How do you describe Twitter?

September 13th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

I found myself in a situation where I needed to describe Twitter to a friend yesterday. She is what I classify as a regular internet user – knows about and uses the ‘big’ sites – Facebook, YouTube, Google & Gmail (but has no knowledge of all their other services).

I tried explaining how it works – you send an sms, and it is broadcast, and others can read and respond to it – but the look on her face was telling me I wasn’t doing a very good job.

I eventually said “It’s like IM for status updates”. That seemed to get the idea across, but I don’t think it describes the service very well.

I can’t believe I don’t know how to explain Twitter despite using the service for something like 3 years now…. but then, it’s one of those things that needs to be experienced to be understood isn’t it?

Help me out please – how do you explain Twitter to someone new to it?

Study: Twitter Is Not a Very Social Network

May 12th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Given that Twitter was set up for these kinds of non-reciprocal follower/following relationships, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many users would use Twitter to follow breaking news channels and celebrities. The fact that almost 80% of these relationships are one-way relationships, however, does come as a surprise and hints at how Twitter’s mainstream users use the service more as a news medium than as a social network.

I looked at the slides, and I think the one thing they’re missing is @ replies. From the few celeb profiles I follow and have looked at, they don’t follow all followers back, which is understandable, but many engage with their followers. There is a second level of reciprocity that needs to be taken into account.

Would also be interested in seeing how the big accounts (profiles with a gazillion followers) and small accounts (people who have signed up, looked around and buggered off) skew the stats.

Posted via web from dekrazee1’s posterous

Yo Twitter, does the phrase 'eating one's own dog food' mean anything?

April 23rd, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Some weeks ago I had what to me was a serious issue. The two Twitter clients I use, Digsby and Mahtweets, weren’t connecting to Twitter. After troubleshooting for a bit, I got a bit paranoid and went into to change my password – just in case.

So I go through the change password steps, click on ‘Change’ and get an error. Something about an error with my profile. Try again, same error. Wait a while and return to it, still borked. Ok, now I’m really worried.

Hit up Twitter’s help link, prominently placed in the menu bar at the top and the bottom of the pages. It took me to a Googlesque search page. Tried a few queries, none that addressed my issue. Browsed their knowledge base for a bit, and got to the Known Issues page. Nope, nothing there.

Now, the thing about having a Known Issues page is that it signifies to me that I can submit an issue. That and the fact that there is a ‘Check your Existing Requests’ tab on the page. So now I search intently for a way to submit a request, and I can’t find one. Thinking I must be going blind – surely, SURELY there’s a place somewhere to do it – I spend about 1/2 an hour just looking for that. I even manage to find a past request I submitted last year listed under ‘Solved and closed requests’. No idea how I managed to do that – it was either a miracle, or they have made massive changes to the support system.

On to the final step – when all avenues have been exhausted, send the company an e-mail. Hit up the contact page, and the Customer Support link takes you back to their Help section. E-mail addresses listed there for Partners, Press and Law Enforcement, nothing for the pesky user with issues.

If this were ANY other product, I woulda ranted about it on Twitter upon exhausting all avenues. So I did, thinking, hoping, someone at Twitter would see it and get back to me. Nothing, nada, no response. Not that day, not in the following days.

What of the issue? I tried to change my password more than a week later, and the process worked.

So why am I bitching about it now?
Well, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. And I can’t let it go. It bugs me. It bugs me that I spent SOOOO much time trying to get help and I couldn’t find a single piece of information to aid the situation. It bugs me that I could see Troubleshooting topics started recently, but I couldn’t find an obvious way to start one. It bugs me that there might be people out there new to Twitter or long-time users slightly more n00b than I having issues and not getting the help they need. I understand their frustration.

And most of all, it bugs me that these days it’s almost a requirement for other companies to monitor Twitter as part of their customer support/care strategy. We call companies out who aren’t up to date with customer feedback coming in on Twitter, or those who don’t respond adequately. And Twitter seems to get away with not doing exactly that.

I was at Evan Williams’ SXSW keynote, where he spoke about being as open and transparent as possible both within and without the company. In my line of work, that means listening and responding to customers. In this context, it means monitoring Twitter for cries of help and reaching out. Not an easy task by any means, but one that needs to be done nevertheless.

So Twitter, hows about that dog food?

Real time is the best thing since sliced bread, but where are my archives?

November 28th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

This issue is fast turning into one of my pet peeves, hence the following rant.

Dear Facebook and Twitter,

I’m a active member of your sites. So active (productive even) in fact, that I have thousands of Tweets, likes, shared items, comments, you name it. I’m doing exactly what you want and need me to do. So why won’t you let me access them?!?!?! *pulls hair out*

Why is it, Facebook, that I can’t search my past activity? Why is it you won’t let me search wall posts I’ve received? Why is it there is nowhere I can go to view the comments I’ve made?
And Twitter, you’re no better. Thanks to you, I’ve had to resort to ‘favouriting’ my own tweets so I can find them when I need them.

(I mean, seriously, how insane is that?! Not to mention it makes me look like a complete egomaniac… *tsk*)

This might seem like a trivial issue to some, but there is a lot of information exchanged in micro-exchanges on both these services. Information directly related to and useful to me. And every once in a while, I need access to this information. It would be great to be able to perform a simple search and get the information I’m looking for. And I don’t understand why I can’t already do just that.

Living in the moment is great, but I would like the ability to wander down memory lane too.

Wasssssup Twitter? *grin*

November 24th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

It started off with me commenting on Twitter’s change in terminology –

So Twitter is now asking ‘What’s happening?’ eh? Why not just ‘Wasssssup?’

RohanM saw that, and less than half an hour later, he had a greasemonkey script up and running!

Which I promptly installed of course! It changes your Twitter home to this:

Wasssssup Twitter!

How cool is that?!
I don’t actually go to the Twitter site much, so I tend to forget I have the script installed. Which is great, cos I get a good chuckle every time I see it. heheheh Love this hackery thingy! Thanks Rohan! 😀

Go on, head on over to Rohan’s blog and get the script! Ya know ya want it 😉

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