twitter trend: for every BREAKING NEWS tweet, there's at least one more tweet saying "it's not breaking news anymore"
  • Barack Obama's acceptance speech at DNC08 posted on YouTube: http://twurl.nl/cklm8m
  • 5.0 magnitude earthquake rocks the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal http://twurl.nl/ajpmos
  • Twitter Meme: 25 Little Known Facts about Sarah Palin http://is.gd/23FV
  • NY bound Delta Air Lines flight nearly collided with Russian-registered passenger jet near Puerto Rico yesterday, aviation officials said.
  • Forecasters fearing Gustav could be packing 111 mph winds by the time it hits landfall somewhere along the US's gulf coast
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer blasts McCain's VP pick Sarah Palin: "worse than Dan Quayle" "almost no experience" http://twurl.nl/pz33xo
  • Jamaica Gleaner News: Gustav leaves some communities of Portland Parish in shambles http://twurl.nl/gqv66f
  • From the "that's just sick department" -- Mom Found Guilty in Microwave Baby Death -- http://twurl.nl/e7xlz6
  • (AP) New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tells residents to be prepared to evacuate.
  • Active Twitter meme: nice sample of 25 "little known facts" about Sarah Palin http://twurl.nl/htzhvd
  • Twitterdom is posting a little known fact about Sarah Palin. Well, actually many little known facts. Funny stuff!
  • Comments from people who witnessed first hand MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech and Obama's acceptance speech: http://twurl.nl/eo4qqs
  • GM recalls 944,000 cars, trucks for electrical flaw http://twurl.nl/na1yzj
  • 10 Weblog Engines Reviewed: includes Wordpress; Movable Type; ExpressionEngine; Drupal; TextPattern; Joomla; Mephisto http://twurl.nl/krmoic
  • On 3rd anniversary of Katrina, New Orleans is preparing for Gustav as it heads for Cuba. Could become Cat 3 video: http://twurl.nl/fdkyp4
  • Lindsay Lohan's grandfather died on Thursday from colon cancer prompting a cease-fire between Lindsay and her dad http://twurl.nl/soc5pi
  • 38 million tuned into view Obama's speech, highest rated convention in history http://twurl.nl/mmefrr
  • Hands-on iriver's SPINN -- the first true iPod killer? http://twurl.nl/4j8z3q
  • What Tweeters are saying now: "doesn't Sarah Palin look like Tina Fey?"
  • Thailand sank deeper into political chaos as demonstrators forced the closure of key airports and railway lines http://twurl.nl/0ceciw
  • Hurricane Gustav winds blowing at 75 mph, heading for the gulf's "Loop Current" where it can pick up deadly strength http://twurl.nl/r33yc7
  • David Duchovney checks into rehab for sex addiction. He's married to Tea Leoni ... of course he's addicted. http://twurl.nl/rib8ci
  • Twitter buzzing about the cheerleaders who introduced McCain in Ohio - the general reaction seems to be WTF?
  • Twitterville contemplating the Palin pick. How exactly is she supposed to woo independents? Because she's a woman? Nope, it won't be enough.
  • QuarkBase: New tool enables you to view everything about a Web site you'd want to know ... nicely done! http://www.quarkbase.com
  • Heating up on Twitter: Sarah Palin's Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin
  • Now tweeting: Senator John McCain picks Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his VP running mate representing the Republican party
  • Now Tweeting: YouTube video of Pat Buchanan gushing over Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech. http://twurl.nl/a61nc5
  • Now Tweeting: YouTube video of Mythbusters drawing the Mona Lisa in 80 nanoseconds! http://snurl.com/3kys0
  • Twittershire laughing at a customer whose bank password "Lloyds is pants" was changed by Lloyd's to "no it's not" http://is.gd/21Dk
  • Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for the President of the United States and delivers an historic acceptance speech.
  • Free report from Communications Research “New Media, New Influencers & Implications for Public Relations” pdf 2.68MB http://twurl.nl/jw06dt
  • TechCrunch: Yahoo Shuts Down Mash, 0-4 On Social Networking http://twurl.nl/kklqoj
  • WashingtonPost: The East Coast Greenway - a bike trail that runs from Maine to the Floriday Keys http://twurl.nl/6kvd74
  • Twitter rerun: cartoon about Twitter dating by Rob Cottingham on ReadWriteWeb http://twurl.nl/27wvpb
  • John McCain congratulates Barack Obama video. YouTube: http://twurl.nl/hfuw8y
  • Olympian Shawn Johnson opened DNC with the Pledge of Allegiance, then American Idol Jennifer Hudson performed the Star Spangled Banner
  • Tweetlog for August 27 through August 28, 2008

