October 31, 2009

Has Twitter Become Frightening for Halloween?

Posted in Best practices, Facebook, Social Media Tools, Twitter, Web 2.0 tagged , , , at 4:19 pm by bizlawblog

Twitter Halloween!

Has social networking come to this? I was working on the daily quota of articles for my Applied Entrepreneurship group on LinkedIn this morning, looking for Halloween related articles on entrepreneurship. I ran across a short post on The Next Web letting folks know how they could scare their friends. The article by Boris (I’m scared already), Twitter ♥ Halloween, tells you:

Google has a special logo for the occasion and Twitter supports a few extra signs. Here is a table of scary faces you can use today. Copy the codes on the left (like >o<) and paste them into Twitter. Then submit your tweet. Twitter will turn your code into an image. Give it a try and scare your friends!

8-#   =  N Cool?  Maybe.  Scary?  Not so much.

According to an article by Leena Rao, Twitter Tricks And Treats For Halloween, most people may not have figured out how to tweet using this hack correctly. What may be more frightening however is Twitter’s rapid generation of applications of all sorts, many of which are reportedly under-documented, and sometimes inaccurately registered as “live” applications.

Twitter’s “List” application may give us a premonition of things to come. Erick Schoenfeld’s article, Twitter Starts Rolling Out Lists To Everybody. Have You Gotten Yours? gives a brief description of the impact of this application and Jason Kincaid’s article, Twitter’s New ‘Lists’ Feature Finally Introduces Grouping, Offers An Alternative To The SUL gives more detail. In a nutshell Kincaid says:

Appropriately called ‘Lists’, the new feature will allow anyone to make a list of other Twitter users and label it appropriately (for example, I could make a list called ‘TC Staff’), then share that list with other members. Twitter writes that the feature is still in limited testing, but that it will eventually be rolled out to all users.

By default any lists you create will be public, though you’ll also be able to hide them. If you choose to leave them publicly viewable, other Twitter users will be able to hit a button to “Follow this list” so they can add everyone at once. This is a big deal — until now the only convenient way to start mass following people on Twitter has been to use its own curated SUL. I won’t be surprised if we see some users vying to become the best ‘list makers’, offering comprehensive lists of celebrities, news portals, bloggers, and more. It will also be interesting to see if Twitter aggregates the most comprehensive Lists and includes them as part of the signup process (which would effectively just be the SUL in a different form).

Twitter’s post describing the new feature isn’t particularly detailed, but it seems like this may have a larger impact than just discovery — it could also potentially be used for Grouping, a feature that some third party apps have offered but that hasn’t been officially supported by Twitter. In short, this will let you group the people you follow into different list (say, one for News, one for close friends, and so on), and then quickly jump between them.

Does this mean that people signing up with Twitter will have suggested groups to follow, in a fashion similar to suggested friends on facebook and LinkedIn? If so, what could another Twitter application add to the tricks and treats of Halloween news?

Scare up MG Siegler’s article, Twitter’s Geolocation API Appears To Be Live. But Most Of You Are Lost, which describes as follows:

I noticed something interesting tonight. In the new build of Tweetie 2 (not out yet), a bunch of little red location markers started appearing next to tweets in my stream. Knowing that this new version was built using Twitter’s new Geolocation APIs, I inquired if this mean they had been turned on. Sure enough, they have, developer Loren Brichter just confirmed after talking to Twitter.

But there’s a slight problem. Apparently, the reason these geotags are showing up for all tweets (even those not actually geotagged) is that the documentation was a little unclear on how to handle non-geotagged tweets, Brichter says. The result is that every single tweet is tagged with a location somewhere just off the coast of Africa, south of Ghana. Either this is Atlantis, the Island from Lost, or we have a problem.

So do we think that those signing up with Twitter will now have lists of people to follow generously offered to them by default, thus guaranteeing substantial increase in “tweets,” and at the same time giving an ability to show the geolocation of them as little red dot? I’m not sure I want to be a geotag on anybody’s screen. Now that would be frightening for some.

That’s what I think. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.



  1. […] always had a special meaning for my old partner’s arrival, but having done an earlier blog post on the Twitter Geoloction API, I had convinced him to start “tweeting.” With a little […]

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