TagInternet

New Symbols for Content Aggregation Online

The Curator’s Code will use a symbol resembling a sideways S to express that a piece of content came directly from another source, and a different figure — a curved arrow-like symbol — to signal what is commonly known as a “hat tip,” or nod to a source that inspired a further thought. The Curator’s Code supplies the appropriate symbol and then the blogger or writer simply puts in a hyperlink behind it as they normally would.

Via NYTimes.com.

Content aggregation gets a bad name these days due to a few overzealous sites like the Huffington Post [1]. But done right, it is the basis of the Internet. Content has always been shared and linked. Most of us do it the right way. I try to always excerpt a short paragraph (less than 50 words) that makes the reader click through to the original source. I think my experience with DesiPundit helps me do it the right way most of the time. So any code for conduct is a good thing. It is important to codify the etiquette for people who don’t have bad intentions.

I’ll take this opportunity to plug my links blog — Favorites – again. Thanks to requests by couple of readers, I managed to figure out a way to point the post titles directly to the original link source, like it is done on Daring Fireball. Unfortunately due to my limited PHP knowledge, this link behavior is feed-only but considering that’s how most of the readers — all half dozen of them — access the feed, I think it is the best solution. The blog thus clearly has no pageviews motivations, like most content aggregators too. Feed subscription is not only preferred but also strongly encouraged. If you have moved away from feed readers then I also mirror all links I post to this Twitter account; that’s the only content on that Twitter account.

Update: Marco’s post made me change my syntax a little. I shall now use ‘source’ instead of ‘via’ to point to the original link source. Also, he makes several excellent points on the etiquette of linking and attribution. I tend to be generally generous in attribution but to each his own. If I have missed attributing someone, it is probably coz I’ve forgotten where I first read it. This happens especially with viral links.

Footnotes:
  1. I stopped reading HuffPo more than a year ago and thanks to the branded URL shorteners, I don’t even accidentally click on a HuffPo link via Twitter or Facebook []

For Founders to Decorators, Facebook Riches

The graffiti artist who took Facebook stock instead of cash for painting the walls of the social network’s first headquarters made a smart bet. The shares owned by the artist, David Choe, are expected to be worth upward of $200 million when Facebook stock trades publicly later this year.

So, how much did you pay your painters?

[Source: NYTimes]

Reddit: Web’s unstoppable force

How the site went from a second-tier aggregator to the Web’s unstoppable force.

I admit that I have a Reddit addiction too; especially the awesome AskReddit sub-reddit.

[Source: Slate Magazine]

Megaupload shut down

One of the largest file-hosting site, Megaupload was abruptly shut down by U.S. officials. Technically, it was not a ‘sharing’ site or as we have come to understand ‘sharing’ over the Internet since a minority uploaded files for the majority to download. The site charged users a fee to upload large files anonymously although I’m not sure how anonymous can you be if you are using a payment gateway.

Admittedly, most of the content was pirated movies, music, etc. but I’m sure Megaupload can argue that they just allow for hosting large files and do not monitor what content users choose to upload. Like the DMCA states, the copyright holders are free to file a claim and ask their content to be removed, like it is done with YouTube. But until the lawyers and judges get to parse this difference, the site will be down and is probably gone forever. But like previous attempts, the pirated content will simply move elsewhere. There are already several sites that offer services similar to Megaupload and the U.S. will have to continue playing whack-a-mole.

Instead, if the entertainment industry simply focused on enhancing convenient legal ways to obtain content and price it right, people would be more sympathetic. We recently ditched cable and subscribed to Hulu Plus in addition to Netflix and potentially subscribing to season passes on iTunes. Yesterday, we sat down to watch ‘White Collar’ on Hulu Plus and opened the app on my iPad to mirror it on the TV (since the app doesn’t offer AirPlay, go figure). However, we got a message that the episode was available on the web only so if both of us wanted to see it we had to either hunch in front of the 15″ computer screen or hook up my laptop to the TV, both inconvenient solutions. Other shows, like the Daily Show, however were available to view on the iPad. Also, we later realized that the episode was available on iTunes…for free! WTF. No wonder people turn to illegal solutions because the legal ones are so convoluted and inconsistent.

