Tag Archives: microblogging

Re-Tweeting and Echo Chamber

I’ve been an avid Twitter user for more than a year and a half now and love it for various reasons. One of the coolest things or phenomenon that Twitter has ever seen is “Re-Tweeting”. What this essentially means is to re-post someone else’s update with prefixing “RT/Retweet”  and the name of the original poster, for example this: First Order Re-Tweet

Difference between posting someone’s content from your Twitter stream as it is and re-tweeting that content is akin to the difference between posting someone’s quote and posting someone’s quote with a  mention of it’s author. People re-tweet to share nice updates/links with their followers. Someone whom you follow posted something nice/useful, you like it and you think your followers will also like it, so you re-tweet it. The content of a re-tweet could pretty much be anything. From a piece of news, a url, a quote, a question to a call for help or anything else.

The core idea behind a “re-tweet” is to share something that someone else posted, with your followers, i.e to add value. There’s a bit more to it then just that, it’s the underlying assumption that people(or a majority of them) would not be getting the original content in their Twitter stream in the first place. However this isn’t always the case and thus starts the trouble. The trouble of getting the same content again and again. If there’s a huge intersection in the list of people we follow, chances are each re-tweet we do would be a repeat-tweet, which would be plain redundant. More and more instances of such repeat-tweets lead to

Echo Chamber: An echo chamber essentially means that you get to hear the echoes of voices(read content) again and again. If I keep getting more and more re-tweets/copies of something that I got directly from the source, it will spoil my experience. This problem gets really annoying for closely integrated circles. Imagine Robert Scoble tweets something say “You are defined by the people you follow” and slowly people who are following him start re-tweeting this. Even if a mere 0.1 % of his followers(which would be 76) re-tweet this and say Robert himself is following half of them(which would be 38 and is a fair possibility), he will have his time line flooded with 38 instances of something he just said. Now that’s something serious, isn’t it ?

Now consider say Chris Brogan, too likes what Robert just said and re-tweets it, andddd. The same thing happens
(a) Chris’s twitter stream will have multiple copies of what he just said(plus the original copy by Robert)
(b) Some of Robert and Chris’s common followers who missed that tweet in the first round, might pick and re-tweet it. God bless Robert’s twitter stream.

This is just the first order or re-tweet, one can imagine will the inter connectedness what a second order re-tweet wave like this can do

Data duplication is a serious problem for some people and networks. The intensity of the problem is reflected in the way Friendfeed introduced hiding/grouping duplicate content.

Duplicate shares were always the most annoying aspect of FriendFeed. Whenever a story breaks, a large number of your friends are likely to share it through various services, which creates a lot of noise in your main feed. Now, FriendFeed will group these entries together. Your main feed will only show the first share, and then give you the option to click through to see who else shared the same item as well. Hopefully, this will also mean that discussions will now become less fragmented, as users will most likely gravitate towards those items that were shared first.

While friendfeed could come up with a fix to make things better by cutting down noise clearly anything of that sort is not going to happen with Twitter. Leave alone it happening I doubt if many Twitter users realize this as a problem in first place. What do you think ?

Please ReTweet it you like it 🙂

Twitter and Ego Massage

Warning: The content below might hurt your sensibilities as a Twitter Addict.

Twitter is the most popular microblogging service out there and saying its users swear by it would be an understatement. There are undoubtedly very few services in this space(or any  other) that are this high on customer love and even fewer services which have an entire industry surrounding themselves.

There was a time when Twitter was experiencing major issues staying up/running and there was a spurt of other alternatives with some offering new features all together or some simply adding features that some Twitter users always felt should have been a part of the system, but none of them really caused a mass exodus and Twitter is now back with a bang and is growing like crazy.

Being a Twitter user myself and a passionate social media enthusiast I’ve always wondered what really makes Twitter click. Being the first kid on the block, being simple and neatly designed, getting attention from early adopters is all critical to get a service started but to keep it going is another ball game. Many other services in this space or other have most or all of these pre-requisites but Twitter offers something at which others aren’t any where close. Yes, I am talking about the “Ego-Massage”. Nothing works in web 2.0 like the Ego-Massage(EM). The more you offer(or happen to offer) it the more you’ll find your users going head over heels for your service.

While it cannot be said with certainty if the emphasis on EM was their right from the start or it picked up some time later or its all due to various 3rd party tools but its for sure one of the unconscious reasons that makes people stick to twitter, talk and care about it a lot. Lets see how it works.

