After wondering for long about how Twitter is going to make money, we did learn from many sources that Twitter was indeed profitable for this calender year. Thanks to the search deals which this San Fransisco based company has struck with the two big giants Google and Microsoft. By feeding in real time tweets in the search results of Google and Bing, Twitter has pocketed a massive $25 million according to the reports from Bloomberg. With $155 million VC funding in the bank and a valuation some where around a billion dollars, Twitter is definitely here to stay for quite a good period of time.
Twitter is definitely not perfect and except the search deal, the company has not made any real money till date. With ample scope for improvement in various arenas, Twitter is definitely going to hire more talented folks to get things done. Here is a take on the job profiles which Twitter ought to create right now.
The Whale Killer
The fail whale is one thing which most of early Twitter users would have seen every other minute. For those who are unaware, the fail whale shows up whenever there is a server failure. It mainly happens when there is a huge blow of traffic to the website. Things have improved a lot over the past few months but the fail whale still makes its presence felt once in a while. When many of the big corporations are using Twitter in full swing, it is really important to have a highly reliable server. With plans for corporate accounts, Twitter definitely cannot afford showing the fail whale to its paying customers. The ‘whale killer‘ needs to ensure that the website stays up and running round the clock without any intermissions.
The Trend Setter
‘Twitter Trending Topics‘ is really a valuable section to find what people are talking about. This is also one of the favorite destinations for spammers. As illustrated in the picture we can see that one of the spamming topics made its way in to the trending list. Getting on the list will give immense exposure in the form of traffic even if it is for a few minutes. Although some quality check is being done in the recent times, we can still see some spammy content once in a while. Not to leave aside the NSFW topics which get on top of the list many times. It is also important to combat spam to make Twitter a better place. Automating this process is greatly possible but only to a certain extent. The ‘Trend Setter‘ needs to keep this section clean and ensure that spammers don’t take advantage.
Twitter has faced many security infringement issues and it keeps increasing with its popularity. Some of them were the server status vulnerability, compromise of DNS records, leakage of confidential documents and more importantly the recent site hack by the so called Iranian cyber army. The path has definitely not been smooth for this company with a little over 100 employees. Recruiting ‘Securitas‘ – the roman goddess of security to the team might help!
The Money Minter
We have talked about it with our friends, we have discussed the possibilities, we have even made suggestions but we are still unsure as to how Twitter is going to make money! Twitter is one huge information repository with many different monetization possibilities. The recent search brought in a pretty good sum and it was indeed a great start. The machinery is set in place, the molten metal is ready to get cast and all Twitter needs to do is find the right money minters to bring in the magic.
Some of these profiles may exist already and they are definitely doing a wonderful job. This post was just an informal take on this topic.
I bet each and every one amongst us would have got followed by numerous porn stars and ‘make $1000 from home’ guys on Twitter. As every internet medium grows bigger one of the biggest challenges would be to combat the spam. Initially Twitter didn’t impose any follow restrictions and as the early bird gets the worm, the spammers started following thousands of people every single day so that they can increase their follower count by the way of reciprocation. The smart guys at Twitter imposed a 2000 follows per day restriction along with few other API restrictions. The growth was massive and this didn’t trouble the spammers much, thanks to hundreds of auto follow systems and scripts.
One good thing which Twitter can learn from Google is to build a Twitter spam control team. Google has an awesome spam protection team headed by Matt Cutts and they do keep under control. Although there are some measures which Twitter has taken till now, a lot more can be done. @spam is the official spam reporting account for Twitter. If you come across a spam account you can send a @ reply to that account. Blocking users is one other effective way but with the immense amount of spammers we get bored after a certain point. There are a few apps which will let you clean your follower/following list but the trustworthiness of the app is a big question which comes in front.
Clean Tweets Firefox addon
Recently i started using Twitter search for finding out real time search results. For example if Youtube or dreamhost goes down the first thing i do is to do a keyword search on Twitter as it gives out the up to date user powered results. The most annoying thing is the search time line is bombarded with lame marketers and spammers who promote all the possible products on earth. The Clean Tweets Firefox add on is a nice solution which eliminates some results from the search time line based on certain parameters like age of the account, number of trending topics used etc.
Protect Your Twitter Account
As an end user the best we can do is to protect our Twitter account from malicious attacks. Here are some simple steps which you can do to safeguard your account.
1. Don’t give your Password
Don’t give your Twitter username and password to an application or website at any cost. There are some trusted twitter clients which will need your password though. Make sure that you verify the authenticity of the client before letting out your credentials.
2. Remove unwanted connections
Twitter uses OAuth which is a secure method of providing access to your account information without revealing your password. Over a period of time most of users give access to a number of such services. If you are no longer using a app/service it is better to remove the connection and revoke the access.
Clicking on Settings-> Connection on your Twitter account will list all the connections and you can revoke the unwanted ones. Alternatively you can also follow this URL to go directly to the connections page. http://twitter.com/account/connections
3. Look before you Click
Don’t click on the links present in your replies or direct messages from unknown users. Clicking on these links may give access to your account to the impostor without your knowledge.