As Steve Jobs would say, focus on providing the consumers with a seamless, enhanced, and beautiful experience and they’ll be willing to fork out their hard-earned money for your products. And yes, stop making movies like ‘Jack and Jill’.

Cutting the Cord

We cancelled our cable service this week. We don’t have a hipster-esque reason for belonging to the Cord Cutter Club but simply because it was getting too expensive for something we rarely used. Rather, it was not cost-effective. We are not those that eschew television watching; in fact we do watch quite a bit albeit a lot less after Ruan was born. It is just that our TV watching habits have changed. We rarely watch anything live anymore except perhaps for college football games, the occasional NFL game, or an award show here and there. We used our DVR a lot and almost always watched the TV shows a day or two after they had aired. We had moved on to delayed gratification which was working out just fine for our lifestyle. No more centering our life around television schedules. In fact, we watched the last season of ‘Chuck’ months after it had aired before eventually giving it up even though it is in its last season.

Cable television by the nature of its business bundles several channels we never end up watching. If we could choose our channels al a carte, perhaps we could talk. In the current model, it simply is not cost effective especially when you are not only paying for the basic cable package but also to rent the DVR and other hajjar associated license and regulatory fees. Our cable bill even without any premium channels easily touched $100 a month especially after Comcast snuck in a stealth monthly charge on deferred equipment rental costs. The new year gave us an opportunity to reexamine our priorities, changed preferences and usage patterns.

Legal streaming options provided by content providers and other associated services like Hulu, Netflix, and Apple in addition to devices like the Apple TV and the iPad make downloading and renting shows that you watch a breeze. Although most of the network channels are available over the air in HD quality in most of the cities, we live just outside the zone. So we only get CBS in crystal clear HD with the cheap antenna I bought off Amazon. I was told by our local public television station manager that if I got an optimized antenna we could probably get the local public network too. If you live in the U.S., you can check what free OTA channels are available to you by simply entering your address at this website or this website. I might experiment with some more optimized antennas but largely our viewing is now going to be via the Internet.

For now, we have subscribed to Hulu Plus which has a majority of the shows we watch including Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. We simply play it on our iPad and mirror it to our TV. The quality is decent with rare hiccups due to streaming lags. Apple TV also lets you subscribe to TV shows and even if we subscribed to season passes of all shows we currently watch, it will cost us about $500 for the year which is still less than half of our annual cable bill. We may choose this option starting Fall which I believe will also help us winnow down the number of shows we watch (Economics 101). The ideal solution would be, if Hulu was a built-in app with Apple TV or the iPad app at least let us AirPlay it in which case the quality would be much better. When asked, Hulu replied saying due to “content licensing issues” it doesn’t have AirPlay yet but are working on it. This is typical Luddite attitude on part of the content providers who are trying to squeeze as much as they can from you unmindful of the fact that technology often finds a way or pushes people to piracy. This merely ends up as a sub-standard experience for the customers who pay or as a total loss from potential customers who now chose to pirate content.

As far as live sports is concerned, ESPN3 live streams college football and soccer matches. The OrbLive app for the iPhone/iPad lets you direct that stream to your device from which you can AirPlay it to your TV. I guess I have to live without NFL games or the Oscar/Golden Globes unless they are broadcast on CBS. I’m sure people survive without watching them.

So far we have had no withdrawal symptoms as our online strategy is working well. Yup, the monthly bandwidth usage will go up but our ISP provides a cushion of ~250 GB per month (capped Internet is here!) and will charge us $50 for every additional 50GB; still a lot cheaper than cable.

