Wednesday, December 29, 2010

But enough about me. Let's talk about YOU. What do YOU think of me?

One of the things I can't stand is being followed on Twitter by accounts which have a demonstrated track record of being interested in no one other than themselves.

They spout off one tweet after another, with no interaction, no retweeting, no generosity, no dialogue, no concern. [They might thank people for retweeting them, but never think of retweeting someone else].

They are about nothing but promoting themselves or whatever else they are peddling.

Why follow me if you're not interested in me?

Go follow yourself.

People who follow, just to try to get followers, are a Twitter plague.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Firefox add-on by @jonpierce enables Traditional Retweets when using New Twitter ht @Sue_Koch

As many of you know, after years of twitter users clamoring for Twitter to provide a retweet button, Twitter instead provided a fake rubber stamp "retweet" button, rather than a button that facilitates classic or traditional retweets

I recently learned from @Sue_Koch of a Firefox add-on which provides a "Classic Retweet" button, in addition to Twitter's pseudo-retweet button, when you are using the "New Twitter" interface in Firefox.

It is called "Classic Retweet 1.0" and was developed by Jon Pierce (@jonpierce on Twitter).

It is available at this link:

Jon has developed similar add-ons for Chrome and for bookmarklets.

For those people who use Twitter's internet interface, and who prefer the ease of a "button", this is an excellent solution.

I have used the Firefox version and it works perfectly. It provides exactly the type of button Twitter should have provided.

It only works in "New Twitter" rather than the old twitter interface.

And it does not work for tweets which are "protected".

(Short URL for this post:
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Friday, October 15, 2010

My "Some Friends of Mine" list

My recommended following/reading list is "Some Friends of Mine". It's broken down into a number of lists because of Twitter's 500-member list size limit.

The one criterion that it is based upon is excellence: peeps I have selected who greatly enhance the Twitter experience.

If you were to follow those lists, you would find a wealth of great material, and meet a lot of cool people:

Some Friends of Mine
Some friends of mine 1 list
some friends of mine 2 list
SomeFriendsOfMine 3 list
somefriendsofmine4 list
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear @refollow Please go to read-only & do it fast

I just learned of your being blocked by twitter & the reasons why, and saw your request for suggestions. Here's mine

I have written about the excellent service you provide, and have designated you as my follower management tool of choice.

My suggestion is to go to a read-only mode and to do it quickly so that your wonderful service will be available again.

You will still be able to provide the filtering and the locking, which are the features that make your service unique and valuable.

I usually don't even use you for the actual unfollowing, because I have no way of discerning if someone might be on lists of mine; once I decide to unfollow someone I remove them from lists as well, but twitter -- for some dumb reason -- doesn't give you that option. So usually when I'm using your service to figure out who to unfollow, I click on the link to the interface to see if they are on any lists. Sometimes I unfollow there, sometimes I unfollow back on your page, but it's really not important.

What is important is:

1. the good interface
2. the reasonable amount of time to load
3. the great filters
4. the locking feature

So please, go to read-only format, and do it soon. We need you.

Best regards

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I'll be on the panel at "Monetizing the Band" ... Oct. 12th ... New York Law School #music #musicians

New York Law School is holding “Monetizing the Band.”

This event will instruct practictioners, law students and other interested parties in the art of making a band a money-making entity. We will be meeting with members of actual working bands, booking agents, artist managers, web 2.0 experts, merchandise professionals, publishing companies, licensing companies and independent record labels.

After the panels, there will be a general networking session.

This event is sponsored by Esq. Bank.

Please rsvp at

Tuesday, October 12 2010. Check in begins at 6pm. Must RSVP.
@New York Law School for Tuesday, October 12 2010 for the night in room W201 at 185 W. Broadway Campus NY, NY.

