Tuesday Mar 03, 2009

My New Favorite Twitter Tool

If you haven't signed up for Twitter yet, do yourself a favor & do it now -- nobody wants to be the last adopter of a mainstream utility (as was done w/ electricity, indoor plumbing, television, etc.). You'll thank me later. ;-)

Anywho, have you noticed what a polling crazed species we've become? I have a feeling that twtpoll (a super simple Twitter polling tool that can be easily embedded) is going to be huge. Check it out:

<script src="http://twtpoll.com/js/badge.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <script src="http://twtpoll.com/badge/?twt=uaqvey" type="text/javascript"></script>

Friday Oct 17, 2008


[Optional mood music] [End of optional mood music]

Needless to say, money is top-of-mind for many folks. Times like these make or break some people, but in either case, the extra awareness is a good thing. If you're shopping around the stock sales and are into Twitter, be sure to check out Stocktwits -- "...an open, community-powered investment idea and information service. You can think of it as Bloomberg for the little guy and gal. Eavesdrop on what traders and investors are talking about RIGHT NOW or contribute to the conversation..."

The following intro by StockTwits co-founder Howard Lindzon offers a bit more context. At the very least, the video's mood music will make you feel like this is something great...or perhaps simply make you feel like hugging him. ;-)

What is StockTwits? from Jon Labes on Vimeo.

Tuesday Sep 23, 2008

Palo Alto Tweet-up Weds Oct 1st?

Who's up for a tweet-up in Palo Alto on Weds, October 1st? @DiTucci, @tehduh, @smaragdis, @chrisbl99 and I will be in the hood & it would be fun to sync up with our twitter friends in the bay area.

Interested? Any suggested locations? Does 5:30-ish work for everyone?

Update: The confirmed location is Blue Chalk in Palo Alto. Hope to see you there.

Monday Sep 22, 2008

CEO's Who Tweet

In case you missed it, BusinessWeek ran a story on 18 CEO's who use twitter. Sun's CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, was among the 18 -- in addition to a couple of my favorite twitter users, Tony Hsieh, Zappos.com CEO, and Loic Lemur, Seesmic CEO.

Jonathan's response to how Twitter helps him run Sun:

"Communication is a key part of leadership—as CEO, I need to engage the market, inside and outside Sun, with whatever technology affords me the greatest possible reach. Through blogs, online news, social networking sites, or Twitter, the Internet has fundamentally changed how we communicate with one another. Today, we have thousands of employees participating, engaging customers and developers across the world, 24 hours a day. And whether it's via a half-hour streaming video or a 140-character Tweet, we need to reach everyone in the forum and format they choose—not what we choose."

There's obviously a style difference between how the the 18 CEO's profiled leverage Twitter -- some use it to emote, others use it to inform, and yet others use it as a combination of the two+. Jeremiah Owyang asks:

"@SunCEOBlog twitter account is so unpersonal, for a company that preaches being so open, this isn't living the brand, agree or disagree?"

Jerimiah is one of the most interesting and informational Twitter users that I follow, but I had to disagree with him on this one:

"@jowyang -1 on this one. :-) @SunCEOBlog (not @SunCEO) simply tweets his new blog posts. His blog is his general communications channel."

I think it would be odd and unnecessary to expect all/any fortune 500 CEOs to maintain multiple social media profiles while effectively driving the success of their companies. It's also not necessary if they have at least one channel where they can hold open conversations and syndicate those conversations for ease of engagement -- as is done by Jonathan using his blog for widely distributed conversations then having posts syndicated via Twitter.

Similar to Lee LeFever, thanks to Twitter, I use it as a combination of a chat, micro-blogging, and feed reading tool. The few feeds that are most important to me are fortunately syndicated on Twitter. So, I rarely check my full feed reader anymore.

Setting up a feed for syndication on Twitter, is super simple. Check out Twitterfeed for the details.

Friday May 30, 2008

Today's Twitter and Scoble Interview

Good "clear the air" interview between Scoble and Twitter today about the Twitter stability issues and how they are in small part related to power users who follow and are followed by a lot of users.

In addition to making it clear that there is a big difference between power use vs illegitimate use of the site and the sum of the impact of both, I appreciate Twitter's transparency about the site's stability issues. Basically, they have a lot of power advisers and the solution isn't necessarily something that throwing money at any one thing will solve -- it sounds like the primary wellness necessity is time and effort to work on laying the new foundation concurrent to maintaining the site and applying stop gaps in the meantime.