Why Google Is Wrong to Kill Off Google Reader

For one thing, Reader is only sort of a social network. In many senses it’s an anti-social network. Not in the sense that people in Reader are anti-social so much as the point is to harbor a small enclave of carefully selected people and create a safe-haven of sorts where that “carefully constructed human curated” list of shares and insights can flourish. In Reader, you don’t go after as many friends as possible. You certainly don’t see anyone from high school. Nobody shares photos of their kids. The discussions that do blossom are almost always very smart and focused. It’s the internet if the world were a more prefect place.

Google Reader was one of the last vestiges of the Internet where you could avoid all the 'friend-ing' and focus purely on content sharing. Of course, you had likes, sharing, and following friends but that was never primary goal of the service. Any communication you had with your 'friends' was focused on the content you shared.

[Link to Why Google Is Wrong to Kill Off Google Reader]

Reading Overload

The more you know, the less you need – Yvon Chouinard

Sometimes, I’m tired from the myriad options available on the Internet to read. This video [via] perfectly exemplifies the dilemma most of us suffer from i.e. the need to have read everything interesting available to us instead of contemplating or even discussing what we have read. I admit that there are times I just put stuff in Instapaper to read later and forget all about it. Admittedly, there is tons of interesting stuff out there to read and every day more is added, and we haven’t even gotten to the books yet. Or the videos. Or the music. Or those inane personal anecdotes on /AskReddit.

Couple of weeks back, I realized that I have to step back and take a look at my reading habits. I realized that I didn’t have to read everything that I may find interesting. Yes, you too. Instead just follow people that you find interesting who will recommend stuff to read. I recommend staying away from those one-page articles or listicles (Best of…) that may elicit a chuckle or two but you will not remember any of it the next morning and it will not be useful even if you do. I recommend long-form writing that you can usually find in magazines like The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, etc. These are well researched, sourced, and in-depth narratives of the issue at hand and you’ll come off having learned something in exchange for your time. I can understand that Twitter has greatly diminished our attention span but we have read content more than 140 characters long before so it shouldn’t be hard getting back in the habit.

There are plenty of websites now that cater to such long-form needs like Give Me Something To Read, Long Form, Long Reads, and The Essayist. I don’t claim to be an expert curator but based on my brief experience on curating and aggregating posts from the Indian blogosphere for five years at DesiPundit, I’m also sharing my list of long-form essays, videos, and photo essays over at a dedicated blog simply called, Pat’s Favorites. I don’t promise on updating it regularly but when I read or see something interesting that takes just a while longer to appreciate, I’ll share it on there. I don’t share these on Twitter for obvious reasons.

Let me know if you have any system or habits dedicated to long-form reading or tips on how you make time to read interesting content that takes more than a minute of your time.

The End of Delicious

Yahoo Delicious Sunset

In a leaked internal presentation slide, Yahoo put Delicious, the popular bookmarking service in the Sunset column. This started an online fire yesterday leading everyone to believe that the much-loved service will soon be terminated. Delicious was one of the first original and actual Web2.0 services on the Internet. After Hotmail, the fact that you can store your bookmarks online and access it from anywhere was revolutionary in the early naughties [1]. My first bookmark on Delicious, or as it was previously known as del.icio.us [2], was way back in July 2004 and rightly, it was for a link for BugMeNot, an online service that shared logins and passwords for pesky sites that demand you register with them.

Delicious soon evolved to much more than a simple bookmarking site as it virtually introduced the concept of tagging to Internet users allowing us to search for curated information easily. At one point, someone even suggested that we could shutter the DesiPundit website and run it purely as a Delicious sub-domain and yes, it would have worked just fine. I used Delicious not only to save links but also share them on various blogs long before Twitter made it easier. The erstwhile Indibloggies relied on it entirely for nominating and voting on the best blogs in the Indian blogosphere. But then, something happened that signaled the beginning of the end for Delicious – Yahoo! bought it – and like everything else that it has made stagnant or killed, it proceeded to diminish Delicious’s value.

