Tag: Twitter

  • Twitter hack was an inside job, could’ve been a lot worse

    If you saw Elon Musk, Barack Obama, and more tweet bitcoin scams recently, you saw the result of a social engineering hack targeting verified Twitter accounts primarily. Vice has the full story.

    “We used a rep that literally done all the work for us,” one of the sources told Motherboard. The second source added they paid the Twitter insider. Motherboard granted the sources anonymity to speak candidly about a security incident. A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard that the company is still investigating whether the employee hijacked the accounts themselves or gave hackers access to the tool.

    I’m amazed and horrified that the scam worked, collecting over $100,000 worth of bitcoin. Please be more careful, and don’t trust so easily, okay?

    Things could’ve been worse though. What if a hack like this was used to spread disinformation, rather than just grab cash from gullible suckers that thinks Elon Musk can magically duplicate bitcoins for free? Come election time, get ready to not trust anything, verified badge or not.

  • Twitter vs. Facebook

    There’s a real difference between Twitter and Facebook, and I don’t mean in features, but in morals. Twitter, the smaller by far of the two, has (finally) applied its fact checking and terms-abiding features to the likes of US President Donald Trump, making him throw both a tantrum and an executive order (here dissected by The Verge). Facebook on the other hand doesn’t want to censor anything, which sounds nice but feels shady, especially since Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says:

    We believe that if a post incites violence, it should be removed regardless of whether it is newsworthy, even if it comes from a politician.

    That sort of clashes with Trump’s way of saying and doing things, and how his loyal fans have a tendency to harass and threaten. Facebook is in the wrong here, but Twitter is dangerously close to falling off their high horse. While it’s good to fact check and enforce policies on the US President, that now has to go for the whole platform. It’s unlikely any of this will end well.

    ⚡️ See also: My Socia Needia essay, and Services I’m Quitting.

  • Twitter DMs are dead

    Twitter DMs are dead

    It’s no secret that I prefer Twitter (say hi to @tdh if you like) out of the social media offerings available. The short form format is something special, in my opinion. I don’t belong to the crowd that thinks adding more characters per tweet is necessarily a good idea. 140 characters might be a bit arbitrary, a relic from texting days, but there are other issues with the platform that are more pressing.

    Like direct messages, or DMs. From being all but ignored by the product leads, to trying to take on proper messaging apps, DMs are the forgotten stepchild of whatever sort of dysfunctional family this is supposed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I actually preferred Twitter DMs to other messaging options for a long time, and while the character limit can be a good thing for public tweets, lifting said limit for private talk made DMs brilliant to use.

    Side note: Twitter is much like Facebook in their DM strategy. From keeping everything public and making it hard to do anything in private, to trying to enable private conversation on the platform with group DMs and the lifted character limit. This is the same as Facebook moving from “post everything public” to “start private groups” to build your local communities. It all boils down to us, the users, not wanting to be entirely as open as these social media behemoths initially thought, or perhaps hoped. Privacy is a thing, so they need to lure you into feeling that you are indeed in control of your content and persona on social media.

    Back to DMs and how they’re dead. It wasn’t Twitter’s changes that killed them for me, it’s all those bloody auto-DMs. For some reason, social media professionals and the services they want you to use all recommend you to set up an auto DM when someone follows you. And you know what, why not do follow-ups on that to make sure that your new follower absolutely retweets your pinned tweet or buys your book.


    Thanks for following me. I know your time is precious so let me just get right to the point and tell you about myself. I’m an author from somewhere who’s got a brand new book out, called XYZ OR WHATEVER. I worked so hard on it! You can read more about it and buy it on Amazon.

    Amazon link: YEP THAT GOES HERE

    Please visit my homepage for more about myself.


    Oh and could you do me a favor? Please retweet my pinned tweet. I’d love to return the favor if you do that. Just let me know.

    Have a great day! Looking forward to the convesation.

    Sent with UnfollowspyCrowdfireWhatever. (Want this? Sign up for UnfollowspyCrowdfireWhatever for free!)

