Tag Archives: Twitter

Twitter Powered Hedge Fund Beats the Market

Remember that Twitter powered hedge fund we told you about? Well, that fund by Derwent Capital just finished its first month, and apparently, it managed to beat the market during that period, according to a report by eFinancialNews.

At the end of July, the Twitter powered hedge fund, which uses sentiment analysis on the data extracted from tweets, returned 1.85% in its first month, compared to the S&P 500 which fell 2.2%. Average hedge fund returns in that period were 0.76%.

When it was first launched in December 2010, many believed that it was just a gimmick. But then it raised £25 million, which told everyone that they were serious.

It works by analyzing tweets at random, at categorizing them in different moods like “happy”, “sad” etc. After performing analysis on almost 10% of the available tweets, the technology powering the fund makes predictions about the direction of the market. The initial research shows that the algorithm has been able to predict the movements with almost 88% accuracy.

Looks like everyone has been able to find a way to make money off Twitter and its data, except Twitter itself.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some more social media powered hedge funds launch in the coming months. After all, it does seem to be working.

Twitter’s Native Image Sharing Service Is Here, Now Upload Photos Directly At Twitter.com

Back in June, we told you that Twitter will soon add a native image sharing option in the new Twitter interface. This news was confirmed, when several users reported of getting a built in image upload feature in their Twitter account. This happened shortly after Twitter acquired TweetDeck, which co-relates to the fact that Twitter wants to engage deeply with its audience and is now more serious on providing features people enjoy using.

Two months since then and it’s finally here. Twitter has started to roll out it’s photo sharing service across the globe and you should see it in action, the next time you login to your Twitter account.

upload-photos-twitter

No configuration or settings are required to enable Twitter’s own photo upload feature for your account. It should be enabled by default and you should see the above screen within a couple of days.

With this new photo sharing feature enabled for your account, uploading and sharing photos with your Twitter followers is super easy. Simply click the camera icon, browse to the local folder where the image is stored and hit the Uploadbutton. Then hit tweet- the photo will be uploaded at pic.twitter.com and the link will be added to your tweet, automatically.

upload-photos-twitter1

Once the photo is uploaded, your followers will be able to preview it from their timeline (see example). You can upload images of any dimension and Twitter will automatically scale the image so that it fits properly on the display pane of new Twitter interface. There is one catch though you can’t upload photos that are either 3MB or bigger in file size.

While Twitter’s own photo sharing service is already live, let’s not hope that Twitter will end support for Flickr, Twitpic, YFrog and other third party photo sharing sites. So many users still use Twitpic and Flickr to share photos with their Twitter followers and ending support for third party image hosts will break a major portion of the Twitterverse.

The Privacy Aspect of Your Twitter Photos

There is no option to completely delete uploaded images from your Twitter account. Once you have uploaded an image, it’s stored on Twitter’s web server forever. You can however delete the tweet that contains the link to your image but this won’t delete the actual image file from Twitter’s image serving website. If someone manages to copy the location of the image before you delete your tweet, he will be able to access the image regardless of whether he has a Twitter account or not.

Update: After testing the following link after an hour, I found that the original image file was also deleted from Twitter’s image server.

Example: For the sake of testing, I uploaded an image from Twitter.com and deleted the tweet after copying the web address of the image. My tweet has been deleted but the image is still accessible at this link – https://p.twimg.com/AWcYJhTCMAAlnzK.png

Deleted images will not show up in Twitter search results but just in case you think Twitter is ideal for sharing whatever photo is stored in your mobile – No it isn’t. Every tweet which contains a link to your photo is searchable so you should be careful about it. However,  if you have a protected Twitter account – your images should never show up in search results.

Watch the following video or head over to the help center to learn more about Twitter’s own photo upload feature:

Twitter Launches HTML 5 Version of Twitter.com Aimed at iPad Users

As time goes on, we see more and more companies embracing the fact that the iPad is a force to be reckoned with. They spend there time developing apps for Apple’s tablet, redesigning content for its form factor, and even creating special versions of their sites for it. We can now add Twitter to the list of sites that have versions specifically for the Apple iPad.

Announced by @twittermobile, there is now a HTML 5 version of Twitter’s website, twitter.com, aimed specifically for the iPad. While Twitter has had an iPad app for a while now, this new user experience is designed to be used in the tablet mobile browser. It appears to be a hybrid of the desktop site and the HTML 5 based app.  It features a dual column design that is very reminiscent of the current desktop web experience.

