How NOT to Use Twitter

Stumbled across this today: it's a blog post describing 10 tools to "manage your followers" on Twitter--well you can see it for yourself (view on Google Sidewiki), however the practices and "tools" described there are exactly how you should NOT use Twitter. Ever.

Number one says "mass unfollow those who are not following you back"... why? Unless you're a bot, a spammer, or running a pyramid/gifting scam, you would never want advice like this. Twitter is about following the people that interest you. It's not a popularity contest (or at least people need to stop treating it like it is). Unfollowing because someone is not following back is just bullshit. Get over yourself if you do this. Furthermore, this only affects who you're following, not your followers. The post was supposed to be about managing your followers, right? Not who you're following so much, or so I thought.

Next, "automatically unfollow..." I'll stop there because, again: this post was supposed to be about who is following you...right?

Skip a couple of very obscure and iffy suggestions for tools and you come to "unfollow people who have not updated" ... well, again wasn't the title of this blog post something like "manage your followers"? By now, I'm not even sure anymore.

Next we come to "find out which tweet made you popular..." yeah, OK, that might be interesting information--if it's even accurate--but the site is in German! Not worth the trouble, sorry.

Then, we have "find out your retweet rank". I don't know, I'm not terribly concerned about how often I get retweeted. I mean, it's nice when my followers retweet something cool//funny/important I said, but even so my worth is not a measure of my retweetedness. If your self-esteem hinges on how often people are retweeting you, go see a therapist, because your "retweet rank" is the least of your problems. This is another one of those things that really only bots, spammers, and scammers would need to be this concerned about.

Which brings us to number 3--no, I mean 8. Wait, is this in here twice? "Find out who's following who"? I swear this blogger just recommended a tool that did the exact same thing for #3. The interesting part of this tool's mention, however, is where the author writes, "if you want to steal a power users 'precious friends', this tool comes in pretty handy". Come again? Steal a... wait, what is this blog post even about? I'm completely lost, now.

Well, moving on, I suppose... "find out common followers..." naw, don't care. Why would I need to know this? If they were a friend of mine, I'd be following them already. If they're not a friend, but turn out to be interesting, I'll find out about them through the friend we mutually share. I don't need a tool like this... unless I were a bot, a spamm--oh, you get the picture.

By the time we get to tool number 10, we don't even care anymore. So, to sum things up. If you want to be a bot, a spammer, or a pyramid scammer, you'll probably love this article. However, we learned exactly zilch about managing our followers. But wait, don't go just yet... There's a bonus 11th tool! Hey, wait! Where are you going!?...

in reference to: 10 Twitter tools to effectively manage your followers (view on Google Sidewiki)


Mashable FAIL!

In a recent article on Mashable, Ben Parr wrote:
Which will eventually win out in the end: Adobe Flash or HTML5? Which is better for the future of the web?
Wait, what? Why am I the only one that sees the problem with this statement? I'll let my response to Mashable explain it:
This is a ridiculous and pointless discussion. You're comparing TVs to DVDs here. They both provide entertainment, but one is what all entertainment is viewed on, and the other is one form of specialized entertainment. Can you guess which one is which in my analogy? Here's a clue: HTML5 is the TV.

HTML is what a website is built on. Even if you use ASP or PHP, those are simply tools that control how the HTML is ultimately displayed. Flash is a completely different ballpark: A) it's a proprietary format for scriptable/interactive media content, B) it is not a markup language designed to provide the basis for the web page design (it requires HTML to be displayed as an embedded object on a web page). Just like a DVD requires a TV** to be used.

There is not even any point to having this discussion because Flash has nothing to do with running the WWW. If Flash completely ceased to exist tomorrow we might be out a few web games, but the web as a whole would march on with nothing more than a slight hiccup. If HTML (which will eventually move to HTML5 as the standard) were to completely disappear tomorrow, the entire WWW would come to a screeching halt. So the answer to your ridiculously inane question of who would win, is clearly "HTML5".

A sensible question to ask here would be "could HTML5 kill Adobe Flash" or "is HTML5 a Flash-killer", because it would be reasonable to debate whether Flash will fall by the wayside because of HTML5, rather than "who will win".

** For simplicity sake I'm using the term "TV" to mean any TV, monitor or other viewing device.
Join in the discussion on Google Buzz and add your two cents!


Google Buzz Tips & Tricks

I just wanted to quickly share some tricks with the rest of you Buzz users out there that I've picked up since Buzz rolled out. Nothing too fancy, but useful nonetheless.

First of all, you can format your text with bold, italics, and strike-through. Accomplishing this trick is simple, and most everyone has discovered the bold trick already, or if you're a regular on Google Talk, you may already know them all.

  • To make text bold simply enclose the text in asterisks, *like so*. The words "like so" would appear bold in Buzz.
  • To make text italicized, enclose it in underscores, _like so_. Honestly, I wish they would change this one to forward slashes (/like so/) instead, so underscores could be used to make text underlined, which as far as I can tell is not an option in Buzz.
  • Make text strike-through by enclosing it with dashes, -like so-.
  • You can also use combinations of these, but make sure you nest them properly. E.g. *-this is a bold strike-through-* but -*this is normal text-* (see the difference?). The first example would show up formatted as you would expect, but not the second. Or you might only achieve partial formatting, something -like this-, when you meant to also strike it out.
Another great tip that I figured out, and I hope Google decides to make this a full feature of Buzz, is to Star a Buzz. Now, in Buzz itself, there's no option to Star a particular Buzz. So what you've got to do is wait for the Buzz to show up in your inbox, and while looking at your inbox view in Gmail, you can Star it just like you would any email. This way you can access this Buzz later from your "Starred" folder without having to worry about the Buzz getting buried under other Buzz (or cluttering up your inbox).

Also, just like with your emails in Gmail, you can search through your Buzzes. If you're in the Buzz folder in Gmail, there's the search box at the top. If you just enter a word or phrase and search here, by default this searches all public buzzes, not just your own or your friends. This can make it a little harder to find what you're looking for, but again like with Gmail you can use search operators, such as "has:", "author:", "commentor:" and "is:buzz". These operators work just like you'd expect and you can even make them "exclusion" operators but prefixing them with a minus, such as: -commentor:"ch3mical fusi0n" to hide anything I already commented on.

Another great thing you can do with search operators in Buzz, is the "source:" operator. Source can be any "source" you might see a buzz from (enclose multiple-word sources in double-quotes), such as Twitter. For instance, search source:"Google Reader" to search for all Buzz from Google Reader. Don't forget: you can make them exclusions with the dash prefix.

Lastly, you can save your searches by using the Labs feature "Quick Links" which allows you to save a quick link to whatever page you're on in Gmail. Perform whatever search you want saved and then just hit "add quick link".

That's it for now. If you know any other tricks, be sure to share them with us in the comments.

(Feel free to view/comment on this post on Buzz: http://j.mp/bBwZub)