twitter

Three Basic Twitter Guidelines for Sanity and Clarity

1. If you have to break a thought into two tweets, end the first one with […] and begin the second one with […].

2. If you use an old-style retweet for something and want to add your own commentary to it, add your commentary before the RT text. For example: “I really like this movie, too! RT @weaselpunk I just watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the kabillionth time. Swoon!”

(I think that you should use old-style retweets precisely for this reason—it allows you to add context and commentary for your audience.)

The text “RT” creates a nice wall between your text and the person you are quoting; it makes it easy to tell who said what. When you recommend something to someone, you typically don’t say “Watch this first and then I’ll tell you why I like it”—you tell someone the reason they should watch it first.

Don’t RT someone to reply to them. There’s a reply button for that. Don’t quote someone when replying to them.

3. The more you deviate from proper spelling and grammar, the harder your tweets are to read. Some comments just can’t be “twitter-sized”—so use one of the services that allows you to post a longer comment and link to it, break your comment up into multiple tweets, or email/IM/something else the person you’re trying to talk to. If the majority of your tweets are jam-packed with shortenings (shrtngs, u c wat i mean?), it doesn’t matter how jam-packed they are with info and commentary: they will get looked over. A “u” and some digits once in awhile aren’t a big deal, though!

Twitter: Search Malfunctioning, Users Missing

I use Twitter [I’m adamjury there, surprise surprise] for a lot of things; keeping in touch with friends, following news, helping random people with graphic design and technology issues, watching people talk about stuff I work on, and promoting my work and myself in general. So I was kind of bummed to realize, last night, that none of my tweets were being indexed in Twitter’s internal search engine. This means that anyone searching for keywords might not see tweets where I discuss them.

When I found out, I did the usual account check — I wasn’t suspended, I hadn’t put myself into Protected mode accidentally, I could search for other usernames that I use, no issues there. Checked Twitter’s various help resources and their blog and status pages with no luck. So, on a lark, I set my stream to be protected, and then unprotected again, thinking that it might cause Twitter to re-index me. No dice there.

I sent off a polite help request and went to bed. In the morning, it was answered, and it pointed me to this support thread. At this time, 59 pages of people who aren’t properly listed in the search [and those are only people that know about it, care about it enough to report it, and found the right place to report it!] and over half of the users reporting this issue have reported it in the last week, although it was first reported on May 29th.

What’s up, Twitter?

To figure out if you’re not being indexed, visit the following Twitter search link, but fill in your own name!

Edit: There’s a hashtag for this … #searchfail. But since the people being hit by this bug aren’t indexed in the search, the hashtag is gaining little traction.

Edit, June 22: Still not fixed yet, still no acknowledgement from Twitter on their status page or anywhere else.

Missing the Point of Twitter

Yesterday, Apple released Safari 4 Beta. Instantly, people began to cry on Twitter, because the totally awesome can’t live without it password manager 1Password didn’t get work with it.

Within a few hours, Agile Software had upgraded 1Password and pushed that version out, so it now works with Safari 4 Beta.

Then, they began the process of answering people via their twitter account, telling them about the new version. They sent out a lot of tweets to different users who didn’t follow them, so they had to use the public reply functionality, not a direct [private] message. And then someone complained:

@1Password Do you know, what a “DM” in Twitter is? -> You produce too many public replys!

And this, I say, is bullcrap. There is no “you shouldn’t send public replies” guideline on Twitter, and 1Password couldn’t send Direct Messages to many of these people because you can only send a DM to someone who follows you.

If you don’t like that someone uses Twitter to—*gasp*—actually talk to people, then don’t follow them, or use a client like TweetDeck that allows you to filter users into different categories. Twitter is many things to many different people, and you can’t expect everyone you follow to use it in the same way you do.

[I’m adamjury on Twitter.]

I’m using Twitter more

Just a FYI that I’ve been using Twitter more lately. My account is http://twitter.com/adamjury. I’m finding it a fun way to be social and silly with friends who I’m not often in touch with over phone or IM, and I’m actually meeting some totally random and new people over it.

For Macheads, Twitterrific is the bomb. I’m experimenting with Twirl too, which is multi-platform, based on the Adobe AIR engine.