Twitter Disables Search

First Track and now search

We’ve had to disable person search; it was being abused in ways that were detrimental to the overall stability of the service. We hope to bring out a more stable (and better) version but not in the short term.

Tough luck for all the new members who are just finding out about Twitter and disappointing for those of us doing the heavy lifting of evangelizing the Twitter gospel to the great untracked masses.

Makes you wonder how long we’ll keep doing such…

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GeekToMe 6: Freemiums and Netbooks

Affiliate Marketing Legend and all-around geek Todd Crawford and I are back with episode six of our weekly podcast, GeekTo.Me.

We had a ton of fun doing the show and it’s (in my opinion) our best show yet. We definitely keep getting better and better (and geekier and geekier) every week.

So, if you’ve got the stomach for some heavy geek lifting, give it a shot.

The show runs about an hour.

MP3 File

Show Notes:
Freemium vs Premium
Google with OpenID
Google Notebook, Evernote or BackPack?
Netbooks vs iPhones
Mac Adoption with the Kids
iPhone App Restrictions
Windows 7: Will It Save Microsoft?
Linux Desktops and New Ubuntu
Google Maps on iPhone
Hulu and Stupid web2.0 names
eCommerce is Big in Japan
Todd’s Picks: Fring, Panolab, Classic eBook Reader
Sam’s Picks: Everest, VoteReport

GeekTo.Me 6: Freemiums

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Tweet the Vote

votereport iphone interface.jpg

Since 2000 with the infamous hanging chads and Palm Beach liberals who “voted” for Pat Buchanan, presidential elections have become something of a circus sideshow in themselves. Both Republicans and Democrats fiercely fight over every vote (as they should) and the media loves to chum the waters with tales of voting irregularities.

Thankfully, web2.0 has given us a couple of tools to sort through the impending (and already present thanks to numerous states like my own NC doing the early voting thing… which is terrific, btw) carnival.

Time’s political Swampland blog has more on how voters can “Tweet the Vote” by following special accounts that voting activists groups have set up as well as Time’s own Twitter account:

Swampland – » Blog Archive Tweet the Vote! «: “Stepping up to the plate this year to make reporting concerns as easy and as public as possible are two organizations: the grass roots group Twitter Vote Report and the more corporate-y (they have consultants!) Election Protection, who is also partnered with a ton of other organizations, including NBC.

Both groups are encouraging voters to use Twitter as a kind of panopticon of the polling process. I assume you’re following all the right people already, but interested parties should also follow 866ourvote to for real-time poll watching. After the jump, a memo from the group, noting the specific conventions for how to report your own observations and how it works.”

Time also has their own account set up for real time poll watching (which should be awesome). Or you can follow along here.

There’s even an iPhone/iPod Touch app (pictured above… search for “votereport” in the App Store on iTunes).

This is really exciting stuff. I’ve been a political junkie since the Dukakis/Bush ’88 race (I was a dorky 6th grader, ok?) and could only dream of being able to really take part in the political process with tools such as an iPhone or Twitter.

Whatever your persuasion, it doesn’t take much to realize that web2.0 is good at breaking down boundaries and providing both a voice to people and a check on the political corruptions of the past.

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TweetDeck and Friends Lists

I’ve been using TweetDeck as my desktop Twitter client for a while now and have definitely seen the improvements over the last few months.

The reason I support TweetDeck is the ability to easily group people or subjects you are following. In a post-Track Twitter, this is pretty important for me. TweetDeck has Summize integration, making it possible to “Track” terms via the API.

For example, here’s what TweetDeck looks like on my Mac (it has its own “Space” since it does take up so much screen real estate):


You can see that I have an “All Tweets” group for the 300 or so people I follow then a “Pals” group for the 30 or so people that I’m closest to then a “samharrelson” group that functions as something like Track (anytime someone mentions my name, it shows up there), an “Asheville” group for tracking, a replies tab and then a few more off to the side such as a “Chicago Cubs” group, a “Wofford Group (my alma mater),” etc.

