Posts Tagged "twitter"

Nobody (even Jonathan Abrams) remembers anymore

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

I was just pointed to an article where Jonathan Abrams pretty much claims that he invented friend requests and possibly even social networking.

He takes pride in his claim to inventing the idea of requesting and accepting friendships online. But because he’s been around it longer than anyone, he’s also getting sick of all the friend requests.

“I’m a little burned out, to be honest. I get maybe five friend requests on Facebook per day,” Abrams said over lunch in San Francisco recently. “I invented this stuff, and now I’m paying for it.”

Then because of the backlash on twitter about him being a pompous ass, he writes in to correct the context of his quote.

Twitter is now covered with embarrassing “Jonathan Abrams: I Invented This Stuff” headlines, which is a quote taken out of context and definitely a distortion of our discussion.  The part about my girlfriend is also a joke that is presented seriously and does not come across the way it should.

Honestly, please, now everybody is just going to think that Jonathan Abrams is a pompous ass and a cry-baby.  Take it like a man, everybody gets misquoted, at least have the decency to post an official reply somewhere and explain what you were trying to say, etc, etc.

And seriously, does nobody remember anymore? (quoted from wikipedia): was a social network service website that lasted from 1997 to 2001 and was based on the Web of Contacts model of social networking. was registered in 2002.  Unless, Jonathan means the whole Six Degrees pattent thing.

The U.S. patent, which was awarded June 27, is extremely general, and would seem to cover the activities of many other sites, especially those like LinkedIn that allow people to connect within a certain number of degrees of separation.

Naming Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams, who has left the company, as inventor, the patent refers to a “system, method, and apparatus for connecting users in an online computer system based on their relationships within social networks.”

Six Degrees of Separation, another failed social networking startup, had obtained a patent on social networking technology in 2001. It was bought at auction in 2003 by the founders of LinkedIn and

Bah – the whole thing is ridiculous, but people sure do get whipped on twitter nowadays for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

As a side question, why does a commandline “whois” return the following to me:

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to
for detailed information.


I guess whois info for got hijacked by subdomain pollution?

A different kind of Twitter timeline

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

twitterIts been about a month since I started using Twitter, and I have to say the thing I’m most disappointed with is the fact that its so easy to miss interesting information.  Depending on how busy I am, I may have the time to spend half a day catching up to stuff on Twitter, or I may have the chance to load my Twitter client for just 5 minutes to look for new direct messages or @replies.  Regardless of how much time I put into it, I always wind up missing something, I’m absolutely sure of it.

This is the difference between RSS and Twitter – RSS clients tend to collect everything from a particular feed and preserve it until I either mark things read and ignore them or actually read them.  This is what I want from a Twitter client, except I think there’s a way to make this sort of thing even nicer with Twitter.

I want to be able to see the most relevant tweets in my Friends Timeline.  For instance, for those friends that announce new blog posts, I want to be able to see those – all the time.  I want to prioritize retweets and @replies lower than original posts.  Moreover, I want to prioritize certain friends’ posts higher than others.

Basically, once you follow a certain number of people, the signal-to-noise ratio becomes so low that the chances of you missing out something really interesting and relevant are just horrendous.

I’m proposing an alternate view of your Twitter feed – a prioritized timeline.  First you’ll need to priority-order and assign numerical priorities to each of the people you follow.  After that tweets will be shown in this prioritized timeline ordered by a relevance value.  Lets say you order @ivantumanov as 50 and @engadget as 5.  Then a new post from me (posted at the same time as the post from @engadget) will show up first.  After that the two posts’ position in this prioritized timeline will decay according to how old they are.  However, the relevance value for my post will decay 10 times slower than the relevance value for @engadet’s post.  In this way, it’ll stay closer to the top of this prioritized timeline longer and thus I’ll be more likely to read it.  Because posts may move around as time goes by (@engadget’s posts will continue falling down in relevance and moving down in this list while my post will fall down 10 times slower), a “seen” flag will need to be shown.  Additionally, a filing system (To Read, To Save, For Reference folders) would be nice.  And finally, thumbtacks that keep a post at a particular place in the timeline – basically freezing their relevance value so it doesn’t decay with time.

The source of the tweet is obviously the easiest thing to use for determining relevance.  But how about the content of the tweets?  Anything that starts with RT or @ can be assigned a penalty or a promotion as far as the relevance value / priority value of that post.  Things with “New Blog Post” for instance, or any other specific string can be assigned a penalty or bonus value.  And for those of us who use Tweetie, anything with “(via …” can be prioritized in a specific way as well.

