Additional Articles to support “Twitter is Making Us Brilliant”

03/19/2009
Image representing comScore as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Another article on Twitter‘s stratosperic growth at impressive rates, I’m going to use this to support statistics on how big the phenomenon is.

Maybe it is all the TV news mentions, but Twitter is seeing the growth in U.S visitors to its site accelerating. In February, 4 million people in the U.S. visited the site, up from 2.6 million the month before, according to the latest data from comScore. That represents a 55 percent month-over-month growth rate, compared to 33 percent growth in each of the two months prior. (ComScore has yet to release February figures for worldwide visitors, but for January that number is 6 million).

via Whoa, Twitter Mania.

Here is an article with a list of eBooks that I may or may not be able to make use of, all free, all about some aspect of Twitter, any of which may come in handy:

Approximately 24 hours ago, internet marketing firm HubSpot released its first State of the Twittersphere report for the fourth quarter of 2008, analyzing assorted growth rates, following/follower ratios, and geographic data.

Among the results, we now know about 7,500 people join the Twitter ranks every day; 35% of Twitter users have 10 or less followers; and nine percent follow nobody at all.

Source: 8 Free eBooks on Twitter — AriWriter
from http://ariwriter.com/2008/12/8-free-ebooks-on-twitter/
retrieved on Thu Mar 19 2009 21:56:35 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
Also, here is an article on the idea that social network users can be generally classified into two groups (obviously playing on Theory X Theory Y construct of leadership and motivation, e.g. http://www.12manage.com/methods_mcgregor_theory_X_Y.html) as a way of introducing that I personally am of the Y type (in both theories)

As sites like Twitter and Friendfeed continue to increase in popularity on the web, so does the potential for users to extract value from these communities. However, while there are many people who love to be at the forefront of it all, others are only there because they have to.

I’ve found there are [VERY] generally, two schools of thought on Social Media and it’s future.   There are the skeptics who I call Type X thinkers, and the believers who I call Type Y thinkers.

Source: On Social Media, Are You a Type X or Type Y Thinker? | introspective snapshots from http://www.sheysmith.com/2009/03/17/on-social-media-are-you-a-type-x-or-type-y-thinker/ retrieved on Thu Mar 19 2009 09:12:07 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

Here’s a short indication of how Tweeting can inform in ways that you might not expect, or want, but clearly an indication of collective intelligence (italics are mine)

A lucky job applicant tweeted the following:

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.

This tweet caught the attention of Tim Levad, a channel partner advocate for Cisco. To which he responded:

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.

Ouch! The person who dissed the Cisco offer quickly took their Twitter account private. But Twitter search retained the record.

Source: socialmedian: How to Tweet Your Way Out of a Job from http://www.socialmedian.com/story/3566274/how-to-tweet-your-way-out-of-a-job retrieved on Thu Mar 19 2009 09:26:30 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

And here is another article speaking about Twitter’s astronomical growth:

The latest numbers from Nielsen Online indicate that Twitter grew 1,382% year-over-year in February, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the US for the month. Not only is that huge growth in one year, but in one month as well, as in January, Twitter.com clocked in with 4.5 million unique visitors in the US, meaning the service grew by more than 50 percent month-over-month.

Source: Twitter Now Growing at a Staggering 1,382 Percent from http://mashable.com/2009/03/16/twitter-growth-rate-versus-facebook/ retrieved on Thu Mar 19 2009 17:21:50 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

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Reading Review for March 17th, 2009

03/15/2009
Blogger (service)
Image via Wikipedia

1.  Provide a quick over view or summary of the readings  (3 – 5 sentences)   (8pts)

Blogging: What is it, and how has it affected the media is a broad scope article on blogging, and introduction with examples, counterexamples, and some effects of blogging on extant industries like the paper press. For someone who is wholly uninitiated to blogging, it gives a nice concise history, touches on some of the conventions and important notes (ease of use, early users, creators) and discusses some statistics and trends about the phenomenon.

A funny thing happened on the way to the blog is about the history and effects of a civic blogger on the Rockville Central blog. It talks about lessons learned, issues regarding censorship, impacts vs. scale, and lots of other issues regarding a small scale, wholly volunteer endeavor in order to support civic interaction using a forcefully unbiased blog.

