Not my favorite thing, Twitter

A few months back I faced the task of cleaning up who I follow on Twitter to increase it’s usefulness to me. My feed had become a list of lefties in an echo chamber of middle-class rage. So I slashed and burned.

Now, some people I follow are there to keep me thinking outside my box, their lives are far from mine; socio-economically, geographically, and politicians, their views are confronting, if not obnoxious.

In other words, I’m choosing to see content on twitter that is deliberately irrelevant.

But what if relevance is not our goal?

What truthiness

What truthiness

Long ago, when Ashton Kutcher was being lauded for being the first to reach one million twitter followers, an Australian TV network asked him what the biggest challenge for Twitter would be. He said it would be a need to filter out all the crap. Increasing the relevance of your feed by adding posts, is not moving toward a filter, it is actually making it harder to find what you choose to see.

Context: Now, Twitter seems to think that we should see favourites on our timeline – not our own, but those of people we follow. This is akin to a stranger who has noticed you are checking the weather on your smartphone, chiming in with a “Did you also know that my brother’s soccer game was washed out last week? Look, here’s a photo!” It’s not warranted. It’s information only relevant in the sense that cats are relevant to string.

If twitter’s goal is to increase the relevance of tweets you see, this is set to fail. Even if every tweet they surfaced was in some way relevant to my interests, I don’t care. I still did not ask to see it. You had one job. And it’s hard enough filtering the pap and fluff out of my feed. To be force-fed an algorithmically chosen set of tweets is a worrying move toward Facebook’s all-powerful newsfeed.

If it is to simplify their interface, it does this as gently as a guy who invites himself to your dinner party and although he looks suave, he just brought three relatives you never wanted to meet. And they are dressed as donkeys.

Motivation: The main problem I see with serving other people’s favourites to your timeline is that their motives for clicking the star vary widely.

I recently had a guess at why people favourite my own tweets. These ideas also vary widely.

  • They want to show me that they have seen my tweet – bless.
  • They realise I have just uncovered a major, breaking new story and they are now running to their news director with the tweet in hand
  • It made them laugh so hard they are keeping it to print out and put on their fridge
  • They are compiling a list of the Most Enjoyable Tweets Ever Tweeted
  • They need to retain my joke for when they are feeling low and they need a lift.
  • They are stealing my quirky analogy for a book they are writing on pop culture
  • They want evidence that they knew me before I became famous – like Tom Cruise famous.
  • They need to keep my insight as a reference when dinner party debate inevitably turns to ‘Why do people keep touching me on public transport?’
  • They meant to hit ‘Block’.And then I had someone tweet a favourite they had been shown – it was of a plate of unattractive fried chicken. It was the kind of favourite that must have a backstory – probably not a good one, but nevertheless, a context that was completely lost on the recipient.

Privacy: The forced revelation of something many people consider private has been a major gripe in reaction to this blessed feature. I’m sure it’s not something that will warm people to your brand next time they are weighing up their use of your service.

And here is how some tweeters saw the change…

Thankfully, there are ways to get around this imposition…

Avoidance: Stop using the official website when you want to use twitter – use Tweetdeck on your browser or tweetbot on an iPhone. Each of them offers a better, more tailored experience, and are free of this new feature.


A case for tweeting what we read, not what we think

A friend who works for Twitter asked me why I run a Twitter account that simply lists what articles I am reading on any given day.

Now I have considered it, it’s not unlike the ‘see what your friends have read” feature behind the News Corp paywall. But I just never feel comfortable sharing like that. But my @buckleupreads account is operated solely by me. In fact, this automatic feed of what has caught my eye is even more revealing than my neatly curated tweets of thoughts, links and photos that you’ll find on my main profile, @buckleup.

It’s a text version of what “The Narrative” camera seeks to do, following me everywhere on the internet, except that my @buckleupreads only records what really makes me pause.

What is worth sharing?

Twitter is a marvellous medium for sharing. The best, by far. But having an audience ready to listen has me forever contemplating, what is WORTH sharing?

My general rule has been to make every tweet educational or entertaining, preferably both.

