Here’s advice virtually nobody in the Charleston area will take:
Back in 2008, Charleston Twitter users began to use
#chs as a hashtag to talk about everything relating to the city, what’s going on, traffic, etc. We expanded on this in 2009 and it’s been pretty successful.
Then, high school students — many of which who go to schools starting with the letter ‘C’ — caught on to Twitter and started hashtagging their stuff with…
#chs. Hilarity and frustration on the part of Charlestonians ensued. A while ago, there was an experiment with
#chas that didn’t really pan out either because it, too, was crowded. So, we’ve hung tough with
#chs, high schoolers and all. Occasionally, the mix produces some great, out-of-context tweets like the one embedded here.
In the end, I didn’t have to go very far to find a Mac-native Twitter client that was capable of real-time User Streams; there was one already in my Applications folder: Echofon for Mac. I had forgotten that they had opened User Streams up to every user (and not just paid Pro users). After self-updating, User Streams was turned on for all my accounts. Echofon is tiny and sits out of the way — really what I want from a Twitter client (though interface-wise I still think the enigmatic Tweetie for Mac wins). TweetDeck is just too immersive for passive Twitter usage, which is more of my mode these days.
For as much as I think TweetDeck is an excellent client, I would still far prefer to run a Mac-native client rather than an Adobe AIR one (and please note that I felt the same way when I was on Windows primarily — this is not an Apple vs. Adobe hit). There are some great native Mac clients out there, but I’ve yet to find one running User Streams for real-time Tweets, and my expectations now outpace the periodic refresh that most clients offer. (It’s why I have had a very love-hate relationship with Tweetie for Mac.) Are you running one? Did you write one? I’d love to hear about it.
One feature of New Twitter is that it puts your new followers right in plain view on your home timeline. As someone who doesn’t get new follower e-mail anymore, this is a handy feature. However, it’s just been damned disappointing how many accounts follow me that are either pure spam or just a feed of links to a blog. Come on people. You can do better than that.
Designers are doing their best to adapt to New Twitter, but I still think trying to pin down a background image that would be hidden on many small-screen laptop/netbook resolutions is going to be a losing battle in the long run. Sure, do something cool and creative back there, but don’t rely on the image for conveying critical information. That’s what the Bio field is for.
New Twitter, in its busy, two-paned glory.
I along with a lot of people got the new Twitter Web interface yesterday afternoon. It’s a pretty radical departure from the Web interface I’ve gotten to know over the last few years. While I do spend plenty of time in a client (lately TweetDeck User Streams Edition), I do like to use the website to run quick searches and take casual glances at Twitter (as TweetDeck can be an attention suck). Here are a few of my thoughts on the new Twitter Web interface.
I’ve been fortunate enough to test the TweetDeck User Streams Preview in a private beta over the last month, which enables TweetDeck to display a constant flow of Tweets, unencumbered by API rate limiting, in true real time. Last week User Streams entered public beta, and if you haven’t tried it, do it. Real-time Twitter is something Twitter veterans haven’t seen since May of 2008, and a vast majority of Twitter users have never really experienced it (unless they were among the few to turn on SMS updates for everybody). While this isn’t honest-to-God Twitter over XMPP (though the Streaming API will make such an application possible once more), this isn’t a bad alternative. Give it a try and let me know if you are overwhelmed — I know I was at first (I follow over 1700 people and bots on Twitter).
Be sure to check out Charleston Twestival tonight. It’s one of many Twestival events going on worldwide to benefit Concern, an organization working against the poverty problem in the most dire of situations. This is the first time Twestival’s happened in Charleston; kudos to Christina Lor and her band of volunteers for all their hard work to bring it to Charleston. While I’m not likely going to be able to make it, I’m still making a donation to Concern, which you can do from the Charleston Twestival website. With a silent auction and copious amounts of Firefly, it promises to be quite an event!
In advance of a doozy of a weather day, I’ve spent a portion of my evening revamping the Charleston Weather blog. I’ve installed the latest P2, Automattic’s excellent real-time WordPress theme, and I’ve also (with any luck) enabled PubSubHubbub for posts to the blog. Weather information is exactly what the real-time web is designed for, I think — tomorrow may be a great test of that. So, especially if you’re in Charleston, follow the blog tomorrow along with the alerts we’ll have on Twitter, Identi.ca, and Facebook. Hopefully things will turn out better than the strongly-worded alerts have been telling the story, but it’s tough to say.
Smarterware says geocoded tweets are imminent. Twitter geolocation is a win for newsgathering situations where it may be more expedient to tick off a “share my location” box than it is to check in on Brightkite and start posting notes. They’re doing a couple things weird here, though: scrubbing the data after 14 days (apparently to elude subpoena) and only giving the user control insomuch that they can specify whether location data is embedded in the tweet (though I’m sure app developers will be able to do more to the data before it’s posted). I like this for quick and dirty situations, but the lack of persistence of the geocoded data bothers me a bit. I still prefer the Brightkite approach to places as objects and the association of notes and pictures to those places. I also prefer Brightkite’s privacy controls, as you can still give your location to just a certain subset of people. It will be interesting to see how Brightkite’s data is enhanced by geocoded tweets — Brightkite could effectively hook into Twitter streams and import geocoded tweets into their placestreams (if the user so wishes, of course). I’ll be interested to see how app developers flesh this out. (Thanks to Mandi Engram at Social Media Club Columbia for pointing out this article!)