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Twitter Do This Now

Twitter has enough problems with user retention, competing as a textual platform against the rise of Live video (something they are investing in themselves with Periscope) and general app improvement malaise.

One of Twitter’s power features are the lists. Anyone who uses 3rd party tabular apps like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Tweeten will love the ability to create logical groupings of Tweeps you follow and then have them displayed in filtered, tabular format. Even better, Tweeps are notified when added to a list, making it a nice opt-in feature.

Twitter - Mission Statement

 Lists Are Cool, So What

The other day I had written a blog post I felt was interesting to one of the Lists I maintain and wanted to share with the people there. You can’t just @<List_Name> and then share with all the members of that list. You have to use your time listing each person. To be fair, the name of the list is probably already somebody’s Twitter name. Still, there should be an easy way to do this. Forget about the repetitive strain or the years of Twitter including names in the 140 characters. This is a powerful, useful feature and it fits Twitter’s mission statement in the image above:

To give everyone the power to create and share ideas

and information instantly, without barriers.

The Warptest POV

The use case here is pretty neat and enhances the power of the List feature in Twitter. Think “mailing list”. This is one more channel for easy content distribution and apps like Buffer or Start-A-Fire could piggyback on it. Heck, Mailchimp might even decide this is something they want to buy into.

 Twitter, if you are reading this, realize that features that are one-click or force multipliers increase user retention and new user adoption. In the war for users, you need to bring you’re A-game. Just one caveat, make this a feature that can’t be abused and you’ll really be on to a winner. One thing is for certain, this will change the way we build, maintain and use our lists.

 Does this feature help you? What other feature would you like to see?

Tweeten Is A Twitter Desktop Client…

Tweeten appeared in a dark time, when Hootsuite and Tweetdeck weren’t delivering for me in the browser. When Tweetdeck client was behaving badly, freezing and hanging at regular intervals.

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Having a desktop or browser Twitter app that doesn’t make it easy to tweet is one more, big reason why so many users were tweeting less and less.

What’s the kicker?

Tweeten started as a wrapper for Tweetdeck. Twitter’s lackadaisical attitude to development allowed someone else to build a better Tweetdeck. After buying Tweetdeck, Twitter has killed several versions of Tweetdeck but not done any substantial development to improve the app performance or feature set.

In the several months that Tweeten has been available they have not just matched but surpassed Tweetdeck in performance, functionality and more recently going cross-platform. Currently Tweeten is available for Windows (32 or 64 bit versions), OS X, Google Chrome and Edge with expected releases for Linux and Firefox in the pipeline.

Tweeten managed to do this by building with Electron. Electron was initially designed for GitHub’s Atom Editor but since has experienced massive adoption by Slack, Microsoft, Facebook and many others:

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As this is GitHub there are also a slew of development (and testing) tools for working with Electron. (click on the iFrame above to jump to this page.).

Tweeten - Electron Dev Tools

The Warptest POV

Tweeten is an easy to use, easy on the eye Twitter app that does better than Twitter themselves. I personally don’t like using Hootsuite so I was happy to find a good alternative. The desktop app is well served by development in the fantastic Electron, supports multiple accounts and pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from a Twitter app.

I’ve repeatedly called out Twitter for their failure to invest in improvement of their apps, mobile and desktop. The new Windows Twitter (Windows 8/10) app is IMHO a lazy attempt to take the mobile app and port it to desktop. One of the strongest features Twitter has are groups / lists. Tweetdeck and subsequently Tweeten deliver this feature marvelously. I would love to see a radical improvement to this in Twitter mobile apps and an investment in improving Tweetdeck.

Wake Up Twitter!

To be fair Twitter aren’t just sitting on their hands, as The Next Web reports, we can expect photos and links to be excluded from the 140 character limit on Tweets. Big news to be sure.

For now I’m happy to get back into Twitter on my laptop using Tweeten. How about you?

 

10K Tweets Made Me Mad…

This wasn’t simply about the rumor of removing the 140-character limit to tweets, 10K Tweets were the tipping point.

Twitter has been losing relevance and simply disappearing from conversation. The one thing you can actually say for certain, this rumor has made Twitter relevant and back in conversation.

I can’t imagine waking up to a change of this magnitude without a series of knock-on effects. Just imagine scrolling through a 10K Tweet as more appear onscreen.

10K Tweets - Kirk Khan

Today Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter tweeted an explanation:

Ramifications?

If the rumors are correct then one thing is certain, Twitter tomorrow will be an evolution and this evolution will require fundamental change.