But as my use of Twitter has developed, I have realised that’s all too restrictive. It may be a good place to start, but life has more variety, twitter needs more diversity and rules are meant to be broken. Even my own rules.

For example, I had left no room for opinion, the views that create or add to a debate, the banter that can lead to new ideas and a wider perspective.

And secondly, the sharing of links to articles – offered without any comment – is one of twitter’s greatest services and is a genuine timesaver. Simply type any topic and into the Twitter search bar, and you will receive a stream of tweets pointing you to recent articles on the topic. If I spend even ten minutes walking or on public transport, I grab a few links, save them to reader (I mostly use Pocket) and then paste the text into a voice-to-text app so I can listen while still remain a visually engaged citizen of the universe.


Based on this routine, I decided to make a twitter feed of those articles, mostly for my own record-keeping, but also for anyone interested in seeing – without any moderation, wit or judgment – an RSS of what I come across in a life in Sydney influenced by faith, family, design, technology, intolerable traffic and world class weather, coloured by a job tied to the media, social networks and emerging trends. A bit of unedited life-blogging.

Many news sites feature a ‘most read’ list, but unless I know and relate to those people it holds little value. I would love it if all my friends had a twitter feed like @buckleupreads, so I could easily follow a list of what they had been reading. It would be like my friends had curated Google News every day and shared it.

The biggest downside of this idea is that some articles I choose to read are a total waste of time. Some articles promote me to act, others to laugh, many to say “meh”.  Only those that make the Buckle-cut will get mentioned on @buckleup. Think of that account as the premium experience. And there isn’t even a paywall.


5 Predictions for social TV in 2014

Social TV is going to be more than a buzzword in 2014, it will become the essential element many TV viewers need to complete their viewing experience.

Only now do broadcasters have access to the tools that will reach many of the expectations their audiences have built up since Twitter and Facebook began encouraging levels of engagement the networks themselves could not deliver.

Working on the cusp of this is what makes me want to get up in the morning.

Here are 5 ways I see the landscape changing in the next 12 months:

1. Deeper program integration.
As broadcasters become more familiar with social media trends and terminology, expect comments and other content appearing in TV shows to be more useful, seamlessly integrated, less visually intrusive, and, with improved moderation, more relevant (ie. intelligent). The era of seeing Sally from Blacktown’s tweet on screen is nearing an end.

tweets qanda

2. Platform tools
The broadcasters won’t be the only ones evolving. Twitter is sharpening it’s live TV tools –  from targeted ads to trends to ratings. Twitter and Facebook are racing each other to the prize of realtime TV co-dependence. Twitter has an early lead and is eager to have people link the hashtag with the little blue bird. But if Facebook figures out filtering at scale, bringing you useful comments from people you know of or people nearby – all grouped around a hashtag – then the number of people who have never used twitter but have a Facebook account will suddenly understand what TV conversations are all about.

3. New apps and mergers
TV apps that aggregate social content and aim to complement your viewing continue to emerge. Apps can already control getglueyour TV, set your PVR to record and rewind. Zeebox continues to add features and may be snapped up in the next year having made good ground, especially in the UK. In January, Dijit acquired Miso, then  i.TV purchased GetGlue in November, bringing greater legitimacy to the entire category of apps. Cable TV and free-to-air operators will keep developing their own apps – hopefully joining forces where possible so viewers don’t require a new app for every on-demand service. Streaming apps e.g. Netflix, could be the big ball-buster for networks, especially if deals are drawn up directly with cable networks and production companies.

4. Increasingly social newsrooms
As more news desks employ social media editors, engagement experts and audience leads, the last remaining barriers to viewers having a role to play in realtime news; access and verification; will disappear. Some journalists still see this as a threat. The best journos have already embraced it. Expect to see particular users given elevated status to report news. As the lines between on-air and online have already blurred for consumers (think streaming news, tweeted video snippets, shared gifs of realtime sporting moments) media conglomerates will continue snapping up video content tools and agencies to complement their editorial teams. Likewise, web teams will be further blended with news producers so stories and contributed content can be shared ay direction efficiently.
The future - as per Fox News.