  • Pawlenty is hot on Twitter now. Some are predicting him, many are dreading him.
  • FEMA official: Tropical Storm Gustav is potentially the largest hurricane to make landfall since Hurricane Katrina. North gulf is bracing.
  • Very cool new tool: Twitter Grader. Type your Twitter name into the input field and get your Twitter grade http://twitter.grader.com/
  • Are you going to PAX? It appears many on Twitter are or wish they were.
  • Zoom Airlines suspends all operations due to unpaid gas bills. http://tinyurl.com/57a5kv
  • Twitter Nation is actively trying to guess McCain's Veep choice: Romney? Pawlenty? Lieberman? Meg Whitman? Hillary???
  • BBEdit 9.0 - a Web authoring tool and powerful text editor for the Mac launches with the tag line: "it doesn't suck"
  • Android - Google's open handset alliance project - now offering "Android Market" as an open content distribution system http://is.gd/20Wj
  • Tropical Story Hanna forming northeast of Puerto Rico heading northwest and passing north of the Bahamas. Max winds at 40mph
  • From the wing and a prayer dept comes a new Jesus sighting. This time the image is on a moth. http://is.gd/1lW
  • Cambodians hit hard by inflation. The price of rat meat has quadruled putting meat out of reach for the nation's poor. http://is.gd/1Xjh
  • John McCain has made his choice for Vice President and will announce his decision tomorrow in Ohio.
  • Tweeters banding together to topple Internet Explorer 6. Putting IE6 on notice, it has 6 months to live. http://iedeathmarch.org/
  • Twitterville software developers emphathizing with this beautifully done and very Dilbert-esque video http://is.gd/20tj
  • Denver Police arrested an ABC News producer yesterday for taking pics of VIP Dems leaving the Brown Palace hotel http://tinyurl.com/5p8fg9
  • To paraphrase Mark Twain: "the rumors of Steve Jobs' death have been greatly exaggerated" due to accidental obit printing by Bloomberg
  • Twitterland reactions to Madeline Albright's speech last night - loved her! Network coverage of her? fail.
  • For many, the Labor Day weekend in the US will begin this afternoon as workers are already checking out
  • Tropical Storm Gustav now over Jamaica with winds up to 70 mph. It's path is aiming for New Orleans
  • Tweets lighting up for a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Vancouver Island
  • What we're not talking about: Twitterville has been surprisingly quiet about Obama's kiss on Jill Biden's lips - it's a non event here
  • FBI arrests blogger for streaming 9 un-released Guns N' Roses songs from the album "Chinese Democracy" (over 10 years in the making)
  • Tweetlog for Tuesday, August 26, 2008 http://is.gd/1Ztt
  • Twitterland reactions to Bill Clinton - the man knows how to deliver a great speech
  • True story: my daughter just told me to stop "twidderlicking"
  • New Twitter-like service called BackType launched today backed by seed fund Y Combinator. Enables find/follow/share of blog comments.
  • Michael Phelps lights up buzz meter again: he signs a $1.6M book deal and will host the SNL season opener. hmmm hawking the book already ;)
  • Twitterdom is wondering who the Democrats will nominate at #DNC08 ... some speculating it will be Obama
  • Microsoft makes Internet Explorer 8 available in beta. Twitterville is busy installing and checking it out: http://is.gd/1YO2
  • Penny Arcade Expo or PAX 2008 in Seattle begins in 45 hours (per their site). Twittonians gearing up for the trip. http://is.gd/1YMd
  • AMC relents, lets its "Mad Men" fans continue their Twitter-based adoration of the cable TV show and restore character name Twitter accounts
  • Atlanta Braves trade outfielder Mark Kotsay to the Bostor Red Sox
  • Twitterville excited by today's release of "Castle Crashers" for Xbox 360
  • Gold Medal Olympic Cyclist Kristin Armstrong used Google Earth to plot similar training routes in Boise, ID http://is.gd/1Yga
  • Apple iPhone bans comic "Murderdrome" created by InfuriousComics for being too violent. Judge for yourself at http://is.gd/1Yfv
  • Canon responds to Nikon D90 by announcing the EOS 50D SLR camera today http://is.gd/1VKZ
  • Sunderland signs defender Anton Ferdinand from West Ham United http://is.gd/1Y2M
  • Teaser from Microsoft Hardware: "Say Goodbye to Laser" on 9.9.08 -- a reference to laser mice http://is.gd/1Y23
  • Newcastle winger James Milner requests transfer
  • Astronauts on board the International Space Station witnessed a beautiful display of noctilucent (night-shining) clouds at the edge of space
  • @warrenellis gives name to his 7001 followers. As of today, they are the Meatbag Armada. Members grappling with what that means to them.
  • Gustav downgraded to Tropical Storm as it stalled over Haiti with torrential rain. May reach hurricane strength when it pushes out to sea.
  • Epson releases MovieMate 55 projector with built-in DVD player
  • Hillary Clinton sound bite of the evening: "no way, no how, no McCain"
  • Hillary Clinton: closes book on her election run, says "campaign is not about me," tries to unite dems, proclaims Obama is her candidate.
  • Twitter all a dither over newly released Nikon 090 with ability to shoot HD video
  • Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    Rewarding good Twitter behaviors