1) Follow not Subscribe:

Let there be Followers

Let there be Followers

In Twitter if you have subscribed to someone’s updates you are following them and in the same way if someone has subscribed to your updates they are following you. Functionally they might mean the same but both words have way different associations, while subscriber is a neutral word a follower is certainly isn’t. 100 followers is not quite equal to 100 subscribers or 100 friends for that matter. Who cares about friends if you have followers ?

2) Follower Count does Matter:
Don’t believe anyone(leaving maybe Louis Gray) who tells you they are not bothered by their follower count or they are just interested in people they follow not the one’s who follow them.

This is the reason why there are numerous articles like this telling you how to have more followers on Twitter but hardly any on how to have more friends on Facebook or articles like this which highlight the pressure one feels to follow back their followers which basically is derived from the pressure to keep them pleased and ultimately keep them chained. While there were people loosing sleep over a drop in follower count(organic or courtesy twitter) some one saw an opportunity and thus there was  Qwitter . A service that informs you every time some one un-follows you and the last tweet you posted before they un-followed . So now you can question people who unfollow you, seek reasons, introspect your tweeting and a hell lot more. The stage is set for an endless game.

Having lots of followers is one thing but what’s the point if you cannot carry the follower count as a crown and show rest of the world ? That’s what folks at twittercounter were smart enough to realize and their usage stats confirm this (In total we generated 171,281,809 counters since we started tracking). Hundreds of thousands of blogs now sport these.

3) Tools that Further Inflate your ego:
As if having a huge(and portable) “follower” count was not sufficient for one’s ego, somebody came up with Twitter Ratio. So now its not just about how many followers you have its also about your Twitter Ratio i.e follower/following ratio. Those who need constant ego massages can be found tirelessly indulging in maintaining( or should I say increasing) their Twitter Ratio .

Then there’s Twitter Grader

Since more is always merrier especially when it comes to ego boosting we also have twitterholic . So what if you can’t be a topper when it comes to follower count or twitter ratio. You just might be a topper or a top Twitter user from your region, which most certainly adds to the ego.

Want to know you Twitter Influence ? You can apparently do that too, here

Other people’s thoughts on Twitter’s Ego Massage

I would really love to hear what works for you and to what extent are you affected by the above mentioned factors, it at all you are that is 🙂

Here’s a fun “Twitter Whore” video:

Lifestreaming is not Micro-blogging !!

Disclaimer: The post that follows is a personal take and is by no means against anyone or anything.

Microblogging has been one of most oft used and abused term in recent times by internet junkies and bloggers alike.

Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually 140 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web. — wikipedia

Everything is fine till here but the trouble begins when people(including me till a while back) start using the term “microblogging” loosely and confuse it with life streaming, where people send updates about what they are doing and not doing etc to update their friends/followers/fans (referred to as friends going forward). This gets particularly messy when people start using a service to do both microblogging and lifestreaming leaving their friends to do the tedious job of finding relevant bits of information that’ll be useful/relevant for them. Also its difficult for the user and his/her friends to take note and keep track of important matter/content as the chances of it being lost in the huge flow of lifestreaming are pretty high.

The instinct to share details of one’s daily life is a basic/innate one and so is the instinct to be aware of what people that matter to you are upto. Couple this with the ability to easily broadcast/stream your life and you get a viral but not exactly useful combo. Most of the minute details of what one did today won’t be relevant to him/herself leave alone their friends. While I by no means am opposed to the idea of streaming one’s life I am saddened by the fact that there are very few people who understand this and microblog in this sense, and most stream their lives instead.

I would really love to see people start microblogging i.e writing micro posts (100-200) characters about their ideas/feelings/fantasies/stories/philosophy whatever and share it with their friends online with ease using IM’s, browser pluggins, SMS etc. You can do this with the service of your preference, the updates will be less no doubt because tiny updates of life stream like having lunch, watching tv, on phone etc are more frequent but for that moment and many to come these microposts will be more relevant and precious for you and for your friends.

Share a link to your microblog below if you are doing it already or starting now.

Twitter breakdown is bad or is it ?

In times when is twitter down & “is twitter fully functional ?” is all we get to
hear not many think of this as an opportunity. Yes “Opportunity”.
This Opportunity is for pretty much who is in some way or other connected to
twitter. Not only its an opportunity for some addicted twitterers to realize that
there is life beyond twitter but also for developers, entrepreneurs and more.

The way things stand at the time of writing this post twitter’s “IM and
pagination are not working” other than some apps like “TwitterSync”.
This has been the case for the last few days and it might last for next days
or worse re-occur. What this means is

1) Incoming channels blocked:
A cursory look at the twitter home page will tell you that most of the
tweets show their source as web which clearly wasn’t the case before twitter’s
db crash. Also, twitter’s IM client is down which I think was the biggest
incoming channel as a result of which people have either stopped tweeting
or tweet very less.