It’s important to keep in mind a couple of things: –

  1. Even if every tweet can be 10000 characters, it doesn’t mean every tweet will be: many Twitter users who love the brevity of 140-characters will continue doing that most of the time.
  2. As 140-characters has an etiquette and teaches a discipline, 10K Tweets will require an etiquette of their own: it’s going to be a learning process.
  3. Twitter apps as we know them are all dead: the fundamental UX of rapid real-time messaging is going to have to change to accommodate the new tweet limit.
  4. It’s not just going to change how individuals tweet; brands will have to adapt fast to survive.

… and one important question:

Has Jack Dorsey cracked the conundrum of monetizing Twitter?

The Warptest POV

Whilst I was annoyed at the state of Tweetdeck Web and Twitter’s other apps, it occurred to me today that for 10000-character tweets to work, to be searchable text as Dorsey mentions in his tweet above, all apps are going to have to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up to work.

Perhaps, this has been coming for a long time, thus why work on two branches: changes to current apps & new apps with radically changed UX / UI to cope with maintaining real-time and 10K tweets.

Use cases and etiquette: I link to the definitive post on the subject by Hillel Fuld. I’m looking forward to reading his interpretation of 10K tweets and how he thinks tweeting behavior should change.

Brevity: if you love the brevity of it all, you’ll probably keep doing what you’re doing now except for the occasional high impact 10K Tweet. I suspect the less you use the 10K limit, the better the ROI.

You’re probably asking, “What the heck did you mean by …crack the conundrum of monetizing Twitter..”

This is pure speculation, but if it was my decision I’d make 10K Tweets a for pay option with the following: –

  • Searchable text
  • Promote this tweet
  • 10K Analytics

Well it seems I’ve passed through the denial and anger stages right to the imagine how good it could be stage. How about you?

Twitter Is In The News Again…

This time Kara Swisher’s Re/Code blog reports that Twitter are allegedly considering removing their everything that defines them, 140 character limit, in favor of a FREAKING 10000 characters!

The defining, core concept has always been brevity, a skill that redefined communication and sharing in real time.

If Twitter throws the very thing that defines them to the sharks, then why use them? A tweet: sounds short, sweet and to the point and should be.

Twitter You Vex Me!

10000 characters: kiss the concept of microblogging goodbye. Forget real time, do you know how long it takes most people to compose 10000 characters? By the time you tweet, you’ve missed 3 news cycles and forget the phrase “breaking news”.

Twitter Dammit Jim Meme

The Warptest POV

Until now, I’ve swallowed buying Tweetdeck, deadpooling most of their product line but leaving Tweetdeck Web as the biggest memory leak in web app history.

I’ve taken deep breaths into a paper bag over the lack of a serious Windows 8 and now Windows 10 Twitter app. Seriously, don’t you get that owning the platform means users expect you to invest in winning apps?

I’m not even going to relate to the continued failure to address dark tweets i.e. no enforcement against cyberbullying, violent or hate speak.

I’ll give it to you that Twitter Analytics are pretty damn awesome but the only time I really use Twitter from the browser is when Tweetdeck freezes on me again.

Come on Twitter are you really conceding all business Tweets to Hootsuite? It just shows no drive, no pride.

Nutshell, time to focus not on supersizing Tweets, focus on retaining your users by building a better experience that allows us to continue to engage, share and communicate in real time with BREVITY.

I’ll give Jack Dorsey this, you certainly made Twitter relevant and discussed again. Now crack the whip on your app development team.

SAVE THE BREVITY! #140Lives

Twitter logo

Twitter Goes All Medieval on the Tweetdeck Product Line

Last week Twitter, the owners of Tweetdeck posted on their blog about the discontinuation of several versions of Tweetdeck.

The thrust of the article is that old technology is going the way of the dinosaur and the focus is going to be on better web experience.

What Got Deadpooled?

Deadpool from Marvel Comics

In a nutshell these four things will cease functioning by May:

  • Tweetdeck Air for Desktop
  • Tweetdeck for Android
  • Tweetdeck for iPhone
  • Support for Facebook integration

Keep in mind that this still leaves us with Tweetdeck in the browser, Desktop and or the Chrome app.

When I started using Twitter seriously I got into Tweetdeck Air and other than certain bugs that seemed to regress every few versions I loved it. This was just about the only app I needed Adobe Air for but it was worth it. With a standalone Windows Client it was time for the Air version to go.