The overall user frustration is the duration of the stability issues. All I can say is, having been on projects where stability issues seem to linger on and on, there's almost always a small team of committed, exhausted people working their you-know-what's off who are far more disturbed by the issues than anyone else. Tho', I can't speak to the level of actual commitment going on behind the scenes at Twitter, of course, but let's hope that it's maximized. Time is their worst enemy at this point.

I still would rather work on a project in the hot seat than to work on something nobody cares about. Sending Twitter some get well soon vibes...

Saturday Apr 26, 2008

Jonathan Schwartz answers the Web 2.0 Expo keynote Twitter questions

Yesterday, Tim O'Reilly offered his Twitter account as an open channel for asking Jonathan questions for his Web 2.0 Expo keynote. Unfortunately the @ replies feature wasn't properly configured on Tim's phone, so the questions were missed.

Tim made good on following up with Jonathan to get answers to the tweeted questions. Check them out.

Friday Apr 18, 2008

Laura Fitton Interview

It's a bit long (by today's 140 character Twitter standard), but check out this excellent interview with Laura Fitton (you can follow her on Twitter via @Pistachio). I completely agree with her observations about Twitter.

Following are a few of my favorite quotes from the post:

"To be candid, Twitter sounds idiotic at first. It's true. But it's also true it's changed my life and career a bazillion ways. I've gone from homebound mom of two babies under two to solidly booked, traveling around the world and extraordinarily well-networked."
"Connecting to so many smart people - online and off - via Twitter has been like hitting a big cool oasis in a lifelong desert."
"Get over expertise and fiefdoms. Be porous. Seek out social media Wunderkinds (of any age) because aptitude, authenticity and enthusiasm trounce authority in this world. Much is experimental. Be willing to try and fail and adjust and try better."
"Twitter can be used so many different ways to accomplish so many different things. Here are just a few internal uses I see:
  • Team build--not just by cooperating but with actual relationships. Twitter has the "water cooler" effect, but with genuine knowing and collegiality
  • Collaborate on projects & share ideas: have brains to pick/bounce ideas off
  • Flatten the org chart to create feedback and mentoring
  • Educate
  • Inspire
  • Pass along information and articles in real time
  • Summarize core ideas
  • Coordinate travel and conferences
  • Simplify communications
  • Fast sharing of ideas, news and information
  • Provide extensive personal and professional support
  • Research, sourcing & purchasing advice
  • To leave social media in the marketing/publicity layer is a HUGE mistake -- akin to saying email is only a marketing tool."
She also touches on this amazing experience thanks to Qik:
"Qik helped me help my dad to get to his mom's deathbed on time...]"

It reminds me how lucky I am to work in this space and I can't wait to see what's next.

Monday Apr 14, 2008

The Evolution of Twitter Songs

Twitter Song, Circa 2007

Twitter Song, Circa 2008

And that, boys and girls, is how evolution works! ;-) Can't wait to see what 2009 will bring!

Thursday Apr 10, 2008

Super Hero Week on Twitter

Twitter often has community defined avatar themes. This is super hero week. I'm late in participating because finding a female super heroine means you get a character with one of the following characteristics:

a) a anatomy more silly than Barbie's
b) you have "girl" in your title

I missed a pool of obvious super-heroines -- tho' you won't find them in comic books, cartoons, or Wikipedia's Super Heroine page. These are the real life women around us who manage the unmanageable day in and day out with no fanfare. Women who meet every letter of definition of "heroine":

her·o·ine noun
1. a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. the principal female character in a story, play, film, etc.

I'm going with the mother of all super heroines. Meet...

Rebecca the Magnificent!

Thursday Mar 06, 2008

Developing relationships 140 characters at a time

When people ask me what Twitter is, I usually say "It's a combination of a micro-blog tool/text messaging/chatroom/feed reader with your friends, family, colleagues, co-workers and favorite time-sensitive, feeds (news feeds, earnings announcements, etc.)."

When I first started using Twitter, I had a common reaction to it: "Great, one more point of distraction." "I barely have time for the friends I have -- why would I want to allocate time to strangers?"

It's proven me wrong. I now seem to have a more focused work blog. Those crazy off-topic thoughts with a high blogability factor, now find their way to Twitter, where there is a better opportunity of immediate conversation to compliment the emotions related to the real time experience.