5. Big data to smash it all out of the park
In 2013, Twitter bought Bluefin Labs and Apple purchased Topsy. Each acquisition is aimed at providing realtime insights to the owner and surfacing the most relevant content to the consumer. Either way, TV viewers win – there’ll be less guesswork by producers and more accurate coverage, commentary and graphics. Transparency will also rise as the real sentiment of viewers can now be shown in reality shows and during political debates.

TV and sports are widely regarded as the two most popular topics on social media, and with that in mind, Facebook has just got its hands on SportStream. The numbers around much of the success of social networks have themselves been furry so it’s encouraging to see everyone looking to sure up their own turf with hard data. Data will convince the bean counters of a business case for integrating social, while also bringing more useful graphics to the screen for viewers and realtime stats for those using devices. Because no one loves stats during live events more than a true sports fan. Now imagine if these were personalised, changeable and updating live.

For social TV, the future is bright – because the science is only now becoming clear.


This article first appeared on TV Revolution

Vinstagram: social media blessing or curse?

As millions of users jump on the latest social network feature – 6 and 15 second shareable videos – I’m wondering, how will this change the landscape of sharing? The skills needed to make a compelling video seems to be beyond most of us. So will our experience of social media be diminished? Do we actually want to watch these super-shortform videos as much as we enjoy browsing photos? Will our friends’ content be worth the wait to download?

When I heard about the addition of video to Instagram, I thought that Facebook needed to compete with Twitter’s bite-sized-video-sharing juggernaut Vine, but on the other hand, a photo app with video… wouldn’t that be like Twinings getting into the coffee business?

Instagram is a marvel. The simple app reminded us of what we appreciate about the still image, and it arrived just as digital cameras and smartphones seemed to be reducing all our precious moments to a flat, faded and blurry picture.

Now, video looks set to go the same way. With seamless sharing across social networks, we’ll soon be showing our friends where we are with a panorama, not just a single frame. There’ll be crappy, wind-blown audio, dimly-lit party videos and clips of cats being cute.

Screen Shot 2013-06-22 at 12.52.41 AM

Then there is the time limit – 6 seconds on Vine and now 15-seconds on Instagram. Expect to see sentences cut short, holiday panoramas that pan too quickly and people talking at an absurd speed to describe what’s happening.

I find it difficult to create compelling content within such a short timeframe. Vine’s six-second restriction limits any genuine storytelling and instead encourages videos that lie on a spectrum of spontaneous to trivial. Vine seems to acknowledge the challenge by recommending posts which are usually excellent examples of stop-motion animations, a very time-consuming process most of us will never master.

I believe 15-seconds may be the sweet spot. And some reports claim it’s no accident that it’s also the length of short TV commercials. It certainly holds more hope than 6-second movie trailers, like this Wolverine clip (epileptics beware) that WIRED calls a ‘tweaser’.

Perhaps this insanely concentrated format is ideal for a generation bred on 140 characters, acronyms and snapchats. Did you know that on average, nearly 20% of the audience that starts watching a given video clip will abandon it within the first 10 seconds of playback? What’s more, a slow 3G connection kills all the spontaneity. Viewers start to leave after waiting just two seconds.

Working with a brand, I know that brands often need even longer to tease a piece of broadcast content effectively. So I’m loving the extension that lesser known competitor TOUT gives to brands who sign up for their app. It’s well built, offers video uploading from your camera gallery, sharing across all networks and some editing.

I prefer the still image and a caption, personally.

Stop Press: Twinings IS in the coffee business. But let’s not encourage them.

Basics of Twitter

Twitter, when used effectively, is an extremely quick way to find and share information. The nightly TV news – God bless them – can’t stop reporting what’s happening in Twitterland, because more often than not, it’s where things happen, or happen first.

Yet here we are a few years into the revolution and I continue to find people who want to understand Twitter, some even want to be part of it, but they haven’t joined up. From what I can tell, these happy but misguided people fall into three categories; sceptical or ignorant or both.

So, here is my concise contribution to resolving that.