2.  Clearly Identify what you feel are 3 key ideas in the readings (8pts)

One key idea is that a blog is simply a vehicle for content. The idea that the content is released chronologically is one special thing about blogging, but for the most part blogging is simply an easy, free interface for publishing any content to the web.

One key idea is that blogging can come with great responsibility, especially if an audience is involved.

One key idea is that blogging has very little in the way of thresholds. As each of us in this class has discovered, and as the Funny thing and What is it articles reiterate, there is no cost, very little learning curve, and wild potential for returns on investment while blogging, and it can be developed into a highly powerful platform for content.

3.  Support your summary and/or key points with three specific references to the readings (7pts)

My first idea that blogs are simply vehicles for content is supported in the following quote from What is it:

“(Blogs are) so very malleable that people are doing with it what they want to do,” Blood said. Her blag, “Rebecca’s Pocket,” is devoted to highlighting whatever catches her attentian, including the themes of media literacy, sustainability. Web culture and domestic life. She also pasts the occasional recipe.

My idea that blogging can be a responsibility laden venture is supported by the following quote from Funny thing from one of the blog’s readers who was questioning the blogger’s unilateral control of comment publication:

‘I fully agree with the need to keep the conversation civil, but any unilateral editing of comments gives me pause. It looks like both comments that were deleted were about one particular politician. I would like to get an idea of what was being censored to determine for myself whether or not it was appropriate. I want to know I can trust that this blog really is being neutral and not protecting certain people from public scrutiny.

My idea that there is very little keeping us from blogging and making an impact is supported in Funny Thing:

You don’t need an organization to have an institution. Rockville Central is literally two people who just spend time volunteering. There is nothing official about it, no phone number to call, no office to visit. Its only real expense is its domain name—about $6 per year. Yet it is enough of an institution that the mayor and some members of the city council have chosen to release statements through it. In city council meetings, office holders as well as citizens have spoken about something they have read in Rockville Central. It is unorganized, but it is still a community institution.to stay aloof from such things while still being relevant. It is a fine line to walk, and it takes willingness to resist flattery, threat, and cajoling.

4.  Identify the most difficult or challenging concept for you from this week’s readings.  Saying “I don’t know” or “nothing was difficult” is not an adequate response. (8pts)

One of the most difficult and challenging concepts for me is why blogging isn’t far more popular than it is. For me the allure is in the free soapbox. For me, it’s a powerful way to connect with the world, start conversations, and participate, collaborate, and pontificate. I have heard many of my classmates bemoaning the required posting in their blogs, and I’m not sure why. I can’t stop myself from posting something here, and love the opportunity to get to do something I was doing anyway as part of a grading structure. What is the resistance about?

5.  Provide 2 or 3 discussion questions for us to talk about in class (6pts)

1. What will the next evolution of blogging look like?

2. What is microblogging and how is it different that blogging?

3. What other major popular social networking system is Evan Williams partially responsible for, and how does it relate to blogging?

6. Discuss how this week’s readings might relate to your upcoming presentation, paper or to the “real world.” Here too, saying “I don’t know” or “it does not apply” is not an adequate response.  (8pts)

I’m doing a paper on Twitter, which is a form of microblogging. I see the posts that we are currently doing in blogs (such as civic blogging) as increasing in frequency, decreasing in size, maintaining attention, being sized for mobility, and developing a surge in interconnectivity. I feel like blogging is becoming more secondary to some of these kinds of primary interconnectivity networks, where we find out about the blog entries through our status updates, tinyurl links, and tweets.

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Skittles Twitters up a storm – Technology Live – USATODAY.com

03/04/2009
Skittles.
Image via Wikipedia

I was watching this unfold on Twitter over the day when it happened, and I thought it was brilliant. Since a friend shared this story with me, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about how this helps support my thesis, “Twitter is making us brilliant.” If other major companies were to use methods like this, we’d be able to see, with a glance and a scroll, how people felt about the product, what it was about, the current feeling people have about it, whether it matters, and so on. What’s more, we tweeps can participate in that discussion, and add to that knowledge. Skittles is more than a candy, it’s a brand, it’s a common idea that we’re all aware of, and likely all have experienced. Have you experienced Skittles? I have, and they’re okay. I prefer Peanut M&Ms. Could you imagine what might ensue if you were to have the same thing (relevant tweets) on the McDonald’s front page: people arguing over fat and calories, which sandwich was best (or worst), what combinations of menu items made for the best (or worst) meal, etc. And not just food companies, how about car companies, homebuilders, wireless phone services, and insert your own company here too (like Rider).

