Tag Archives: Social Media

Get Twitter and Facebook Link Statistics with JSON and jQuery

Both Twitter and Facebook have little JavaScript widgets that allow you to share a page using the respective service, displaying a running total of users who have done so. While that’s fine for most purposes, what if you just need the count, for some atypical application?

It’s not well-documented, but the two social media sites have JSON APIs for that purpose.

With a little bit of jQuery magic, you can collect the values on page load and update the DOM with the number. Here’s something I threw together for a project I was working on:

(function() {

var url = 'http://xkcd.com/792/';

jQuery.getJSON("http://urls.api.twitter.com/1/urls/count.json?url="+url+"&callback=?", function(data) {
jQuery('#socialstuff span.twcount').html(data.count);

jQuery.getJSON("https://graph.facebook.com/"+url+"&callback=?", function(data) {
jQuery('#socialstuff span.fbcount').html(data.shares);


As long as you remember to include jQuery, and have the right HTML elements for the JavaScript to populate, it’s pretty much plug-and-play.

You can see it in action here.

Klout: Measure Your Twitter Influence

Klout is a service that provides all sorts of fascinating metrics about you—and the people you interact with—on Twitter. It measures things like the number of users who are actively engaged by your tweets, the “type” of Twitter user you are, and your influence.

It’s neat, particularly if you’re a blogger. You can sort of tell the ratio of “real” followers versus spammers and people who are pretty much ignoring your tweets, based on the “true reach” score. And I find it interesting to see how it maps interactions and figures out who you influence, and who influences you.

Yahoo Claims They Aren’t Shutting Down Del.icio.us After All

Yahoo put out a new post on the Del.icio.us blog stating that, despite all indications otherwise, they will not be closing down the bookmarking service. They may have fired all of the site’s staff and included it on an internal slide as being “sunset,” but no, apparently the site isn’t being killed. Though they will most likely be selling it.

Is Delicious being shut down? And should I be worried about my data?

– No, we are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive.

Obviously this is good news. Perhaps we will see something along the lines of Skype’s buyback happen, where the service’s original founders bought the company back from eBay for less than they sold it for. So long as Kevin Rose doesn’t buy it, Delicious should probably be all right. (But I would still recommend backing up your bookmarks, just to be safe.)

Yahoo is Shutting Down Del.icio.us

According to TechCrunch, Yahoo has fired the entire staff of the Delicious social bookmarking service and will be shutting it down shortly. (Along with Altavista and MyBlogLog.) They will also be closing Yahoo Buzz and some of their API services.

Yahoo acquired Del.icio.us back in 2005, and has done little with it. They haven’t run ads on the site or really made any apparent effort to monetize the service. And instead of, I don’t know, selling the service to someone who could make it profitable, they decide to just shut it all down. (Let’s not forget that a meticulously-tagged index of links and their popularity is a wonderful mine of data that advertisers and publishers would love to be able to get metrics from.)

Suffice to say, I am majorly unhappy about this. I have been a Del.icio.us user for years, and have over 2,500 tagged bookmarks stored in the service. Yahoo is suddenly yanking the rug out from under users who have been depending on the service for years. We would gladly put up with ads, or maybe even premium plans. But no, Yahoo is just saying “screw you” to everyone.

Yahoo is dead to me. One by one they are closing the few services that are worth anything. (I assume Flickr and the wonderful BOSS Search API can’t be too far behind?) The services that they are keeping around are things like their vapid content offerings and underwhelming webmail application. They are still stuck in the ’90s, and they are blatantly disregarding the assets that are their most valuable.

Anyway, be sure to export your Delicious bookmarks as soon as possible so you don’t lose them when the site closes. Find an alternative service or simply import them into your web browser’s bookmarking tool.

Update: Yahoo has announced that they will not be shutting Delicious down after all.

Design Spotlight: New Twitter

Twitter is slowly rolling out their new, more application-like interface. Some of you may already have had a chance to give it a test drive, but there are still plenty of tweets along the lines of “I want New Twitter! Why does everyone have it but me?” It seems like now is a good time to take a look at New Twitter, before everyone has it.

The bar floating at the top is statically positioned, so it’s visible as you scroll. This is handy, as you always have a button to post a new tweet within easy reach. Clicking it launches a pseudo-window overlay. It’s nice to have when you’re off looking at someone’s profile or putting together a List.

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Digg 4: It’s Actually Usable Now!

I stopped using Digg a year or two ago because the quality of the links on the front page was rapidly deteriorating. Also, the trollish users were really getting on my nerves.