It’s an insanely easier and more productive Twitter experience than relying on the Twitter website or even Twhirl.

Besides the real estate size, one of the big criticisms I’ve heard about TweetDeck is the question of why it takes so long for friends to show up in groups.

The folks behind TweetDeck shed a little light (using a Posterous blog nonetheless… pretty nifty… more on that soon):

Group Friends List – TweetDeck’s posterous: “The list of friends in the add group column grows as more of your friends become active, or to put it another way as TweetDeck becomes aware of who your friends are it adds then to the list.

I’ve done it like this since the twitter API only allows me to get 100 friends at a time so if you have thousands of friends TweetDeck would have to do some looping which could be quite slow but, more importantly, counts against your Twitter API calls. You only need to leave TweetDeck running overnight for the list to grow substantially. “

So, if you’re still using the web interface for Twitter, do yourself a favor and stop. Go grab TweetDeck, set up some trackable terms and group people you follow to tame the madness that is probably your Twitter experience.

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BearHug Camp Today

For all those interested in the wild-west world of micro-blogging (Twitter,, TWiT Army, etc), BearHug Camp starts at 9am PST today.

Strange name, but this really looks like it will be a very important day for the future of the web…

TechCrunchIT » Blog Archive » BearHug Camp is here: “Friday, September 12 at 9 am, BearHug Camp begins. The brainchild of Dave Winer, BearHug is based on a tactic Winer used to great effect in bootstrapping coincident work by Netscape and Winer into what we now know as RSS. Recently, we’ve seen the emergence of similar strategies in the so-called micro-blogging segment that has grown around Twitter.”

You can follow along live from Leo Laporte’s stream at TWiTLive.TV

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XMPP as the Marketer’s Golden Egg; Latency as Magic Beans

XMPP has had a meteoric rise in term of its profile and application over the last two years. Part of that is due to the rise of microblogging services such as Twitter or that leverage the XMPP platform to deliver real time updates to users.

However, there has been a hiccup in Twitter’s usage of XMPP over the last few months and that hiccup has helped to give more exposure to XMPP instead of putting it on the shelf. The increasingly popular Track feature of Twitter (which allowed users to follow certain keywords they were interested in… in real time… without having to rely upon the latency of RSS and/or an increasingly hampered Twitter API) was pulled a few months ago. Twitter’s Biz Stone comments about the disabling of Track for everyone here:

Our goal is to support as many applications, projects, mash-ups, and devices as possible so we’ll continue to think about how best to do this. While the XMPP feed of the full Twitter Public Timeline is an amazing resource, drinking from the fire hose is not the best way to quench a thirst. With continued updates and refinement, our API will support most scenarios in a way that preserves overall system performance.

Track WAS the ultimate web tool and began to function as the neural spine for many of us. The latency of a hampered API does not fill the void. Early adopters like myself got a taste of its power and now thinkers and users such as Steve Gillmor are looking for an angry fix:

But Twitter is living on borrowed time with its XMPP blockade. The flowering of micro-objects opens the door to applications that leverage swarming around events and the growing availability of iPhone-class mobile devices. The success of App Store stars such as Evernote suggests that adding micro-object support will accelerate usage of the XMPP backbone. Latency in that environment will be an instant deal-breaker, opening the door for better-financed competitors to subsidize real time services to capture audience.

Before we go too much deeper, it’s important to explain exactly what XMPP is and why marketers should be researching and developing its application.

Wikipedia explains:

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an open, XML-inspired protocol for near-real-time, extensible instant messaging (IM) and presence information (a.k.a. buddy lists). It is the core protocol of the Jabber Instant Messaging and Presence technology. The protocol is built to be extensible and other features such as Voice over IP and file transfer signaling have been added.

Unlike most instant messaging protocols, XMPP is an open standard. Like e-mail, it is an open system where anyone who has a domain name and a suitable Internet connection can run their own Jabber server and talk to users on other servers. The standard server implementations and many clients are also free and open source software.