This is what that might look like: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%22rider+university%22 If you put up a site that showed tweets about you, what might you find there? What would it look like for me? Like this: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=lemasney

Over at Venture Beat, MG Siegler has a good post summarizing the tempest that has ensued, calling the move “either a sign of Twitter’s ongoing transition to the mainstream or of a candy company’s epic laziness.” No matter, it has certainly created a lot of buzz for Skittles, a unit of mega candy company Mars.

via Skittles Twitters up a storm – Technology Live – USATODAY.com.

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Week 5: revised thesis: “How Twitter is Making Us Brilliant.”

02/28/2009

Here’s my response to Week 5 Questions

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

My refined thesis is: “How Twitter is Making Us Brilliant: I will look at how social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook give you the opportunity to create a personalized and hand-built peer-knowledge search engine, one that allows you to piece together the perfect collection of minds to solve your particular problems, build a support network, and tap into that knowledge 160 characters at a time. ”

By using tools like Twitter, we tap into the following digital media convergence ideas:

  • Collective Intelligence (you can read and add to the collective intelligence in the system)
  • Participative Culture (you can mashup and riff on ideas, images, news stories, music, and other media, and use the social networks to advertise, offer, and trade the mashups and mods)
  • Twitter has a social layer (people interact using the system), a technology layer (web based and application interfaces are used to interact with the system), an industrial layer (this is an extension to phones, text messaging, HAM radio, Citizen’s band, and other media), and a communication layer (Twitter is primarily used to broadcast or monocast ideas), each playing their part in the convergence model.

Here are a few more articles I have selected as potential sources for the final paper, along with some summary of why I include them, and their relation to my thesis.

This first one, from ReadWriteWeb discusses some of the origins of the system, and specifically talks about the openness of the system and how that plays into Twitter’s popularity. For the technology layer, I went some authentic information on how it works on the server itself, and this article gives some of that background.

This week on Read/WriteTalk I had the opportunity to talk to Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter. One of the more interesting topics in the podcast was the open platform that Twitter has developed. We also discussed how the team came up with the idea for Twitter, different catalysts over the past year for user growth, and even how they came up with the name. Click here to read a transcript or listen to the full interview.

Address : http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/twitter_open_platform_advantage.php
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 17:53:32 GMT-0500 (EST)

The following article goes deeper into the specific platform and underlying technology used and some of the inherent problems with the technology in regards to scalability. I want to get into the technology layer very deeply, as I think it’s one of the least understood aspects of Twitter.

prevail-whale
Image by lemasney via Flickr

By various metrics Twitter is the biggest Rails site on the net right now. Running on Rails has forced us to deal with scaling issues – issues that any growing site eventually contends with – far sooner than I think we would on another framework.The common wisdom in the Rails community at this time is that scaling Rails is a matter of cost: just throw more CPUs at it. The problem is that more instances of Rails (running as part of a Mongrel cluster, in our case) means more requests to your database. At this point in time there’s no facility in Rails to talk to more than one database at a time. The solutions to this are caching the hell out of everything and setting up multiple read-only slave databases, neither of which are quick fixes to implement. So it’s not just cost, it’s time, and time is that much more precious when people can[’t] reach your site.

Address : http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000838.html
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 17:56:15 GMT-0500 (EST)

The following is a wiki that is used to document the development of the system, and talks very specifically about the Application Programming Interface that developers can use to interact with the system, even in ways that perhaps Biz Stone and Evan Williams might not have foreseen. The dynamic and open way in which people can develop for the system talks to the participatory cultural aspects of Twitter, as do the aspects mentioned above (e.g. mashups, media sharing, etc).

Welcome to the Twitter API wiki.  What are you coding?

