- @psteinb If you’re looking for video size/encoding standards, I can tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Ping me? #
- I really wish the GDC people would stop spamming me. I’ve tried multiple times to unsubscribe from their lists. Getting really irritating. #
- I’m cranky this morning. Too much email does that to me. 🙂 Need to lighten up – I’m doing a "Twitter Boot Camp" with the ISN team in 1 hr. #
- @BrianEnigma Thanks for the retweet/plug for my Twitter Fu post! 🙂 #
- It’s going to be HOT in the Portland area today. I could tell when I left the house this AM, and it was already like 75 degrees F… #
- @psteinb Oh, we’ll definitely be talking about integrating Twitter with the rest of your online life. And that’s in my blog post, too. #
- @ajaymm And we’re looking forward to sucking you into (erm, I mean "welcoming") into the Twittersphere. 🙂 #
- @ajaymm I’m actually surprised it’s taken this long. 😉 #
- @amybarton Don’t worry. There will be Twitter Boot Camp repeats. And I’m blogging all of the material I plan to share. We’ll hook you up! 🙂 #
- Doing a Twitter Boot Camp with the ISN team. Some great discussion – wish you were all here! 🙂 #
- Twitter Boot Camp went well, I thought. Lots of good questions and debate. Hope what I shared was helpful. Will do more of these, for sure! #
- @ahockley Yes, LoT knows that igniteportland.com is up and down. @selenamarie is dealing with it. It’s an issue at the web host. #
- Does anyone else find it ironic and irritating that Richard M. Frickin’ Stallman’s blog on fsf.org doesn’t have an RSS feed? Really? #
- @psteinb The 140 char limit comes from the 160 char limit of SMS text messages. Leave, say, 20 chars for names, etc., and you have 140 chars #
- Just dipped into my Summize search feed for "Intel", and it looks like people are abuzz about a rumored Intel Atom-powered iPhone device. #
- Ah, the age old "Apple Tablet" rumor. How I wish it comes true some day! http://tinyurl.com/64nrzq #
- @skyler But imagine something like the iPhone, but with, say, a 7 or 9 inch screen? I’d buy one in a heartbeat. #
- @DivaDanese Yeah, I know RSS is too newfangled for RMS, but they call it a blog, fer cryin’ out loud! 🙂 http://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ #
- Hungry. Worked through lunch. Again. Thank goodness for free Mountain Dew! 🙂 #
- @influxx Yeah. Imagine if Amazon made Kindle a software app that could run on your iPhone, computer, or whatever. Awesomeness. #
- Sometimes I hate web statistics/metrics. They can be used for good or evil, or fixated on to a completely irrational degree. *sigh* #
Everyone talks about Twitter. It’s hard to describe why people like it and use it so much. You have to use it, and connect with some people, to really see why it’s worth it. If you’re looking at it from the outside, like watching the public timeline, it’s going to seem stupid and useless. That’s because, used like that, it is.
If you know what you’re doing, Twitter is a REALLY POWERFUL and REALLY COOL way to connect with people. You can find basic, “entry level” explanations about why you should use Twitter everywhere. I even wrote such a post a couple of months ago (which includes the excellent “Twitter in Plain English” video, which you must watch if you haven’t already). The rest of this post is going to assume you have a (very) basic understanding of what Twitter is, and how it works. If not, go read my previous post, watch the video, and come back. I’ll wait. 🙂
The Twitter Fu is Strong With This One
What I want to talk about here is some advanced “Twitter Fu” – techniques for “power users” (I hate that term), and people who are ready to start taking advantage of some of the really remarkable things you can accomplish with it. This isn’t comprehensive, of course, but I do speak from experience. What I’m going to write about comes from my daily use and experience with Twitter (which started in July 2006, making me an old timer in the Twitterverse. Most importantly, I want to show some ways you can use Twitter to accomplish something REALLY remarkable – connect up people in a community (or build a new community) with strong ties.