Adobe Air

Tweetdeck Desktop on Windows 7 is an awesomely good Twitter client but in Windows 8 I experienced a consistent resource leak leading to hangs / freezes / crashes.

Windows 8

Windows 8 has MetroTwit which was a great alternative to Tweetdeck but the Metro / New Windows UI version doesn’t entirely do it for me. I like having 8 or more of my Twitter lists open so Tweetdeck Web in Internet Explorer 10 was my next choice. (MetroTwit if you are reading this and I’m mistaken please comment on how to add extra columns, I couldn’t find it).

Warptest POV

It’s not all bad news.

Twitter is streamlining their product line and whilst dropping support for Facebook integration is at face value a loss of major functionality, why should they support a competitor platform for content distribution? At the end of the day fewer products to support should mean more investment in new features and better quality. Hopefully Twitter will get their act together and provide a robust and consistent user experience regardless of mobile platform.

With that in mind, Twitter finally released an updated Windows Phone App whose UI is in line with the designs of the Android and iOS Twitter Apps (the minor UI difference in iOS is the menu-bar is below not above the tweets).

 comparison of twitter cross-platform

After testing it I discovered that: –

  • The new Twitter UI on Windows Phone looks gorgeous and works nicely with slide enabled between major screens.
  • Finally, finally, finally Twitter on Windows Phone gets reply all. This was the single most frustrating missing feature. Well done.
  • There is a known issue with Twitter Live Tile; it doesn’t seem to work unless notifications are enabled and the counter only goes up to 1. Lame.
  • Twitter cannot find my location even when other apps can (including Rowi… see below). Worse still, trending topics detects my location incorrectly and so I get topics in Turkish, thanks but no thanks.
  • Twitter on Windows Phone did not get photo filters as in the Android version.

The main competitor to Twitter on Windows Phone is Rowi with a Lite (free but ad laden version) and a Pay (ad free version). Rowi has a slew of nice features and for as long as I’ve been using it has reply all and uses Aviary photo filters. Rowi has long been considered the best Twitter App on Windows Phone.

rowi twitter app

The basic functionality of Twitter on Windows Phone has caught up with Rowi and the sleek UI makes it tempting but the presence of bugs that QA should have caught and the absence of photo filters detracts from the whole package.

So come on Twitter, fix these bugs and give us some photo filter love. You still have some work to do before users get the same experience regardless of mobile platform.

In my previous blog piece on Locational Apps I gave my opinion on what they do and don’t do, again it was just my opinion.

Recently, I have cause to revisit the field of Locational Applications and it encouraged me to do a bit of basic testing and research.

I started by looking at the three leading apps at the moment (or so it seems):

For the next part I’m going to attempt to use generic terms rather than any one application’s names or terminology: –

Each of these platforms work on the common paradigm of Users  and Locations. As a distinct user notifies the platform of their arrival at a location this is disseminated to their followers on the application/ platform and subject to the original user’s settings via Social Networks they use like Twitter or Facebook.

I suggested in my previous blog piece that the "Big 3" search engines should be indexing locations.

Isn’t a physical check-in to a location SEO worthy in the same way as arriving at a link in a search?

So my first test was to run searches on Bing, Google and Yahoo for specific users and locations. I used random users and locations; where the same user(s) and location(s) were used for each search engine. The table displays my results: –

image

Conclusions to be drawn from this are:-

  1. None of the Big 3 Search Engines indexes individual locations: again, lost ROI for the locations in terms of ranking.
  2. Gowalla users across the board are indexed and found when searched for.
  3. Bing couldn’t find the Foursquare users but Google and Yahoo could.
  4. Google found the Brightkite users but Bing and Yahoo couldn’t so they offered several partial suggestions for other users on Brightkite with similar locations.

I decided that one more test was warranted against the search engines. I decided to search for <platform_name>, <locational_terminology> and two areas [Tel Aviv and Riverdale].

Map picture

 

The two areas were chosen because based on experience Tel Aviv, Israel is probably the highest concentration of early adopters of tech like this I was familiar with and Riverdale is an area name that could catch several places in the US and these apps / platforms are based in the US.

The table displays my results: –

image

Partial suggestions = a short list of results. Each with a link on the platform/ app website.

Aggregated results = one link in search results containing an aggregated list of links on the platform/ app website.

Conclusions to be drawn from this: –

  1. Bing did not find results for either areas except on Brightkite.
  2. Google indexes all three of the app/ platform locations, at least partially however differences we seen in the total number of links in favor of the US area.

