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All Is Fair in Love and Twitter

Nick Bilton, The New York Times:

One night in late February 2006, around 2 a.m., [Jack] Dorsey sat in [Noah] Glass’s parked car as rain poured down on the windshield. The two were sobering up after a night of drinking vodka and Red Bull, but the conversation, as usual, was about Odeo. Dorsey blurted out that he was planning his exit strategy. “I’m going to quit tech and become a fashion designer,” Glass recalls him saying. He also wanted to sail around the world. Glass pushed back: He couldn’t really want to leave the business entirely, could he? “Tell me what else you’re interested in,” he said. Dorsey mentioned a Web site that people could use to share their current status — the music they were listening to or where they were. Dorsey envisioned that people would use it to broadcast the simplest details about themselves — like “going to park,” “in bed” and so forth.

The Twitter genesis story you’ve never heard before. Friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and backs are stabbed. It’s like a Silicon Valley soap opera. The article is adapted from Nick Bilton’s forthcoming book, “Hatching Twitter“, set to be published next month and sure to deliver even more interesting insight and stories about one of our favourite social networks.

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Traders buy up dying ‘TWTRQ’ stock, mistaking it for Twitter

Vlad Savov, The Verge:

Twitter shares aren’t yet available for public purchase, but that didn’t halt millions of transactions in the moribund Tweeter stock, which trades under the initialism TWTRQ, close but not the same as Twitter’s upcoming TWTR ticker.

This is hilarious. Go home, stock traders. Some of you must be drunk. (I will also repeat that I think Twitter should have chosen ‘RLRT’ as their stock symbol. Missed opportunity.)

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Twitter Files For IPO

Joshua Brustein and Nicholas Summers, Businessweek

Twitter’s IPO will be a smaller affair than the social network’s was. Facebook’s valuation was around $100 billion when it went public, while one of Twitter’s investors valued the microblogging site at about $10.5 billion last month. The company brought in $245 million in revenue last year, with an operating income of $3.1 million, according to Privco, a research firm that studies private companies. EMarketer says Twitter’s ad revenue will be well over $1 billion by 2015.

Taking note of the debacle that was Facebook’s IPO in 2012, Twitter is taking a somewhat conservative approach with its public offering. It remains to be seen how the influx of investors will affect Twitter’s future dealings with third-party applications, and how the social network plans to further its monetization strategy.

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Frozen Pizza: How Instagram And Vine Are Fuelling The Frivolous


That is a frozen piece of pizza, on the ground, covered in snow. I found it in the parking lot this morning as I was leaving school. I posted an Instagram of it.

At the outset of the new year, I set some social media goals for myself. Things like learning to better leverage Twitter as a networking tool, expanding my presence and my brand online, and trying to take more Instagram photos. I hoped to achieve that last one by taking at least one Instagram photo each day for the entire year. For the first few weeks, I did quite well. I started taking photos of everything, some days posting more than one. On occasion, more than five.

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2012 in Review: Tech


2012 has been a monumental year in technology. This year we’ve watched Facebook truly realize the complete “American Dream,” as it went through with an IPO that valued the social network at $90 billion in May,  lost 47 percent of its value in 94 days, and subsequently began a slow ascent back to respectability. The Internet rallied its voice and defeated major legislation across the globe, including SOPA and PIPA that attempted to regulate the Internet. Major gadgets were released, including the Nexus 7, iPad mini, Microsoft Surface and iPhone 5. Copyright and patent laws around the world were put to the test as Apple and Android OEMs embarked on a game of ‘who can file lawsuits against each other in the most countries,’ with Samsung arising as the first victim of the lawsuits to the tune of $1 billion, which of course is being appealed.

All in all, it was a very eventful year in tech. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights.