Here’s the reason I think all of this is so important. My job, and Intel Software Network‘s mission, is to build community. Community grows from connections made between people with a common interest. One way people make connections is through conversation. Real conversation in their natural human voice, with another human. You can’t have a conversation with a corporation. You just can’t. This is why I’m always harping on conversations, conversations, conversations! Twitter (and blogs, and other net tools, too) makes it easy to have more conversations, and thus build more connections, with other humans. You increase your “human surface area” – the ways people can connect with you. If you’re a software person, think of it as exposing a new API endpoint for people to hook into and use. And when you have more and more of these human connections, a really cool thing emerges – community. See how that all ties in?
Enough philosophical background. Let’s get on the the real, practical things you can do to become a high level Twitter Fu Master.
Grow Your Network, Carefully
Twitter is useless without following people. But it’s worse than useless if you follow people you don’t know. The public timeline, while it may be an entertaining peek into what the entire world is saying, isn’t going to do anything to connect you to those other people. Your network is the heart of Twitter. Guard it jealously. Follow people you know (either in real life, or through online interactions, or whatever). Don’t follow people you don’t know, or who you don’t have any reason to follow, other than because they followed you. In other words, don’t follow someone if you have no idea who they are. Reciprocating a “follow” on Twitter is NOT required, and no one is going to get offended if you don’t follow them back just because they followed you.
I did this in the beginning, and I found that it just added noise to my Twitter stream. So I pruned my “following” list down to people I had either met in real life, or knew from some other interaction. Basically, it came down to “do I have to think for more than half a second to know who this person is?” If they don’t pass that test, I don’t follow. You’ve got to keep the signal to noise ratio of your Twitter stream as high as possible. It’s hard enough only following people you DO know.
However, as commenters below have reminded me, it can be fun and useful to add new followees based on who the people in your network are talking with. You’ll naturally get to know new people through Twitter, and your network will grow. This is a good thing. I just think you should be careful, and no go crazy and add everyone and their dog (or cat) without a reason. Or, as @scobleizer says, “You are defined by who you follow.” 😉
Use a Desktop Client and Your Phone
There are two times you’ll want to use Twitter: when you’re at your computer, and when you’re not. For when you’re at your computer, I highly recommend using a desktop client application, which makes your Twitter stream kind of like an IM conversation. It’s always there, you can pay attention to it, or hide it in the background. But having a desktop client has lots of advantages over using the Twitter.com web page to engage with your network.
There are lots of desktop clients to choose from. I personally use and love one called Twitterrific, from Craig Hockenberry and Icon Factory. It’s Mac only, but I love it because a) it’s beautiful, b) it uses Growl for notifications, and c) I’ve been using it since it came out, and I’m used to it (inertia is a powerful thing). If you’re not on a Mac, or for some reason you don’t want to use Twitterrific, there are some awesome clients that use the cross platform Adobe AIR runtime (Windows, Mac, and now Linux). Spaz, Twhirl, and Alert Thingy are worth a look. They all do pretty much the same thing, but some offer features like integration with FriendFeed, Jaiku, Pownce, etc. Try them all and find one you like.
A desktop client is for when you’re sitting at your computer (which, for me, is most of the day). If you’re anything like me, you have a whole bunch of browser windows or tabs open at any given time. It’s worth it to have Twitter outside of that, in its own place. You can see the stream of conversation in your network flow by, hop in and tweet or reply to something, and get alerted when there’s a reply or direct message directed at you. If you need to concentrate, and avoid distraction, just hide or close the app.
When you’re away from your computer, use Twitter on your phone. Any cell phone that can do text messaging is a great Twitter client. Just enable your Twitter account to work via text messages on your phone. You have full control over what alerts/incoming messages you receive (all, direct, etc.). I follow so many people that the volume of tweets is just too much to deal with in text messages (not to mention expensive!), so I only get a text message from Twitter when I receive a Direct (private) message. But, even if you get no text message alerts at all, it’s important to set this up, so you can SEND tweets from your phone. Then, get in the habit of doing it.