(I won’t spend any time here going into why or what you would tweet. I believe that once people have spent any time using Twitter, these questions appear as silly as the idea we would all sign up just to tweet what we’re eating.)

When getting started on Twitter, there are three important things to know.


Your username is your nickname within Twitter. Everyone can see it, and, like your profile picture, it helps define your Twitter identity.

To send a tweet to someone in particular, put their @username at the start of the tweet.

When you ‘mention’ someone this way, this appears on their Twitter page – or their ‘timeline’ – but not on the timeline of anybody else. (The exception to this is if someone is following both of you.)

It means that if you and I have a conversation, as if we were using text messages, most people won’t need to read our stream of comments, and would never come across it, unless they went looking for it. Available but not entirely public.

So, don’t be afraid to have a conversation or send people tweets, as these are generally unseen by your followers.

Twitter also offers the option of sending messages visible to everybody. So if you have something of interest to say, you don’t need to put anybody’s @username at the start of your tweet. Just gi ahead and broadcast.


Direct Messages
The other way to tweet is direct messaging. This is a private message sent via Twitter between two people following each other. It is the only way to keep tweets private. While you can’t prevent the recipient of your direct message from sharing it more widely, this rarely happens. For me, this is the main way Twitter is replacing email. But more on that another time.

‘RTs’ are the main way people re-share content. A retweet has less gravitas than a forwarded email. It’s best to imagine an RT as a forwarded email sent with a subject line FYI (For Your Information). That said, choose careful what you retweet to avoid it becoming spammy. Some of Australia’s most prolific tweeters retweet up to fifty tweets per day. Because I could, I tweeted them to let them know they were overdoing it. Sure, they ignored me, but I’d got it off my chest.(Don’t actually know if they read my whingey tweet. But still.)

The major concern people have with retweets is the fear that you are endorsing whatever is in the original tweet. This, to me, is a moot point for individuals but a serious issue for brands.

As a person, I can post a photo of graffiti without anyone suspecting I had painted it. Some who see my tweet may think I like the graffiti. Others who know me better will realise it’s just me highlighting how our city is going to rack and ruin. I don’t particularly mind either way but it’s not the best way to tell people what you think is appropriate or funny. It IS a great way to show people something you think others need to see.

For brands, the danger of being seen to condone various points of view must be taken much more seriously. That’s one reason it is safer to retweet with context.


Retweets with Added Value
I believe re-tweets are much more valuable if you take a moment to add a comment, a thought or some context to the content of your re-tweet. Where possible, I include a salient fact I gained from the article, or the statistic that surprised me most. Sometimes I even grab a quote that summarises the main thrust of the article.

Sure, it’s not as quick as hitting re-tweet, but it does help explain to people why you’re sharing what you’re sharing, and solves the problem of whether a re-tweet constitutes endorsement.

Now, go get tweeting, and tweet me your complaints or questions. I promise to read them. I may even retweet them.

Best Questions asked of Mr Abbott on #AskTony

When Tony Abbott made himself available via Twitter this afternoon to answer questions, the social network let loose like a classroom left alone with a casual teacher.

That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable but real questions were few and far between.

I, for one, support the idea of such real accessibility. Let’s hope we see more of it from our politicians – because as long as it’s a rarity, it’s only good for entertainment value….

@kinnasurprise “What is love?” #asktony

@BiancaSteman why do you have to be so mean #asktony

@GeorgeBludger: does my black hole look big in this? #asktony

@benpobjie: Why so grumpy, Grumpybum? #askTony

@HelenRazer: Have You Ever Seen The Rain? #asktony

@albericie: When will you accept our invitation to do an interview on #lateline? #asktony

@Chriswhitewrite How many roads must a man walk down? @TonyAbbottMHR #AskTony

@Chrys_Stevenson Are you a folder or a scruncher?#toiletpaperquestion #asktony

@Gwillotine: #asktony How’s Malcom?

@ana_au_: Do you really want to hurt me? #asktony

@AndyofSuburbia Butter or Margarine? #asktony

@maevegobash: Which douchebag staffer told you that doing an #AskTony thing on twitter would make you seem hip and approachable?