Is there something like this out there already?  If not, I’m gonna have to get my hands dirty and fiddle with the Twitter API some this coming week to make this happen.

Why is Twitter all the hotness all of a sudden?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

twitter_logoJust today I was told my brother was working on a Twitter project for his company.  They are trying to leverage the recent popularity of the service to have yet another opportunity to announce what otherwise would be newsworthy content – in this case really good deals on really good stuff.  However, from what I heard from him, they’re hindered by the fact that Twitter is a completely public service, with no restrictions on who reads and consumes the information people post to it.  I’ve heard lots of disdain for Twitter’s lack of groups or some other sort of tool to manage access to messages meant for a specific demographic.  However, the real question is, what exactly is Twitter meant to be – a megaphone or a private line to a certain group of people?

The answer of course is that its already a megaphone.  There are competitors or perhaps you could call them “co-habitants” of the same vertical, or whatever you like.  There’s a few companies creating offerings for businesses that allow employees to “tweet” only to the ears of their co-workers.  And Twitter seems content to remain the megaphone desipite this competition.  Honestly, I’d like to say Good For Them.  They’re focused on what they’re trying to accomplish, and despite the complete lack of success in trying to monetize this impetus besides venture capital, at least they’re doing what they like and what they want to do.

The reason people are talking about Twitter so much recently is that they are realizing that its a tool to reach a broad spectrum of loyal listeners.  The reason the listeners are so loyal is the mechanics of the service – you can’t force users to listen the same way you can with an email address.  You can’t send promotial emails to a follower on Twitter – if they don’t want to listen, they can cut off that relationship relatively quickly.  Additionally, the way Twitter works respects the way people want to regulate the bandwidth of their attention span.  If they are getting too much info, they’ll stop following, that’s all there is to it.

So what Twitter has is a megaphone that only people that want to hear have to put up with.  That’s genius.  Facebook has recently tried to achieve the same kind of ubiquitous streaming “Nirvana” if you will.  But thats not what the site is meant for.  A social network is meant to bind friends, aquaintances, and the like together.  Twitter is meant to bind people that say things and people that want to hear those things.  While the two audiences may sometimes overlap, they are probably never the same.  I follow TechCrunch on Twitter, but wouldn’t think of adding anybody that works there as friends on Facebook.  I guess that won’t stop Facebook from trying to employ the same dynamic that Twitter has achieved, and so be it.

Regardless of all that, the reason I am using Twitter now is because I can broadcast to everybody that wants to listen a stream of remarks, links and the like, with relative ease.  Additionally the Twitter Facebook app allows me to do the same to my Facebook friends without any hassle.  And the Twitter Tools plugin for Wordpress allows me to store my Tweets in a persistent format of my choosing in my blog.  Best of all worlds so to speak.  I’m sure Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey give a lot of validation to everybody for their attention to Twitter, but the important part is that it serves a need and does it relatively well at this point in time.  I’ll use it till I find something bettter at doing what I want to do. Hopefully they’ll figure out how to monetize their business before then – right now its really swell of them to provide this service without expecting anything in return.


Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

tweetdeck_128I finally succumbed to peer pressure and set up an account on Twitter.  Added the little Twitter widget to my sidebar, and have been playing with various tools for tweeting and consuming tweets.  One I came across today is particularly interesting – TweetDeck.  Its an Adobe AIR application.  AIR is essentially a cross-platform delivery system for rich Flash applications that can work independently of a web browser.  I’ve been seeing some very interesting applications of AIR recently.  This one however is quite elegant indeed.  I highly recommend it for anybody that is interested in tapping into Twitter.

blipfm_lgGenerally speaking, what intrigues me most is the dynamic that is created by mini-blogging sites.  Twitter is one of many sites (even Facebook is trying to jump on the bandwagon with their latest redesign) using this paradigm.  One of my favorite is – basically a mini-playlist site (if you want to apply the mini-blogging paradigm to this vertical).  On (which by the way interfaces with Twitter quite nicely) you select music or link to publicly hosted mp3 files.  Other people can then play your “mp3 mini-playlist” and give you props (a sort of social currency) for your selections, add you to their favorite DJs list, etc.  Check out my blips if you’re interested.

Here’s an article comparing the top 4 mini-blog options.  I haven’t comprehensively played with Jaiku or Tumblr, but the sites seem to be intriguing clones of the Twitter concept – according to a quick glance.  Pownce seems to be have been acquired by SixApart and is no longer functional as its own site.  Seems like there’s going to be some consolidation in this space, but I’m more interested in the apps being built around existing sites, like TweetDeck, and other verticals this can be applied to, like

Anyone know any other cool examples in the mini-blogging space?