In a nutshell I guess looking for locations from locational applications via search engines is something of an oxymoron.

I looked at these results some more and figured that linking to user profiles on the site has value for personal ranking. However, with the sheer volume of venues being described by all three app/ platforms, what would the increased load be on the web and the search engines to handle each and every checkin?

One bit of encouragement is that as Real Time Search has begun, linking your Gowalla / Foursquare / Brightkite to Twitter or Facebook should mean that de facto Tweets and FB statuses regarding checkins should be indexed like any other.

The big question is, if one of the Big 3 search engines implements their own equivalent Locational Application / Platform or even the new Facebook Places, will their locations be indexed individually giving this missing bump to ranking (SEO) for businesses as locations?

More important, if they do have this added value, how will this affect Gowalla, Foursquare or Brightkite?

Let’s take a look at some of the big movers and shakers in Social Media: –

blogger facebook linkedin

twitter 

  • Each of them is interested in your content.
  • Each of them has your content in the Cloud.
  • Each of them has to some degree a store of your personal information.

Most if not all of us have antivirus, firewalls, anti-malware solutions on our personal and work computers. Many of us have suffered to some extent from unwanted and often inappropriate emails, spyware and even viruses (I know, not you Linux folks… right.) however, our usage of Web 2.0 and Social Platforms seems to suffer a little more from these delightful occurrences certainly at the Spam level.

Blog comments:

As a blogger you basically have limited options regardless of which platform you use: –

  • You can disable comments altogether, something Engadget felt forced to do this week due to the nature of some of the comments they were receiving (apparently even threats).
  • You can leave comments open and unmoderated for any and all to post which can result in large amounts of Spam. If you configure the Comments to go to your email then this can further overload your inbox with the same Spam.
    • Case in point, this blog receives Spam comments in Kanji, Mandarin, Portugese and Italian.
    • Below is a comment from @dvirreznik regarding his month old blog

dvir-tweet

  • You can configure your comments for moderation which requires you to approve each and every comment made. This is both time consuming / labor intensive for the blogger and sort of takes the Social out of it all.

When I commented in Twitter about this myself @testingqa responded with a great deal of insight:

my comment was …

Thought 4the Day: should blog platforms provide security against spammers beyond moderate comments? #geofilter #learningfilter #antispam 2:54 PM Jan 29th from Seesmic

My tweets: @Testingqa replies:
me-spam

 testingqa-spam

 

The problem seems to be growing not just on blogs but in Facebook, Twitter itself and other Social Media.

Facebook:

Facebook has security settings which are for each functional aspect of a user’s Facebook identity or page they may define the extent that their information is exposed. Furthermore, the user may choose to limit whether their posts to Facebook are indexed by search engines. Facebook chooses to set the defaults as more open rather than more secure as they are in the business of information accessibility. The onus is on the user who they choose to connect to and the levels of sharing they decide to configure.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn the most business / professional oriented of the platforms I’m writing about here and other than some ads I didn’t really want to see (but weren’t inappropriate just irrelevant) I have not experienced any phishing, spam or mal-occurrences.

The real question is why do platforms like Blogger which is Google’s blogging platform or Facebook or even Twitter (which experienced phishing attacks just yesterday for user passwords) not have better solutions to these security issues which frankly are worrying precursors to actual malware and virus attacks on users and their information on these platforms?

Is it indifference on the part of the platform owners, a lack of a solution or simply that Social Media platforms have not reached the level of product maturity to provide solutions?

Google for example has excellent anti-spam technology in Gmail, why not port this to Blogger’s comments?

I know that simply filtering comments by language/ commenter geo-location allowed by the blog owner would reduce the Spam on my blog drastically.

Or should comments only be from someone who wants to follow you either via Twitter / Facebook / OpenID / Google Connect?

Are we only going to see a more structured response to this black hat behaviour after the fact? Time will tell but if your information is valuable to you don’t rely on others to protect it ensure you have your own backup / disaster plan in place.

Over the last few months I have heard several stories from friends where their blog/ site as hacked, content deleted and they subsequently discovered the host had failed to perform any expected backup.

At the end of the day we have to balance our desire for strong security with how that will limit the exposure of our content; after all it’s not Social Media if we lock it in a box. Now that I mention it I think it is time for a backup after I post this.

Good luck and stay secure.

It is a definite sign of intelligence when you find other smart people who have the same idea as you but it’s also a sign that you need a stronger coffee blend in the morning if you have the idea five minutes after them.