Here is the program:

The band panel will begin at 6:30pm

Jonny Dubowsky (Rock & Renew/Jonny Lives!)
Kenyon Philips (Unisex Salon)
Ezra Huleat (Black Taxi)
Erica Quitzow (Young Love Records/Quitzow)
Josh Hoisington (The Stationary Set)
Maya Azucena (Maya Azucena)

Industry Panel 7:30

Adam Shore (The Daily Swarm)
Natalia Nataskin (Agency Group Lawyer)
Jeremy Holgersen (Agency Group)
Justin Shukat (Primary Wave Music)
Peter Shukat (Lawyer)
Mark Weiss (Artist Arena)
David Mazur (Masur Law)
Adrian Perry (Tab the band/ Weil)
Barry Heyman (Heyman Law)
Adam Jordan (Rely Records)
Jake Ottman (EMI)
Veronica Gretton (Independent Manager + Publisher)
Rob Shore (Business Manager)
Ray Beckerman (Lawyer)

Brian Daitzman, JD
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dear @Twitter management. Twitter IS a social network. Duh.

[Update: on 10/16/10 Josh Elman said we can use Twitter however we want to.]

Recently I pointed out an article in which a Twitter executive [@joshelman] said informally that Twitter is positioning itself more as an information provider than a place to "engage" and "waste time".

Today I came across an article in readwriteweb in which Twitter has formally gone on record as (a) denying that it is a social network, and (b) claiming that it is a content provider.

Twitter is NOT a Social Network, Says Twitter Exec
By Sarah Perez / September 14, 2010 11:32 AM

Kevin Thau [@kevinthau], Twitter's VP for business and corporate development, announced during a presentation at Nokia World 2010 today that everyone's favorite micro-blogging network is not actually a social network.

It's not, you say?

No, says Thau: Twitter is for news. Twitter is for content. Twitter is for information.
Complete article

Ever since its inception, when Twitter said it's a place for people to "update" their "timelines" with their "status", its management has demonstrated that it has no true understanding of what Twitter is.

Their war against traditional retweets has further demonstrated this lack of insight.

Anyone who has followed Twitter's own statements of what Twitter is, has missed the boat.

These recent announcements -- in effect saying that twitter is no more than a collection of RSS news feeds -- demonstrate more of the same.

Why did they make these announcements? I'm guessing that they're striking some lucrative deals with "content providers", and/or advertisers, and think this is a way to get more money out of them.

A better way would be: "know thyself".

(A shortened URL for this post:

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why is @twitter monopolizing URL-shortening? how will this affect us?

I received the following notice by email from Twitter. As I understand it, they're intending to monopolize all URL-shortening used on Twitter by the end of the year.

I have 3 questions. Question number 2 is rhetorical.

1. Am I reading this right?

2. Why are they really doing this?

3. How will it affect us to have no choice on URL-shortening?
Update 2: URL wrapping

In the coming weeks, we will be expanding the roll-out of our link wrapping service, which wraps links in Tweets with a new, simplified link. Wrapped links are displayed in a way that is easier to read, with the actual domain and part of the URL showing, so that you know what you are clicking on. When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we then will forward you on to the destination URL. All of that should happen in an instant.

You will start seeing these links on certain accounts that have opted-in to the service; we expect to roll this out to all users by the end of the year. When this happens, all links shared on or third-party apps will be wrapped with a URL.

What does this mean for me?

* A really long link such as might be wrapped as for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as or as the whole URL or page title.
* You will start seeing links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened links and lets you know where each link will take you.
* When you click on these links from or a Twitter application, Twitter will log that click. We hope to use this data to provide better and more relevant content to you over time.

Thanks for reading this important update. Come and check what's new at

The Twitter Team
A lack of competition always hurts consumers. If we're stuck with Twitter's url-shortening, it seems to me, this can only hurt us.

I wonder if it's legal for Twitter to condition our use of Twitter on our use of its URL-shortening service.

Sounds like an unlawful tie-in, similar to Microsoft's initial attempt to force Windows users to use only Internet Explorer.

It's an attempt by Twitter to leverage its strong position in one market -- a preeminent position in socially interactive microblogging -- into a monopoly position in what is presently a wildly competitive market in which it has no presence at all -- URL shortening.

(Short URL for this post:

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why we should use independent apps, rather than rely on Twitter's

According to this interesting article on, which was pointed out to me by my friend @JustSweetAngel, Twitter is now trying to emulate or acquire the interfaces and applications made by independent developers, and then use them as "official" Twitter applications.