    Yesterday, Paul Glazowski posted It’s Time to Give the Best of Twitter Some Pulitzers on mashable. The basic premise of his message is that amongst all of the millions of tweets are some real gems and they should be rewarded for their literary merits, their ability to entertain or their ability to inform. Absolutely agree! The benefit of any award program is that it encourages good behavior. In a world (a nod to Don LaFontaine) where people can write whatever they want so long as it is less than 140 characters, it becomes very difficult for the really good stuff to be heard above the noise.

    It is the mission of Twitalytics to help pan the Twitter river for the gold nuggets that lie there if you just know where to look for them, or how. But once found, there really isn't an effective way to promote those who add genuine value to the overall experience. Paul mentions a site that is also attempting to reward good tweeting - Twitties.com and a commenter also notes Twitterbash.com. These sites have the right idea but not the visibility or traction it's going to take for the simple reason that they are disconnected from where the real action is taking place.

    If a user is going to cast a vote for a tweet on any measure of value, they will want to do it immediately next to the tweet they just read. They should haven't to make a side trip to comment or rate a tweet ... it has to happen right there and in that instant. A no-brainer feature that I'm sure would catch on like wildfire is a link that lets you forward the tweet (retweet) to your followers. Like the Tweet? Just click the "retweet to your followers" button and boom it's done. You're followers got something you recommended. Perhaps an option can be offered to follow the tweeter that was passed to you with another click.

    Tweeters whose posts are continually getting forwarded should get credibility points or "twitterbucks." These points could earn you special privileges such as more visible tweets, more interactive avatars or 20 extra characters per tweet? Options are endless.

    Perhaps you can do a search of Tweets posted on a particular subject where the author has earned a certain number twitterbucks. This helps give some special recognition to those tweets viewed by the community as noteworthy.

    And now for a shameless plug: in the category of most consistently helpful Twittering across the largest spectrum of subject areas, our nomination goes to none other than us Twitalytics.com, e hope you've been enjoying these tweets but as always want them to be more useful to our small but growing community.

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    25 ways we spent Labor Day - September 1, 2008

    1. annapatterson: Home from Labor Day sales. Couldn't find the bedspread I'd like so bought my default item - a new pair of jeans. Seems successful that way. · View Tweet

    2. msorensen: Spending my Labor Day working in the yard · View Tweet

    3. rhjr: Spending Labor Day doing things I don't really want to do. And yes, they do involve labor. · View Tweet

    4. jgderuvo: US turns over Anbar to Iraq. And nobody notices. · View Tweet

    5. stevegrossman: is spending a half-productive, half-restful Labor Day. · View Tweet

    6. formerglory: Spending Labor day laboring to put up shutters. Damn you Hannah. · View Tweet

    7. starrynight256: Spending Labor Day watching Netflix movies, listening to NPR and playing poker. :) · View Tweet

    8. tomhoobyar: Spending Labor Day in a Santa Cruz California coffee shop with my wife and my laptop, writing. · View Tweet

    9. rebeccaburch: Is it ironic that I'm spending Labor Day frantically running around, trying to get stuff done that I don't have time to when I'm working? · View Tweet