Nope, Delicious didn’t get worse but it simply stopped evolving. New features would take ages to arrive and it simply couldn’t keep up with new and upcoming collaborative tools. E.g. It took Delicious forever to integrate Twitter and when it did, it made it extremely clunky. Fortunately, I predicted this long time ago and I had already moved to a similar yet superlative bookmarking service Pinboard in January. It allowed me to export all my links and even duplicated several of the features from Delicious while adding many more.

I’m saddened by the loss of this awesome service that Yahoo failed to utilize and I hope we manage to harness all that knowledge hidden behind all those links bookmarked painstakingly [3] by millions of users. Among all the hullaballoo of Delicious, the demise of Altavista, once a premier search engine and MyBlogLog, another service I used and paid for [4], was lost in the din. Now I simply hope that Flickr, also owned by Yahoo, doesn’t meet the same fate.

PS. And now, after nearly 24 hours of the slide leaking out, Yahoo! is trying to explain that it is not shutting down Delicious but instead trying to unload it. Yeah, right. The damage is done.

Footnotes:
  1. 2000 – 2009 []
  2. one of the first to take advantage of the unique non-dot-com domains []
  3. I had nearly 2809 links bookmarked on Delicious []
  4. Remember ‘Best of the Week Links’ on DesiPundit? []

Fixing Mint’s Wrong Budget Counts

I have been using Mint for compiling and analyzing my financial history for the past couple of years. It is an amazing product and completely online. It syncs to your bank accounts, credit cards, and even PayPal accounts and gives you a quick snapshot of your spending history. One of its trumpeted features is Planning and Budgets which allows you to set a budget for certain categories and it tracks the progress over the month. For the past couple of months, this budget feature on your Mint Dashboard was wildly off the mark. At the beginning of the month, some categories would go all apeshit and display over-budget amounts by hundreds of dollars. If you click on the category, it would display the correct amounts in the Transactions list for the month which obviously was much lower.

Mint Budget Problem

This was misleading and I pointed it out to Mint Customer Service via email and even posted it on their help forums. Mint even acknowledged the problem and promised me that their engineers are working hard to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Also, I wasn’t the only one with the problem. So far in spite of being a major issue, Mint hadn’t yet resolved the issue when one of the users who had a similar problem posted a possible solution.

Mint Budget Problem Resolution

He simply went to the Planning tab and clicked on the Edit Details of the category that was displaying the wrong amounts and unchecked the ‘Make this budget roll over’ option. The issue resolved immediately. So my question is, does Mint or its engineers know that the fix is so simple and that the roll over option is more confusing than helpful? Perhaps the explanation is so simple that the Mint engineers missed the obvious. Or are they simply fixing the basic problem? Mint could have easily pointed out that the rollover budgets are causing the anomaly after which 90% of the users with the problem would have been satisfied. But does Mint know it was that easy?

Background Checks and Dating

As seen at Sweet Eugunes’, a coffee shop in College Station, TX. Perfectly captures the dilemma between hard-to-resist urge to run Internet background checks on your date and the joy of slowly discovering the person that you’ve just met. And don’t tell me you haven’t Googled everyone from your spouse to the casual acquaintance you just made.

The Buzz around Google Buzz

Google entered the world of status updates and friends-followers when it introduced its GMail-enabled platform, Google Buzz for social networking. If you are a GMail user, the service was turned on for you automatically and the email contacts you were most frequently in touch with are now your ‘followers’ and you in turn are ‘following’ them. Google Buzz is a service where you can share status updates, links, photos on Flickr or Picasa, videos, Twitter updates, and Google Reader Shared Items. People who follow you will see these updates in their Buzz tab and can ‘like’ or comment on them, just like Facebook. But if you are thinking that Friendfeed does all that and more, you are probably right too except Buzz is bolstered by GMail’s 176 unique monthly visitors (as of December 2009). Other social networking sites will kill for those numbers on their launch day; just like Friendfeed which never got beyond those early adopters.