Users would be well advised to steer clear of Twitter's Twitter-only apps and interfaces, for several reasons.

Reason #1: Better to use applications that can support other social media networks

Assuming Twitter could, e.g., do as good a job as Tweetdeck or Seesmic in devising (or ripping off) a user interface (an assumption which is not free from doubt), it would no doubt be an application which supports Twitter only.

Right now, if you are using Tweetdeck, it supports, in addition to Twitter : Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Buzz, Foursquare, and (unofficially) StatusNet (formerly, and probably can be configured to support others as well.

Seesmic, too, supports a number of social networks, including the ones mentioned above, plus cadmus, empire avenue, klout, ning, ping, and socialcast.*

No doubt Seesmic, Tweetdeck, and all the others, will be adding support for an almost infinite array of additional social networks, such as the ones mentioned above plus many others such as FriendFeed, Plaxo, Delicious, Blogger, Tumblr, Jaiko, Bebo, Flickr, Typepad, and on and on and on. See, e.g. "TweetDeck Android app will be more than just Twitter"

The trend in social media is clearly to (a) participate in more than one social media site, and (b) to use interfaces and apps which unite -- rather than divide -- your various social media accounts. And new social media networks are being started daily. To tie onesself into an interface or other app which supports only Twitter would be unwise.

Reason #2: Better to use applications that are designed for the user's benefit rather than Twitter's

A second good reason not to use Twitter's apps is Twitter's conflict of interest: Twitter's primary goal is to promote itself, not to provide you with the best software. You should stick with software that was designed to assist you, not software that was designed to force you to help Twitter in its monetization strategy.

For example, in an effort to promote monetization, Twitter has declared war against the traditional retweet, and done whatever it can to promote its "rubber stamp" pseudo-retweet button. After Twitter bought Tweetie, and designated Tweetie 3.0 as the official "Twitter for iPhone", it did away with traditional retweets in Tweetie.

So now, unlike other iPhone apps, which give you a choice, and which can be configured to use traditional retweets only, Twitter for iPhone gives you no choice at all: you must use the fake, or rubber stamp, retweet, or none at all.

You can bet that every other "official" Twitter application will be guided by a similar philosophy: generating dollars for Twitter's paying clients.

So another reason not to rely on Twitter apps is that they are going to be designed not for the convenience of us -- the people -- but for the convenience of Twitter's commercial and celebrity clients.

Stick with applications that are designed for your benefit, not someone else's.

Reason #3: Competition

As you know, consumers benefit from competition. If you have multi-network applications, then, if one network starts screwing you, you can easily "walk", without feeling any pain.

If you want to help Twitter build a monopoly so that you're stuck with them, then by all means use Twitter's "official" applications.

But if you want a choice of social networks, and want to be able to easily switch from one to the other, stay far away from such "official" applications.

Reason #4: Safety

Yet another reason came to mind to me on September 21, 2010, when this hacking incident occurred: "Twitter Mouseover Security Flaw Affecting Thousands of Users [WARNING]". People using twitter directly were affected. Those using independent apps were not.

Reason #5: Being current

Twitter is usually about 3 years or more behind its users and the independent app makers. Each time it announces a "new" feature, it's something it ripped off from the independent app makers, who have provided that feature for years.

* The references to specific networks are as of September 11, 2010. I'm not going to keep updating these lists, because I expect scores, even hundreds, to be added in time, and I expect most application makers to be working on applications that support multiple social networks. I.e., the number of applications, and the number of social networks they will be supporting, is basically infinite.

(Here is a short URL to this post: )

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Friday, August 13, 2010

It's official. @twitter does think we're lemmings!

I can't believe my eyes.

On the heels of inflicting a "suggestions to you" promotion in the sidebar telling us who we should follow, our friends at Twitter have come up with a new annoyance which is at least as annoying, and even more insulting:

When you visit someone's profile page, Twitter now forces you to see a pop-up list of hyperlinks to other people who follow this person.

