How much time do you spend every day sending out Twitter updates to all of your followers? Probably too much time, according to Twitter CEO Evan Williams, who would like to see you spend less time on his microblogging service.
"We have a bit of a dichotomy because there's more and more stuff every day that you may want to follow on Twitter, or search for," Williams said during SXSWi 2010. "Our goal is not to just maximize that -- we understand that people have a limited amount of time and attention and our hope is that Twitter can help you direct your attention in ways that are useful to you.
"So we have no interest in just increasing the time you spend on the Twitter site -- if anything we'd like to decrease it. We want to make Twitter a tool for you that helps you get stuff done."
Put another way, Williams wants to "increase the signal-to-noise ratio" and give Twitter users more valuable information with less effort. This begs the question, what exactly is Twitter?
"The funny thing about being an information network is that it's kind of like saying 'what is the internet?' -- it's an information network. 'What's it for?' -- it's kind of hard to narrow that down, because it depends on who you are and what you need at the time. And that's like Twitter."
In a blog post earlier this week, Del Harvey, director of Twitter's Trust and Safety team, said the microblogging service is taking a proactive approach to detect and eliminate phishing scams and malicious links.
"Today, we're launching a new service to protect users that strikes a major blow against phishing and other deceitful attacks," Harvey wrote. "By routing all links submitted to Twitter through this new service, we can detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of bad links across all of Twitter. Even if a bad link is already sent out in an email notification and somebody clicks on it, we'll be able to keep that user safe."
As part of this new system, you might see links shortened to twt.ti, but other than that, the service will work behind the scenes. Harvey also said that initial efforts will be put on Direct Messages and email notifications, since those are the areas the attacks primarily occur.
Well that didn't take very long. In just under four years time, Twitter bolted past 10 billion tweets, serving up its 10 billionth message last week. So what did the milestone message say and who posted it? Nobody knows, as it belongs to a protected user.
Visible or not, the message underscores the continuing popularity of the microblogging service, which doesn't appear to be losing any steam (sorry Google Buzz). According to Mashable.com, Twitter posted its one billionth tweet back in November 2008, and five billion tweets only four months ago.
As it stands now, Twitter says its service pumps out about 50 million messages every day, up from 2.5 million about a year ago, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In a blog post on Monday, Twitter announced it has opened up its full data feed of all public tweets (otherwise known as a "Firehose") to seven new startups, and would like to partner up with even more.
"We are thrilled to announce that Ellerdale, Collecta, Kosmix, Scoopler, twazzup, CrowdEye, and Chainn Search join us as partners," Twitter wrote. "These companies range from funded startups to part-time, one-person operations so we cam up with a fair way to license access that scales with their business. If you think there may be a potential partnership involving access to the Firehose, let's start a conversation. Our emails is firstname.lastname@example.org."
Twitter has already partnered with a handful of industry heavyweights, including Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. According to Twitter, there are now more than fifty thousand "interesting applications" that are currently using its freely available, rate-limited platform offerings.
We knew Twitter was huge, but what's most staggering is the microblogging service's astronomical growth rate. According to the company's own data, there are some 50 million tweets being posted every day, which works out to around 600 tweets per second.
"Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007," Twitter wrote in a blog post. "By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day. Tweets grew by 1,400 percent last year to 35 million per day. Today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day."
Even more remarkable, those figures don't include tweets from accounts identified as spam.
"Tweet deliveries are a much higher number because once created, tweets must be delivered to multiple followers. Then there's search and so many other ways to measure and understand growth across this information network," Twitter added.
No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of tweets, though hardly surprising if you follow our very own Nathan Edwards, who has no doubt contributed to this massive growth in daily tweets.
Alright, so this isn't quite as dramatic as the first manned-space mission or (allegedly) landing on the moon, but thank to a special software upgrade earlier this week, we've now recorded the first Twitter message from space.
"Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station -- the 1st live tweet from Space! :) More soon, send your ?s," Expedition 22 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer tweeted.
