Death to Retweets!

Live Tweeting News shows is fun, but existing Twitter clients don’t always make it easy to stay engaged.  This is the first of series of articles on the unique challenges of live tweeting and how they’re overcome in the TweetWatch.TV application.  To see how the application handles the challenges yourself, give the app a try.  It’s free and runs in your browser so there’s nothing to install.

Retweets are a great feature of Twitter — it allows you to see updates your friends think are especially noteworthy.  And it helps you discover updates and authors you might not otherwise come across.  It’s a part of what makes Twitter “social”.

But even though retweets are a fantastic part of Twitter, when I built the live tweeting application I made it easy for users to turn off seeing retweets:

Why did I do that? What made me think that turning off a core feature of Twitter is a critical requirement for a live tweeting application?

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Obama vs. Romney on Twitter — Ryan VP Pick week (8/12/2012)

With all of the excitement over Todd Akin, it’s easy to forget that last week was all about Romney picking Paul Ryan as his running mate.  But it was a busy week nonetheless, and it’s interesting to look at how it was played out on Twitter.

The first thing that stands out is that the number of tweets mentioning each candidate was roughly the same.  Both received about 1.9 million mentions on Twitter.  Romney may have fewer followers, but he’s just as hot of a topic.

For both of the candidates, about 45% of the tweets were retweets, while the rest were not (or were modified in the process).  There’s a lot of people expressing their opinions out there.  And what were those opinions?

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Catching up with some old trends — where are they now?

I have a strange fascination with those “where are they now” shows featuring the fates of famous people from years ago.  I know either they are washed up and broke, or made a fortune in real estate, or went back to college and earned a Ph.D. in some hard science.

For trends on Twitter, alas, the washed up fate is the most probable. It seems like only a few weeks ago that #Julia was a hot trend on Twitter.  What’s she been doing with herself lately? (I’m pretty sure if turns out she got a Ph.D., there’s a government grant in there somewhere).

There’s actually a lot of these short-lived trends that get started on Twitter: everyone piles on, and then they fizzle out.  I have been tracking a bunch of them for a while.  And since I too have the Twitter attention span, I now have months of data on long dormant trends.  But bit’s interesting to look back at some of their brief lives.  They shone so brightly but so briefly.

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Restarting MSNBC’s The Cycle

Imagine you’ve started a new job, working for four weeks straight on a new project, and then the fifth week you get to put a couple of days in before being furloughed for two weeks.  When you get back, how quickly can you get back into the swing of things?

If you’re MSNBC’s The Cycle, that’s your story.  The show debuted on June 25th, and a month later was suspended so MSNBC could cover the Olympics.  That’s not a great strategy for building and retaining an audience!

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