If you have a phone with a web browser (iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, or whatever), you can use the Twitter mobile web interface at http://m.twitter.com. It’s fast, light, and provides an easy way to both read your tweets and post new ones from your phone. Depending on the device you have, there are other options. iPhone owners should check out an amazing web-based Twitter interface for iPhone called Hahlo (and rumor has it there will be an iPhone version of Twitterrific as soon as Apple launches the iPhone App Store – I can’t wait!). For BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices, there are free applications you can install on your phone to use Twitter. I haven’t used any of these, so I can’t really make a specific recommendation, but do some Googling, ask around on your Twitter network, and you can probably find one that you like.
Integrate Twitter With Your Online Life
Remember how I said that the whole point of all of this is to increase your conversational surface area, to make it easier for people to connect to you by conversing with you? To aid in that, you’ll want to include hooks/links to your presence on Twitter from the other places where you interact with people.
At the very least, put a link to your Twitter page on your blog and in your email signature and on your business cards.
If you use social networks like Facebook, chances are there’s a way to integrate your Twitter conversations. Facebook lets you connect your tweets with your “Status” updates on Facebook, and vice versa. I haven’t used them, but there are ways to integrate Twitter with your MySpace page and I’m sure there are more. Again, do some Googling, and ask your new most valuable knowledge sharing tool, your Twitter network.
Don’t Miss Any Conversations
Twitter lets you direct a message at a specific person in two ways. First is the direct “D” message, which sends a private message that only the recipient can see. This is kind of like a short email. The second, and far more common way is the @reply. You can indicate that a tweet is for a certain person by typing @theirusername. Twitter turns that into a link to that person on Twitter, and TRIES to bring that message to their attention. But they way they do it is broken. It doesn’t work if the @username part isn’t at the beginning of the tweet. It doesn’t work if they don’t have their Twitter settings configured to show them “All @ replies”. If you want to be a Twitter master, you have to take a couple of extra steps to make sure that you don’t miss any messages directed at you using the @ sign.
This is where third party search tools like TweetScan and Summize come in. I’m assuming you’re using a feed reader/aggregator like Google Reader (you ARE using an aggregator, aren’t you? If not, we need to have a serious talk). If so, you can use TweetScan or Summize to do a search for your username, then subscribe to the feed for those search results. Presto – you’ll know every time someone even mentions your name on Twitter, whether you’re following them or not. At the very least, you need to do this. But search is powerful, and can do some other cool things, too.
For some reason, people often misspell my username on Twitter, or just make up some @username that has parts of my name, but isn’t anywhere near correct. No problem. I just set up search feeds on Summize to look for jabancroft (the correct name), bancroft, jbancroft, and joshbancroft. That way, I hear what people are saying about/to me, no matter how badly they butcher my name. If you know of common misspellings of your username, you should subscribe to search feeds for those, too.
Also, if there’s a specific topic, company, or product name that you want to track on Twitter, to see what people are saying, you can simply create a search feed for that word/phrase and subscribe to it. Twitter has a “track” feature, but it only works if you get updates via text message or IM – it doesn’t work if you use the web or a desktop client app. I have a few search feeds on Twitter – one for “Intel“, for example – that let me see everything people are saying, good and bad. Can you think of something that would be useful for? If you can’t, you’re probably not trying hard enough.
But Wait! There’s More!
Wow, this post got long. But I still have more to say. Specifically, some techniques about building groups and communities of interest on top of Twitter (something it lacks the native ability to do) using some simple tricks, and mashup tools. The online shoe seller Zappos.com has been getting a lot of press lately for their use of Twitter, and I’ve been involved in a couple of really cool mashups in the Portland geek community, like PulseoFPDX.com. How is this useful, rather than just interesting? Besides being a peek into the “stream of collective consciousness” of a particular group of people on Twitter, it’s a great way to find people to connect with. You know, build community by connecting with other people you know and have something in common with.