I.e., since I am a lemming, it would be of great interest to me to know who else is following this person so that I can:

(a) be "in" with the "in" crowd;
(b) be just like my friends;
(c) "trend";
(d) be a real "follower"; or
(e) all of the above.

Gag me with a spoon.

Fortunately, our ever vigilant, multi-talented, friend Beth Sheresh, known on Twitter as @kitchenmage, has provided us with the means with which to block this abomination, too.

And if you would like to block the "you both follow" popup Twitter has added to the right sidebar, as well, @kitchenmage has an app for that, too.

Who thinks these things up?

(Short URL for this post:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Twitter's tweet button

Twitter has come up with a "tweet button" which it describes here (i.e. a button for blogs and web sites with which to share an article on twitter).

Here's an example:

This is about 3 or 4 years late, and in my view not a big deal.

It's much better to use the various multi-site "sharing" buttons, so people can share an article with other social media networks as well; all of them include Twitter. E.g., on my blogs I use a "share" button supplied by "AddThis" (See bottom of this post). It accesses almost 300 different social media networks, including Twitter of course.

I've often used the ShareThis buttons, which seem to work just like AddThis, and give you multiple social networks through which to share the article. Also I've noticed that Google's has started offering a sharing bar, with several sharing options, including Twitter.

Twitter's button sends you to Twitter only.

Why bother with it? If you want to have something like that on your blog or web site, why not use, instead, the "share" buttons offered by addthis, ShareThis, or, or similar products.

Why did Twitter come up with it? I'm guessing they decided it was a good way to try to steer traffic to Twitter and away from other social networking sites. (Also I have it on good authority from @kitchenmage that twitter is using it as another vehicle to promoting lemming-like behavior by suggesting "who to follow".)

The button offers us nothing, except the opportunity to help Twitter build a monopoly and defeat competition.

PS If you know of other products similar to, and as good as, "addthis" and "sharethis", please let me know in the comments section, so I can add them to this post. Personally, I can't see why anyone wouldn't use "addthis". It works fine. If it gives you access to 286 social networking sites, why use a button that only gives access to 6 or 7, or 4 or 5, or -- as in the case of Twitter's button -- only 1? Thanks.

(Short url for this post:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How to block Twitter's suggested users on home page, thanks to @kitchenmage

Thanks to @jaycbee, @tweetsmarter, and @kim for bringing to my attention this extremely neat article, written by our ever vigilant, multi-talented, friend Beth Sheresh, known on Twitter as @kitchenmage, who apparently -- when she is not blogging -- is coding:
Removing Twitter's Recommended User to Follow "Feature"

Do you hate those recommendations from twitter as much as I do? Rhetorical question, I know. It seems to be the new thing to hate - and with good reason this time. It just recommended I follow someone who blocked me when I wrote Cook's Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knife Roll. Last straw, much?

I decided there must be a way to kill the suckers. You know what? There is a reason they call me Application Goddess. Done in 12 minutes. Take that, twitter.
Complete article

Beth has also devised additional filters to block the (a) 'other people who follow this person' list here and the "you both follow" popup here [although my latter filter has stopped working in Firefox, due to some apparent 'workaround' by Twitter].

(Short url for this post:
(Short url for kitchenmage's article:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nice interview of me by @JessicaNorthey of Finger Candy Media

Social media maven, indie music promoter, and all around great lady, @JessicaNorthey, has posted an interview of me on the Finger Candy Media website:
Law+Twitter+Music+Nature+Friendship= @RayBeckerman

Meet Ray Beckerman, to quote his own Twitter Bio: “Law, social justice, nature, human & animal rights, arts, ecology, indie music & film”

If you are on Twitter and you pay attention to who really connects with others, gives back and actually makes the community/ecosystem better, then you are no doubt aware of Ray Beckerman! If you haven’t heard of him, he is an ambassador of what Social Media is all about.....
Complete article

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to set up HootSuite so it uses Traditonal Retweets rather than Twitter's pseudo-retweets

Hootsuite recently updated its software to try and trick people into using Twitter's fake retweets instead of real retweets.