That sounds incredibly geeky and innocuous to most direct marketers, but put on your thinking cap for a moment and re-read Gillmor’s quote above with that information in mind.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to come to the realization that in the coming years, the real world web stars will be applications that deliver on demand, in real time and with micro-object support. XMPP stands as the protocol, above all other protocols, to deliver those messages to the masses.

The future of marketing is not based on latency or delayed access to timely information. RSS is wonderful and has changed my world, but its asynchronous delivery only makes me want to plant the latency bean in some fertile garden so that I can climb the vine to the ultimate marketing prize… real time tracking and delivery of information that I opt-in to.

Keep an eye on XMPP. And especially keep an eye on the first company to tap into its marketing power (

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Branding on Twitter Study

Jeremiah Owyang continues his insightful series on branding and Twitter with this piece about how brands are succeeding on the Twitter platform.

If you’re at all interested in how microblogging will shape the future of direct performance marketing (it will) and corporate communications (it will), make sure to read this:

Web Strategy: The Evolution of Brands on Twitter: “Last week, I listed out 9 reasons Why Brands Are Unsuccessful In Twitter, and other microblogging technologies. Companies are caught between the minutia of the discussions and their willingness to be human or add value to the conversations. Although a one-sided view of what’s going wrong, now let’s focus on what’s going right.”

It’s amazing to see how much the perception of Twitter has changed in 2 short years. So many people I speak to now see the business application of Twitter (or microblogging in general) whereas a year ago, I was being laughed at for bringing Twitter up in such conversations!

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Attractive Microblogging for Marketers 301

During my presentation called “Leveraging Social Media” at Affiliate Summit East, I took up most of the allotted hour to discuss tools and strategies that affiliate marketers could use to help them both better monitor and better participate in the increasingly important social networks out there in the wild.

This is an important issue because not only are these networks (in my presentation we touched on Twitter, Friendfeed, Seesmic and Facebook, but there are dozens of others) important for “traffic” but these hubs of communities have become an invaluable source for marketers to find conversions, early adopters and brand evangelists.

The main questions that most people had during, after and in the week since about the presentation pertained to the “how” aspect of using these networks in a responsible manner.

It’s not an easy question to answer since a great deal of operating in the social web is subjective and full of variables associated with individual programs, personalities and the social networks themselves.

At the end of the day, my constant recommendations all went along the lines of “do your homework, know the community and don’t feel obliged to use services such as to cover everything.” In fact, I advise marketers to generally stay away from services like because the fine line between “participant” and “spammer” is so easy to cross (and so easy to seemed to have crossed).

In other words, be interesting and provide a service (such as pointing to relevant info, even if its yours) in a responsible (whatever that means to you) manner.

DeWitt Clinton gets very geeky and brings in another aspect that you might want to consider if you’re a marketer with a little bit of know-how… attractiveness.

Head over to his blog and read the rest of the entry with the examples he gives. It’s a powerful read that points to the need for both functionality and appeal as you get your messages out there (and aren’t all messages marketing messages?):

Microblogging syndication formats » DeWitt Clinton: “This is just the beginning — I feel I’m only scratching the surface of what can be extracted from existing syndication formats. For example, comment stream aggregation (via the comments element or RFC 4685 autodiscovery) is a great next step after this. And I only call out FriendFeed because they’re the best at aggregating multiple content sources, but these concepts apply to any content aggregator, and finding a way to reuse existing formats like RSS and Atom to create rich presentations automatically will enable us to do more with less manual work between aggregators and publishers.”

While practicality is important to reach, don’t discount the need to reach people through visual appeal!

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Twitter Search and Summize Acquisition


Twitter has taken another step to finally put down the great FailWhale of ’08 by acquiring the real time search service Summize:

Twitter Search
We’re excited to announce that Twitter has acquired Summize—an extraordinary search tool and an amazing group of engineers. All five Summize engineers will move to San Francisco, CA and take jobs at Twitter, Inc. This is an important step forward in the evolution of Twitter as a service and as a company.

Since Twitter’s track functionality has been down, I’ve been a heavy user of Summize (and recommend you do the same through the new interface).

Here’s to keeping things back on Track on Twitter…

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