Public Reactions

The popular buzz in the tech world around Google Buzz is of instant dislike and feeling of being overwhelmed by information that they already get via Facebook or Twitter. Also, privacy concerns regarding public knowledge of your followers-following list has made Buzz the target of scorn that Apple’s iPad was only too happy to deflect. And I agree with most of the criticisms although most of the concerns can easily be fixed by tinkering with the privacy settings or even completely turned off. Reacting to user outrage, Google to their credit has fixed some privacy issues and some more[1]. I still think we have not yet heard from people who will actually end up using Google Buzz.

So will Google Buzz survive this backlash and go the Google Wave way into obscurity? I’m guessing avid users of Twitter and Facebook will initially stay away. This network is clearly targeted at people who have found even Twitter daunting. They rather not go to another site, register, and then hunt for people to follow much less be constantly updated on their followers updates using third-party desktop apps. Google Buzz hands them a ready-to-go social network populated by their friends and invites them to dive in. Such newbies may not have a Twitter account or would have used Google Reader much less shared any items. But they may have a Picasa or Flickr account that they can easily connect to share photos. They may be watching videos on YouTube that they are eager to share. Buzz smartly detects any blogs that are associated with the account beyond the Blogger accounts. And of course, the tempting empty text box at the top with a simple message below that says, Share what you’re thinking. Post a picture, video, or other link here.

Target Audience

Screen shot 2010-02-11 at 7.36.31 PM.png

Google Buzz is not aimed at you. It, like the iPad, is aimed at your mom and dad who have heard of Twitter but will have nothing to do with it. GMail provides them the warm comfort of familiarity that will slowly introduce them to other social networking sites and nudge them toward adding more connections thereby causing them to browse and share more information on the Internet. Google’s philosophy is simple – get more people to use the Internet and more frequently. This feeds directly into their main business which is search and serving you text link ads. More you use Buzz and the Internet to search and share information, the more you use Google. All the privacy concerns hardly matter to this demographic group probably because they aren’t aware of its implications yet. So while you will successfully switch off Buzz and hide your follower-following list, 80% of Buzz users will not even be aware of this problem. Google counts on that ignorance to make Buzz successful.

Personal Observations

Personally speaking, I too am concerned about the noise and privacy in Buzz. I have disabled and switched off Buzz from two of my three GMail accounts; the ones I use for personal and professional contact. But I’ve left the Buzz in my GMail that I use for blogging purposes on for now. I follow people that I know via blogs and Twitter in this account (if you read this blog, I probably am following you or vice versa). Some quick observations:

  • People have gone overboard and connected all the sites that Buzz provides them with creating lot of redundancy. I see the same updates in Twitter, Facebook, and Buzz. I wish Google will iron out these problems that not only let us unfollow or block people but also let us selectively exclude some sites from their friends that they wish to follow.
  • Currently, I have connected only three sites to my Buzz – Flickr, this blog feed, and Google Reader Shared Items. Considering that I mostly read blogs in NetNewsWire, you will be rarely seeing shared items. Connecting my blog’s feed makes sense because readers can like or write comments to the posts. I think I can live with people not clicking through to my blog to comment :)
  • Since I consider Buzz being popular among the non-tech users, I’m tempted to switch on Buzz in my personal GMail and see how my family and non-blog friends are using it. But I already see their online content in Facebook where I use my real name.

So right now, Google Buzz is just a new toy that we all are talking about and playing with. Once something new comes along, we all will move on. But I think most Internet users who rarely venture beyond email will find it liberating and exciting. Those users will stay on. And they have a several million majority over us.