Now I'm not a fan of Hootsuite, and wasn't even before this dirty trick, but for those of you gluttons for punishment who insist on continuing to use Hootsuite, here's how to set it up to reject the dirty trick:

1. Click on the stupid owl in the upper left hand part of your screen.

2. Go to Settings>Preferences

3. Unclick "Use Twitter Web retweets"

4. Save preferences.

You'll then be doing regular, genuine, traditional retweets.

(Here's a shortened URL for this post:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to set up Twittelator to do traditional retweets

In settings>retweets you'll be given 3 "retweet options":


Select "Editable" & save & you're all set.

(Shortened URL for this post:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Advice: if you add a bunch of new people through Mr. Tweet, don't tweet about it

When someone follows me, and I have to decide whether to refollow them, the first thing I look at is their avatar and bio, primarily for the purpose of eliminating people. I will almost never follow someone based on their avatar and bio; I will only eliminate them from consideration based on those.

The second thing I look at, and the key to whether or not I will follow back, is the person's tweet stream, because that and that alone can inform me as to what kind of experience it will be to follow that person.

If the stream consists of page after page of tweets which say "@username I just followed you using @X 's chats with you through @MrTweet" .... I am not going to follow you back, because I will have received no information at all as to what kind of tweeter you are, other than that you are insensitive to the problem of generating spam.

So either, you should...

1. Only add a few people at a time using Mr. Tweet, or

2. Resist the temptation to tweet about it.

(Shortened URL for this post:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is it just me, or is it annoying when tweeps........

1. comment on tweets of yours without retweeting or even referencing the underlying tweet?

2. copy you on tweets for no apparent reason?

3. ask you to tweet stuff for them, even if they they've never done that for you, and even though it's not the kind of thing you normally tweet about?

4. tweet you just to start an argument with you?

I can't stand any of that. Here's the way I look at it:

Sending a comment, without retweeting the actual tweet upon which you are commenting, is IMHO an annoying practice. If you like it, retweet it. If you want to comment, add your comment to the retweet, but DON'T omit to retweet at least some of the underlying tweet. If you have a comment that's too long to add to the retweet, retweet first, and then comment.

If you reference me in a tweet it is going to take up space in my "mentions" stream, and I'm going to have to read it.... so make sure you have a reason for mentioning my name. If you're going to repeatedly comment on my tweets without retweeting them, I consider that a form of spam.

Today I got several tweets from someone apparently commenting on tweets of mine, but giving me no clue as to what they were referring to.

And I got several tweets in which someone else used my name to imply I'd tweeted something which I've never said, and never would say.

I am going to start blocking people who continue doing stuff like this.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seems that @Twitter has finally reverted. Safe to use RT again.

Several days ago, on approximately May 18th, Twitter made a change to its searches. It began excluding from the search results of any searches initiated (a) by hashtag, or (b) from the homepage search box, any tweets which began with "RT" or which included "RT" anywhere in the body of the tweet.

Many of us complained, and even started a petition.

Several days later it indicated that it was dropping the filter.

The problem disappeared immediately, but then quickly resurfaced and has persisted for several days.

I tested today, however, and the system finally seems to have reverted to the way it was before, which is that traditional retweets containing the term "RT" are now no longer being shunned.

(Here is a shortened url for this post:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Uh oh. @Twitter search continues to filter out retweets! #TR

I've re-tested it, and Twitter has not stopped its pernicious new practice of filtering the RT's out of searches from (a) hashtags and (b) homepage searchbox.

Better go back to using "TR" or "R" or "V" or "Via" etc, until we know what's going on. #TR

My initial report on the subject: "Has @Twitter Declared War on Traditional Retweets?" #TR

Twitter's false statement that it was stopping the practice: "Twitter removes the "RT" filter! #TR"

(Shortened URL for this post: )

Twitter removes the "RT" filter! #TR

Thank you to @low78 for bringing this article from Brad McCarty (@BradTNW) of The Next Web to my attention:
Twitter responds to missing RT’s saga.

Posted by Brad McCarty

We’ve been watching this episode since yesterday. Some Twitter users were noticing that anything with RT in it wasn’t being seen in certain search functions. The community as a whole went into an uproar.

