Posts Tagged twitter

Make Twitter Better

One of the things I like about Twitter, believe it or not, is the simplistic design. There's not a lot of useless options. There not many things to click on at all really, compared to other sites. There are a few missing items that should be on the site, however. I just recently installed a Firefox extension that accomplishes everything I need.

I've found that a lot of the twitter "clients" are lacking. For instance, I can't easily search and follow people from TweetDeck. I really like to just use the web client. I only thing that I could use on the web interface is a notification of @ replies. Every other option that I found useful in the clients is now available on the web client via Power Twitter Firefox extension. There's also a few features I wasn't expecting. For instance, Song.ly is now integrated. I had never tried Song.ly until I installed this extension. I love it.

Check out the extension. It's worth it if you Tweet much at all.

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Technology in Reverse

Is it just me or is technology going in reverse? I thought we were making progress, you know with things likes tapes, CDs, DVD, and BluRay. Things like that have generally been going in the right direction. Other things are completely backwards. This seems especially true for things in the communication arena.

For instance, around ten years ago we had these things called alpha-numeric pagers. We could even get two-way alpha-numeric pagers. The service was around $10 per month. This was the precursor to today texting conversations over a normal cell phone. The only major difference is that it costs a lot more to text over cell phones.

This isn't the reverse part though. We all expect prices for things to climb at least a bit. It's no surprise that once "texting" caught on with the populous and not just the geeks, the cell phone providers would start jacking with the prices. No, the reason texting is a reverse in technology is the fact that MAKING A PHONE CALL IS SO MUCH MORE EFFICIENT.

Everywhere you look there's someone typing on a cell phone and even though some of them are extremely fast, they can't be communicating faster than just using the phone. Image we were in a word where there was no such thing as voice calls. The only thing we had is text-messaging. Now image someone invented the PHONE. Can you just image what kind of shift toward that technology we would have? Everyone would be talking on the phone.

So, just because something is new doesn't mean that it is better. This is especially true with the internet. There is a lot of talk about Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other sites that offer "Web2.0" experiences. They are "so-called" user-driven content sites, social networking. This isn't a new invention. Web2.0 has been around since the early days of the internet. It's only a big deal now because there are lot more people on the internet.

Twitter is about as useless as these apps get too. It's horrible realy. I'm sorry but there have been much better technologies in the past. If you take out the marketing side of Twitter, where everyone is trying to sell something, it is just a low efficiency chat room. You are limited to 140 characters. I understand the concept of micro blogging. It's the same concept of chat rooms. You have friends/followers, and they see what you say. BIG DEAL....chat rooms have been doing that for ages. IRC has been around forever. It's still the most effective way to chat on the internet, if you ask me. What about IMs? You have friends. You change your status. They see it. It's the same thing as twitter. The only difference I can see is that you can search for people to add to your friends/followers.

So where IRC would allow you type much more at a time, was more anonymous, was easier hold a conversation in, and was/is a much faster conversation experience, people just love these Web2.0 apps. Even Oprah joined Twitter.

The driving point behind most of these new sites is the ability to advertise to people. They are great for online marketers. Since that is the case, the marketers push these sites heavily. This makes them more popular. Unsuspecting internet users just go with the flow and join these sites because "everyone" is on them. Everyone else is joining for the same reason. That is the angle the marketers take. They talk about how popular the sites are before they even get popular. This in turn drives the traffic up.

In conclusion, my ability to communicate is much better thanks to phones and IRC. I'll stick to those things. Texting and the new Web2.0 social media sites are very inefficient. The pseudo-geeks that use these things should realize that real geeks and nerds look for efficiency. These new technologies are much less efficient than what we've used in the past. Why are we going in reverse?

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Automated twitter status updates

Once you have a following on Twitter, it's easy to gather a little extra traffic to your site from it. To help automate the process, I make use of Twitter's API and a Linux command line. I create some cron jobs to update my status using curl. This is pretty simple to do and may be helpful for people with a Linux box and the need to advertise something.

The curl command is structured as follows:
curl -u username:password -d status="My new status message" http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml

Now it's important to note that for the automated crons the returned xml isn't really needed. You can also use this in the programming language of choice to fetch the xml and make use of it. You can also get JSON results by changing the end from .xml to .json.

So, once you have the code, all you have to do is create the cron jobs in Linux. Edit the crontab with crontab -e
Your default editor should open your cron. Here is an example showing how to create the cron job:
5 * * * * curl -username:password -d status="My Message" http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml
That cron job would run at 5 minutes after the hour, every hour, every day. This is, however, not a good idea because your account will not last long 🙂

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