    10. Armano: Spending the remainder of labor day at beach and BBQ. As it should be. · View Tweet

    11. foolishgames: i can't believe i'm spending my labor day cleaning house. : · View Tweet

    12. LesleyRealtor: Spending Labor Day on Cape Cod. Beautiful day, hope you enjoy yours! · View Tweet

    13. annabethblue: I'm going to spend my Labor Day spending all the money I've labored to get....on bills. :-\ · View Tweet

    14. the_mighty_emem: spending labor day watching the monk marathon on usa. whoo hoo! no, seriously! · View Tweet

    15. treesaregreen: kicking off labor day sans labor as it should be. · View Tweet

    16. SamKnoll: While the rest of NC is spending Labor Day at the pool... we are going ice skating. Keeping cool either way! · View Tweet

    17. garrettandjoy: Garrett is golfing with dad and two brothers (rarely happens), spending Labor day with Nudd families with picnic food, yum! Watching Gustav! · View Tweet

    18. donhornsby: I am looking forward to spending time with extended family - and driving in the local Labor Day parade... · View Tweet

    19. cherbert: Spending Labor Day here in London by going to work but hopefully some barbeque & beers later tonight. · View Tweet

    20. s5: looks like I'll be spending Labor Day laboring. workers of the world, unite! · View Tweet

    21. jasoncdukes: is watching the NASCAR race with Caleb. His friend Caleb is watching it with us & spending the night too. Happy Labor Day to all. · View Tweet

    22. ToThink: Spending Labor Day weekend looking for labor. Updating resume, linkedin, etc. · View Tweet

    23. jdcoffman: Want to know what's fun on Labor Day? Renaming your blog tags and adjusting the taxonomy on your blog. :-) · View Tweet

    24. bluedepth: The Zoo was a wonderful way to spend Labor Day. Fueling up and Soda'ing up. No burns, hooray! · View Tweet

    25. dougblackjr: is noticing no one really twitters on Labor day! · View Tweet
    (editor's note: see above)

    Search for more tweets on how we spent Labor Day on search.twitter.com

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    11 Tweets for the "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" release today, August 31, 2008

    1. inmostlight: Ahh, the good ol' Mercenaries fun of capturing a high-value target alive and extracting him in the midst of chaos. · View Tweet

    2. clubside: Mercenaries 2 is out and I'm playing on the Xbox 360, first mission already showing the true glee of destruction! · View Tweet

    3. rickyp: About to start mercenaries 2. Excited? Yes!!! · View Tweet

    4. upside27: wow the AI on mercenaries 2 is completly retarded. nonetheless the game is still fun......so far · View Tweet

    5. seanmay: just rented Mercenaries 2. I hope my 360 can keep it together long enough to play it · View Tweet

    6. inmostlight: picked up Mercenaries 2. Time to overthrow Venezuela! · View Tweet

    7. quatoria: Mercenaries 2 is excellent. Peter Stormare was born to play a violent tattoed psychopath. "Hello, mister AK!" · View Tweet

    8. patmcnally: I do believe that I'm going to pick up mercenaries 2 this morning. All this talk of co-op + massive explosions has me sold. · View Tweet

    9. curtico: cannot get enough of Mercenaries 2! This game is a blast! · View Tweet

    10. quatoria: 10 hours till Mercenaries 2. Nothing's as much fun as bloody handed war profiteering, baby! · View Tweet

    11. danerdy1: i don't know why, but the Mercenaries 2 tv jingle is stuck in my head. my wife gets annoyed at it. "i'm a mercenary," oh sorry. · View Tweet

    Search for more "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" tweets on search.twitter.com

    Saturday, August 30, 2008

    15 Tweets during Clemson v Alabama College Football Game - August 30, 2008

    1. Twisted_Lisa: It's okay to be married to an alabama fan when they lose....when they win...not so much. · View Tweet

    2. tnballoonguy: has a wife who's watching Alabama football. She's yelling at the TV. Someone save me! · View Tweet

    3. joshuasteven: so we were evacuated today-now we are experiencing the alabama game with the larimore family in gulf shores...its all good. · View Tweet

    4. ElizabethHolmes: Clemson and Alabama kick off. Does it matter? It. Really. Matters. · View Tweet

    5. DarnellClayton: Watching Clemson vs. Alabama. I'm not into college football, but tonight I am rooting for Alabama. · View Tweet