Footnotes:
  1. Google has now made following people opt-in, which is what they should have done to begin with []

Pinboard – Bookmarking Service

I uninstalled my Delicious add-on in Firefox today but I’m still bookmarking more than ever. In fact, I’ve made sharing links an integral part of this blog now. I’m using a brand new service, Pinboard to store and manage all my online bookmarks. Founded by Maciej Ceglowski, a former engineer at Yahoo’s Brickhouse and Peter Gadjokov, co-founder of del.icio.us. Their decision to start Pinboard stemmed from the stasis that Delicious finds itself in after being bought over by Yahoo. After MyBlogLog, also a Yahoo acquisition, was shut down, I was afraid of losing my bookmarks that I’ve been collecting since 2003. Although a paid service, Pinboard is not only the closest option to Delicious’ still-robust service but also takes it further by adding option of archiving the links you share on Twitter as well as your unread items on Instapaper. These two features were enough for me to consider switching to Pinboard.

First, the payment aspect. We are used to getting things for free on the Internet but there is no such thing as a free lunch and along comes the cost of spam, slow upgrade, non-existent customer service, etc. Pinboard follows a unique pricing structure. The price is decided by using a simple formula – number of current users * $0.001 so earlier you join, the less you pay. The early adopters are thereby rewarded which is counter-intuitive to most tech products where price for new users is always lower as the product get popular. I paid $5.68 and as of now, the price for new users is $6.13. For me, it has been worth the price and if you think about it, it is as much as an iPhone app.

As you see, the interface is simple, text-based, and elegant without too much clutter. All the important tabs are right at the top. To make the transition easier from Delicious, it allows you to import all your bookmarks and the transfer is seamless and near-instant depending upon the size of your archive. The Starred are your like your bookmark favorites for easy retrieval. The Tweets tab archives all the tweets from your Twitter account so you don’t have to worry about Twitter deleting your older tweets. The tags are on your right and the links are in chronological order on your left with links in blue, description in grey, and tags in orange. It also shows the source of the link i.e. if it was via Twitter or Delicious.

Screen shot 2010-01-25 at 6.32.20 PM.png

The Settings page provides an overview of the true strengths of Pinboard. As I mentioned, it allows you to monitor a Twitter account and extract any links that are posted (a big plus for me). Any text accompanying the link is used as the description and any hashtags are used as tags. So you never have to go hunting for that link you shared on Twitter last morning buried beneath all your tweets and @replies since then. It also adds your Twitter favorites if you don’t want to retweet or re-link a particular URL. Monitoring your Instapaper account allows Pinboard to extract all those items that you have marked as unread and tags them as such. Further, you can share via email as well with the subject as the title and URL, description, and tags on separate lines in the body of the email.

Pinboard founders understand that in spite of their service, transition can be difficult and you may still want to continue using Delicious. You can keep using Delicious and let Pinboard monitor your account so that it pulls in any new links you post there and sync it every three hours. So this way, if Delicious turns belly-up one day, you can seamlessly move to Pinboard (and if Pinboard croaks first, you can always export your data out in XML format but remember you’ve paid for it so the chances are slim). I was using Delicious for a while after I paid for Pinboard but have made the jump now. You get generic bookmarklets that let you tag any URL in any browser easily and the pop-up/new-window box are as fast as Delicious and come equipped with similar features i.e. selected text as description and tag suggestions including popular tags for your link.

Since this blog is now heavily oriented toward sharing daily bookmarks from my web jaunts, I had set up the Daily Blog Posting feature within Delicious. Using a plugin and public XML feeds offered by Pinboard, I’ve easily replicated that feature (more on that in a future post). In fact, it is much more customizable (no tags at the end of each link). I’m still tweaking the frequency and styling so you may see a spurt of bookmark posts but it will eventually settle down.Alternatively, you could simply subscribe to my Pinboard bookmarks

In conclusion, Pinboard is a nifty, reliable, and fast bookmarking service. It not only equals Delicious but surpasses it in many aspects by understanding the current nature of the web. The best part is the direct line to the founders via Pinboard’s Google Groups listserv where the developers respond to your major questions and minor quibbles almost instantly and as with any community around a startup, the user group is quite active (extension for Chrome is already out). So if you forgo your latte for one day, you can rest in peace knowing your bookmarks are secure. Join me at Pinboard.