And I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve, too, so stay tuned! 🙂
- Working from home today. @rachelbancroft is on Emma’s preschool zoo trip. Gabe and I holding down the fort at home. #
- @isle Kindle honeymoon is definitely not over. I carry it with me everywhere. Only downside is that I wish I had more time to read on it! 🙂 #
- @oregoniansteve my definition of Twitter? Ambient intimacy. #
- Yay! The Firefox 3-compatible version of the myVidoop password manager addon is available. Thanks guys! 🙂 http://tinyurl.com/5gswmy #
- @conroyl To tweet from a Kindle, use the web browser (under "Experimental" on the menu), and go to m.twitter.com. #
- Trying out the updated myVidoop Password Manager plugin, now that it works in Firefox 3. It’s bliss, I tell you. It just works. So happy. 🙂 #
- @conroyl To reply to me (or anyone) by just typing @theirusername. That’s all the more complicated Twitter replies are. 🙂 #
- Gotta write up some stuff for my "Twitter Boot Camp" I’m giving the ISN team tomorrow. Will share materials, poss. do more of these later. #
- Just posted a HUGE post on "advanced Twitter Fu" techniques – let me know what you think, and what I missed: http://tinyurl.com/5hla4f #
- And of course, Stumble/magnolia/DIgg love, if you think it deserves it, would be much appreciated. 🙂 http://tinyurl.com/5hla4f #
- @Ceedee Thanks. You’re more than welcome to not agree with me! It’s boring when everyone agrees with me. 😉 #
- @verso Very good points. Can I get you to drop it in a comment, so it’s part of the discussion? Thanks! 🙂 #
- @charlieanzman Yes, there’s definitely an element of getting to know new people by watching who your followers converse with. Good point. #
- BTW, I had a very specific audience in mind for that Advanced Twitter post, but I posted it for everyone to read, in case it’s helpful. #
- @Tad Of course. Hahlo rocks! I especially love the new H3 release. Thank you for doing it! 🙂 #
- @turoczy Point them to my latest post on "advanced Twitter Fu", which links to an older "beginners" post I did (/end shameless plug) 🙂 #
- @Tad Wait, I think I mistook you for the guy who wrote Hahlo. Either way, Hahlo rocks, and I’m an idiot sometimes. 🙂 #
- To clarify, I’m not saying "only follow people you know IRL" on Twitter. I’m saying "don’t follow people you have no idea who they are". #
- @verso thanks for jumping into the conversation. This is why I love this stuff! Smart people make me smarter, I try to reciprocate. Fun! 🙂 #
- @Scobleizer That’s a great quote. It just got added/linked while I was updating the part of my post talking about rules for following. 🙂 #
- @metafluence Umm, I hoped this was a fluke, but http://www.igniteportland.com crashes Firefox3beta5 (Mac) hard every time I try to go there… #
- In any case, did you hear that you have two weeks to submit your preso ideas for Ignite Portland 3? Get cracking! http://tinyurl.com/5yb6b6 #
- @mattg @metafluence It’s probably my browser/plugins. Don’t worry about it. I’ll figure it out. #
- OK, I’ve got to go help @rachelbancroft fold the laundry and get to bed. Good night Twitterverse! I’ll check for new comments in the AM! 🙂 #
- Morning, Twitter. Hope you had a good weekend. My family was sick all day yesterday. Bummer, but we still had a nice Mother’s Day. You? #
- @verso Yeah, that Oregonian article was pretty cool. We gotta keep working on Mike Rogoway and get him on Twitter! 🙂 #
- @verso Oh, I’ve been working on him. It’s only a matter of time. Will recruit help/stalkers as necessary. 🙂 #
- @mellowynk That’s why I always carry my iPhone (for feeds and Twitter) and my Kindle (for books) with me. I can’t stand being w/o reading! #
- @kenekaplan Looking forward to your ISEF coverage. Have fun, and tell us about the cool stuff there! 🙂 #
- @Britopian Good question (how do you measure conversations). Be more specific? How do you measure trust? Love? Friendship? Similar concepts. #
- The Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is going on this week Super smart kids. Get updates by following @isef08. #
- @Britopian My point exactly. 😉 #
- @memathews From what I’ve heard neither the Intel people nor the plant in Chengdu had any serious problems. Good news… #