If you prefer to use your iPad’s browser over using an app, then this is a great update for you. It is also a great example of how good a mobile web experience can be. I think other companies (Google+) could take a few notes from Twitter. The iPad offers a greater screen real-estate than the typical mobile phone, and it should be taken advantage of.

The timing on this release is pretty interesting. Facebook announced their own HTML 5 web app initiative, Project Spartan, a few months ago. While nothing has come out of that project yet, it is expected to show fruit any day now. Its possible that Twitter felt it was necessary to beat Facebook to a launch, and they have done just that.

According to Twitter, the new version of the site is not currently available to all users. I know that I could not access it just yet, but some users can. It is said to be rolling out to all users over the next week. When I manage to access the site, I will take some screenshots and post them (or someone could send me some.)

Twitter Activates “Promoted Tweets To Followers”

For some time now, we have heard rumors that Twitter would be bringing ads to our streams. It only made sense that Twitter would have to find a way to monetize outside of promoted trends. The only logical place for that to happen was in the users feeds, and that has now come true.

Announced on the official Twitter blog, Promoted Tweets have started their reign as of today. For the time being, they are only active for a select set of advertisers. Before you grab your torches and pitch forks, let me explain a few things about the new Twitter ad scheme.

Many people feared that promoted tweets would mean the onset of ads you didn’t want, similar to spam emails. Twitter has said that wouldn’t be the case, and it looks like they were telling the truth. For the time being, ads will only come from brands and companies you already follow. They pay for the ability to be at the top of your stream, despite not being the latest tweet you receive.

That may sound horrible, like they could just clog the top of your stream. According to Twitter’s official blog, promoted tweets won’t do that, either. Twitter says that these ads will move through your stream after a period of time, allowing for you to continue to interact with your friends. They also promise that the promoted tweets will only appear once.

If you don’t want to see the ads roll through your stream at the regular rate, you can choose to dismiss them manually. This is good news for those of us who have an active Twitter engagement. I follow a number of active people, and I would hate to miss any of their tweets.

So there you have it. Promoted tweets are going live, and they may not be so bad. What are your thoughts on these new ads? let us know in the comments section.

Gender, No More a Secret on Twitter

When Twitter initially launched its service, users created Twitter handles with nicknames and aliases that did not reveal the gender and it was difficult to identify it. Nevertheless, Twitter still does not have an option to let its users reveal their gender. However, a bunch of researchers has figured out a way to identify, or rather predict the gender of a user on Twitter based on their tweets.

In a paper called Discriminating Gender on Twitter, researchers at the Mitre Corporation have come up with an algorithm and stated that with the help of the algorithm, they could identify a user’s gender by analyzing the tweets.

According to FastCompany, team members – John Burger, John Henderson, George Kim and Guido Zarrella – selected a set of Twitter users whose gender they were sure of. They then narrowed their research to users who linked to major blog services where they revealed their gender. The data obtained showed that about 55% were female and 45% were male. By examining the users’ real name as posted on their Twitter profiles, the computer guessed the gender correctly on around 89 percent of instances. Remarkably, the program was able to guess a user’s gender correctly 65.9 percent of the time by looking at a single tweet.

The team created the algorithm, which suggests that different people use different languages in different ways. They found out that, by looking at certain characters or combinations of characters, the computer could easily guess the gender of the tweeter. For example, if the user used an exclamation mark or a smiley face, it guessed that the user was more likely to be a female.

Twitter Gender Analysis

On other platforms, I have seen users creating fake profiles by updating their gender as female, even if they are male in reality. It’s a human nature that males are more attracted to females, and the majority of male users on the Internet send friend requests or follow female users. Thus, by creating profiles under female gender will bring in more followers or friend requests no matter what.

Perhaps this is why Twitter has not yet introduced an option that lets its users reveal their gender. The other reason could be that there are several organizations and brands on Twitter. Well, one cannot describe the gender of an organization.

Although Google+ does not support brand and organization entities, it recently updated its system by adding an option called Otherin gender. Additionally, if Google Plus users did not want to reveal their gender, they always have an option to disable it or share it with selected people. I think Twitter should consider introducing a similar option, at least to organizations and brands in order to make it easier for other Twitter users to identify whether it’s a brand or a person.

Windows Phone Mango Beta Refreshed; Twitter Integration Debuts

Yesterday, Microsoft announced Windows Phone Mango RTM. The RTM implies that the code is finished, and handed over to carriers and device manufacturers for testing and distribution to the customers. Today, Microsoft surprised developers by releasing Beta 2 Refresh of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.