It seems that Twitter heard that message loud and clear......

Complete article

(Here's a shortened URL for this blog post: )

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Petition against @twitter 's filtering traditional retweets out of searches #TR

If you're opposed to Twitter's new tactic of filtering traditional retweets which contain the term "RT" out of

1. hashtag searches, and

2. searches in homepage search box

here's a petition you can sign to demand that Twitter stop:

(Here's a shortened URL for this post:

Well, @Twitter is filtering "RT's" out of hashtag searches.This won't work I believe--> #TR

As it turns out Twitter's ban of traditional retweets, and of tweets carrying an "RT" designation extends not only to homepage search box searches, but also to hashtag searches, making hashtag searches much less valuable, and in some cases next to worthless.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Has @Twitter Declared War on Traditional Retweets? #TR

Update 5/20/10 5:06 pm. I just tested it and Twitter has gone right back to what it was doing before.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: On 5/20/10 I discovered that Twitter heard our voices, and removed the "RT" filter from searches. So we are back to normal.

(Thanks to my friends @lissnup and @dominiquerdr for bringing this issue to my attention:)

We have previously discussed the problem with Twitter's "retweet" button, which has almost none of the properties of the traditional retweet ("Twitter tip: don't use Twitter's pseudo "retweet" button"), and discussed why it is preferable to use the traditional retweet (i.e. those usually signified by beginning them with "RT @Username").

It now appears that Twitter has silently begun a war against traditional retweets, with the first step being to filter them out of search.*



I find this pathetic, and outrageous.

Twitter going to war with its own users.

And doing it in a sneaky, silent, back-door way.

If you use "R" instead of "RT" it will show up okay. So do that, or use some way other than starting your tweet with "RT", to signify your traditional retweet, such as "TR" for "traditional retweet", or "V" for "via". But whatever you do, don't use the term "RT", and edit the "RT"'s which may appear in the body of the tweet. (If you're tweeting about Iran, you should use "V" because the term "TR" is widely in use already, to denote "translated" tweets).

I'm going to use "TR".... to signify that I'm doing a traditional retweet despite their attempt to stamp it out.

And don't forget: if you're retweeting something that already has an "RT" anywhere in its body, you're going to have to edit the "RT"'s, changing them to "R" or "V" or "TR" or anything other than RT.

What a lame organization Twitter is.

*At the moment they appear to be filtered out of (a) homepage search box searches and (b) hashtag searches, but not out of searches through I ran a test of the same search, at the same time, by the home page method and the method: Here's how they came out.

Update 5/18/10 10:19 PM. @Charles of Twitter was asked this question by @Twitter_Tips:
Quick question about changes to Twitter search. Are they intentional, temporary or...? Example:
and gave this answer:
The results in integrated search simply include 'exclude:retweets' automatically. Search.twitter does not do this.
Most significantly Charles was not asked "when was this implemented?" or "why was this implemented?".
I have asked Charles those questions. I can't wait until I get his response. I doubt very much I will get a response.

Update 5/19 1:01 PM. If you're opposed to what Twitter has done and would like to sign a petition against it:

Update 5/19 3:21 PM. I received these responses so far from Charles:

RTs are usually a lot of noise in search results. Excluding them makes the results cleaner and (in most cases) better.
We are constantly improving our algorithms and search quality. We will definitely take your concerns to heart for the future.

I've given him my list of five questions:

Dear @Charles I have 5 questions about Twitter's filtering out traditional retweets from search #TR
1. When was this implemented?
2. Why was it implemented?
3. Why were the customers not consulted?
4. Is this the end, or just the beginning, of trying to distinguish traditional retweets from tweets?
5. Why was it not announced?

I'll let you know if the questions are ever answered.

Commentary & discussion:

The Next Web (French)
Shoq Value
OWNI (French)
Search Engine Land

(Here is a short URL to this post:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to configure UberTwitter for traditional retweets

If you use UberTwitter on your Blackberry, it's easy to configure it so that it will always do the traditional retweets:

Go to "Options", "How to Retweet", and select "Original".

