9/01/2008

Twitter - Social Microblogging Experiment (and Google Chrome)

I started out on Twitter maybe a year ago, then decided it was a waste of time. Then, for some reason maybe 4 months ago I picked up again. It might be that  Witty (a very nice WPF Twitter Client) came out, then I found the JAVA TinyTwitter app for my virtually prehistoric AUDIOVOX SMT5600 smartphone (which only runs compact framework 1.0) . At any rate, I currently follow some  88 active Tweeters (Twitterers? Twitterinoes? Twitterheads?)  and have some 62 or so following me. What I've done from the start is try to concentrate on following only people who I know (either personally or through other communications) plus some extras whose work I am familiar with and who may or may not necessarily be familiar with me. I've found that a good many of the people I follow return the favor by following me. I've focused mainly on the .NET developer crowd. If you cast too broad a net, you are likely to be disappointed with the incredible amount of noise you've generated for yourself.

The net result for my efforts, which haven't taken up much time at all, has been a Twitter timeline that provides me with very current information about subjects that I am really interested in, e.g. most of these people are .NET developers like me. I'm really not interested in following the "gurus" - you know, the people who have 9,999 followers, most of whom they don't know from Adam.  I also use the Twitter API to post new IttyUrl.net links to a special IttyUrl Twitter account programatically. IttyUrl.net focuses mostly on Silverlight resources currently.

Certainly there is a signal to noise ratio in that there's a lot of garbage -- but there is also some pretty good information that gives me leads on stuff I want or need to follow up on. Another benefit is that you can post a question and often you'll get a very quick answer from somebody. You also find out about what other people are interested in and to me, that is a big bonus, since besides being a traditional full-time .NET developer,I also write articles for eggheadcafe.com which we've had up now since 2000.  And of course, you have the inevitable "fembots" - users who follow you with a racy avatar of some hot female whose sole purpose is to promote some spammy MLM program about a useless get - rich -quick scam.

The key thing with Twitter is that as a microblogging platform you have to learn to compose your thoughts into a 140 character deal -- kind of a Hemingwayesque lesson in writing. There have been several times when I was excited or wasn't thinking that I "went over" and sometimes the result of what you post becomes kind of comical.

But all-in-all I have to say that so far, except for the constant "Fail Whales" (outages) Twitter is a success.

twitter-whale

 

As I've UnBlogged before, the thing that is missing is a comprehensive API that not only provides twitter - but also access to more traditional forums and IM, social tagging, and more.

What's been your experience with Twitter?

 

Google Chrome Download

Is Google really gonna take over the world with its new Gears- integrated “open source” browser, “Chrome”? The download page didn’t work when I visited today, but it was relatively easy putting together the download link by simply viewing source of the page and inspecting the javascript:

http://dl.google.com/update2/installers/ChromeSetup.exe

Interestingly, I had read that Google pulled the download link out of their cache, and sure enough (at least for me) the installer executable did nothing – it didn’t work. You can see the executable appear in Process Explorer for about 4 seconds, and then it disappears. Maybe later?

Hmm, got a copy from another developer who isn’t running Vista – and his appears to be working.  Meanwhile, Kaspersky Labs has disclosed the presence of a serious security flaw in Gooogle Chrome...

Google's Matt Cutts on the Chrome EULA fiasco....