It was just last month that Dick Costolo took over as CEO of Twitter. He;s only given one major interview since then, but managed to flat out say that Twitter doesn't have a 'clear long term vision'. Twitter has changed dramatically since it began. The service started as an SMS-based service, hence the 140 character limit. It has since expanded in so many ways with link shortening and smartphone apps.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has also said that Twitter is hard to define because its users have defined it so much over the last few years. We can certainly appreciate that. Ideas like retweets and replies were invented by users before being integrated with the platform. Maybe another use for Twitter will be developed by the users that changes the purpose of the service yet again.
Do you think Twitter is destined to be a vastly different product in the future, or is this it?
The BBC in reporting today that a Chinese human rights advocate is being jailed for sending a tweet. The incident occurred last month when Cheng Jianping's fiancé (who is also a human rights advocate) sent a tweet insinuating that those protesting Japan's presence at the Shanghai Expo would make more impact is they just smashed Japan's pavilion space. Cheng retweeted this comment, adding the words "Charge, angry youth".
Ten days later she was in police custody and is now sentenced to one year of re-education through labor. The charge was "disrupting social order". The Chinese authorities keep a close eye on comments made on social networking sites like Twitter. Even though the site is officially blocked in mainland China, some people do find ways to access it.
Cheng Jianping's fiancé, Hua Chunhui is trying to get her released to serve her sentence at home, but the government has not budged.
While Facebook and Twitter manage to draw attention from scores of users representing everyday people, celebrities, and even the British Monarchy, thousands of business bigwigs are finding the two social networking services to be of limited value, according to a new study.
Website software and training company Intellimon is calling it the world's biggest ever website traffic survey, which was conducted in partnership with the University of Bradford. The two entities polled over 4,000 online business, and some of the results were anything but expected.
Around two-thirds of respondents said they use social Facebook to promote their business, but only 29 percent said they found it effective in driving traffic to their site. Twitter didn't fare much better, with just 27.2 percent saying the microblogging service generates website traffic to their business portal.
"We were genuinely shocked by some of the results across several areas; Social Media, Training, Outsourcing and Demographics sections all threw up some very unexpected results. It's a real eye-opener, even for experienced online marketers," said Intellimon CEO Paul Smithson.
You can download the entire 120-age analysis of the survey for free right here.
A New York Times report suggests that Twitter is all set to blaze past the 200 million user mark by the end of the year. This has come amid suggestions that Twitter’s growth could be tapering off. According to the report, Twitter is adding 370,000 users each day to its current tally of around 175 million users.
The microblogging service has certainly come a long way from its early days when founders likened it to ice cream. Now they want it to be seen as a tool for sharing information. People don’t seem to care, though. It is adding more than half as many users each day as the total it had three years ago – 503,000.
It's long been known that the Chinese authorities don't take kindly to people using sites like Twitter and Facebook in the country. The possibility that people might anonymously congregate on these popular sites frightens them to such a degree that they are blocked by the so-called "Great Firewall". While traditional internet devices and services in China cannot access these and other sites, it looks like the 3G Amazon Kindle is capable of bypassing the Great Firewall.
The 3G version of the Kindle connects to Amazon's Whispernet to access web services. There appears to something about the routing, even using Chinese 3G networks, that allows the device to reach forbidden websites. The result is a thriving grey-market for the e-reader in mainland China. Amazon is not able to sell the Kindle direct to consumers.
One individual that resells Kindles in China claims to be selling over 300 devices per month. Chinese auction sites too are havens for illicit Kindle sales. The only drawback to this method is that the Kindle's web browser is not very pleasing to use, being on a slow device with an eInk screen. We'll have to wait and see if Chinese authorities find a way to block this as well.
This just in: the Internet is filled with liars and exaggerators. Apparently that little nugget of wisdom was news to Optimum Research, a UK-based research firm which needed to survey around 2,000 people living in England to figure this out, the Telegraph reports.
"Modern technologies, such as smartphones, social networking, and instant messaging have been hailed as innovations in the way people interact, removing obstacles to conversation and allowing for openness of discourse," said Glenn Wilson, a psychologist. "However, we sometimes use these means of communication rather than a face-to-face encounter or a full conversation when we want to be untruthful, as it is easier to fib to someone when we don't have to deal with their reactions or control our own body language."
To be fair, the survey was conducted on behalf of Direct Line, an insurance firm in the UK. But whatever, the point here is that in case there was ever any doubt, we now have empirical evidence that people take on a different persona online than they do in person. The study focused on mostly social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook, and only 20 percent of the respondents said they were more honest when posting tweets or sending text messages.
Apple's Steve Jobs didn't hold back his contempt for Google's Android platform during Monday's earnings call. According to Jobs, Android is "very, very fragmented and [it] becomes more so every day." Oh really? Not so fast, says Iain Dodsworth, CEO of the TweetDeck client for Twitter.
"Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android?," Dodsworth tweeted. "Err nope, no we didn't. It wasn't."
Dodsworth went on to post another Twitter message saying, "We only have two guys developing on Android TweetDeck so that shows how small an issue fragmentation is."
TweetDeck is available for the desktop and as a mobile app for both Apple's iOS and Android.
Have you ever asked a child what they want to be when they grow up? Typical responses include doctors, lawyers, fireman, and 'hustlas' (old school Snoop fans know what we're talking about). And then there's the kid who declares he wants to be President of the United States or a professional athlete. Twitter co-founder Evan Williams reminds us of that kid.
How so? In a recent fireside chat, Williams declared "Twitter will get to a billion members." With social networking the hottest trend right now, Williams' declaration is certainly possible, but is it likely? That's up for debate.
Certainly that's the next goal for Facebook, but unlike Twitter, Facebook is more than halfway there. Twitter, on the other hand, is home to more than 100 million registered users and adds another 300,000 every day, according to a study published back in April. If that rate doesn't change, it would take Twitter a little over 8 years to reach 1 billion members.
A new report by market research firm SocialTwist suggests that marketers might want to take a long, hard look at social networking. SocialTwist offers a widget called Tell-a-Friend that lets users share sites through social media, and it was through this tool that the company was able to analyze over a million referral messages.
What SocialTwist found was that email still dominates by accounting for 55 percent of referrals. At the same time, social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular and saw a 10 percent increase in usage, as well as a 16 percent jump in click-throughs. And here's where things get interesting.
As far as click-throughs are concerned, social networking sites top email by accounting for 60 percent of the market versus 31 percent, respectively. Of those sites, Facebook sits way up on top with a 78 percent usage rate, followed by MySpace (14 percent) and Twitter (5 percent). But despite trailing Facebook by a significant margin, Twitter is pummeling Facebook as the most effective portal for click-throughs. According to SocialTwist's numbers, Twitter yielded an average of 19.04 clicks, compared to just 2.87 clicks via Facebook.
Someone other than Mark Zuckerberg and Zynga figured out a way to make some serious cash using Facebook, just not legally. According to U.S. prosecutors, the popular social networking site, along with Twitter and a several other online portals, were all used in a "pump and dump" stock fraud scheme.
Officials uncovered the fraud during a two-year probe of suspected trafficking by longshoremen and others of 1.3 tons of cocaine said to be worth around $34 million. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office said 11 out of 22 people charged used more than 15 websites to "defraud the investing public into purchasing stocks that were being manipulated by participants in the conspiracy."
According to court documents, the social scandal illegally accrued more than $3 million, with shareholder losses estimated at over $7 million. Each suspect faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.