4. Block and Report
If you see a spam account following you block it and this will make sure that the replies made by the spammer will not show in your time line. Also, look before you follow !
5. Change your password
The basic and golden rule when it comes to passwords! Keep changing it once in a while and don’t use the same password across different services.
What are other ways in which Twitter can control spam? Do share it in the comments section.
Every single word which a person posts on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook is documented in one way or the other and at times it may even spark controversies. With the media and the weblogs craving for attention even the smallest of the controversies will spread on like a wild fire. Here are some interesting tweets which got people into trouble.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor is the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and he is pretty active on Twitter with more than 180k followers. A random follower asked Tharoor if he will travel in economy class and he replied in a witty manner targeting the airlines but the Indian National Congress condemned his tweet stating that it was not in line with the political culture.
The newspapers and the TV channels also picked this up and made it even more controversial.
2) The Cisco Fatty
Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.
In reply @timmylevad tweeted
@theconnor Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.
This was probably the first well known ‘Twitter trouble’ incident where a guy who was offered a job in Cisco tweeted negatively about it and he eventually ended up losing the job. @theconnor has now protected his twitter time line and has also created a site where he has written a detailed explanation about the incident.
3) Terry Moran and Barrack Obama
Terry Moran, the ABC anchor tweeted saying that President Obama called Kayne West a jackass. ABC later apologised for the immature tweet made by Moran and stated that Obama made that statement off the record
4) The CPK server
@calpizzakitchen black button ups are the lamest shit ever!!!.
Timothy DeLaGhetto worked at the California Pizza Kitchen and he tweeted the above statement and later he was fired as CPK thought it was inappropriate. Ironically @Traphik became famous on Twitter and now has more than 17500 people following his updates.
5) Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks criticized the decision of the match officials on Twitter and the NBA fined him $25000 for making such remarks.
6) Courtney Love
is my clothes my WARDROBE! oi vey don’t **** with my wradrobe or you willend up in a circle of corched eaeth hunted till your dead.
Courtney Love, the rock star made some defamatory comments about her fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir after she sent Courtney an invoice for the clothes she designed. The result, Courtney was sent a lawsuit for her rants on twitter!
7) The Military Twitterer
Mark Kirk, the republican congressman and Navy Reservist tweeted while on duty at the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center. It is against the Military protocol to reveal one’s location and duties. Kirk later made a public statement saying that “It’s something that I will not do again,”.
When you are in public domain it is always good to look before you tweet and look before you follow.
One good measure of authority although not accurate in the social media world is the number of twitter followers a person has. To make your Twitter time line interesting, informative and interactive you should follow the right folks. Deciding whom to follow and who not to follow is not an easy task. Doing a keyword based mass follow will result in a nice increase in your follower count due to reciprocation but it would also result in endless ramblings (mostly irrelevant and useless) on your time line. Here are some pointers which will help you in deciding who to follow.
1. The Big Names
Following the big guys has both advantages and disadvantages. For instance if you are in the tech industry it will be good to follow some popular guys like Scobleizer or Arrington (TechCrunch). You will get first hand information about the latest happenings in the industry but you should be ready to be bombarded with other tweets too. The Wefollow directory is a nice place to find new people to follow from different arenas.
2. Common Interest
One important thing to keep the updates not so boring is to follow people who have some common interests. It you are into music then following music composers, singers etc will help to spark some interesting conversations and Twitter can also be a nice medium to get new contacts.
3. The Ratio
The follower/following ratio should be at an optimal level. If a person follows 2000 people and just has 25 people following him/her back then the account will probably be used for spamming. It is better not to follow such accounts as those tweets will be of little or no value. It is always good to follow users who have a follower/following ratio less than 1 and it is also good maintain the ratio on our own account although it may be a little hard initially.
Some of the best tweets which i see daily are from the people who live in my town. Connecting with people in your locality is good fun. Attending Tweetups is the best way to find new people to follow and get followed in reciprocation but some sites like local tweeps will also help you to find some interesting folks. The user search feature from Twitter Grader is much more powerful and it uses a ranking algorithm and lists the top twitterers in your locality.
5. The knowledgeable
This is one of my personal favorites. I always follow people who know something that i don’t know but i am willing to know more. Some good examples of the twitters who come in this categories are subject matter experts like designers, researchers, elite bloggers, your seniors at work, associates etc. It is always good to follow such people even if they don’t follow you back because it will not only help you learn something new but it may also broaden your skill set in an indirect way.
6. Number of Tweets
Whenever you follow some one just look at their number of tweets per day. Although it doesn’t harm to have inactive twitters in your list, it is really annoying to follow people who tweet anything and everything they do. It is good to set a personal limitation (follow people who publish less than 30 tweets per day) and this will ensure that good tweets don’t get buried amidst useless ramblings. This number depends on the time which you are willing to spend on Twitter.
You can also find new Twitter friends with the help of recommendation tools like Mr.Twitter and Who Should i follow. These tools will pick users who are similar to the people whom you currently follow.Users can also suggest other users and make recommendations in Mr.Tweet
It may take only a couple of seconds to think before you click the Follow button but the good thing is that we do have the option to unfollow!