Twitter: Clothes Without an Emperor

Even Twitter Thought Twitter Was Stupid At First, reported Jason Kincaid from Startup School. Well, if Ev Williams and Biz Stone thought that, I was in good company.

The Twitter story is a mirror image of the story of the The Emperor’s New Clothes. People find uses (clothes) for Twitter, but the clothes are just empty outfits. The outfits march on, and the march picks up the pace, when inside leg and other elements are revealed: those measurements correspond to the API (“Huge,” said Biz).

Now, of course, there are so many outfits that it doesn’t matter that there’s nothing underneath. The outfits are the emperor, and the empire is strongly placed.

The Mobile Whale

Part of going mobile and setting up my G1 phone is getting a Twitter client. Guided by the results of a Mashable poll, I went for Twidroid.

First impression: looks good. In fact, it looks good enough that I might be able to get through a Twitter-related post without taking a dig at Twitter. Having said that, I seem to have taken a little dig in the post title… and, in the unlikely event I post about Digg, I’ll probably be unable to resist a dig about Digg.

I feel as though I’m finally seeing Twitter in its natural habitat. I can check tweets when I don’t have the attention span for the feeds to which I subscribe. By the way, my mobile feed reader is Google Reader, via the Android’s browser.

Thanks to Kiwi Mikex for making the whale photo available through Creative Commons.

Twitter as You Post (from WordPress)

This is my first tweet in a while, and I’m not using or a specialized Twitter client in order to do so. I’m using the Publicize feature of, which can set configured to send posts to Twitter and to Yahoo Updates.

Twitter reminds me of a conversation I had, long ago and far away, about getting a home computer. My friend Mike asked: “What would I do with one? Index my toenail clippings?”

Tweets are the toenail clippings of social media. Twitter is a platform because it enables third parties to index the toenail clippings. It sounds silly, and maybe it is, but Twitter has caught on, rather as home computers did all those years ago. Perhaps they are on the decline now, as mobile devices are on the rise.

Talking of declines, this post is also going to Yahoo…

The Marvel of Disney

So, Disney acquires Marvel. I’m as prone of glib comments as the next person: how about Tinkerbell versus Spiderman? How about a quantitative analysis of glib comments? That’s what Mashable Jennifer provided, complete with pie charts, when she posted about the Twittersphere’s reaction to the deal. Summary: said sphere not like.

Far more interesting to me is the reaction of one John Lasseter, even if I find it via aintitcool (and via Reddit). Pixar has done some pretty good stuff (e.g., Ratatouille) since being acquired by Disney.

Obama, Twitter, and Timing

“I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak,” claimed President Obama at a recent press conference. The claim has drawn a lot of coverage, including a Christian Science Monitor article focusing on the reaction on Twitter.

I had to laugh. It occurred to me that, of all media with which I’m familiar, Twitter is the one that has least to do with delaying speech until one knows what one is talking about.

Should I tweet this thought? It’s probably too late, by Twitter standards.

Happy New Twitter

I’d say that the biggest social media successes of 2008 were Twitter and Facebook. I’m not a big fan of either service. But I decided to start 2009 with a chirpy new year tweet.

I was delighted by what I saw when I signed on to Twitter: our old friend, and my favorite feature of Twitter, the fail whale.

Now, let me see what delights await me at Facebook…

Web Week on Wednesday

Looking back over the past week (i.e. Thu to the Wednesday that finished an hour of so ago), the last few days seem to have been particularly busy. But representing the latter half of last week here is Jeremiah Owyang’s account of the many challenges facing the social media industry. Jeremiah starts with the lack of profits. He goes on to mention the cutthroat competition, and that’s one of the things driving profits down; I’d say the customer expectation that stuff on the web should be free of charge is another.

Gmail was the big story on Monday. Gmail Goes Down – Twitter Survives, as Frederic@RWW nicely put it. Many were tweeting about their lack of Gmail, but Twitter held up. The following day, Merlin Mann gave a good getting things done without Gmail (GTDWG?) tip.

As you can see, and as John at All Things Digital remarked, Apple (AAPL) has eclipsed Google (GOOG) in market value.

The blog comment service Disqus is high on many “I wish we had this at” lists, especially after its recent update. Mashable Adam wrote that Disqus has a shot at owning the commentsphere. But please don’t let its absence stop you from commenting on this post.

My Favorite Twitter Feature

Well done if you guessed from the image that my favorite Twitter feature is the Fail Whale. It’s the work of Yiying Lu. She’s not a one-hit wonder; as pointed out on Drawn!, she has an impressive portfolio. Here are some of the spades from her playing card set, Natural Symphony.

I don’t see a link to buy a set of these cards. If I did, they’d get strong consideration as presents for my card-playing parents.

Sarah Perez recently told The Story of the Fail Whale.

The Fail Whale story is one that shows the value of open content. By making the art available [for free], Yiying is now going to profit in more ways than if she had simply made the art available for purchase. She will be earning profits from merchandise at both shops and from the sale of her prints and she will certainly win some future design work from this as well. Of course, her successes come from more than just the work itself, but also from the power of the community who embraced it.

Yes, the Fail Whale is my favorite feature of Twitter. I tried to tweet to that effect, but of course, when I tried to, I saw… this time you get no congratulations for guessing what.

Two Remarkable Things

A platypus called Frankie just left a comment on this blog. I found this so remarkable that I broke my Twitter silence to tell my legions of followers about it.

As to the second remarkable thing, I’ll leave it to you to decide which of the following best qualifies.

  • The platy is called Frankie. That’s a very unusual name among duck-billed mammals.
  • An Australian (Frankie) complimented a pom (me).
  • Twitter was up.