There have been other Twitter messages delivered from space, but in each of those cases, the tweets had to be emailed to the ground and posted by support personnel. That makes this the first tweet from space, not just originating from space.
NASA states that during periods when the station is actively communicating with the ground using high-speed Ku-band communications, astronauts will be able to remotely log into a ground computer using their onboard laptop.
You can follow Twitter updates from Creamer and two of his crewmates (ISS Commander Jeff Williams and Soichi Noguchi) right here.
The powers that be at Twitter have always skirted questions concerning the three-year-old social media company's lack of a revenue model. With them focusing solely on wooing more and more people to the microblogging platform, profitability seems improbable, if not impossible. But Twitter has managed to do the unthinkable.
According to a BusinessWeek report, which cites unnamed sources, Twitter has finally become profitable. It achieved this unlikely feat by inking separate search deals with Google and Microsoft. Although the news of the deals is rather stale and the ink on them fully dry now, this report is the first to quote definite figures.
BusinessWeek claims to have learned from its sources that the two deals, signed back in October, have together earned Twitter $25 million. The deal with Google is said to be worth $15 million and that with Microsoft around $10 million. Twitters's annual expenses, though officially unknown, are said to be in the region of $20-25 million. So even despite the two deals, Twitter must have only managed a small profit at best. The sources also revealed that Twitter's “telecom expenses” - it has to pay carriers for the millions of text messages sent through its service - have been reduced greatly after it successfully negotiated more favorable deals with carriers.
Facebook has begun rolling out a pretty major feature change, which gives users the ability to send their status updates to Twitter, somewhat of a rival service. According to the detectives over at TechCrunch, this functionality will be built-in directly to Facebook's UI rather than having to install a separate app.
The new service takes advantage of Facebook's recently launched URL shortener, which it uses when posting updates to your Twitter feed. It's a pretty smart move by Facebook, who is looking to steer users back to the social networking site, as well as trying to become the third-party Twitter updater of choice.
This is something MySpace fans have already been able to do, and what's interesting is that unlike MySpace, the data-exchange is one-way only. In other words, you can't publish tweets to your Facebook status without the help of a third-party app.
Has Twitter been wigging out on you lately? Not to worry, says Twitter, because "you are not alone" and the microblogging service is apparently aware of a pair of issues causing a bit of a ruckus as of late.
One of the problems plaguing Twitter in recent days is tweets from strangers showing up in a user's timeline. According to Twitter, some users are confusing this bug with retweets, but if you're positive that's not the case (easily identifiable by the retweet symbol and labeled as a retweet), the social networking site is asking that you post your username, username of the stranger in your Home timeline, and a link to the tweet in question in the comments section at this link.
The other issue making the rounds is users reporting receiving SMS updates despite having notifications turned off.
"Do not worry, we have escalated this bug to our engineers and we should have a fix very soon," Twitter posted on one of its Help Resources pages.
So what should you do in the meantime? Sit tight, or if you're "still frustrated, please feel free to submit a comment below and/or submit a new ticket to our help desk," Twitter added.
Gangs in Manhattan are going high tech. No, we're not talking about hacking local banks and transferring funds to untraceable off shore accounts. Instead, hooligans have turned to Twitter to talk trash to each other and coordinate attacks.
"I knoe bitches from oyg that would dead mob yah s--t in harlem," one girl wrote in a series of tweets aimed at drawing out a rival for a fight (and annoying the sh--t out of anyone with even a basic grasp of the English language).
The above tweet references an East Harlem-based gang (OYG), also known as Jeff Mob, and this type of stuff is becoming increasingly common. But such tweets also makes it a little bit easier for law enforcement to stay privy on what's going down.
"It is another tool...just like old phone records," a police source said. "We can go through them [messages] to track these guys down."
Unfazed by the virtual paper trail, one 15-year-old gang member nicknamed Lil V says his gang takes certain precautions, one of which includes using lingo that's difficult to understand.