Documentation

* Frequently asked questions
* REST API Documentation
* Search API Documentation
* REST API Changelog
* Migrating to followers terminology

Address : http://apiwiki.twitter.com
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 17:57:19 GMT-0500 (EST)

Here is an article that talks about an open source system that provides the same basic functionality as Twitter, but is free as in ‘free speech’ as well as in ‘free beer’, in other words, while Twitter’s API is published so that a controlled interaction can take place, the actual underlying source code for Twitter is not released for reuse. Laconi.ca source code, which is the basis for the twitter-like system called identi.ca, is available for free for you to run yourself, should you want to. This pushes the idea of participatory culture to a new level, and I’d like to speak to that in my paper.

Image representing identi.ca as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

The laconi.ca microblogging platform is as open as you could hope for. That elusive trinity: open source; open standards; and open content.The project is led by Evan Prodromou (evan) of Wikitravel fame, whose company just launched identi.ca, “an open microblogging service” built with Laconica. These are fast gaining feature-parity with twitter; yesterday we got a “replies” tab; this morning I woke to find “search” working. Plenty of interesting people have  signed up and grabbed usernames. Twitter-compatible tools are emerging.

Address : http://danbri.org/words/2008/07/10/367
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 17:58:35 GMT-0500 (EST)

This article speaks to the social layer of Twitter, the value that it holds for individuals in order to accomplish certain tasks. For me, I think of it as a search engine of active minds. A friend might think of it as a way to gather news. Another might think of it as a research tool. Someone else might see it as live entertainment. It’s a no-size fits all solution that meets a whole lot of different needs. This dynamism speaks very clearly to my idea that it can be a way for each of us to gain pertinent knowledge about our our topics.

Some argue that Twitter has value as a news source, and note that the first snapshots of the Turkish Airlines jet after it crashed near Amsterdam on Wednesday were transmitted via Twitter. But those crash photos could have gotten out just as quickly if sent by cellphone to another Web site. It’s tempting to dismiss Twitter fever as a passing fad, the Pokémon of the blogosphere. But it’s beginning to look more like yet another gateway drug to full-blown media narcissism.

It’s not just television, of course. Ordinary people, bloggers and even columnists and book authors, who all already have platforms for their views, feel compelled to share their split-second aperçus, no matter how mundane.

Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/arts/television/28twit.html?th&emc=th
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 18:44:58 GMT-0500 (EST)

This article speaks about the ways in which Twitter and other social network developers must do work to turn what many see as simply a pastime with infrequent hints of social justice, benefits, and assistance into tools that actively pursue those goals. I personally see these systems as being able to both entertain and assist, as well as inform, embrace, and transform us. However, I think the framework for this is there now, and it is up to us as users to use the tools as means to the best possible ends.

But Glen Lyons, professor of transport and society at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK, told the conference about a more established social network that is already beginning to deliver on its aims. Zimride is a carpool scheme powered by Google maps, a social network and, according to the Zimride site, a “ride-matching algorithm”. Since its inception in 2007, Zimride claims to have enabled some 300,000 users worldwide to carpool who might otherwise never have met.

Thorpe thinks social media applications like this one might be the way of the future. Facebook users might one day compete to see who can gain the most “global karma points”, he says – working for the greater good, rather than for their own amusement.

Address : http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16681-innovation-how-social-networking-might-change-the-world.html?DCMPeqOTC-rss
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 18:59:21 GMT-0500 (EST)

Here is a video in which one of the developers of the system talks about its explosive growth, and the trials of that kind of success. Also the participative cultural aspects of beautifully unintended uses by users is addressed.

In the year leading up to this talk, the web tool Twitter exploded in size (up 10x during 2008 alone). Co-founder Evan Williams reveals that many of the ideas driving that growth came from unexpected uses invented by the users themselves.

Address : http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/evan_williams_on_listening_to_twitter_users.html
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 19:53:57 GMT-0500 (EST)

Also here is an article on media overload, managing new media, and twitter’s role in that topic.

I am not new to social media, having been in newsgroups and chat rooms since the early 90s. I’m also not new to information overload, as I’ve always been a news junkie and a voracious reader. But every once in a while, my life changes with respect to how I give and receive information, and because everyone online has been discussing the same subject recently, I was driven to self-contemplation. I’ve decided I have been on information overload and have instinctively found ways to deal with it, and I will bet you have, too. How much of the following sounds familiar?

