Tag Archives: twitter

What’s the Status on Tweetie 2 for Mac?

Tweetie for Mac is the best desktop Twitter client I have found. I really like it, and the interface has streamlined the Twitter experience for me. Unfortunately, it’s long due for an update. Twitter, as I’m sure you remember, released their “Project Retweet” feature several months ago. This has caused some problems for me. I now see a small fraction of retweets from people I follow, since most of them use the “official” retweeting method, and I can’t create the newfangled retweets myself, either. It’s frustrating, especially since I can do both using Tweetie 2 for iPhone.

Tweetie 2 for Mac was announced back before Twitter threw the switch on the retweet API, and we haven’t heard a word about it since. Supposedly it’s in development, but despite patient waiting, there hasn’t been a beta or even any news about it.

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An API for the Web: Learning YQL

I just read one of the most interesting articles Net.Tuts+ has published in the last few months: An API for the Web: Learning YQL.

Web apps and web services multiply like rabbits. They’re all fun to play with (like rabbits) and fun to integrate into other projects (unlike rabbits). But learning a new API every other day isn’t feasible or fun. And that’s the problem the Yahoo Query Language (YQL) is out to solve.

Think of YQL as the API for the web, the one API to rule them all. It’s not a hard one to learn, so let’s get you up to speed right now!

I couldn’t have said it better myself. YQL is just that: a wrapper for other APIs. It makes it easy to gather data from virtually any API, mash data up if necessary, and bring it into your own application. With generous daily query limits, and no commercial usage restrictions, what’s not to like?

A basic query to collect tweets from two twitter accounts would look like this:

SELECT * FROM twitter.status.timeline.user WHERE id in ('redwall_hp','fantasyfolder')

Very much like an SQL query, no? And there are “tables” to obtain data from many sources, such as Delicious, Netflix, Facebook, Flickr, Github, Last.fm, RSS feeds, etc.. Is there not a table for an API you need to use? You can create one.

Result sets can be returned as XML or JSON.

Developer tools like this and the BOSS search API, which is one of the available tables in YQL, are what I believe will keep Yahoo alive in the coming years.

Twitter List-Powered “Fan Page” Widget

There’s a really neat post over at Tutorialzine on how to build A Twitter List Powered Fan Page.

It’s a little widget, that would go in your sidebar or some similar place, where it would display the Twitter avatars of anyone who wanted to click a button to add themselves to a Twitter List (along with an overall count of the “fans”).

It seems like a neat idea, though you have to do a bit of PHP and JavaScript work to get it up an running. (It would be nice to see a variation made as a WordPress plugin…)

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.

Poll: What Do You Think of Twitter’s New Retweet Feature?

Twitter rolled out their new native retweet feature recently. Few desktop/iPhone clients have added support for it yet via the API, but many users can already use it through the web interface.

What do you think of it? Is it a good idea, or does it need more work?

My opinion is that it will make it a lot easier to retweet things, which may in turn increase the number of times things are retweeted. No more trying to edit the tweet to fit “RT @username” in. All you have to do is push a button and move on. I think it will also clean up our timelines, since you’ll only see a particular retweet once, shown as the original author’s tweet, instead of seeing twelve reposts of the same thing. I think the biggest thing missing is the inability to add commentary, which matters in some situations, but isn’t necessarily something you have to do every day.

What’s your take? Take a minute to answer the poll below and/or leave a comment.

What do you think of the new "offical" retweet feature?

  • It's great! I'm using it right now. (29%, 4 Votes)
  • It's great, but my Twitter client doesn't support it yet... (29%, 4 Votes)
  • The inability to add commentary is a deal-breaker for me. (21%, 3 Votes)
  • I hate change. (14%, 2 Votes)
  • It's horrible! Twitter is ruining Twitter again! (7%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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Note: If you’re viewing this in an RSS aggregator you might have to click through to see the poll.

Slashtags: Adapting Twitter Culture to the New Retweet

Twitter users have on more than one occasion invented their own new functionality for the microblogging service, and the developers have often taken the conventions and integrated them into Twitter’s core feature set. Originally the @reply concept was just that: a user-developed practice that evolved to fill a need. Twitter later adopted the standard and made it official, with reply tracking and other neat features.

The same thing happened for hashtags. People would append #sometag to their postings to make it easier to find event-specific tweets via searches. Twitter eventually acknowledged the practice and picked it up.

Now the same thing is happening to retweets. A retweet, in case you’ve been living in a cave without WiFi, is a convention that the Twitterfolk came up with in order to share a tweet with their own sets of followers.

RT @atomicpoet: We're living in a bizarre time. Brands are trying to be individuals, and individuals are trying to be brands.

You copy and paste the tweet, then append “RT @username” to attribute it to the original author. It’s fairly simple, and surprisingly effective. A retweet can virally spread pretty fast under the right conditions.

But now everything is about to change. With “Project Retweet,” Twitter’s official built-in retweet function rolled-out to everyone, the retweet is about to get a lot more interesting.

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Count Your Retweets with the Tweetmeme API

I didn’t know this until recently, but Tweetmeme has an API for displaying the number of times and URL has been retweeted. A quick request to http://api.tweetmeme.com/url_info?url=[the URL] will return an XML, JSON or PHP response. You can pass the full URL as the argument, or a short URL that goes to the same place.

<title>Learning CSS Sprites</title>
<excerpt>Learning CSS Sprites http://bit.ly/3HlYUl</excerpt>

If you want to see a quick example of how you can use the API, have a look at this WP Recipes snippet: Display the number of tweets for each page or post.

MacStories Interviews Tweetie Developer Loren Brichter

MacStories has published a quick interview with Loren Brichter, the developer of the popular Tweetie client for accessing Twitter from your iPhone or Macintosh desktop.

Apple just announced the In-App purchasing system available for free apps as well. Your thoughts about it?

It’s fantastic. From this point on I think every dev should consider going the free route with an internal paid “activation” mechanism (e.g. trial -> full version). It’s too late for Tweetie 2, but I’m definitely going to consider it for future apps.

A few interesting questions are there, and a few hints at what’s coming for Tweetie. Native API retweets will be coming in the next release of Tweetie 2 for iPhone, and yes, it will eventually sync your position in the timeline with the upcoming Tweetie 2 for Mac.

Bit.ly is the Top URL Shortener

According to Mashable, Bit.ly is the most-used URL shortener, having passed up the aging TinyURL in terms of traffic. But didn’t we already know that? They’re the default shortener for Twitter, they’re the least likely to close their doors (for reasons of funding and long-term plans), and people just seem to like them.

Traffic: Bit.ly vs TinyURL

More interestingly, the Mashable posting covers the rankings and traffic stats for the other four top shorteners.

The top two are Bit.ly and TinyURL, with Ow.ly coming in third with roughly one sixth of Bit.ly’s traffic. Is.gd and Tr.im are a distant fourth and fifth, respectively, with less U.S. visitors between themselves than Ow.ly.