Also, Microsoft is pushing an OS update for developer-unlocked phones allowing developers to refresh the Mango update to Build 7712 corresponding to the SDK release. The RTM build is 7720. The Beta 2 of Windows Phone SDK 7.1 was released last month and developer-unlocked phones were updated to Mango (Build 7661). Although, the update has a RC moniker in the name when the tools are installed, this is an early version. The final Release Candidate would be released next month. The final Mango update would not be available to developers early, and would be pushed through the usual official channels.

Today’s update is available through the Mango Connect site. You would need to download and install the updated Zune software (4.8.2134.0) and an UpdateWP.exe file. Also download the Windows Phone SDK tools. Before you install any of these, first uninstall the previous versions of all three from your computer.

The latest update showcases Twitter integration in Windows Phone for the first time. Although the Twitter integration was announced and demoed earlier, the feature wasn’t included in the last update. I did a post on all points of Windows Phone experience where Twitter integrates.

The comprehensive integration touches all bases in Windows Phone. The integration is present in the Me tile, People Hub, Pictures hub, and Internet Explorer 9. The Twitter integration is very solid, and for infrequent Twitter users, this might just do away with the need for a Twitter client.

The tools update also adds a nifty screenshot capability built-in into Windows Phone Emulator allowing you to quickly take screenshots of your apps without using a separate app.

How Do You Define Google Plus?

Defining Google+: Is it Facebook’s competitor? Or is it similar to Twitter? Oh, wait! Does it work like a blog?

Well, it is quite hard to define or probably explain the newly launched social networking site, Google+. When Google+ was announced, everyone thought that it was Facebook’s competitor. Later on, by users’ experience, they claimed that it is more like Twitter where you can share links/images; make official announcements and so on. However, few users say that it works similar to blogging platforms. People like Kevin Rose, found Google+ so interactive that he eventually ditched his blog and redirected his domain to his Google+ profile. Well, now that’s like being more fascinated towards Google+.

Let us compare Google+ with Facebook, Twitter and Blogging platform to see what they have in common.

Google+ vs. Facebook

Right from the profile page to updating posts and to sharing stuff with friends, Google Plus and Facebook have the most common features.

  • G+ and Facebook have almost the same Profile Page. The user’s profile picture placed on the upper left-hand corner with friends list below that, is same as Facebook. In addition to that, we have information like Occupation, Education and a brief self-introduction box on the right-had side of the page.
  • Facebookers can “like” updates while Google+ users can “+1″. It is pretty much the same feature. Both these buttons are allowed be integrated on third-party sites.
  • The status update box on Google+ is a copy of Facebook’s status update box. A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s the comparison:
    Facebook Google Status Box Comparison
  • Updating posts in Google+ is similar to updating posts in Facebook. You can share personal thoughts, videos, pictures and even links while your friends can “+1″ (“like” on Facebook), comment or share it with others.
  • Google+ allows you to categorize your friends with the help of Google+ Circles. This allows you to control what you share with whom. Similarly, Facebook allows you to categorize your friends in Groups, but unlike Circles, Facebook users do not commonly use Facebook Groups.

Google+ vs. Twitter

I have seen people breaking news on Twitter and such announcements/news published on Twitter, spreads like wildfire. Google+ functions in a similar way. We have seen Google employees – Vic Gundotra and Frances Haugen, announcing new features on the site. Not to forget, the CEO himself (Larry Page) posted  Google’s Q2 Earnings report on his stream last night.

Most Indian tweeters, use SMS gateway to update news as quickly as possible. Similarly, Google+ announced SMS support that lets Indian users update their Google+ stream by just sending an SMS. Here’s how to update Google Plus through SMS.

Google+ vs. Blog

Like any blogging platform, Google+ also allows you to share posts with photos, videos and permits users to comment on it. Although blogs allow you to share your posts on Twitter and Facebook, Google+ limits its user to share posts within Google+ only. However, with the use of third-party extensions, you can share Google+ updates on Twitter and Facebook simultaneously.

What is New in Google+?

Well, just one thing and that’s “Sparks”. Google+ Sparks allows you to identify or discover topics that might interest you. For instance, let us say that you are interested in Photography. With the help of Sparks, you can keep yourself updated with latest news and topics related to Photography. The results shown are filtered according to the keyword/s you specify. Read more on “Sparks” here.

