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.
For the second time in a week, a worm has managed to crawl through Twitter's microblogging infrastructure and post malicious links.
The worm worked its malicious mojo behind the scenes. When a user would click on a link reading, "WTF: <link>" they would be shown a blank page. But while they were staring at an empty page, the worm would get busy posting vulgar messages to Twitter from the victim's account.
Twitter was aware of the problem, and as of Sunday evening said they have "fixed the exploit and are in the process of removing the offending Tweets."
Good news, Twitter junkies, it's now safe to return to your normal 140-character microblogging about whatever's on your mind without fear of falling prey to a nasty XSS attack that was running rampant yesterday.
"The exploit is fully patched," Twitter announced in a status update early this morning.
Prior to the patch, a flaw existed that allowed messages to pop-up and third-party websites to open just by moving your cursor over a link. The mischievous mouseover bug was widely being exploited, redirecting visitors of hacked accounts to hardcore porn sites. It was also being used to "auto-tweet" more mouseover links, affecting thousands of Twitter users before Twitter plugged the gaping security hole.
Things are looking grim for the once king of social networking, MySpace. The site's numbers have been plummeting since Facebook and Twitter started to really gain traction. In December of 2008, MySpace had 43 billion page views. Last month they were down to only 12 billion according to ComScore. But on October 15, MySpace is expected to take one last stab at this whole social networking thing with a complete redesign of the site.
The new design is being called Project Futura internally. It is described as a much lighter interface. It will have less clutter and will focus on the news stream. Sound like any wildly successful website you know? Parent company News Corp. is expected to be keeping a close eye on the project. It's no secret that the value of MySpace has plummeted since it was acquired.
Can a redesign, however needed, stop the bleeding? It might just be too late for MySpace. With Facebook and Twitter both growing by leaps and bounds, News Corp. might be looking at an unpleasant reality in the coming months.