Technologizer posts about Twitter

How to Fix RIM: The Twitter Take

By  |  Posted at 11:33 am on Monday, January 23, 2012

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Over at Twitter, I asked folks to say what they’d do if they ran RIM. I asked them to be constructive, not snarky. And they came up with lots of sensible possibilities. Thorsten Heins, are you listening?

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The revolving door at Twitter, Inc. has been whirring at hyperspeed in recent months. Nicholas Carlson of the Business Insider has a post speculating (with the help of a supposed Twitter insider) about why it’s happening–and part of the problem, supposedly, is that Twitter has a complacent culture and is unwilling to reinvent itself on a regular basis in the same way that Facebook does.
I’m not a Twitter employee. I’m not a Twitter investor. I’m just a (mostly) happy user–and part of why I’m happy is because Twitter doesn’t change at a breakneck pace. It feels like it knows what it is. That may not be a recipe for making billions–and Twitter does have issues, such as the fact that it’s still almost impossible to search it in any reasonable fashion–but it’s kind of a relief.

Posted by Harry at 1:26 pm


The New Twitter

By  |  Posted at 5:20 am on Friday, December 9, 2011


How do I feel about the major makeover which Twitter unveiled yesterday? Well, it’s been hard for me to come to any conclusions, at least when it comes to the iPhone version. For some reason, it’s refusing to show me my timeline and @replies. Some other folks are reporting problems, too, and the fixes they’ve suggested aren’t helping me. I presume it’s a bug that’ll get fixed.

(It’s also showing me an outdated list of my Direct Messages that’s missing the recent ones–a glitch I’ve been encountering on multiple platforms for a long time.)

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Twitter To Sell Political Advertising

By  |  Posted at 12:04 pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2011


With the 2012 campaign expected to cost candidates well over a billion dollars, it’s no surprise that companies that count on advertising are angling to get a slice of that huge pie. Twitter is one of them, and plans to market its advertising services to the campaigns thanks to a key hire of a former political marketing executive from Google.

Twitter told Politico that it plans to sell ads through features such as promoted tweets and trends. At least five campaigns have already signed on to the new offering, including Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign. Twitter declined to specify the other participants.

One thing it will not do is insert ads within user’s timeline, a new advertising option that it has been experimenting with over the past few months. It also plans to differentiate a political ad from a standard one: the ad will carry a small purple checkmark.

You won’t see the standard “I approve this message” tag on tweets. Twitter won’t display them directly with the tweet, however hovering over the tweet would show who purchased the advertising if the campaign decides to disclose it. (It should be obvious anyway, since the ads would direct to a URL or Twitter account where the identity would be disclosed, I’d guess).

I wonder if like TV and radio, Twitter will become a sea of political ads in the days before an election, with the candidates sniping at each other continuously. Let’s hope not.

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“Old Twitter”–the version that predated the much-improved one which Twitter released last September–has remained available as an option. Now the company has terminated it. None of you were still using it, were you?

Posted by Harry at 1:14 pm


I’m a fan of an annual feature called the 25 Best Blogs, but you won’t hear me praising this year’s edition. That would be vain–I wrote (almost all of) the story. And  I had an awfully good time doing so. (The picks are based on nominations from some of my TIME colleagues, and some recommendations from my Twitter followers made the list, too.)

The clever folks at have also put together a Twitter list of feeds from all the blogs we chose, letting you follow all of them with one click–as I just did.

Posted by Harry at 2:21 pm

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I’m at Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference, not the Wall Street Journal’s D9–but I’m monitoring the news from there, too. One of this morning’s D9 guests was Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who announced a new, improved search feature and (as expected) a photosharing service in partnership with Photobucket. The latter new feature is arriving “over the next several weeks.”

Posted by Harry at 11:12 am

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Maybe Bill Keller is Just Doing Twitter Wrong

By  |  Posted at 6:35 pm on Wednesday, May 18, 2011


So help me, I’m not the kind of person who insists that anyone who doesn’t like the things that I like is a dolt. Reasonable people can come to different conclusions; not everything that’s appealing to me is interesting to everybody. That’s fine. Makes the world a more interesting place, in fact.