Considering the above points, it is quite hard to define Google+. What I think of Google+ is that it is a mixture of everything. Google+ == Facebook + Twitter + Blog + Some of Google’s unsuccessful services.

Here’s how I think Google+ was born – Google has taken the best of Google Wave, removed some unworthy features from Google Buzz, added few bits and pieces from Orkut, integrated Facebook’s UI, allowed Twitter like functioning and embellished it with photo sharing and video chatting to make it look more like a blog.

Google has really brainstormed on Google+ and have taken into consideration what people really want and how they would like to communicate with their friends and family  members  – You share what you want, how large or small it is and firmly decide whom to share it with.

Well, If you are already on Google+, please let us know what you think of Google+ or how would you define it?

Google’s +1 Used More than Twitter’s Tweet Button

Google launched it’s “+1″ sharing button last month as a part of Google’s search engine and displayed the “+1″ button next to search results. It allows you “+1″ search results and advertisements that you like which will appear in  your  Google Profile. It was soon allowed to integrate in website and blogs just like Twitter’s “tweet” and Facebook’s “Like” button. And apparently, Google+ buttons were used more in number than Twitter buttons. Twitter, now has something to worry about.

In a recent study carried out by a SEO platform provider – BrightEdge, revealed that 4.5 percent of the sites it analyzed had adopted the Google +1 button, while the “tweet” button had a usage of 3.4 percent combining Twitter Share (2.1 percent) and Twitter Instant Follow (1.3 percent). However, Facebook’s “Like” button, remained on the top with 10.8 percent dominating the social share buttons.

Google's +1 Used More than Twitter's Tweet Button

Google’s +1 saw a growth rate of 1 percent, Twitter with 0.2 percent and Facebook with 0.3 percent when compared with the last analysis conducted in June, 2011.

Breaking down Facebook’s social share widgets, the “Like” button has been adopted by 10.8 percent while the “Like Box”, Facebook Connect and Facebook Recommendations had no changes with 6.1 percent, 1.9 percent and 1.3 percent respectively.

The analysis was carried out for 10,000 largest websites showing a 33 percent spike in placement of the +1 button in the last few weeks. The report also revealed some more interesting analysis. Only 49 percent of the top 10,000 websites used either Facebook or Twitter integration.

The analysis also included how the social share buttons were rated on the basis of integrating them on the front page of the top 10,000 sites. 47.4 percent included link to Facebook profile while Twitter stood second with 41.8 percent. YouTube had a 16.77 percent decline with 16.75 percent and LinkedIn with 3.7 percent.

Google's +1 Used More than Twitter's Tweet Button

Few days back, after the launch of Google Plus, Google removed real time search results from its search engine as the contract between Twitter and Google, with respect to real time updates from Twitter, had expired. The deal allowed Google to integrate tweets into search results on the go. Google stated that is working on incorporating Google+ into this functionality and have temporarily disabled the feature.

We can expect more integration of +1s after Google+ API is launched and when Google+ comes out of beta. Watch out Twitter!

A funny video created by CreativeShed shows Hitler’s worry about the rise of Google+ and how Google+ is taking the world. Enjoy ;)

Twitter Acquires Social Analytics Start-up BackType

BackType announced on it’s blog that it has been acquired by Twitter sometime back. BackType is a small social analytics start-up that aims to help brands and companies understand the business impact of social media, analyze the effectiveness and the value of engagement on Twitter.

We’re thrilled to announce that BackType has been acquired by Twitter! We’ll be bringing our team and technology to Twitter’s platform team, where our focus will be developing tools for Twitter’s publisher partners.

The financial details of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.

Twitter Acquires BackType

BackType offers real-time search for mentions of certain terms on Twitter. It has analyzed over 50 billion tweets, 10 billion links and more than 200 million Twitter accounts. BackType Team stated that by joining with Twitter, it will added insight to tens of millions of publishers around the world who communicate and connect with audience on Twitter.

BackType did offer some amazing technologies initially. They had developed a technology that had the ability to track a person’s comments posted on blogs all over the web. Entering the blog’s URL would give you an RSS feed of all the comments posted around the blogosphere.

BackType’s product BackTweets helps publishers understand the reach of tweets and content and how Tweets convert to potential traffic. Since the acquisition, BackTweets will now be offered to current users for free. However, BackType has closed new registrations for BackTweets and will discontinue the product and API services.

Twitter, on the other hand, might use BackType’s technology to help advertisers track the effectiveness and the value of engagement of Promoted Tweets.