Redefining Retweeting

The design is simple: There’s a retweet link by each tweet and, with two clicks, it will be sent on to your followers. This takes care of the mangled and messy problem because no one gets an opportunity to edit the tweet (more on that below). The meta data (about who tweeted and who retweeted) is not in the tweet text itself, so they never have to be edited for length. Because they’re built natively into the system, they’re trackable. And because they’re trackable, we can take care of the redundancy problem: You will only get the first copy of something retweeted multiple times by people you follow.

Evan Williams, co-founder and CEO of Twitter unveiled their official foray into redefining retweets. So far, retweeting had developed outside Twitter’s control and app developers adopted it successfully making it insanely popular among users to spread news. After Twitter modified their replies behavior, retweeting was the only way to discover interesting people and often served as an effective mode of disseminating breaking news without following a million people.

But by not being satisfied with the current state of things, Twitter has correctly identified several problems with retweeting like duplication, chain of attribution, wrongful attribution, massacring of the original tweet by editing, etc. Their fix seems to be simple and would make retweeting a pleasure to read and would give credit where it is due. Plagiarism has crept into the world of Twitter too and I’ve unfollowed couple of people because they failed to understand that ‘stealing’ someone else’s tweets was wrong. More importantly, I was impressed with Evan’s detailed post outlining not just their thought process behind the change but also the reasons why and how Twitter is implementing this change. If only more online companies (Face*cough*Book) took this route, they would have to deal with user backlash less often. As Gruber observes correctly, Twitter has now crossed the threshold from tech-culture to pop-culture where resistance to change and backlash can be more intense. Therefore such a strategy of laying out what to expect proves beneficial instead of springing a surprise on users overnight.

This new feature hasn’t yet been activated on my account but first looks seem positive. Better still, this won’t just be a Twitter homepage feature but third-party app developers have already been made aware of this change. So if you use TweetDeck, Twitterific, or Tweetie, chances are you will begin to see this change as Twitter rolls it out.

Update: People not satisfied with the default retweeting features are coming up with fixes of their own. Leonard Lin improves on the avatar featured in new retweets. I too prefer this.

Internet Speeds and Costs Around the World

Internet speeds around the world

The United States is only 15th in the world and unfortunately, India doesn’t even figure in the list [source].

Understanding Twitter @Replies Behavior

In order to reduce clutter, Twitter changed their @replies behavior such that if you are following X and X @replies to Y, you will not see that reply unless you too are following Y. Thus, you are spared from lots of personal interaction between people; one of which you are not interested in. Some rued this change in behavior because you could no longer discover random interesting people you could follow. But if you see the way some people use Twitter virtually like a chat session, you’ll be glad to be spared of all that chatter.

But here’s where things get confusing. You see RTs (re-tweets) from people you are following all the time and they don’t always RT from the people you are following too. Most of the RTs I read are tweeted originally by someone I don’t follow. So does putting RT in front of the @ symbol nullify the default behavior for replies? Similarly #FollowFriday meme is quite popular in which people basically recommend 5 or more people to follow by putting an @reply to them preceded by the #FollowFriday hash tag. So does Twitter also nullify the default behavior when such hash tags are used? Finally, would I get the @reply (to someone I don’t follow) if the person uses it in middle or end of the tweet as opposed to the beginning, like the default syntax for a reply is?

I understand Twitter’s logic in excluding @replies to people I don’t follow and trust me, it has saved me oodles of time. But at the same time, I would prefer an option to push certain @replies to all my followers even when they aren’t following that person…without RT-ing. But then, plenty of people would end up doing that rendering Twitter’s change useless.

If any of this made sense, let me know if you can clear the fog or just answer the following:

[poll id=”5″]

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