2) Ability to surf/receive Tweets handicapped:
Since they’ve disabled pagination for all pages and the IM is down along
with it went people’s ability to surf tweets(either missed or otherwise)
and receive tweets as they are being sent.

3) Some twitter apps are down:
Send tweets via your facebook status aka TwitterSync is one that’s not

So this makes perfect sense for people to either replicate the
things/functionalities/apps that are not working or come up with an
innovative way to solve the problem in a different or better way.

What do you guys think ?

Introducing Kwippy: Microblogging app for close friends

Kwippy = Micro/Nanoblogging app (for close friends especially) + IM status logger + Social Network.

Why another microblogging app ? or How is Kwippy different from other microblogging apps ?

1) Kwippy is the only micro/nanonlogging app as of now which doesn’t require a user to go out of the way and make micro posts. You just need to signup and integrate your IM that’s it. So those of us who keep custom status messages, don’t need to do a thing as every custom status message will become a micro blogpost(other ways to kwip being via Web and sending messages via IM)

2) Organized conversations:
Ever felt the need of seeing all the replies to a particular micro blogpost at a single place in an organized manner ? or for that matter that “quotably” though good can never be 100% accurate ?
Kwippy has a much better way of having organized conversations without needing a third party app and we plan to do more to make conversations really interesting and viral, yes, Viral.

3) IM focussed and the T factor:
Not only Kwippy integrates multiple IM networks and saves their custom status messages it also intends to facilitate in having better relationships amongst users by leveraging the trust factor associated with people on one’s IM list.

4) Easiest way to bookmark URL’s
Many people I know (microbloggers n non microbloggers) have a tendency to share URL’s with their IM contacts by putting it up as their IM status. But then as is the case with most custom status messages the IM saves only a handful recent ones. So with Kwippy not only can you archive URL’s but also share them with your friends on the site.

more on Kwippy here

We had our first demo at barcampbangalore6 this weekend which went great and has generated a lot of interest. Kwippy is in private beta right now and would be going public(not the IPO route, yet :D) soon. If you want an invite for the beta submit your email id here .

The Power of MicroBlogging

Random Tweets on Twitter

Ne1 know of women entrepreneurs who are doing ‘green’ businesses using technology? Or thinking of it? Women 2.0 are looking …….
anyone knows how to search for a string in mysql?…..
is experiencing a foolish moment of optimism…..
The baarat or procession of the groom is 90 mins late. But it is grand!……..

MicroBlogging is the latest rage among geeks, bloggers or rather every netizen(almost)..
Wiki defines MicroBlogging as a form of blogging with 200 character limit. Almost synonymous with Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce MicroBlogging has led to what I’ll call “Blogging Renaissance“. MicroBlogging has brought about a disruptive change in the whole approach to blogging, the shift from
Long posts to Short n Crisp updates,Daily/Weekly posts to Hourly updates, Posting via blogging platforms to Updating from Web, IM, Mobile n more and Posting for the web in general to updating for Friends/Followers/Fans

The content has shifted from “Macro” to “Micro” and it could be just about anything from a piece of news to the current weather, from a favorite quote to a small query about something.Its impromptu content served hot, straight from the pan, as its created.

The special/unique aspect of MicroBlogging is that its not about objects its about people..What are they doing, feeling, thinking and much much more..It’s like “RSS feed for people“. Other interesting aspects are

1) Closer & more Collaborative Networks – because of the personal touch involved and assumption the people hooked to one’s updates are interested to know what’s that person is up to and thus are more willing to collaborate/coordinate .
examples could be answering questions, giving feedback, sharing online resources or better people messaging you back asking how you are doing if you said “not feeling well” .
2) Easier to connect with more new people – given the ease to connect and the fact that unlike blogging your MicroBlogging updates can be about almost anything thus increasing chances for more people having things/interests etc in common.
3) Super Fast and Super Viral medium – given the size of content, time taken to reflect on it and forward it..it is undoubtedly one of d fastest viral medium

There’s something for everyone in MicroBlogging, while for content creators it could be an easy way to stream their lives, for content consumers its an easy way to stay updated, for advertisers(if and once they get into it) it has huge potential in terms of targeted ads based on data mining.In this world of instant gratification MicroBlogging is God sent and as tweeted by a friend I too will wait for the day when if at an eating joint I MicroBlog “anyone else here”, get 10 replies and we all end up having a nice time together

Yes, this post was about MicroBlogging 🙂