A modest proposal for social media names and automatically linking them in apps, web pages, and operating systems

I think all the big social networks should divide up special characters so they all link to different services properly, then get it implemented with OS and browser makers.
Alternatively, inventing special service-specific characters that can be easily added to touchscreen keyboards would be acceptable, similar to how Apple added the @ and # keyboard options to iOS years ago.

For example, clicking:

  • @chartier would attempt to open me in Twitter’s app if present, else fall back on the website in the user’s default browser
  • &davidchartier would open my Facebook Page in its app or website
  • ^chartier would open me in Tumblr’s app or website


They could work it out with OS owners and directly with browser makers (because let’s face it, web standards are a fairy tale now) so that just typing these things in apps automatically links them, much like many apps and web apps now auto-link URLs.

Twitter Will Soon Start Showing Targeted Ads Based On User Account Information, Browsing History | TechCrunch

Ingrid Lunden:

Another step ahead for Twitter in its bid to step up the pace with advertising on its platform: today the company announced that it would soon start “experimenting” with ways of making ads more “useful” by matching ads more closely to users on Twitter using retargeting technology. Retargeting will rely on a browser cookie ID that gets matched to Twitter accounts and/or on contacts from, say, a businesses’ mailing list getting matched up with Twitter account names.

Twitter’s new retargeting system complies with Do Not Track and, like Facebook’s ads settings tab, makes it easy for users to opt out. Plus, for what it’s worth, the EFF gave the thumbs up.

Apple still doesn’t get social

It’s been five years, and nothing. Best improvement we got was a Like button hidden on the reviews tab in iOS 6, but that just gives data to Facebook; Apple doesn’t use it to enhance the store or discovery process for customers.

BlockAvenue might become a good local review and community service

Living in Chicago, I’ve been on the hunt for a good community service that gives members a place to organize and talk about what’s new and going on in their specific, neighborhood slice of the city. EveryBlock was great until NBC unceremoniously pulled the plug with no warning. Nextdoor looks promising but it’s taking a while to get traction, and it’s not integrating with much existing data or services. BlockAvenue is the new kid on the, erm… circuit, and it looks promising.
BlockAvenue collects quite a bit of local review data from Yelp, Foursquare, and others, but then again, so do lots of other services. Where it gets interesting is adding more community data and features, including schools, local discussions, crime reports, and a per-block and neighborhood rating system compiled from all this stuff. Got a question about a neighborhood you want to visit or move to? Need to report a problem (potholes, graffiti) to the city? Bam.

Of course, BlockAvenue is in its early stages so it feels heavily weighted to all the existing data it pulls in from other services. But as BlockAvenue improves its tools that add value—discussions, location-based ratings, and more—it could become more useful than EveryBlock was as a one-stop shop to research neighborhoods and organize with the people and businesses in them.

No, Twitter, the audience does not “want breaking news, warts and all.” It wants all of us to be better than that

Mat Honan wrote a great piece at Wired about why Twitter needs an edit button, and he’s right. Nick Kallen, a platform engineer at Twitter, wrote a response shooting it down from a mostly cultural standpoint with a sprinkling of product direction for flavor.
Unfortunately, Kallen is utterly wrong and suffering from tunnel vision, and Jim Ray spells out why.

Kiwi Services for App.net

Kiwi Services for App.net
Kiwi has turned out to be the best App.net client so far, so Joe Workman went berserk and built a bunch of services that make it easier to use Kiwi to post from other apps.

Like Alfred? Like searching for files in Alfred? You can draft new posts with a quick ⌥-Space (or ⌘-Space) then send them to Kiwi, or quickly browse for an image in Alfred and send it to Kiwi for sharing.

Joe also built Kiwi integration for Dropzone, LaunchBar, OS X Services, PopClip, Quicksilver, and a good ol’ fashioned Safari extension. It’s a good thing.

We do not own our audience’s attention

People like a lot of stuff, love a small handful of stuff, and like interacting with all that stuff to various degrees on Facebook. But a long time ago, Facebook realized it needed to start filtering the news feed once users became inundated with their friends’ stupid Instagram lunches and brands abusing the system to get more attention and likes. This isn’t a problem, it’s just the way people work.
Over the last couple of years, someone with a decent following has noticed this reality of social media, possibly done some research, then penned a rant accusing the company of forcing popular people and brands of having to pay-to-play to reach a larger portion of “their” audience every time they want to say something, regardless of how important that thing may actually be in the grand scheme. Rinse, repeat.

This time around, Nick Bilton penned a complaint for the New York Times and Facebook responded with what understandably feels like boilerplate text. Users are interested in a lot of stuff and have a lot of friends, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear every single update about every single thing. Life just doesn’t work like that.

When you look at human behavior, there’s nothing new here. Very few people follow every nugget of content from more than a couple things they’re into—for most people it’s probably a couple of really close friends and family members, a favorite band or two, and that great new TV show, tops. For everything else most people are interested in, they tune in and out; scroll through Twitter and maybe catch a couple updates; buy a magazine but not a subscription; watch a couple episodes but not the season; see the first film but not the trilogy.

People’s attention occupies a vast, fickle universe, and we are tremendously lucky to get anywhere near the center of it, ever. To expect to leap directly to the center with every single pithy quote, article, or photographed lunch is irrational. There are myriad ways for creators to increase their chances of making it farther in, and ways for the audience to temper and pace their attention. Facebook tackles this problem of information overload programmatically and, if you use the service the way most actual users do, I’d say it’s pretty successful (in fact, I wish Twitter, Tumblr, and similar networks would add this mechanism). Users even have a way to explicitly opt into every single update from a friend or page, but that’s their choice to make.

Instead of being upset at Facebook for trying to work within the confines of human behavior, a better approach is to give users more reasons to choose to let us get closer to the center of their attention.

Wisdoms of Pearl (Tweens + Instagram = тωєєиѕтαgяαм !!!)

Wisdoms of Pearl (Tweens + Instagram = тωєєиѕтαgяαм !!!)

Post fast, delete fast.  It is important to purge your photos once you’ve reached 40 (or was it 100? I’ll have to inquire within).  This is the point at which Instagram takes ownership of your photos, so you will want to stay below that number.  This is serious shit!

Need help with a tricky word game.  Take a screenshot. Post it to instagram.  Maybe consider @ing your friend who is gr8 with werds and write “help!”.  A couple of minutes later you will get your answer. Delete photo from instagram. Continue game.

The practice of inventing entirely new layers and uses for apps and services that have no such structure is fascinating to me.