    Yeah, I’m not going to do any of that. While the above is an adapted version of several auto DMs, because I’m not going to point any fingers here, they’re all about the same. It looks like a parody of social media marketing, doesn’t it?

    There are so many things wrong with these auto DMs.

    1. Why are you introducing yourself with something that’s probably already on your Twitter bio?
    2. Speaking of the bio, I bet your URL is there. I don’t need that in my DMs.
    3. I just followed you and you want me to retweet your pinned tweet, just like that? And you’ll return the favor, will you? What if I believe in space monkeys hiding in plain sight as the rulers of the world? Oh and they’re nazi clowns and hungry hippos too. Wait, that sort of makes sense, but you get my drift. I bet you won’t retweet that just because I pinned it.
    4. So you wrote a book or created a product, and you want me to buy it? I get that, but maybe not just throw a clumsy ad my way first thing.

    There was a time when I just plain unfollowed anyone who sent me an auto DM, but that just doesn’t work anymore. It’s too common, and it didn’t really change anything in terms of the DM inbox.

    The big problem with auto DMs is that they bury the real DMs. I’ve missed a ton of those the past year, people who actually want to converse, not bots and scripts trying to trick me into doing things.

    So yeah, good job social media professionals. Way to go killing DMs for the rest of us.

  • Twitterrific lets you change your app icon

    If you’re an avid Twitter and iOS user, chances are you’re using Tapbots’s Tweetbot. I used to do that, but something about it didn’t really connect with me. Twitterrific on the other hand, did. It’s not without its quirks but I prefer it to other options.

    The latest update lets you change your app icon, a feature I haven’t seen before. It’s pretty cool, don’t you think?

  • Twitter to go beyond 140 characters

    Recode reports that Twitter are planning to go beyond the 140 character limit, with a longform product. Also, this, which I think it’s a no-brainer:

    In addition to the long-form product, execs have been openly discussing the idea of tweaking how Twitter measures its 140-character limit by removing things like links and user handles from the count, multiple sources say. In the past, Twitter has tinkered with the limit in other ways. Twitter Cards are still beholden to the 140-character limit but are intended to help people (and advertisers) share lots of information, and Twitter added a “retweet with comment” option in April to give people more room to comment on tweets they share. The company also lifted the 140-character rule on private messages back in June.

    This following Facebook’s revamped Notes, a snipe at Medium and other similar platforms, no doubt. Blogging isn’t dead, but it might very well be owned by social networks in the future. Let’s hope not.

    Also, hi. Sorry for the silence, it’s been a bumpy few weeks. More on that later.

  • Twitter and its course

    From Buzzfeed’s story on Jack Dorsey and his whirlwind of actions as the interim Twitter CEO:

    Twitter can no longer simply stay the course; it needs to chart a new one that others — users, investors, the media, and the company’s own leadership — can understand and follow.

    That’s exactly it. Twitter is in a great spot to stay relevant, but that means that they have to stop hugging their old ideas and concept. I think they’ll need to open up again, become the platform, because then developers could possibly do great things with the data, and that would be their upper hand. Sadly, I doubt that’ll happen.

  • Apple bows to Taylor Swift

    Apple bows to Taylor Swift

    Pop star Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple, regarding the Apple Music streaming service and the fact that the artist weren’t getting paid during the user’s trial period. Obviously the media went into a frenzy, because it’s Taylor Swift, it’s streaming, and it’s Apple.

    The result? Apple, through Eddy Cue, bows their heads, recognise their error, and pays artists per stream during the user trial period (as opposed to a chunk of the revenue when users are actually paying).


  • This town relies on Twitter

    Jun, a Spanish town of 3,500 people, is using Twitter for communication with its citizens.

    The speediest time for a problem to be resolved so far is three and a half minutes, from a resident tweeting about a faulty streetlamp to it being replaced by the electrician, with a photo posted online. “The employees, whose work was previously not appreciated, now take pride in achieving their tasks,” Rodriguez Salas says. “It brings residents closer to the administration at the same time.”