Twitter For Newsroom Launched: Your Guide To Twitter Basics

twitter-logoTwitter is no doubt one of the best ways to find breaking stories and up to date information about something which is happening right at this moment.

Whether it be the death of Osama Bin Laden or the Japan Earthquakes, Twitterverse is always booming with information, news or scoops in real time. What makes Twitter so useful and compelling is it’s universal and spontaneous nature. Anyone can break a story, news or deal on his Twitter profile and if the tweet is really worth, it will spread within minutes. This is very different as well as way faster than old media where the end user gets the information after much editorial processing.

But here is the catch: not everyone is familiar with Twitter basics and sometimes they need clear and concise guidelines on how to use Twitter to dig out specific information they are interested in. Most newbies think Twitter as a large chat room with useless discussions without going into the finer details, which is now made a little easy.

Twitter has launched an official site at media.twitter.com/newsrooms which provides detailed guidelines on how to use Twitter to find sources, embed tweets on webpages or promote your own stuff on Twitter. The site is geared towards people who are new to Twitter and need help in understanding how Twitter works.

twitter-for-newsrooms

Here are a couple of sections from the Twitter Newsroom site which are worth reading:

#Report

This section outlines a suite of search tools which you can use to find tweets that are related to the topics of your interest.

  1. Twitter Search: This section gives some insights on how you can use Twitter search to find information about a particular subject. Please note that Twitter search is also available at twitter.com/search apart from search.twitter.com
  2. Advanced Twitter Search: This is for power users who have lots of Ifs and buts. Learn how to use Twitter advanced search, combine search operators and track conversations between two people (see example).
  3. TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac: Use TweetDeck on your desktop and dedicate columns for specific hash tags. Get real time notifications and there is no need to manually search for the same hash tag or topic every other day.
  4. Archive Search: Need to find old tweets? Use Topsy.com

Twitter says that it is their goal is to help creative professionals in news, TV, sports and entertainment use Twitter effectively.

#Engage

Still not getting hold of Twitter or find it rather confusing? The success stories page will be a good start which showcases examples of Journalists and media persons using Twitter everyday to find information that matters to them.

Furthermore, Twitter gives some more tips on branding your profile with a custom   image, a profile picture and writing a clear and concise bio.

#Publish and #Extras

Some tools of the trade. Learn how to embed tweets on webpages, display selected tweets or add a Followor Tweetbutton on your website.

Finally, the wrap of section contains links to Twitter help pages, problems and troubleshooting issues and a lot of other useful resources.

If you are using Twitter for a year or so, chances are you already know these things. However, if you have a friend or colleague who is new to Twitter and needs help in understanding the basic things, the Newsroom page will be a good start.

Some Tips On Using Twitter Wisely

1. There is no rulebook and the so called ethical guidelines for using Twitter. Everything depends on what you want to achieve through this medium and your tweets should be a reflection of your goals.

2. You don’t need tons of followers to tweet. Everyone started with zero followers.

3. Respecting your followers is a good practice. It won’t hurt if you are tweeting about your lunch or last night tequila party but make sure your tweets are meaningful and not offending or disturbing.

4. Build relationships, not just blind followers with an egg as their profile picture.

5. Communicate with people you care about and talk about things you love, rather than stealing tweets of random celebrities or mimicking someone.

6. Avoid personal attacks or stalking someone publicly. Not only you will lose trust, but you will regret your behavior as the reactions are most likely to pour in.

7. If you are promoting your business on Twitter, register a different account for branding reasons. Your business followers can quickly subscribe to that Twitter profile and get real time updates about your website, without having to go through each and every personal tweet of yours.

8. It’s fine to use auto tweeting services like Twitterfeed but don’t overdo. Be human, no one likes robots.

9. You don’t have to tweet every single hour. Do it when you feel it and don’t worry about F.O.M.O (fear of missing out).

twitter-cartoon

10. Twitter is a great way to connect with strangers and like minded people. When you are talking about something very specific, remember to use appropriate hash tags. People who are searching for the same topic will notice you and they will eventually follow your tweets.

11. Don’t forget to thank your followers when they Retweet your tweets and reply to them when they are mentioning you. It should ideally be a two way channel.

12. If you are using Twitter to market your business, help as many people as possible rather than tweeting about your business all the time. You must deliver value in some way or else no one will stick around in the long run.

13. Self promotion isn’t bad and remember the fact that no one else is going to do that for you. But excessive self promotion equals spam.

14. Your followers are 1000 times smarter than you. Respect their time and attention.

Happy tweeting! See you there