    6. lnjaber79: Eating red hot from Jenkins - sick as a dog - watching the Alabama game - missing Chad. · View Tweet

    7. DEVORA_XL: THANK YOU GOD!! i get 2 watch the alabama/clemson game. hallelujah! no hurricane talk for 2-3hrs straight · View Tweet

    8. RobbieDenson: I am confused within myself over Clemson or Alabama?????? · View Tweet

    9. mattdeuel: It might just be me, but I think Brent Musburger really likes saying the word Alabama!? · View Tweet

    10. WideAwake1: Would you want to be Clemson in the locker room at half time? · View Tweet

    11. treykelly: Gotta admit, I've never loved Alabama more than I do right now. Honestly, I would vote for Saban for president if I could. · View Tweet

    12. AshleyBrooke: I am loving this clemson game...they are gettin murdered · View Tweet

    13. ccolmn: hmmm.......i imagine there are a few Clemson fans that may be searching for life jackets about now......the tide is rolling · View Tweet

    14. hotglass57: we finished painting the dining room and are making good progress on the art. Clemson is getting creamed right now · View Tweet

    15. chrisroberts: quote of the night so far: "alabama came for a fist fight. clemson came for a school dance." · View Tweet


    Search for more Clemson v Alabama Tweets on search.twitter.com

    One week ago today: the birth of Twitalytics

    It's hard to believe that only a week has passed since the launch of Twitalytics. So much has been accomplished and learned in so short a period of time. Let's review. Since Saturday, Aug 24 2008 we have tweeted 230 times or about 33 times a day if you're doing the math beating the original expectation of tweeting at least once an hour. A more important metric is that each tweet had to surpass a certain level of "information-richness." In other words, we can't just tweet anything. It has to communicate something of value to the Twitter audience. It must add to the dialogue, not to the cacophony. (ooh, that's good ... have to use that line again).

    We have also blogged seven times and this post will be number eight. An average of one a day ... our desired goal.

    Another important metric to us is the number of people who follow us and the ratio of people who followed us organically vs the number of people who follow us simply because we followed them first. Roughly 15% of our current list of 97 followers found us organically.

    On the blog, we've tried a number of different experiments to see what seems to work. Our most recent post of 25 little known facts about Sarah Palin has performed best so far. That's a format we're likely to repeat again.

    SEO. A search for 'twitalytics' on Google now returns about 130 pages from their index that match on the word. Of those all but one are hits referring to something we tweeted or blogged. From a marketing and branding perspective, it is important that we completely own the word. So far we do.

    What hasn't worked? We went out of the gate following 2000 people with nothing to show. Very few tweets, no blog, no bio. In hindsight, that was a huge mistake. When someone gets a "follow" notice, they are likely to check out who is following them before they return the follow. If you have nothing to show, you are not likely to get followed. We are now refollowing a small handful to see if the follow rate increases now that we have much more to show for our efforts.

    Congratulations Twitalytics on a great first week. Keep up the momentum!!

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    Twitter Meme: 25 Little Known Facts about Sarah Palin

    1. tibbon: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin wants to save the Fail Whales. · View Tweet

    2. darbydarnit: in the @dpkpr spirit, little known fact: sarah palin likes double mooseburgers with a side of moose mousse · View Tweet

    3. barakmich: Little Known Fact: The Governator wasn't looking for Sarah Connor, he was looking for Sarah Palin · View Tweet

    4. kidmarmite: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin let the dogs out. · View Tweet

    5. Attitude: Little known fact: Sarah Palin has never lost a sock in the wash. Evildoers can no longer hide. · View Tweet

    6. RedheadWriting: Little known fact: When Sarah Palin yells "Who's my daddy?!" at the RNC next week, McCain will raise his hand. · View Tweet

    7. steezydeezy: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin and Chuck Norris together in one room would create a black hole! · View Tweet

    8. lepas: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin destroyed the periodic table of elements.; the only element she recognizes is the element of surprise. · View Tweet

    9. jtoeman: Little Known Fact: during the beijing olympics, Sarah Palin wore a Michael Phelps bodysuit just to add more gold medals to her collection · View Tweet

    10. RedheadWriting: Little known fact: Nobody makes Sarah Palin bleed her own blood. · View Tweet

    11. sueradd: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin cured Lance Armstrong's cancer. · View Tweet

    12. egratto: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin wants more cowbell. · View Tweet