@RupertMurdochPRHow @TonyAbbottMHR is it possible for Australia to have the “worst prime minister ever” and yet you are less popular than her? #AskTony

And this piece of platinum Twitter as Mr Abbott signed off…
@RobJamesBoN My planet needs me. RT @TonyAbbottMHR: Sorry. I have to go now but thanks to everyone who responded #asktony

Filtering, favourites, lists and real clout on social media


Social networks need filtering. If this issue is not sorted soon, places like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest could eventually become ghost-towns. (It could happen. Do you really think you’ll be posting this often in the same places in five or ten years?)

Imagine if 80% of posts in your feed were the gold you want to respond to, the ones you’ll laugh at, the posts you actually want to read. Of course, we still need at least 20% to be slightly irrelevant so distract/potentially inspire us.

That’s the well-filtered world we could be living in now, if we could just figure out who to follow, who to prioritise and how to manage it all.

Currently, networks like Facebook present us with more options than a food court.

Friends, Photos, Events, Apps, Lists, Subscriptions, Groups, Pages and soon Timeline Advertisements… It’s an untameable beast.

We require simple, effective filtering to
lessen the burden of just maintaining what was once so enjoyable to engage with.


To this end, the idea of measuring clout – to show who are the most influential people on a social network – could be endlessly useful.

I’ve seen many stories about why is feted as a measure of social capital. And it does seem a vaguely accurate marker – however easily manipulated.

But I have read other claims it’s based on a misnomer. After all, say the critics, “how do you define influence?”

Here’s how… Lists. Twitter Lists.


Do you add anyone to your Twitter lists who you don’t respect? It takes longer than to follow someone, and you only look at it for a specific purpose, not while window-shopping on your general twitter feed.

I am on about 60 people’s lists, because I have little influence. (It’s ok. I don’t feel bad.)

Barack Obama is listed 170,271 times. And rightly so.

Secondary to how many times you are listed, is who has you listed. Do they have many followers? Are they listed many times? This could also form a way for Twitter to select top posts. Currently, that algorithm seems hooked on a user’s number of retweets and follower numbers.

Mashable says that there’s a need to quantify someone’s ‘reach, relevance and resonance’ to measure their social influence accurately. (Read more of this dubious claim.) However, influence is dependent on subjective reasons too, like likeability – for example, Barack Obama is of much less influence to you if you are a Republican, or if you live in Iceland.


Just a quick note on this much ignored feature of Twitter. I love them as a bookmark, as something to retweet or reply to later… They have many uses. But… they’re UNPROTECTED.

I can look at your favourites, you can look at mine. This astounds me. Can you see my browser bookmarks? No. Yet, without even logging into Twitter , I can see that;

  • Demi Moore has added to her favourites a string of tweets about cheating and moving on from mistakes
  • TV Newsreader Pete Overton likes to add a favourite star to compliments of himself (admittedly, something many of us probably do).
  • PM Julia Gillard used to save criticisms of her staff
  • Singer Rihanna favourites 140-character profane mantras (to turn into songs?)
  • Broadcaster Mark Colvin (@Colvinius) stars what are probably research for future stories
  • Model and TV personality Sarah Murdoch has two favourites – and one is just creepy.
  • ABC Managing Director Mark Scott saves stories related to the changing face of journalism
  • Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has saved just one tweet to his favourites – and it is one of his own. “@ozleaks Didn’t see the programme but, yes, humans have evolved”

That awkward moment when Social Media appears on TV

If the addition of social media to a broadcast is not intended as a distraction to the main game, why is that so often the outcome?

This is something I have wondered as I look at Australia’s attempts and those by networks around the world.

I thought it was self-evident that viewer opinions, when integrated into a television programme, are there to enhance the primary content. But perhaps the pendulum has already swung too far.

Why is it that many shows that have tried out social media on-air are not using innovative techniques, not conjuring up their own clever use adaption of this new community, but instead throw up some clunky graphics or even use the frustrating ‘stop/read a tweet/continue with show’ method.