Address : http://blog.stealthmode.com/2009/02/28/rss-twitter-and-information-overload
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 20:32:45 GMT-0500 (EST)

An example of a social network diagram.
Image via Wikipedia

The following site lists a number of open source software that provides the functionality of many popular online social networks. I’d like to use this to suggest that Rider, if they wanted, could have a social network of their own to share Rider specific knowledge, happenings, and other bits of collective intelligence. The concepts covered here include collective intelligence, sociality, participative culture (building your own services, for example) and bottom up media.

This is Vivalogo’s list of best free, downloadable, open source social networking software (kinda hard to say all these words 🙂 ).
Unlike some other lists you may find on the net, this one contains only really downloadable and functional software.
Note: listed in no particular order.

Source: Top 40 Free Downloadable Open Source SNS – 城市胡同
from http://www.wujianrong.com/archives/2009/02/top-40-free-downloadable-open-source-sns.html
retrieved on Sun Mar 01 2009 11:49:23 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time)

Here is an interesting article that talks about a particular cultural activity in Twitter called retweeting, which is, just as it sounds like, tweeting another person’s post again fro your followers. The social action is a way of magnifying the original idea (which may or may not have been available to people in your network) by taking a good or useful thought and rebroadcasting to your network.

Retweeting allows the power of the network to take place, in pretty much the same way a blog link can extend the conversation from one blogger to a great many, sometimes at a very rapid rate. If you Tweet something of interest and you have an audience of 10, or 100 or 1000 and no one retweets it, that is far as your message goes. But if you have 10 followers, and one of them has 100 and he or she retweets you, your message reaches that many more people. If of you of this wider ring… and so on.

Address : http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2008/10/the-power-of-re.html
Date Visited: Sun Mar 01 2009 14:40:17 GMT-0500 (EST)

My social network
Image by luc legay via Flickr

Finally, David Pogue writes that Twitter is what you make it, which of course underlines the ideas of sociality, participative culture, bottom up media, decentralization, and other key digital mia convergence concepts.

I was serving on a grant proposal committee, and I watched as a fellow judge asked his Twitter followers if a certain project had been tried before. In 15 seconds, his followers replied with Web links to the information he needed. No e-mail message, phone call or Web site could have achieved the same effect. (It’s only a matter of time before some “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” contestant uses Twitter as one of his lifelines.)

Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/technology/personaltech/12pogue.html?_r=2&nl=tech&emc=techa1
Date Visited: Sat Feb 28 2009 21:02:14 GMT-0500 (EST)

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Tame The Web » Blog Archive » Twitter in the Classroom

02/26/2009
Twitter's Update Page
Image via Wikipedia

This is an interesting testimonial on the ways in which Twitter can enhance the classroom experience. In this case, this instructor is talking about technology-replacement, which is a form of digital media convergence, but, more often than not, I think technology-merging or even -cooperation is far more prevalent. At any rate, making a note of the post for my paper here.

twitter has replaced email announcements. in the past, if something’s come up, or i want to add a reading, or we have a location change, i would send all the students in class an email. these days, when i have something to announce, or when my students have something to announce, we use twitter.

twitter has replaced the cardboard box i used to bring to class on due dates. in the past, my students would print out their papers and bring them to class; i’d collect them in a box and take them back to the office to grade. these days, my students write blogs, design flickr sets, upload vidoe, and post works-in-progress. when finished, they tweet about it so that i – and, more importantly, their peers – can check it out.

via Tame The Web » Blog Archive » Twitter in the Classroom.

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Pew Internet: Twitter and status updating

02/26/2009
prevail-whale
Image by lemasney via Flickr

Collecting great articles for my COMM 563 paper on Twitter‘s effects on Collective Intelligence.

As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.

Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 and 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter.

via Pew Internet: Twitter and status updating.

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Does Social Media Make Us Better People?

02/22/2009
Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Here’s something very close to my argument, but more about interpersonal communication effects. Perhaps I should broaden (or tighten) my thesis.

Image representing Flickr as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Rather, I’m talking about the cameraphone user who automatically uploads her photos to Flickr or Twitpic, who with the tap of a screen can post a video to YouTube or stream a scene live on Qik. I’m talking about the immediacy and accessibility of Twitter messages that make private conversations public; tools that open up the very real possibility that every action you take, whether in a public space or in seemingly private emails and text messages, is being logged and possibly shared with thousands of people.How does this change the way we act? Might it actually make us…nicer to one another?

via Does Social Media Make Us Better People?.

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