  • Anil Dash's Twitter followers

    Anil Dash has a lot of followers on Twitter, unmerited he thinks. I’m not sure what to make of his piece on Medium’s The Message, but this was interesting, about sharing links:

    Worst of all: Nobody clicks. Well, not nobody, but out of about 550,000 followers on Twitter, it’s very common for fewer than 400 of them to click on a link I share. (That’s .07%!) And yet dudes (yes, it’s always dudes) feel like they’re doing me a favor by asking. I cofounded a company that helps people understand their behavior on social networks, and looking at some of my most popular content that I’ve shared shows about 1700 people clicking on a link, in total.

  • Twitter rules

    Twitter rules

    Twitter is great in many ways, but it’s also a place where things can get out of hand, often unnecessarily so. It’s frustrating because an overall positive experience can be dampened by people who’re just not thinking before they tweet. Then there’s the asshats, trolls, and idiots as well, obviously, but those are easy enough to manage by blocking and reporting.

    Here are the Twitter rules.

    1. Be nice.
    2. Don’t put a dot in front of a reply, this making it public to all who follows you rather than just to the ones who follow both you and the person you’re talking to. Only do this if it’s a reply that’s interesting to all.
    3. Remember that 140 characters aren’t a lot of room for nuances.
    4. Don’t assume people have read all your tweets, nor that the tweets they’ve read were in chronological order. Apps and user interfaces mess with that.
    5. Give people the benefit of a doubt. Twitter is short and harsh by default.
    6. Remember that there are people behind the accounts. Act accordingly.
    7. Don’t talk to the bots. Block them.
    8. Don’t talk to trolls and people harassing you or others. Block and report them.
    9. Remember to log off, especially when things get out of hand. Hug someone you love, and forget about the soapbox for a while.

    What would you like to add? Tell @tdh on Twitter, why don’t you?

  • Now anyone can DM you (if you let them)

    Twitter opens up DMs for everyone, eliminating the need for mutual following.

    Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you’d have to ask them to follow you first. With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers.

    Don’t worry, it’s opt-in. If you don’t enable this, you won’t get spammed by anyone that you’re not already following.

  • Threats of setting off explosives are OK, says Twitter

    Brianna Wu:

    Someone sent a Tweet threatening to detonate explosives at PAX if I showed up. Twitter investigated, and found it did not violate their TOS.

  • Crush Bot takes on Tinder

    A bot, @CrshBot, is challanging Tinder, on Twitter of course. Its bio:

    DM Crush Bot with up to 5 Twitter crushes (e.g. @CrshBot). If any of them pick you too, we’ll let you both know. Made by @NewInquiry Div. of Special Projects.

    Nice stunt by The New Inquiry.

  • Blackberry tweets from iPhone, tech bloggers get snarky

    The official Blackberry Twitter account tweets from iPhone, or at least they did once, says The Verge, with screenshotted proof. Now, I don’t believe that this means that Blackberry personnel are in fact iPhone users, but rather that the media agency they’re using need to get its shit together. Naturally, this is snark fodder for tech bloggers of all kinds, since Blackberry is something of the laughing stock these days, with its Blackberry Classic and everything. Personally, I have hard time seeing how this is news, but there you go.

  • Roundups of 2014

    I started to collect snippets for yearly lists, for a linkdump post. Best of Twitter, you on Facebook, Tumblr’s year in review, year in music on Spotify – that sort of thing. But looking through these I realized that they’re utterly boring. Even the YouTube rewind video is, while well made and full of things to recognize, nothing worth giving extra thought. So while I’ve linked all of those things above, a way less comprehensive piece of linkage than I had in mind, I really can’t urge you to click any of those links if you’re just going to click one thing today. That says a lot, and it reminds me that not all things are worth linking, nor spending time on.

    As a side-note, are you fed up with the gift guides yet? I certainly am, and I’ve stayed clear of most of them anyway. This is such a weird time during the year, when weak content suddenly gets the spotlight.

    Finally, there is one yearly thing I think is worth checking out, saved for last obviously. I might not be Google’s biggest fan, but their global and national lists of what people have been searching for during the year are interesting. These have been the big issues in 2014, and that’s worth a link.