Exactly who benefits from that?

Poor implementation risks offending both sides. It shows those on social networks that you don’t understand how the stream flows relentlessly on, while those who’ve never signed up for Facebook or Twitter are peeved that their show has new awkward, trendy interruptions.

Good implementation can keep viewers hooked and boost ratings – The Voice in the US is seeing a great response from their use hosts and judges live-tweeting and responding personally to viewers.

One reason TV shows should and are trying to bring social media into the foreground is fear. It’s the fear of any switched on executive producer that the social media stream will become more entertaining than the show itself. People will watch their second screen (mobile devices) more than their first (TV).

Certainly, there’s no better influence for you to switch channels than if all your friends and those you follow are tweeting about #TheVoice.

Hence, broadcasters all over the world are battling with how to bring the social stream into the live TV event. They need to show viewers they are listening to their views, but some integrations of Twitter, especially, are wearing very thin.

I like the UFC‘s approach – use social media to build up hype for the event a week out. Have your main talent interacting with viewers on various platforms throughout the day and then following the event. They understand that owning the conversation is more about taking people in behind the wall of the TV screen than it is the chance to display a highlight reel of the sharpest or fastest tweeters.

Sadly, I think Australia’s one-time leader in this area is now dragging the chain.

QandA is making a mockery of what has become known as Social TV. The show, which can still command large audiences, has long held the torch for social media integration in our country.

Several programs still limit their social network integration to a back-announce of their hashtag as the show ends. (Bit late guys!)

(Lateline is the main offender there, but, I should say, I like the show’s latest idea to give a political or topical personality the reigns as ‘Guest Tweeter’. If you’re going to tell people to “join the conversation”, it makes sense to lead it. This limits carping and provides a loose thread people can join if they wish. If not, your hashtag is just an invitation for everyone to ‘Shout! Now!’)

But back to our beloved QandA.

Each week, an increasingly silly list of tweets are flipped up on the screen.

These days, it’s hard to spot any comment that adds to the discussion. Intelligent questions? Fact-checking? It’s more a procession of punch-lines that would never be appropriate to be read out loud on the show.

It’s more a ticker of sniping, witty retorts and clever word plays that often denigrate a guest. Cardinal Pell was a good example. As was John Howard…

It’s a technique that’s not showing the best side of Twitter, nor is it helping boost engagement for the audience watching at home.

Viewers, as a result, must now tolerate these tweets interrupting the actual debate, on top of Tony Jones’s regular interruptions of panelists (something he’s long been known for). Who benefits? No one but the wise guys who – no doubt – congratulate each other on their televised tweets the next day over the ad agency water cooler.

Imagine the real-life equivalent; You’re in a pub trying to enjoy the footy but you can’t hear the commentary because all the biggest smart-arses in the room have lined up to whisper their witty interjections in your ear.

Tweets that flash up and then disappear only adds to the distraction. (It’s very hard not to look at them. I tried hard and only skipped two. Tell me how you go.)

How about a ticker that continues scrolling in the bottom third – that way I can dip-in if I wish?

But how about some more creative uses of social media?

Get your hosts to tweet LIVE on air and ask for responses.

Give characters in a drama series real-life accounts, updated mid-week, to add to the storyline – and intrigue. (Packed to the Rafters recently started a character blogging – an interesting move.)

Contests can be easily managed via social media. Tweet your trivia answer to this hashtag… Find and LIKE our hidden Facebook page for the next clue… Start a Pinterest and name a Board after our show (Microsoft and Harrods have each tried something similar)

Philosopher Alain de Botton said that the main challenge of smartphones is for us to be more interesting than they are – to stop people’s eyes drifting back to their tiny screen.

The same goes for TV.

There are many ways we can take this Australia. Let’s not leave it as it is. Please?

Pretty soon, my second screen will be much more interesting than my first.

Why I don’t bother with Tweetdeck

I cannot fathom what is going on at Twitter.

Millions of dollars flowing their way, adulation, sponsorships and the chance to recruit masters of user interface design and HTML5.

Yet the app they bought, Tweetdeck, is floundering terribly.