I've also developed some amazing relationships with people in the tech sector:
  • Sun colleagues (I now know more about Sun outside of my organization & have realized my colleagues and I share some super cool interest commonalities & develop a deeper knowledge about these interests as a result)
  • Analysts (I now know more about the tech sector & they have better visibility of cool stuff going on at Sun by following Sun folks)
  • Tech celebs in the social networking space (early access to what's hot, what works, ideas on what I can do to improve my work charter & they also get improved visibility into Sun)
  • Even a CEO of a company that develops the software that runs Sun Wikis (one of the programs that I manage). Jeffrey and I will be co-hosting an Enterprise 2.0 session this summer.
Is Twitter a relevant work tool? Sure, I think so! :-)

The Common Craft Show has once again provided a comprehensive video that may offer more insight if you're curious:

Friday Jan 11, 2008

"Well, did you Google it?"

I often dislike it when I hear someone use that phrase. Granted it is a relevant question at times, but more often than not it's used in the same condescending tone as "Did you RTFM?"

Sometimes...it's good to have human to human discussions. Sometimes, the discussion participants will find serendipitous mutual benefits when contributing to the collective knowledge base.

That's why I like Twitter. It doesn't replace autonomous research, but it culls knowledge either not on the internet or not findable due to a gap between search terms and the desired content.

Friday Nov 23, 2007

Best Peach Cobbler Recipe Ever

Thanks to the magic of the collective wisdom on Twitter [1] [2], I found then prepared this fantastic (super simple) peach cobbler recipe for Thanksgiving dessert. I made a second batch with cherries instead of peaches -- it was a bit too sweet for my taste, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.

[In a separate bowl] Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday Nov 02, 2007

Press conference access via Twitter

This only works if you have a proxy in the room, but it's a cool use of Twitter by Scoble to pull a physically distributed audience into a press release and give them a voice to ask questions:

" The hidden OpenSocial press conference (future of information sharing) by ZDNet's Michael Krigsman -- Google’s OpenSocial announcement today suggests changes that may improve the future of social networking (click here for Dan Farber’s coverage). Hidden from view during the press conference, an improvised parallel event arose spontaneously, raising deeper implications than the Google announcement itself. This parallel event offers a provocative glimpse into the future of collective intelligence, information ..."

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

Google acquires Jaiku

Details posted here. Good news for Jaiku. Congrats to Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen, Jaiku Founders.

I'm wondering if this will have an impact on Twitters's usage volume. Although Twitter has experienced growing pains that have manifested themselves in the form of site uptime/stability issues, it still seems to hold the not-so-secret sauce: critical participation mass. Or in other words, people hang out where their friends are -- if Twitter were a pub, there would be standing room only.

Quick update: I've mentioned ease of integratability before when talking about social networks & give a hearty +1 to Dave Winer's comment regarding the Jaiku news:
"The big win of course would be if Jaiku supported the Twitter API in a plug-compatible way. Then all our apps that work with Twitter would work with Google's new tool."

Sunday Oct 07, 2007

Speed-blogging links: Oct 7, 2007

I'm not a big fan of blogging lists of links, but I'm short on time and see value in the following. Pardon the rushed nature, but here you go:

What Would You Do with SunWikis Remote API? Igor, wikis.sun.com, engineer is seeking use cases for a remote API. In addition to hearing specific suggestions, I'm curious to see if this is an effective approach for gathering site input from Sun and non-Sun employees since the site is writable by by both groups.

Why Web 3.0? Henry Story's interesting post on the evolution of the web and the desire of many to discuss, label and define it's incarnations.

Tracking Keywords on Twitter Pat Patterson has an excellent tip for leveraging a new Twitter feature for tracking keywords. Who cares? Well, if you can track when someone is talking about a specific topic, you can join the conversation...real time. Pat's summarized experience:
"A few days ago I tweeted (posted an update on Twitter) that I was looking at OAuth. A few seconds later, Mark Atwood IM'd me: "Any questions about OAuth? I'm one of the spec authors". Wow. How did that happen?"

Top Bloggers Making Critical SEO Marketing Mistakes lead me to a neat Search Engine Optimization (SEO) site that evaluates your site and makes recommendations on where it is search engine friendly & where you can apply tweaks to increase it's findability.

She's Geeky. A Technology (Un)conference For Women October 22nd & 23rd at the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA.

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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