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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, 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 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
  • (espn) White Sox lose Carlos Quentin due to wrist surgery possibly for remainder of season
  • (CBS/Hilzoy) Factchecking Sarah Palin's remarks during her acceptance speech:
  • (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.
  • Twitterland anxiously awaiting official launch of Spore (sim game by SimCity creator) on Sept 7
  • (npr/John Ridley) A pocket guide to speaking "Palinguage"
  • (AP/Mercury News) US Coast Guard helicopter crashes off Hawaii coast. 3 crew members dead, one missing.
  • 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
  • (CNNMoney) US jobless rate hits 6.1% -- highest in five years
  • (MSNBC) Condoleeza Rice makes historic first visit to Libya -- highest ranking US official to visit in 50+ years
  • 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
  • Michael Moore: on Larry King Fri @ 9pm ET/6pm PT. Release of "Slacker Uprising" - 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
  • 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:
  • Mass retweet: Good quote from my friend Jody: "Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor." Original:
  • 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 -
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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:
  • Is everyone in the world now a friend of a friend of a friend? According to this O2 commissioned study they are ...
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 for Windows Vista/XP
  • Tweeting up: (engadget) Apple event "Let's Rock" confirmed for September 9, 2008 at 10am in San Francisco
  • Hot Twopic: Google's new Web browser Chrome: a threat to Microsoft? to Mozilla? both?
  • Now Tweeting: interest in ... 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
  • 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
  • #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:
  • 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 -
  • 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
  • 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
  • nprnews: Thai Protesters Threaten To Disrupt Water, Airports
  • #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 #30dc
  • 11 Tweets for the "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" release today
  • 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
  • (BBC) Israeli PM Olmert and Palestinian Authority Pres Abbas met in Jerusalem for further US-backed peace talks
  • "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:
  • "oh no you didn't" -- Twitter Mercenaries loving the new Mercenarios 2 TV ad - YouTube video:
  • Two interesting sites to monitor election tweeting: and
  • 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
  • (NOAA) Gustav now Cat 3 hurricane. Max winds of 120mph. Expected to strengthen to Cat 4 before landfall on Monday.
  • (engadget-Nilay Patel) First plug-in Priuses to hit fleets next year
  • Tweet Heat: (Daily KOs-ArcXIX) Sarah Palin is NOT the mother of Trig, her daughter Briston is.
  • 15 Tweets during Clemson v Alabama College Football Game - August 30, 2008
  • One week ago today: the birth of Twitalytics
  • (CNN) New Obama ad avoids criticizing Palin, keeps focus of message on McCain. Video:
  • (Xinhua) BEIJING: a 6.1 mag earthquake hit China's SW Sichuan province Saturday, killing 22, injuring more than 100
  • 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.
  • 15 Tweets during Clemson v Alabama College Football Game
  • uhm ... this isn't cool: (Salon) Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis
  • 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"
  • Twitter's Bumberfans rocking out at Bumbershoot - Seattle's Music and Arts Festival.
  • (AP) Planes missed each other by 15 feet in near collision at Fresno Yosemite Int'l airport
  • 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
  • California police searching for serial killer who killed at least 11 prostitutes and drug users over 23 yr period
  • Trekkies making final voyage to Star Trek: The Experience. This Las Vegas attraction is closing its doors Monday.
  • 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 -
  • 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:
  • 5.0 magnitude earthquake rocks the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal
  • Twitter Meme: 25 Little Known Facts about Sarah Palin
  • 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"
  • Jamaica Gleaner News: Gustav leaves some communities of Portland Parish in shambles
  • From the "that's just sick department" -- Mom Found Guilty in Microwave Baby Death --
  • (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
  • 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:
  • GM recalls 944,000 cars, trucks for electrical flaw
  • 10 Weblog Engines Reviewed: includes Wordpress; Movable Type; ExpressionEngine; Drupal; TextPattern; Joomla; Mephisto
  • On 3rd anniversary of Katrina, New Orleans is preparing for Gustav as it heads for Cuba. Could become Cat 3 video:
  • Lindsay Lohan's grandfather died on Thursday from colon cancer prompting a cease-fire between Lindsay and her dad
  • 38 million tuned into view Obama's speech, highest rated convention in history
  • Hands-on iriver's SPINN -- the first true iPod killer?
  • 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
  • Hurricane Gustav winds blowing at 75 mph, heading for the gulf's "Loop Current" where it can pick up deadly strength
  • David Duchovney checks into rehab for sex addiction. He's married to Tea Leoni ... of course he's addicted.
  • 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!
  • Heating up on Twitter: Sarah Palin's Wikipedia bio:
  • 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.
  • Now Tweeting: YouTube video of Mythbusters drawing the Mona Lisa in 80 nanoseconds!
  • Twittershire laughing at a customer whose bank password "Lloyds is pants" was changed by Lloyd's to "no it's not"
  • 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
  • TechCrunch: Yahoo Shuts Down Mash, 0-4 On Social Networking
  • WashingtonPost: The East Coast Greenway - a bike trail that runs from Maine to the Floriday Keys
  • Twitter rerun: cartoon about Twitter dating by Rob Cottingham on ReadWriteWeb
  • John McCain congratulates Barack Obama video. YouTube:
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Cambodians hit hard by inflation. The price of rat meat has quadruled putting meat out of reach for the nation's poor.
  • 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.
  • Twitterville software developers emphathizing with this beautifully done and very Dilbert-esque video
  • Denver Police arrested an ABC News producer yesterday for taking pics of VIP Dems leaving the Brown Palace hotel
  • 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
  • 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:
  • Penny Arcade Expo or PAX 2008 in Seattle begins in 45 hours (per their site). Twittonians gearing up for the trip.
  • 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
  • Apple iPhone bans comic "Murderdrome" created by InfuriousComics for being too violent. Judge for yourself at
  • Canon responds to Nikon D90 by announcing the EOS 50D SLR camera today
  • Sunderland signs defender Anton Ferdinand from West Ham United
  • Teaser from Microsoft Hardware: "Say Goodbye to Laser" on 9.9.08 -- a reference to laser mice
  • 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 - and a commenter also notes 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, 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