- I’m going to go over and mute @psteinb’s copy of Twhirl that he’s left running. The beeping is driving me crazy! 🙂 #
- @ahockley WHOIS is your friend in those cases, I would think. #
- @ahockley Do what the RIAA/MPAA do: contact the host (WordPress), and DEMAND that they hand over all the personal details of the offender. #
- @ahockley No, no. You threaten to sue for millions. Then ask how much savings he has. Then offer to settle for exactly that much. #
- @ahockley Actually, call the police and put them in jail. Copyright infringement is now a CRIMINAL act: http://tinyurl.com/6z84gk #
- @ISEF08 It would be cool if your blog post tweets didn’t waste 17 chars with "wordpress update". Maybe "new post" or something? #
- Checking out the new iPhone version of Google Reader. It’s beta, and a separate URL from the old one. And awesome! http://tinyurl.com/6qhro4 #
- @psteinb Try "publishing" the Yahoo Pipe – make it public. There may be some issue there that’s causing your problem. #
- @ejacqui You’re engaged? Dude, @clint is going to be pissed! 😉 #
- Just saw the trailer for the new Adam Sandler movie, "You Don’t Mess With The Zohan". Looks pretty funny. #
- @dnorton Heh. My standards are not high for Sandler movies. 🙂 #
- @dnorton I’m so backlogged on movies, I’ll likely never see that Sandler flick. Gotta see Iron Man, Speed Racer, Hancock, etc. first. #
- KGW, the local OTA NBC broadcast channel, lost all audio a few minutes ago. Other channels fine. How can I enjoy American Gladiators? 😉 #
- All right, you American Gladiators snobs. I switched over to Antiques Roadshow. Is that sufficiently intellectual and eliteist? 😉 #
- I like American Gladiators as background noise/train wreck factor. Just don’t let @rachelbancroft know that Dancing with the Stars is on! 😉 #
- At the farmer’s market. You know what that means: kettle korn! 🙂 I hear @motherpopper’s around somewhere. #
- Just bought a praying mantis egg pod. Soon, I’ll have 200+ tiny mantis minions. Mwa ha ha! 🙂 #
- Kettle Korn akwired. Along with some Rogue Creamery cheese curds and some yummy chocolate dipped macaroons. And Dave’s Killer Bread. #
- @Jmartens Where in Beaverton did Obama end up going? #
- @jmoriarty @billpearson @ajaymm Come to the Twitter Boot Camp next week. We’ll get EVERYONE using Twitter. It’s going to rock! 🙂 #
- @SharonG This particular Twitter Boot Camp is for a particular audience, but I’ll likely start doing open-invitation ones soon. Stay tuned! #
- @geekygirldawn @selenamarie Yeah, GoDaddy can go DIAF right about now. Thanks, Selena, for straightening it out! You rock! 🙂 #
- Quote of the day (from a discussion on how tired the term "social media" is): "It’s not social if someone owns it." #
- I’d point you to a blog post I just wrote (with a funny video!) on how I’m starting to hate the term "social media", but mediatemple is down #
- Mediatemple’s up for the moment, so here’s that post on "I’m starting to hate the term social media": http://tinyurl.com/5tvtgq #
- @rodfather I’m relieved that you still follow me. Glad I changed my tagline to "storyteller" from "social media evangelist". 🙂 #
- @rodfather LOL if I ever do, you have permission to shoot me and take all of my toys. 🙂 #
- @bethlubov TweetScan is down? Bummer. Try using Summize.com instead. #
- @skyler I scoff in the general direction of your despisal of my hatred of social media. 😛 #
- @skyler I’m not on GoDaddy. 1and1 for names, mediatemple for hosting. Maybe shopping around if they don’t get their act together. #
- Turns out the Beaverton software company where Obama made his surprise appearance was Vernier, not Inspiration. http://tinyurl.com/5m8nug #
- @jmartens You totally called Vernier. Good guess! #
- @timdorr Thanks. I checked out ASO before, when I was shopping for hosting. Can’t remember why I didn’t pick it. Will look into it! 🙂 #
- Oh, fun. Nvidia’s CEO has been ranting about Intel to CNET again: http://tinyurl.com/6mrprt #
- @sumwan Oh, I don’t. Sometimes I wish our CEO wasn’t so mild-mannered, though, so we could see some real sparks fly. 😉 #
