Thursday Aug 02, 2007

Meet the Twitter Team

Scoble just posted a fantastic video of his visit with the nice folks who bring us Twitter.

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In the video, Twitter engineers talk about the importance and challenges of caching data for what seems to be a super simple application & touched a bit on scaling & how they were surprised by the usage spike. They also touch on how Twitter is built largely on RoR with many customizations and the use of Jabber.

Interesting video tidbit: Twitter gets 10x more traffic via the API than the website. One of the most common uses of the API is Twittervision. Info about the API is posted here. I'm wondering what the use cases are for companies like Sun leveraging the API? I see a lot of companies Twitter-izing feeds -- I setup a Twitter feed of Sun Blogs, but I'm sure there are interesting use cases for corporate uses of the API.

And if you're wondering why Twitter doesn't update your Facebook status, it's because the Facebook status API is not opened. So, if this is something of value to you, let Facebook know.

It's all about sharing and as Alex Payne, Twitter Engineer, says Twitter "Brightens your daily routine." I agree that sounds a bit corny, but as much as I resisted Twitter in the beginning, it's now one of the first sites I open in the morning and the last site I close at night. It has had an adverse affect on the time I spend blogging and feed reading, but I dig the brevity, efficiency and cross-functionality of it all.

Thursday Jun 28, 2007

Social Networks: Building community or building divisions?

Danah Boyd has an interesting/concerning essay about young American class divisions being mirrored through social networks -- she specifically focuses her findings of middle/upper class young adults building their communities on Facebook while young adults in the working class use MySpace. Per the essay:

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

As with all social networks, I wonder, are they building community or are they building division? One could argue that the generalized divided classes that Danah has observed are no different than communities formed on other social networks. For example, I've made new "friends" through Dogster with people who share my interest in greyhound rescue. Is building communities based on commonality such a bad thing? I supposed that all depend on the common topic, right?

Per the following quote from the essay, Danah's concern is the possible negative impacts on our society as a whole that could drive further division between classes:

I clearly don't have the language to comfortably talk about what's going on, but I think that this issue is important and needs to be considered. I feel as though the implications are huge. Marketers have already figured this out - they know who to market to where. Policy creators have figured this out - they know how to control different populations based on where they are networking. Have social workers figured it out? Or educators? What does it mean that our culture of fear has further divided a generation? What does it mean that, in a society where we can't talk about class, we can see it play out online? And what does it mean in a digital world where no one's supposed to know you're a dog, we can guess your class background based on the tools you use?

It's worth a read.

Saturday May 26, 2007

Now you can use Twitter in Facebook

I haven't tried it yet, but here's a bit about it:

Has anyone seen anything about showing Facebook updates in Twitter?

Sr. Community Engineering Program Manager/Acting Director for Sun's external social networking sites (blogs, forums, wikis, etc.). Skrocki's personal blog, LinkedIn.


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