My resume has been a challenge to me on several levels; as my job hunt progressed in the past I have had positive responses to the design and layout even though I broke one of the cardinal rules that all the people in the know, blogs and books tell you: it was a two page document.

I didn’t see how to pare down the level of detail to one page and still maintain confidence that I was showing my full skill set to prospective employees. In my moments of doubt I wondered if maybe I was simply overwhelming them with detail and not presenting a polished personal brand.

I have been the one recruiting in the past so I tried to get my head around being the recruiter who needs to understand the terminology and can grasp my brand in a short glance yet have a resume that still stands out from the pack.

I have a rule of thumb for productive brainstorming to solve any problem: –

Use a pencil and pad and do the brainstorm away from the computer.

I decided to sketch a “map” of how the resume should look. I used to be a cartographer at one time so maps of any kind always appeal.

Whilst doing this I wondered what was missing from my resume and how the resume fitted into all the information on the Internet about me. I wanted it all to jell into a cohesive picture that did represent my personal brand. My attempt at creating a business card for networking events helped me realize I wanted my LinkedIn, Blog and Twitter addresses in there; (I also wanted my Facebook link but since I feel that I use Facebook for my Social Networking more than Business I have left it out until I can revamp my profile there sufficiently) I also added a head-shot photograph to the personal information section.

I was (surprise, surprise) having a cup of coffee when it occurred to me that this was evolving into a Web 2.0 Resume; something was missing and still trying to reduce the document down to one page my Management and Technical Skills sections leaped out as important but in need of reducing in size drastically.

Today I took a metaphorical meat-cleaver to some of the details having realized that the ultimate Web 2.0 component needed adding: a Tag Cloud based on my technical and management skills and experience. 

The act of ensuring the tags I felt were the most important and thus prominent in the cloud made me look long and hard at my skill set which in turn helped me refine how I describe myself.

What is left for me to do?

    1. Translate to Hebrew: this I am going to post online and add a link to the English version for the more and more infrequent occurrence that someone in hi-tech requires the resume in Hebrew.
    2. Revamp my Facebook profile and add the link.
    3. Create a ready to go PDF copy of English and Hebrew resumes.

The resume is down to one page and I am hammering out the formatting so that I can insert the tag cloud as a vertical sidebar in both the Word doc and PDF alike.

In away the process of doing this has been more about self-awareness and interview preparation than just redefining my resume. Now I just need to get some good hits and sit down in the interview calmly and confidently knowing that I am the best person for the job. Wish me luck.

When you aren’t working most of your time is spent thinking about looking for work, looking for work and doing the odd job around the house that your spouse or you have put off doing because of lack of time.

However, there are a number of things I had wanted to do over the last 6 months to a year that I never got to while I was working because of job pressures and scheduling issues. I stumbled on Jeff Pulver’s blog during the last year and became an avid follower. His networking breakfasts seemed like a great idea but I just never got off the dime I guess.

I decided to use my time to do more than just email resumes I was going to implement a more proactive plan to find a new job based on some of the articles of Penelope Trunk; her blog and book have been a guiding light to me in my recent job search and I recommend what she has to say to anyone even thinking of seeking new employment.

When I saw that there was going to be another networking breakfast this week I signed up and arranged with my wife how we were going to deal with our morning schedule.

Then I thought to myself, “I’m going to need business cards at least, this is not the sort of shindig to hand out printed resumes..” I looked at several ways of getting my resume into people’s hands there but all seemed to complex:

  • Printed – besides the sheer volume of paper to carry it felt inappropriate.
  • Wireless transfer from my phone – I saved as Word and PDF on my phone and thought great I can use Bluetooth or IR to send the files; but what if the recipient doesn’t have a Smart Phone?
  • Email/ MMS from my Smart Phone – “Ummm excuse me can I have all 200+ email addresses of everyone attending to send them my resume?” Okay, Right.

So one visit to Office Depot later I downloaded, modified and edited a Word Template and remembered to add my Linked In, Blog Address and Email to the card but managed to forget my Twitter name.

The cards are basic white, double sided and adhesive backed so you print the card, peel it from the backing and fold the sticky backing onto itself to make the card. It worked better than expected and produced nice results.

It all got me thinking, why not use magnetic ink to encode any data onto a Business Card and then have the ink create a basic circuit-board so that on receiving the card the recipient can connect it to the computer and download the embedded data; in my case my resume.

Well I have no idea if this is even feasible but perhaps it is and can be done at a reasonable price.