Tags: twitter

How we built Twitter Lite [↗]

Details some impressive engineering on the new mobile.twitter.com application. Worth a read if you’re interested in website/app performance.

Why social media is like the railways – and must be saved [↗]

Medium, Soundcloud and ultimately Twitter are – like the railways – worth saving even if they cannot be run at a profit.

I’m not sure about Medium and SoundCloud, but I often wonder what would happen if Twitter was to threaten that it was closing down. Ideally, a non-profit would step-in and run it as a public service. There’s no doubt that it would be expensive to run, but governments have been known to waste money on more frivolous projects.

Anyhow, it’s an enjoyable read, if only for this accurate remark of the big social media sites:

The sharing capacities of the internet are being overwhelmed by the profit models of large corporations. The tsunami of crap, fake news, celebrity gossip and plastic music that has taken over social media is killing it – or rather killing the spirit in which it flowered six or seven years ago.

Sad, but true.

A guide to connecting to Twitter from Python using Twython [↗]

Came across this whilst browsing the Raspberry Pi Learning Resources. I’d not heard of the Twython module and it looks like it could be a lot of fun to play with. I’m thinking I’ll probably dust off my Raspberry Pi for this and I may even attempt a bit of hardware hacking too.

Experimenting with Twitter (The Video Game)

I’ve been a Twitter user since 2006, that’s nearly 10 years. In that time I’ve managed to accumulate 1,721 followers. Not a massive following, but then it’s never been about the numbers; I mainly use Twitter to follow others and keep up-to-date with the latest happenings of whatever topic I’m interested in at the time. Anyhow, some of my followers are friends that I have met at various events and meetings, or I have acquainted online, but to be honest I have no idea who, or what the others are. I figure some are just other users like me (but we’ve never interacted), and the rest are probably bots and spammers.

I think I would like to increase my follower count, not for the sake of vanity (honest), but because Twitter is a video game and like most people, I can be quite competitive when I’m playing games.

The problem is, I don’t tweet all that much. Since joining, I’ve managed to pen just 4,805 tweets (most of which are probably @ replies and retweets). I would imagine that for long periods of time my Twitter profile looks dead, and nobody is going to want to follow a dead account.

In an attempt to fix this, I’ve started auto-tweeting/feeding links to Twitter from this blog. Now, I know some people take umbrage at users who do this, so it’ll be interesting to see what (if any) difference it makes to my follower count.

I’m currently employing Twitterfeed to do the feeding, but in the short time that I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed that it is not overly reliable. The Twitterfeed site was terribly slow when I was setting up my feed, so I assume the service is under some considerable load. I’ve looked at alternatives, such as using a WordPress plugin, but I think I would enjoy creating my own service, so that’s probably what I’ll do. I’ve toyed with the Twitter API before so it shouldn’t take too long. Also, hacking on my own service seems like more of “gaming” approach.

Why it’s time to give Twitter back to the community [↗]

On This Week in Tech, I mentioned that the best thing that could happen to Twitter would be to become an open platform again. Since my comments generated plenty of feedback, I decided to explain why an open Twitter would be an infinitely better Twitter. Better for the company. Better for its users. Better for the organizations that want to use its powerful data sets. And, better for the developers who want to build on top of it.

A good idea in theory, but let’s not forget that Twitter gained a lot of momentum in its early years from “the developers”, before cutting them off. I wonder how many of those developers would risk investing in Twitter again?

Also, I seem to remember a time when you could send a tweet with a curl one-liner. Bring back those days and I’ll be happy :)

Twitter to Expand Tweet’s 140-Character Limit to 10,000 [↗]

One of Twitter’s most beloved features is set to change: The company is planning to extend its 140-character limit to as many as 10,000, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Twitter’s loud and devoted user base was quick to bemoan that such a change — expected to be announced by the end of March — would spoil the brevity and speed of the real-time service. The character limit that forces users to pen snappy tweets could give way to the longer essays found on Facebook, for example. It could transform Twitter into more of a public blogging platform rather than one that is succinct and well-suited to quips and breaking news headlines.

I can’t help but think that increasing Twitter’s character limit would be akin to opening Pandora’s box. Once the limit is increased, there will be no going back, and if the naysayers are correct, it will be the end of Twitter. However, the article goes on:

This person said, however, that Twitter Inc. is aiming to retain the look and feel of the user timeline. For tweets that are longer than 140 characters, users will have to click and expand to see the rest of the text. As users write beyond the 140-character limit, Twitter will signal to them that they have crossed the threshold as a way to encourage brevity.

So it might not be too bad. Personally, I think it would be a shame to increase the 140 limit, which for me is Twitter’s no.1 feature. That said, I think there are just too many users (businesses, brands, broadcasters, celebrities) with time and money invested in Twitter for it to fail. And, does the average user really care?

The best Twitter bots of 2015 [↗]

To improve your experience on Twitter next year, try following fewer humans and more bots. Automated accounts add whimsy, serendipity, and occasional inspiration to an otherwise drab timeline of tweets.

I love a good Twitter bot. One of my current favourites is @chronicfarting, a bot that replaces “big data” with “chronic farting”. Recommended to me by my friend @gmarkall.

No Longer Naked

I’ve pulled down the CSS for my site’s WordPress theme from the GitHub repo and it’s no longer naked. This is a good thing and I’m pretty happy with the result.

The design is still quite basic and there is more to do, but I think I hit my target of replicating my Twitter profile page. It’s not identical, obviously, but I think I’ve captured the overall style quite well. See below:

My current Twitter profile:

Screenshot of my current Twitter profile page.


My website design:

Screenshot of my website's design.


Twitterfeed [↗]

Feed your blog to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

I’ve probably been living under a rock, because I’ve not heard of this service before now. I might give it a try, when I figure out what my opinion is on auto-posting content and links. Aside, it’s run by Bitly Inc, is that the same Bitly that is responsible for the URL shortening service?

Styling My WP Theme

I’ve begun styling my WordPress theme. It’s going well, but it’s taking some time as I didn’t quite realise how many markup elements there are in a theme. In case you’re wondering, there are lots and lots and lots.  Still, I’m enjoying it, so it’s all good.

Regarding my style choices, I’ve opted to try and replicate my Twitter profile page. It’s totally different from the minimalist style I’d normally go for, but I like it and think it’s kind of fun. Interestingly, or not, I didn’t realise, until I started to attempt to replicate it, how good the current Twitter page and UX design is. Personally, I think it is a work of genius.

I’m sure my attempt at replicating it will pale in comparison, but as long as I get the basics right, I’ll be happy. Anyhow, the code has been going up to the GitHub repo and I’m hoping to pull it down to this production server soon.

A somewhat funny observation: I’ve used Twitter’s Bootstrap in pretty much every project for the past year, but now, as I’m attempting to replicate my Twitter profile page, I’ve opted not to use it. Go figure.