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Rethinking Publishing: Enter Branch

Enter Branch

Online discussion is quickly outgrowing 140 characters, and as communities become more forum based, so too must the platforms. While one group of people may begin discussing a topic on Twitter in 140 characters or less, the same group—possibly including others—may want to take that discussion further. Enter Branch. The idea of taking a conversation further is what Princeton student Josh Miller and NYU student Hursh Agrawal came up with in 2011 when they teamed up with Cemre Güngör (designer) to found a company called Roundtable. The trio bootstrapped the company from New York City for four months, eventually moving to San Francisco in January 2012 to build the product with guidance from Obvious Corp.’s Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Jason Goldman. In May, the company — now called Branch — returned to New York City and is currently a team of eight, whose product “Branch” is empowering people to talk about the world around them.
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In a world full of Quoras and independent forums, Op-Ed sections, Twitter, Facebook, and more, Branch is seeking to build a platform with publishers in mind. Considering NPR as their inspirational background for great discussions, they realized something was missing. As The Awl’s Choire Sicha explains:

There’s a huge hole in how we have conversations online. The best thing about using Branch was that it let us bridge the gap between writers and readers. We get to bring these lively conversations into our site, instead of just “talking at” readers. Branch naturally allows members of a conversation to invite others, whether that be industry experts or any active member of a community, to take part.

According to Branch, their services are being used in articles and blog posts on sites like Nieman Lab, GigaOM, Eater, The Awl, and ReadWriteWeb. Branch allows someone to easily embed the conversation’s source code into their own blog’s CMS [content management system], and it updates in real time.

Most users discover Branch through Twitter. Naturally, many are mobile. Branch says an official mobile application is coming; it is a high priority for them, considering one out of every five users who visits is on a mobile device. In the meantime, Branch was developed their content to scale to mobile – one might add to home screen to create a web-app shortcut in lieu.

Twitter InvitationAccess is currently invite-only, but you can head over to Branch’s homepage and request an invite; it shouldn’t take long to get a response!

Source: PandoDaily, Branch

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Twitter Updates Profile Pages with Header Photos, Photo Stream


Twitter has just pushed out updates for its web, desktop, and mobile clients that make browsing the micro blogging service just a little more visual. Profile pages now have a larger header photo, which bears a striking resemblance to Facebook’s cover photos, at the top of a users profile page. Profile pictures, user names, and descriptions are placed on top of the header photo. The design is a bit busy, and it doesn’t look as good as Facebook’s timeline design.

Twitter’s official mobile client’s on iOS and Android now show a recent photos stream below a users recent tweets. Its not quite Instagram, but it is a step to make the Twitter photo experience a bit more cohesive.

You can read more on the official Twitter blog.

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Twitter API v1.1 will impose strict limits on third-party apps

Twitter announced Version 1.1 of their API today, and in an attempt to “deliver a consistent Twitter experience”, the company will introduce some pretty strict new limits and restrictions for third-party applications.

The most controversial of these changes is a new user limit that will be imposed on traditional third-party Twitter clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific. Apps like these will now be limited to 100,000 users, and should they reach that threshold, they will be required to seek Twitter’s permission to add new users. Current apps that already have over 100,000 users will be able to grow until they reach 200% of their current user base (in other words, double the amount of their current users), at which point these restrictions will go into effect. Twitter has not explained what will happen to third-party apps once they reach their user limit, specifically whether or not they will be allowed to add more users, which will likely be determined on an app-by-app basis. Though the fact that they are urging developers to “not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience” doesn’t bode well for the future of these apps. Regardless, Tapbots’ Paul Haddad seems pretty confident in the future of Tweetbot:

Twitter will also provide per-endpoint rate limiting with the updated API, a change intended to lessen the frequency of rate limiting issues. The current system allows 350 authenticated calls to be made per hour, regardless of the endpoint, while the new system will allow for 60 calls per hour per endpoint. In addition, all calls to the Twitter API will have to be authenticated, and client applications that come pre-installed on devices will have to be authenticated as well. Twitter is also adopting their current “Display Guidelines” as “Display Requirements” in order to tighten control over how Tweets and their contents appear, though this mostly dictates simple things like displaying the “@” symbol before a username, and linking @usernames to profiles.

While many see this news as “the end of the Twitter ecosystem”, that may not be the case. Though it may seem like third-party Twitter clients will be unable to thrive under these new rules, this may simply be Twitter’s way of regaining some control over their product and ensuring future profitability. It’s possible that Twitter will allow third-party clients like Tweetbot to continue to exist and grow in exchange for them adopting the “new” design requirements, and implementing Twitter’s ads.

Source: Twitter
via The Next Web, The Verge