The new Digg Version 4 changes all of that, and turns the site into a place that’s actually pleasant to use. You get a customized Twitter-style feed of the profiles you “follow,” which is sorted by the number of votes the articles receive. I had been beta testing the site for awhile, but it’s live for everyone now.

The content is better, since you have more control over what you see. And most of the posts I end up seeing have zero comments, which is also nice. :)

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HootSuite Adds Paid Plans

HootSuite, the “social media dashboard” has just announced their new premium accounts. There is still a free option, though you will need to fork over some cash if you need “team members” (collaborators who can post to your shared social media profiles) or more than one RSS feed piped into your Twitter streams.

Starting today (Wednesday, Aug. 11th), all new customers will be required to select a plan upon signing-up — including choosing the free option if desired.

The following week, current HootSuite users will be asked to choose a package with the help of a migration wizard to help you choose the best plan.

For all customers (aside from Enterprise-class accounts), we’ll include a 30-day free trial. This period will allow you to experiment and discover which plan best fits your needs. Again, we’ll continue to offer a free plan for those of you who don’t require advanced options at this time.

The paid plans start at $4.99/month and quickly get pricey. I think their tier structure could have used some more work, such as allowing more collaborators and for cheaper plans, but maybe that’s just me…

Will Automattic Launch a Hosted BuddyPress to Replace Ning?

Ning users were less than happy when the niche social network provider announced that they where ending their popular free service and forcing everyone to either pay up ($4.95-$24.95 per month) or leave the service.

The most-suggested alternative is none other than BuddyPress, the “social networking in a box” system built atop of WordPress.

This lead me to an interesting thought. While I generally advocate the purchasing of one’s own domain and hosting, this isn’t always within the financial or skill range of the individual seeking to launch a small social network for a group of friends. I wonder if Automattic has thought to capitalize on Ning’s mass exodus of users by launching a hosted BuddyPress service, a la WordPress.com?

It doesn’t sound all that far-fetched of an idea. Of course, I don’t pretend to know what the Other Matt and company deem to be a smart business move. I also don’t know if they would consider the platform to be mature enough yet.

Anyway, if Automattic doesn’t do it, I imagine some enterprising developer would sooner or later.

The Twitter API is For Twitter

Scott Gilbertson of Webmonkey’s MonkeyBites blog has an interesting post about the Twitter API, more specifically, on how some blog software providers are “borrowing” Twitter’s programmer interface to enable clients such as Tweetie to update your blog.

Twitter’s API has spawned hundreds of mashups and third party software apps, but now it’s growing even further — outside sites have begun mimicking an API to piggyback on Twitter clients.

It started last week with a clever hack by WordPress contributors which allows WordPress.com users to post and read their WordPress.com blogs through third-party Twitter apps like Tweetie 2 for the iPhone.

Now Tumblr has joined in on the fun, allowing you to post and read Tumblr blogs through any third-party Twitter app that allows you to change the API endpoint.

While that’s interesting, I don’t really like it. Emulating another service’s API will only result in problems as Twitter updates their API methods. Developers of Twitter clients will update their software, and companies like WordPress.com will have to be quick to re-work their fake Twitter API, otherwise things could break. It just seems like a bad plan to base something like that off of a third party’s proprietary framework, rather than that of an open standard.

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Twitter’s “Contributors” System: Phase One of Their Revenue Model

Twitter is currently developing a new “Contributors” system that will allow multiple users to post to the same Twitter account. Mashable has the screenshots and details about the upcoming feature, and the API developer mailing list has info about the new API calls.

Ordinary users won’t see much different, aside from the fact that Tweets from contributors will have a little callout (e.g. “by Evan Williams”) next to the timestamp and source. Where things get interesting is for contributors, and those running allowing contributions.

If you have the Contributors feature active, you can give another Twitter user permission to update the status of the account. Two access levels allow you to decide whether you want the user to simply be able to post updates, or to be able to access the dashboard.

Contributors get a small “toolbar” along the top of pages on Twitter.com that allows them to switch between their own account and any other account they have permission to update.

The feature isn’t being rolled-out yet, but many speculate that it’s phase one of Twitter’s revenue model. It sounds like a feature that would especially appeal to corporate customers, as they might want to enable several employees to post updates to their Twitter presence. It goes right along with my predictions that Twitter’s business plans are to sell analytics (such as retweet statistics, what with the new “project retweet,” especially) and to provide extra features, such as account sharing and an easy way to keep tabs on trends involving their brand, to businesses.