But I’m still fascinated by New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller’s latest New York Times Magazine column. Keller isn’t a Twitter fan. Actually, he thinks that it–and Facebook–may be bad for humanity. A few tidbits from his piece:

But my inner worrywart wonders whether the new technologies overtaking us may be eroding characteristics that are essentially human: our ability to reflect, our pursuit of meaning, genuine empathy, a sense of community connected by something deeper than snark or political affinity.

My mistrust of social media is intensified by the ephemeral nature of these communications. They are the epitome of in-one-ear-and-out-the-other, which was my mother’s trope for a failure to connect.

Following an argument among the Twits is like listening to preschoolers quarreling: You did! Did not! Did too! Did not!

I buy the idea that Keller is describing the Twitter he experiences. One of the defining things about the service is that it’s all kinds of things to all kinds of people. It all depends on who you follow and how you follow them.

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Twitter’s mobile Web version–the version you get if you go to in your smartphone’s browser–has long been very, very plain. Now the company’s rolled out a much slicker version–one that looks a lot like an app, although you can’t upload photos.

Posted by Harry at 6:32 pm

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Twitter Tests New Text Ads

By  |  Posted at 5:39 pm on Friday, April 29, 2011


Twitter is continuing to monetize its service, and yes, that means more ads. They’re now appearing below the trends listings, in the section that has up until now been reserved for promoting various features of the company’s service or its own products, points out Tech Inspiration. The new ads also break with Twitter tradition by not clearly labeling the content as advertising: the only evidence that they are comes from the HTML code of the page.

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Twitter’s Still Trying to Explain Itself

By  |  Posted at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 5, 2011


As any Twitter enthusiast knows, the hardest part of turning new people onto the service is explaining why they’d want to use it in the first place.

Five years later, Twitter’s still trying to nail that explanation itself. Yet another home page redesign, reportedly rolling out to some users, takes another stab at making Twitter interesting from the outside. This is the third major redesign in less than two years.

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How the Twitter Grinch Stole April Fool’s Day

By  |  Posted at 8:16 am on Friday, April 1, 2011

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I don’t like being fooled, but I’ve always had a soft spot for April Fool’s Day. For the tech companies and publications that play practical jokes on April 1, it’s a chance to let loose and show that behind every gadget — and every story about that gadget — there are actual people.

If you’re with me on this, the worst thing you can do on April Fool’s Day is hang out on Twitter. At least in tech circles, the hive mind has deemed that your best option on April 1 is to take a day off from the Internet.

I’m not a natural-born prankster. I have no gags of my own to defend. But jokes like Gmail Motion, the branded Roku Remote and Richard Rosenblatt’s $40 million yacht, The AdSense, bring a smile to my face. Instead of crying out in anguish on social networks, perhaps the haters should lighten up and stop being so gullible. I dunno — maybe I just haven’t been burned badly enough yet.

Read on for some samples of rain on the parade, but be warned: foul language follows, because that’s the kind of bitterness this day brings out in people.

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Twitter has come to its senses and removed the dreadful QuickBar that defaced the otherwise wonderful Twitter app for iPhone. Good! (I would have been equally happy with an option to disable it, though…)

Posted by Harry at 12:04 pm

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Your Take on This AT&T-T-Mobile Thing

By  |  Posted at 4:47 pm on Thursday, March 24, 2011

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I spent the last few days at the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, and the big news at the show wasn’t big news from the show. It was, of course, the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile US. Everyone at the conference seemed to still be processing it in their minds–and I decided to ask my friends over at Twitter (where I’m @harrymccracken) for their takes as of right now.

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Instapaper’s Marco Arment does a great job of explaining why the Quickbar in Twitter’s iPhone app is such a lousy idea–which has nothing to do with advertising. You think anyone at Twitter understands?

Posted by Harry at 10:22 pm

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If you’re concerned with somebody hacking into your tweets, Twitter has just enabled an “always on” secure connection feature, according to a post on the company blog Tuesday. The feature can be enabled by checking the “Always Use HTTPS” check box in settings. This follows a similar move by Facebook in January.

Posted by Ed at 6:21 pm

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