In my job, I train TV staff and recommend to a range of journalists and TV producers on what apps they hsould use for navigating Twitter.

My first comments are;

1) Don’t use the Twitter website if you can help it.

2) Don’t download the latest version of Tweetdeck.

Yet, as a social media manager, I have no great option with which to use Twitter on a PC desktop machine.

Yes, is getting ne by – and saves anyone who can’t install an app on their work PC – but my point is that Twitter, by purchasing Tweetdeck, was supposed to improve it into the killer app it should be. Instead it is has faltered at nearly every turn.

Oh how I despise it. Let me count the ways…

1) I can’t trust the schedule function, It regularly posts tweets immediately, not at prescribed times.

2) I cannot add someone to a list (this was available in a previous version)

3) I must add an entire column/feed of an user in order to access an individual tweet’s details.

4) The black background is not everyone’s cup of tea. It was cool for a while but now the contrast makes me squint and my OHS advisor agrees. So there.

5) The Chrome version fails to link to it’s own extension in the left-click option ‘Share this via Tweetdeck’

6) I cannot remove some accounts I no longer use. They reappear every time I reopen the app in some kind of mystical syncing debacle I am not privy to.

7) I cannot choose from which account I am favouriting a tweet or following a user.

8) The iPhone app has always been intolerable and the latest iteration does little to help it comete with stable, speedy options like @tweetbot

9) All these people agree with me

10) No threaded conversations? Or, only when it wants to show them. Pfft

11) I’m given a set number of columns or to get to the adjacent column I have to switch to a new three? No.

12) Adobe Air. It’s a daft idea to think I should keep approving updates to a secondary program I don’t really need. And its adds substantially to Tweetdeck’s reputation as a ‘memory hog’ slowing down your whole computer.

But like in the Bible and in all good Harry Potter books, there is hope….

You can download the old Tweetdeck!

Or, as I mentioned, try Hootsuite, a web-based version that actually does a lot more – perhaps too much – and it does it efficiently. There are many reasons to switch, but as I tell staff who are new to Twitter, don’t even try Tweetdeck out to begin with.

Is it salvageable? Of course. If they stripped it back to what it could do well to begin with – multiple feeds that are searchable – and add on features that other top apps now include, Tweetdeck could bounce back.

Is this likely? I don’t think so. Have you seen the latest range of changes Twitter brought to its own website? Connect/Discover/Whatever…

Gripes of wrath – My first look at The Global Mail

I was up late so I switched on the new Australian bastion of Independent Journalism, The Global Mail (TGM).

The website only went live last night but after twenty minutes or so I felt I had a good enough grasp of their plans to share my thoughts. And all my thoughts were about sharing. Because that’s what we do.

During the next day, today, I have seen some nastier reviews of TGM. This kind of spontaneous chatter, the fleeting engagement that social media elevates into conversation is still worthwhile and I am confident the editors won’t see the negatives as carping but as people wanting to be proud of a standout moment in our media culture, to make a good thing great.

My email to the editor went something like this.

Thanks for launching your new venture – it has already kept me up past midnight so that can’t be a bad thing.

Having read a few articles, each of which I appreciated, I found myself wanting more, more links to topics raised, more options for looking at the source material and a chance to delve further into the life of the author. Sadly, none of these options are present on your site. My hopes were that TGM would bring a fresh new look to independent storytelling – which it does, I am enjoying the interface and typesetting – but also that it would nail the sharing mentality that is now spearheaded by social media. As for me and my generation, this is how we consume media; it is second nature to ping our friends as we read a story, to tweet a thought, to grab a quote (preferably out of context) or to drag a photo to show our followers.

I hope that your site is already aware of these trends and plans to roll out such solutions in coming weeks. It is, after all, our first night together and I realise it’s unfair expecting everything to be just right.

So, how about it? How about a Google+ button, hyperlinked issues within stories, article tags and photos that link to more photos from that event or photographer. Right now TGM feels to me like a broadsheet copied onto a website.

I look forward to seeing where else you take it – and where I can take it.

Cheers, Luke.

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