Excuse us a moment while we die a little inside, an inevitable result of learning that teen pop idol Justin Bieber consumes 3 percent of Twitter's resources at any given time. Dude even has his own servers.
"Any any moment, Justin Bieber uses 3% of our infrastructure. Racks of servers are dedicated to him. - Twitter employee," Dustin Curtis tweeted.
Gizmodo claims that Dustin Curtis, a designer and blogger, was given his info by a real Twitter employee and that "his tweet is not a joke." But is that really true?
"At the moment, we are not making our user statistics public," Twitter insists.
Fair enough, but if it wasn't true, the microblogging service could have debunked the tweet and still held firm to its policy of not sharing user statistics. If this were an episode of Mythbusters, we'd have to at least rank this one as "Plausible."
For what it's worth, a followup tweet by Curtis claims that Justin Bieber isn't the only one with his own racks, and in fact "Most of the popular users on Twitter have dedicated servers for their accounts."
Twitter sent out an email on Wednesday announcing a couple of upcoming updates, one of which includes automatic t.co link wrapping. In the coming weeks, Twitter's link wrapping service will intercept all URLs posted on the microblogging service and convert them into shorter, easier to read URLs. So what exactly has privacy mavens up in arms? This little tidbit:
"When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we will then forward you on to the destination URL ... When you click on these links from Twitter.com or a Twitter application, Twitter will log that click. We hope to use this data to provide better and more relevant content to you over time," the microblogging site said.
Even so, this will come as little consolation to privacy advocates who view this move as a "disgusting data landgrab."
Microsoft Hardware, which just recently opened up a Twitter account, is making up for lost time by teasing followers with tweets encouraging them to guess what the company is cooking up.
"Here's a hint for you: 'Dont be so touchy...flat is where it's at' We'll share another glimpse of our upcoming product with you tomorrow," Microsoft Hardware, or "msfthardware" tweeted earlier this week.
Since then, Microsoft has added a handful of pics and followup tweets, but still no indication of what the product might be.
"Love the excitement about our next product! Just remember, we make keyboards, webcams, and mice...," msfthardware tweeted.
Anyone want to venture a guess? Hit the jump and tell us what you think this thing is!
It's official, folks - Twitter is popular. Very popular. As in, the microblogging service recorded its 20 billionth tweet over the weekend when "GGGGGGo_Lets_Go," a graphic designer in Tokyo who works at an advertising agency, posted the milestone message.
"It looks like I posted the 20 billionth tweet. I'm getting replies from people all over the world. It's scary. What are the chances? Maybe Im' going to die. Is it more amazing than winning the lottery? I thought it was a joke," he said in a followup Twitter message.
If you need any proof that Twitter is growing at an incredible rate, consider that the 10 billionth tweet was posted not even five months ago, which itself was four years in the making.
At last count, Twitter was growing by an average of 300,000 new users every day.
Heavy Twitter users living in Toronto who have a habit of posting content a bit more interesting than what they ate for lunch or when they've gone to the bathroom may be able to take to the skies without paying a dime. The offer is a part of a new promotion from Virgin America, which has partnered with Klout, an analytics service that tracks users' influence on the popular microblogging service.
"Virgin America now flies between Toronto and San Francisco or Los Angeles!," the promotional page reads. "Klout is giving away free tickets to influencers to experience this new route. To get started, you simply need to sign in to your Klout Account to see if you qualify."
Those who do will receive free round-trip airfare between Toronto and San Francisco or Los Angeles between June 23 and August 23, 2010, as well as free in-flight Wi-Fi and an invitation to Virgin America's Toronto Launch Event. In return, participants are required to do...nothing.
"If you accept the offer you are not required to do anything," Klout says in its 'Influencer Code of Ethics' section. "We do not want to 'buy' your tweets. You are receiving the product because you are influential and have authority on topics related to the topics. This is a more targeted form of receiving a sample while shopping at the grocery store. You are welcome to tell the world you love the product, you hate the product, or say nothing at all."
Looking for a job? Maybe Twitter has a position for you, and about 199 others. Speaking to a reporter after accepting a 2010 Mirrors Award, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that the microblogging service currently employs about 200 people, a number which he expects to double this year.
"We feel like we’ve come exceedingly far in a very short amount of time, and we definitely feel like we’ve reached something, some point," Stone said. "But the key takeaway for us is that now is not the end. It’s not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning. Twitter is just getting started, and we have a lot of work to do ahead of us."
Twitter, which is still figuring out how best to cash in on the microblogging craze, has been valued at about $1 billion. In April, Twitter rolled out an advertising service that lets advertisers pay to have their tweets show up in the top of search results.
For the past few months, Twitter has been routing links within Direct Messages through its own link service and wrapping them with a twt.tl URL. By doing so, Twitter has been able to blacklist malicious links, and now the microblogging service wants to extend this functionality to all tweets.
Not just for security reasons, Twitter also recognizes that there isn't yet a way to automatically shorten URLs, leaving it up to users to manage long links on their own with third party services like TinyURL and Bit.ly.
"To meet both of these goals, we're taking small steps to expand the link service currently available in Direct Messages to links shared through all tweets," Twitter stated in a blog post. "We're testing this link service now with a few Twitter employee accounts."
Twitter said it will roll out the service to non-employees later this summer. When it does, long links will be shortened and wrapped with http://t.co/____.
Someone at Sony is a serious cat lover, and we know this because they've gone and assembled a team tasked with building a lifelogging device for felines. It's basically a collar with a camera, acceleration sensor, GPS, and a few other goodies designed to record what your cat Peaches is doing and where she's doing it.
Ready for the kicker? Sony's cat collar can be used with Twitter to automatically posts comments based on what's going on. Using Bluetooth, data is first whisked over to your PC, where the software then logs into your cat's Twitter account (Peaches does have a Twitter account, right?) and posts an update.
Shown off in prototype form, the current version only uses fixed phrases, of which there are 11 so far. You might see an update that says "Meals taste better after a walk," for example, or "This tastes good" when your cat is eating.
In a blog post on Friday, Twitter announced it had acquired Cloudhopper, a small SMS technology company and the second acquisition by the microblogging service so far this month.
"Over the last eight months we have been working with a startup called Cloudhopper to become one of the highest volume SMS programs in the world—Twitter processes close to a billion SMS tweets per month and that number is growing around the world from Indonesia to Australia, the UK, the US, and beyond," Twitter said.
Twitter will use the Seattle-based Cloudhopper acquisition to help connect directly to mobile carrier networks around the world. The microblogging service will also retain Cloudhopper's two-man development team, Twitter said.
Google launched Buzz just a few months ago, but it's already looking grim for the Twitter competitor. Media analytics firm PostRank conducted a survey of Buzz content and found that fully 90% of the content comes from automated (or bot) accounts. That works out to 63% of Buzz content coming direct from a linked Twitter account, and 27% is from an automated RSS feed.
So why is it that Buzz isn't catching on? It seemed to make sense on the surface. Gmail has a large user base and many people kept their contacts there. The early security issues most likely scared some users off. Add to that the still cumbersome commenting system, and inbox cluttering capacity, and many people probably turned it off. The only bright spot is that almost 11% of content on Buzz is unique to it. However, we suspect much of that could be made up of comments.
Do you still use Buzz? If not, let us know why. Security concerns? Or do you just not need another social networking tool?