- @Jerry_Makare false advertising! I came over to Merlot to partake in the Nerf warfare, and you weren’t there! 🙂 #
- ZOMG Vernier Software, where Obama was this morning, is literally about 2 blocks from where I used to live in Beaverton. Small world! 🙂 #
- A dozen nice photos of Obama’s Beaverton visit from the Oregonian on Flickr: http://tinyurl.com/6ydbnz #
- @timdorr Do shared hosting accts on A Small Orange have SSH/shell access? Can’t find it listed on the site. #
- @timdorr How well does ASO handle WordPress? I run about a dozen WP sites, mostly low traffic, with one that gets about 5000 hits/day. #
- @timdorr Thanks for your answers, BTW. It’s looking more and more likely that you’re getting a new customer. 🙂 #
- @Jerry_Makare My life would be incomplete if a Dance War between Intel’s and Nvidia’s CEOs happened, and I wasn’t there to shoot video. 🙂 #
- @timdorr I definitely run caching. 🙂 #
- @billpearson Would love to get a debrief of that wiki conversation. #
- @kellyrfeller Not big brother. Mashups that enable stuff like this: http://pulseofpdx.com and this: http://pulseofintel.tweetpeek.com #
- @kellyrfeller If you’d prefer to opt out of the @pulseofintel conversation stream, feel free to block it. You have control of your tweets. #
- @kellyrfeller That’s a good point. Twitter is open by default – anyone can follow you. Do you vet each one of your followers? #
- @kellyrfeller I just assume Twitter is a public broadcast medium, and don’t say anything I wouldn’t say to the whole world. #
- @kellyrfeller Sun is great. It’s nice and cool, too. Thanks! Bummed I’m not going to see Iron Man, though. 🙂 #
- Man, @steverubel really brings the flow. I’ve had a ton of new comments on my "i hate social media" post since he tweeted about it. 🙂 #
- @memathews She knows how to block/protect. We were just discussing the creepy potential for HR Twitter stalking, etc. #
- @memathews Busy tonight (no babysitting, either), and I want to see Iron Man first, but go forth and Tweetup for Speed Racer! Have fun! 🙂 #
- Oh man. Emma barfed ALL OVER @rachelbancroft at Baja Fresh a while ago. It was epic. I felt so bad for both of them. Now, home and baths. #
- @bethgo Wii friend codes are weird. You don’t see other people unless you both explicitly add each other’s friend code. #
- Another awesome Mac app from Google – Vidnik. Record video from your Mac’s camera, and post straight to YouTube. http://tinyurl.com/4rloza #
This post began life as part of a discussion on our internal “blog ambassadors” mailing list, talking about nomenclature, terminology, and what we should really call all of this bloggy, community, social stuff that we do. And yes, there is a heavy dose of irony here, considering that my job role is basically teaching and promoting “social media”.
I’m starting to hate the term “social media”. For a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s just getting so popular that it’s way overused (talking about the world, not Intel). It gets slapped onto everything. Kind of like Web 2.0. And also like Web 2.0, it’s become so broad as to be almost meaningless. Ask 10 people what Web 2.0 means, and you’ll get 10 different answers. Same with social media.
I find myself always having to explain/qualify what I mean when I say it. “Social media, you know, like blogs, community, Twitter, and stuff.” I’m trying to discipline myself to just be more specific and say what I’m really talking about. The one time “social media” still has some use, to me, is when it’s used as an umbrella term for all of these social tools that we use. But it’s even confusing to use it that way, because you can never be sure that other people think it means what you think it means.
Steve Rubel, who’s arguably the King of Social Media in the PR world, has been arguing for dumping the term “social media” for a while now (first at the end of 2006, and as recently as a couple of months ago). His point is that “it’s all just media” now. I agree with him.
Sometimes I feel like this guy (actually, I just wanted an excuse to use this clip):
So, what do YOU call all of this online, conversational, community-based, fun, interactive, social, text/photo/audio/video-based stuff that we do?