    13. JonHenke: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is reading every one of these LKF Tweets. And taking names. Don't make her mad. · View Tweet

    14. portentint: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin was Jane Fonda's stunt double in Barbarella. · View Tweet

    15. guan: Little known fact: Sarah Palin's Comcast connection is not capped · View Tweet

    16. jppettinger: little known fact: Sarah Palin is Chuck Norris' mother. · View Tweet

    17. egratto: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin was so disappointed to miss Burning Man this year for that silly, silly announcement event. · View Tweet

    18. gilliatt: Little known fact: Sarah Connor learned everything from Sarah Palin. · View Tweet

    19. dpkpr: Little known fact: Sarah Palin still feels guilty about eating the passengers who died in a plane crash atop an Alaskan mountain to survive. · View Tweet

    20. guan: Little known fact: Sarah Palin made the lights go out in Georgia · View Tweet

    21. myklroventine: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, knows when to walk away and knows when to run. · View Tweet

    22. johnnycho: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is the one you hear coughing in every live classical music recording ever made. · View Tweet

    23. AllAxisAjay: Little known fact: Sarah Palin is the walrus, goo goo g'joob. [sic] · View Tweet

    24. miketrap: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin put the "bop" in the "Bop-shoo-bop-shubop." · View Tweet

    25. davidparmet: Little Known Fact about Sarah Palin - her Second Life avatar has spikes · View Tweet

    Search for more "little known facts" on search.twitter.com

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Tweetlog for Tuesday, August 26, 2008

  • Bob Casey: "John McCain says he's a maverick. But he's voted with Bush over 90% of the time. That's not a maverick. That's a sidekick!"
  • Twitterland reactions to Mark Warner - falls short of expectations
  • Getting "trout" AIM spam? You're not alone. It's an AIM bot called TheGreatHatsby. http://tinyurl.com/po57y
  • Charles Barkley interviewed by CNN: expresses interest in running for Governor of Alabama - reassures viewers that he can't screw up Alabama
  • The Onion launches "Decider" - a local entertainment site with event information and restaurant reviews first in Chicago, more cities coming
  • Twitterland reactions to Dennis Kucinich - he wow'ed the crowd
  • Washington, DC appears much quieter than usual. Did all the pols disappear? Oh wait, #DNC08 almost forgot.
  • Twitter speak: "tweep" - your Twitter peeps (friends)
  • Four person arrested in plot to assassinate Barack Obama during his acceptance speech at Invesco Field on Thursday night
  • FAA computer problems causing flight delays throughout the United States. Radar systems are in tact, contact with aircraft not lost.
  • Hoax alert: Tomorrow, August 27 - Mars will *not* appear as large as a second moon. This hoax has been making the rounds since 2003.
  • Panic releases upgrade of Coda - its Web development product - to version 1.5http://is.gd/1hvZ
  • Mozilla Labs announced Ubiquity today -- a new solution to bring together dis-jointed Web services http://is.gd/1Wns
  • Retweet @dannysullivan: nice, map of all the olympics medalilists http://tinyurl.com/65k2b2
  • The Huffington Post is twittering live from #DNC08 ... http://is.gd/1Wdv
  • Tornado warning issued for Bladen County in North Carolina.
  • Overheard on Twitter from @rm: Stunning idea for a bumper sticker: "My other Twitter is a Tumblr." http://is.gd/1W9i [funny]
  • Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards, taking heat from some Democrats for trying to keep hubby's affair a private matter.
  • Speaking of hijackings, a new type of spam claims to have "hijacked your baby" and demands $50,000 (US dollars? -- it didn't say)
  • A Sudanese plane bound for Khartoum was hijacked shortly after take-off from Nyala. It landed in Libya after first trying to land in Cairo.
  • Another free game is pulled for copyright violations. Tetris type app for iPhone know as Tris has been pulled.
  • Gorgeous weather reports coming from across the country: Denver, Chicago, Wash DC and everything in between. Sorry SC
  • Tweetonians tuning into Mur Lafferty @mightmur speaking on http://www.wunc.org
  • TechCrunch article about Dexter ad ripping off Wired magazine cover generating plenty of Twitter feed spam
  • Facebook app Scrabulous removed world-wide (except in India where Scrabulous was created)
  • Former Portland Trail Blazer Kevin Duckworth dies in Oregon. He was 44.
  • Tuesday's #DNC08 schedule posted: http://is.gd/1VKx
  • From Birmingham, AL: Tanker crash closes westbound lanes of I-20
  • South Carolina is under a tornado watch as Hurricane Fay moves northeast
  • Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was heckled as he opened a new session of Parliament
  • Hurricane Gustav to hit Haiti any minute now packing winds near 90 mph. Then moving west past Cuba.
  • Tweetlog for Monday, August 25, 2008 http://is.gd/1UVi
  • Twitterland reactions to Michelle Obama - very impressive
  • Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Understanding Twitter behaviors