Save. And you're all set.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What is twitter spam? My little survey.

I'm not sure I have an answer to this, and I'm wondering what other people feel.

To me it seems that the following are "spammy" conduct on Twitter:

1. "Following" people not because you are interested in them, but because you are trying to increase your number of "followers".

2. Addressing unsolicited tweets to people you don't know because you want them to retweet something or to visit some site.

3. Sending unsolicited DM's to people you don't know because you want them to retweet something, or to visit some site.

I would appreciate your opinions as to whether you agree with the above, or whether there are other things you would consider spam.

(A short URL for this post: )

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My newest advice to Twitter newbies: disregard Twitter's home page

Twitter's new home page suggests that people new to Twitter start off by following a bunch of "celebrities" and "businesses".

This is the exact opposite of what a person new to Twitter should be doing in order to have a meaningful experience.

Hysterically, Twitter has set up a collection of "top tweeps" which are non-interactive accounts, some of which hardly tweet at all... and a "top tweets" account which purports to assemble, algorithmically, a feed of the "most interesting" tweets, and which does in fact assemble a mindless stream of boring drivel.

The whole idea is ludicrous. If you and I don't know each other, and I were to say to you here is a list of the "top tweets" why on earth would you believe me? How do you know what I like is what you would like? Answer: you don't. So why would you believe an "algorithm"? And the whole idea of just reading a feed, with tweets directed to no one, is mind numbing.

And if I were to tell you I had a list of the accounts which are the "top tweeps", and I had a financial interest in pimping them, why on earth would you accept my recommendations? Answer: you wouldn't.

It seems as though Twitter's "algorithm" has been set to "sleep inducing" mode (since the people who make these decisions appear to be asleep at the wheel, it's an understandable error).

What is awesome about Twitter's lists of "top tweeps" and "top tweets" is that Twitter seems to have assembled, with the help of its "algorithm", an almost perfect collection of total stiffs, and of meaningless babble, well crafted to prove the argument of Twitter's detractors that Twitter is a useless exercise. I could not have formulated lists better calculated to discourage people from using Twitter were I trying to do so.

Another piece of foolishness is Twitter's home page's reference to "trending topics". Why should you -- the Twitter user -- care about what is "trending"? You are an individual; you have your own interests; what matters is what's of interest to you, not what's of interest to the masses. Are you a human or a lemming? If a lemming, and you run to the trending topics, you'll probably just wind up in a sea of spam. (I've been told that if you click into the trending topics, you're likely to run into a sea of spam; I've never done it and probably never will, so I can't speak from personal experience.)

My advice is to (1) ignore everything Twitter says about itself, (2) take advice only from people who are already having enjoyable and meaningful Twitter experiences, and (3) take the advice previously outlined in my article : "A little basic advice for new or inactive peeps", on how to have a meaningful Twitter experience.

It appears more and more that Twitter is just interested in serving us up on a silver platter as a meal for its paying customers. Along with its implementation of targeted "lists", persistent refusal to implement the user-created retweet, its attempt to replace the traditional retweets with standardized anti-conversation rubber stamp pseudo-retweets, the hyping of "suggested" accounts to follow who are paying - or likely to become paying - customers or sponsors of Twitter, and the announced advertising 'platforms' [injecting paid ads into our Twitter stream from accounts we don't follow + littering search results with paid ads], this new home page with its hype of celebrities and businesses seems to be but another step towards (a) commercializing, and ultimately (b) destroying, Twitter. See, e.g., its new "Twitter 101" which -- instead of teaching basics to people so that they can get more out of Twitter -- advises businesses on how to make money with Twitter by exploiting ... us.

Twitter is trying more and more to become like the 1990's era Web 1.0 ... or actually more like 1950's era network television, perhaps. The people who make decisions like this at Twitter ought to go "update" their "timeline". I guess they're too busy "following" the "top tweets" and "top tweeps" and the "Friends and industry peers you know. Celebrities you watch. Businesses you frequent. Find them all on Twitter."

Why not just launch an online version of People magazine? Or has that been done already?

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