- @hungryclone Not sure who you’re talking to about Mario Kart, but everyone I know that has played it loves it. Best game on the Wii today. #
- @johnfischer I wish the rest of the stickers were StickerGiant stickers. I’m a big fan. 🙂 #
- @mellowynk I would say "Are you threatweeting me?!" #
- @ahockley They were wax beans, weren’t they. 🙂 #
- @psteinb It’s about time we got a blog post out of you! 🙂 #
- @psteinb Deoends on where "ISC" means. What URL, specifically? There’s no separate blog for ISC that I know of. #
- @billpearson I find a happy compromise – I tweet about work. 😉 #
- @SharonG @gwalter Um, the AmazonMP3 Download automatically adds purchased MP3s to iTunes, Windows Media, etc. I love it buy there frequently #
- @psteinb Yes, you can apply any and all relevant categories to a blog post. #
- THe Aiptek Action HD video camera has arrived! 1080p@30fps, 720p@60fps, records to H.264 .MOV files. Hope I’ll get time to play tonight! #
- TV news just said Barack Obama is going to be at a private event at a software company in Beaverton in the AM. Anyone know where? #
- @turoczy 😛 AP said its an "educational" software company. Guesses? #
- @turoczy might not hurt to drop by in the AM. News said private event, but you never know. 🙂 #
- @turoczy I have an almost 2 year old you can borrow if you need one. 🙂 #
- @jmartens where is Inspiration Software in bvtn? Never heard of them. #
Someone (it wasn’t me, even though I run this very thing as my own screensaver!) installed the Digg Labs “Arc” visualization screensaver on one of the wall-mounted TVs in Intel’s Jones Farm 1 (JF1) building (a.k.a where I work, a.k.a. The Workplace of the Future, a.k.a. Ikea Hillsboro 😉 ). I like it!
If you haven’t ever seen it, it cycles through new stories as they are submitted to Digg (it’s more complex than that, but I don’t understand exactly how it determines what to display), and shows “diggs” (votes) for the stories as they come in (the arcs around the outside). There are a few other really cool visualizations available from Digg Labs – check them out if you’ve haven’t before.
I run this as my screensaver, because I think it’s a really cool way to keep a finger on the “pulse” of what’s happening on the web. If any kind of major news breaks, it’s always all over Digg, so you’re sure not to miss anything. Wisdom of Crowds and all that. I sometimes substitute an RSS visualizer (like the one built into Mac OS X) or Flickrvision or Twittervision or something, for variety. I figure my screensaver should do something useful, rather than just showing pretty colors. On the Mac, I use an awesome little free screensaver app called IdleWeb that lets you display any web page as your screensaver. I’m sure something similar exists for Windows.
If you know the kinds of stories that show up on Digg, you know that once in a while a, um, Not Safe For Work headline will slip in there. But it’s no worse than the little news headline ticker that’s usually running on these TVs. I’ve seen headlines about murder, pedophiles, abortion, and celebrity scandals run by on the “official” display. Digg is no worse than watching CNN, if you ask me, and far more timely and interesting (and informative!).
I’m sure someone official is going to notice this and remove it sooner or later. Though I think it’s MUCH better than the canned Intel propaganda PowerPoint slides and canned TV “news” streams that the TVs are usually displaying.
Actually, that’s not exactly right. It’s better than the blank video windows, random error messages, and “Content Expired” warnings that these TVs are usually displaying:
Anyway, like I said, it wasn’t me, and it’s going to be interesting to see how long it stays there before someone gets all worried about it and removes it. Maybe it will pop up again later, turning into a battle for control of the TVs that we stare at all day! 🙂
Post your answers/guesses in the comments. Winner gets a cookie.
Click on the photo to see it on Flickr, then mouse over the notes on each sticker for the answers.
Got a cool sticker I should have? Let me know!
Is your laptop naked? That’s sad. I can send you some stickers if you really, really need some.
Got a pic of your own laptop stickers? Share, so we can all play! 🙂