    Twitter is an Internet phenomenon. Perhaps it's nothing more than another branch of the Web's ongoing evolution but there are many of us whose lives are being changed in small ways by it. In one compact interface, it's possible to accomplish things that normally requires several other technologies. That is a disruptive change.

    Over the course of my upcoming blog posts, I'll examine what motivates users to interact in this way, what can be accomplished in Twitter as an alternative to existing technologies and what new capabilities are made possible that didn't exist prior to Twitter. I'll also share some thoughts about what Twitter could become with the addition of a few feature enhancements.

    For this first segment, let's look at the ever-present question Twitter asks of us:

    What are you doing?

    A couple of years ago, when Twitter was first demo-ed for me, I laughed out loud. Why on earth would anyone go out of their way to write something that no one would ever read? (Kind of like this blog post.) And if anyone did happen to read it, they surely wouldn't care. (I'm pretty sure I felt the same way about blogs when I first heard of them as well so I don't exactly have a great track record for seeing the possibilities when a technology first comes onto the scene.) Once value can be demonstrated, I'm generally a quick study.

    Answering the question "what are you doing" and posting it for the world to see, or even just the group of people who follow me, didn't exactly rise to the level of demonstrable value for me. Consider the things I might have written on any given day:
    • I'm showering
    • I'm doing my morning walk
    • I'm getting coffee at Starbuck's
    • I'm driving to work
    • I'm at my desk
    • I'm dreading the project I have to begin
    • I'm going to get lunch
    • I'm back at my desk
    • I'm wishing some people in my office wouldn't laugh so loud
    • I'm looking forward to the end of the work day
    • I'm leaving work
    • I'm going to pick up my daughter from soccer practice
    • I'm meeting a friend for dinner and a drink
    • I'm writing in my blog

    Folks, that was my day. Pretty routine and uneventful stuff if you ask me. Very meaningful to me, but I don't expect others to give a damn. Fourteen completely mundane statements of absolutely no consequence to anyone but me. And there you have what I'll refer to as the first Twitter archetype.

    Twitter archetype #1 -- "status"
    Posting a comment with no intended recipient and no expectation of a response.

    I don't know about you, but where I grew up, we called this talking to yourself. Just picture yourself out for a stroll on a busy street, or in a shopping mall or perhaps in a restaurant. Anywhere that you're surrounded by people. And then suddenly, you speak out loud so everyone can hear you: "I have to go do my laundy." That may sound funny to you (it does to me) but that is exactly what is happening over and over again on Twitter.

    The real value that comes from posting your status is very much like writing in a journal or a daily planner. What you write there is primarily intended for your own personal use. Once it gets written, it becomes real and it lives on beyond the moment you wrote it. Type #1 tweets are reminders, instructions to yourself, opportunities to vent and express your thoughts, feelings and opinions. Typically the writer doesn't care who is listening -- the post isn't meant for anyone. It just feels good to write it, and sometimes it feels better to write it publicly.

    Often though, someone is listening. And sometimes they respond. I'll call this Twitter archetype #2 -- "copy that." It is a simple gesture that lets the writer know they were heard. I'll pick up at this point with my next post.

    Wanna know what I'm doing? I'm going to sleep.

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Tweetlog for Monday, August 25, 2008

    • Twitterland reactions to Ted Kennedy tribute - very touching
    • Twitterland reactions to Caroline Kennedy - boring
    • Twitterland reactions to Jesse Jackson - glowing
    • Twitterland reactions to Jimmy Carter -- many were distracted by his creepy left eye
    • Twitterland reaction to Nancy Pelosi not kind
    • Retweet @dannysullivan: after nearly four years in the making, google suggest finally comes to the google home page http://snurl.com/3jqhe
    • Chat and IM tool Adium releases ver 1.3 with chat support for Facebook.
    • Tweeters enjoying new FriendFeed beta release
    • Latin American pop star Daddy Yankee endorses John McCain for president
    • US stocks tumble following disapointing housing report. DJIA down 2.1%
    • Twitter speak: "fail whale" = Twitter is down
    • Manchester United beats Portsmouth 1-0
    • Usage of hashtags for group twittering on the rise. How? Include your group name in the Tweet. e.g. #groupname - use any name, then search!
    • Seattle based travel site TripHub.com closes its doors
    • 2008 Tennis US Open begins today at Billie Jean King National Tennis Stadium in Queens, NY
    • Tropical Storm Gustav now blowing in the Caribbean. Forecasters say it could reach hurricane strength. Heading toward Haiti/Dominican Rep.
    • Tweetrush.com goes live providing Twitter usage stats. Initial observations are positive.
    • Tyson Foods to donate 100 pounds of food to Austin area food bank for every comment received on its blog.
    • Rave reviews for "Playing for Keeps" - A superhero novel by Mur Lafferty. Solid five star reviews at Amazon (sold out).
    • New Yorkers are buzzing about RideTheCity.com -- a new Google Maps mash-up that aims to provide safe bike driving directions
    • The Democratic National Convention (#DNC08) officially begins tonigh at 5:00pm EST
    • Southeastern United States under severe weather watch and tornado alerts
    • Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson and three others survive plane crash in southeastern Ontario
    • It's raining sideways in Georgia.
    • From the journal "Science" by way of NY Times: Researchers at the Swiss Univ of Lausanne find we can smell danger - alarm pheromones we emit
    • Online real estate search site Trulia releases mobile version.

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    The Day's Recap: Closing ceremonies at Olympics, plane crashes and tornados in Denver

    Beijing Olympics -- closing ceremonies, results
    • USA Men's Basketball (The Redeem Team) won the gold beating Spain in the final.
    • We're congratulating Mike "Coach K" Krzyzewski for leading the men's b-ball team to gold and Doug Collins who was cheated out of gold in '72. Kobe Bryant got kudos for his clutch 4th quarter performance.
    • Bob Costas interviewed IOC President Jacques Rogge
    • Beijing Olympics became the most watched event in US history. 211million viewers on NBC Universal over 16 days.
    • Two things stood out at the Olympics closing ceremonies: Jimmy Page playing "Whole Lotta Love" and everyone wanted to know why the drummers in the closing ceremonies wore bicycle helmets.
    Democratic National Convention
    • As DNC attendees arrived in Denver, the chatter started building but much of it was folks stressing over where they're supposed to be or what they were supposed to be doing.
    • Much was said about the altercation between protesters and Fox news crew.
    • Michelle Obama arrived in Denver
    • Tornados touched down near the DNC
    What we're watching:
    • The House Bunny. Most thought it was very funny. Tropic Thunder, Dark Knight IMAX.
    • Hawaii beat Mexico in Little League World Series 12-3

    What we're doing:
    • We went shopping at Wal-Mart and Target. It's back-to-school shopping time again.
    • Many tweets about the perfect weather
    • Folks broadcasting themselves on ustream.tv
    Plane Crashes:
    • One person died, two seriously hurt when a light aircraft crashed onto the 7th hole of a golf course near Rand Airport in South Africa.
    • In Moab, Utah, a small plane crashed killing all 10 people aboard shortly after take-off on Friday evening 22-Aug
    • Kyrgyzstan: A passenger plane bound for Iran crashed on take-off in Bishkek, the nation's capital with about 100 people aboard
    Other news:
    • Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf got more attention/praise a week after his resignation
    • Two teens were injured in Clearwater, FL when their personal watercraft exploded. Their injuries were not life threatening.
    • A 2 year old girl was found with her father (who was taken into custody) in Citrus County (Tampa, FL) hours after South Carolina issued an Amber alert announcing her disappearance.
    • New Zealand golfer Danny Lee won the US Amateur championship at Pinehurst, NC. He is the youngest player to do so in 108 years.
    • Sales of iPhones are expected to begin in Russia by October.
    • From the UK: More than 160 significant incidents of confidential data misplaced by councils, govt and businesses
    • Nine climbers went missing, and three more hurt after avalanche strikes near Mont Blanc in French Alps
    • West Australian Liberal Party promised more schools and better pay during campaign launch in Perth today.