Grow Your Twitter Followers
Top Twitter Disasters
Uncover the most common monster mistakes people make when marketing on Twitter. Find out the most shocking reasons people fail to get significant traffic from Twitter, and how you can avoid the same fate. Discover the top tricks for making the most out of your marketing efforts on Twitter. Learn what Twitter visitors really want. Once you get this right, your success will improve immediately.
The Twitter API uses an HTTP request to upload a new tweet, with the most efficient implementation being through cURL, the transfer library for most Internet-based protocols, including HTTP. host host . This example uses PHP (with php5-curl), but any language with a binding for libcurl works in the same way. You need only to fill in your login credentials, and you can tweet from the command line.
In the same way that tweets can be written with a simple HTTP request, so can they be read. For example host ch curl_init() This returns all the information available regarding the most recent tweets (including your own) with full information on the user (such as their name, image, and followers count), message, and the in-reply data (featuring status, user, and screen name). This is more than you'll generally need, but it's a good idea in API design to never lose information if possible it's easier to filter out than it is to add back in. You can use this code to follow tweets when offline by using the computer to intercept suitably formatted tweets and sending them on with SMS transmit code.
The phenomenon that is Twitter has allowed the general public to morph into self-styled microcelebrities as they embrace a mechanism of simple broadcast communication from one individual to a set of many followers. Although communications generally remain public, it is possible to create a list of users so that members of the same family can follow each other in private. One thing that Twitter has succeeded in doing better than most social sites is that it has not deviated from its original microblogging ideals, meaning that the APIs to query and control the feeds have remained consistent. This makes it easy for you (or your house) to tweet information to your feeds or for the house to process them and take some sort of action based upon it. In all cases, however, you will have to manually sign up for an account on behalf of your house.
Starting with Ubuntu 10.04, the Quit menu has been divided in two, with all the status indicators now having their own Me Menu on the left and the current username shown next to a speech bubble as the heading drop-down menu button. The Me Menu lists your username at the top, alongside a thumbnail image which you can personalize by clicking it. Underneath that is an input box where you can enter updates to Twitter, Facebook, and or other similar sites once you have configured Ubuntu to access them. You can also directly enter any Chat or Broadcast accounts you have set up, or open Ubuntu One from here. To the right, all the user functions such as shutdown and restart are now selectable from the universal broken circle power button.
Twhirl is a Twitter microblogging client. Figure 1. Twhirl is a Twitter microblogging client. Twhirl is one of the dozens of Twitter clients available. Many people find Twitter's Web interface much less useful than using a dedicated client. I'm in that boat. Twhirl has lots of seemingly simple features that make it a great way to interface with the Twitter universe. Many users prefer another AIR-based Twitter app, known as TweetDeck. As both are free, and both work well under Linux, so I suppose it's only fair to mention both. Twhirl is just my personal preference. TweetDeck www.tweetdeck.com
Kyle Rankin shows us how to join the instant-messaging bandwagon without ever leaving the comfort of our IRC windows. With Bitlbee, you can pretend everyone on the planet uses IRC, even if they're using the dreaded MSN Messenger. To follow that up, Kyle and Bill Childers are back to their spatting. This time, they're arguing over the usefulness of Twitter. As a Twitter user myself, I think I lean toward Bill's side this month, but feel free to choose for yourself.
There I was, trying to come up with a topic for this column, when I did what I usually do when stumped I sent a question out to my Twitter followers. This time, I got a great answer, from John Minnihan How about how special vars inside a script, for example, bin bash script 0 * current dirname 0 cd current make Dave Taylor is a 26-year veteran of UNIX, creator of The Elm Mail System, and most recently author of both the best-selling Wicked Cool Shell Scripts and Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours, among his 16 technical books. His main Web site is at www.intuitive.com, and he also offers up tech support at AskDaveTaylor.com. You also can follow Dave on Twitter through twitter.com DaveTaylor.
I am writing this article in mid-May 2008, several weeks after Twitter was rumored to be moving to a platform other than Ruby on Rails. Twitter, of course, is an extremely popular service that allows users to write updates and notes about their current status and allows readers to follow any number of people's Twitter feeds. You can think of Twitter as a combination blogging and RSS platform, populated by people who express themselves with only 140 characters at a time. Like many other runaway Internet successes, Twitter appears to have become too popular for its own good. This has led to some outages, most notably one at the beginning of 2008 that took more than a day to restore. Thus, it was seen as more than a mere coincidence when Twitter's main architect left the company, and that within a few days, the TechCrunch blog was quoting anonymous officials within Twitter about how the service would be transitioning away from Ruby on Rails.
If you've already worked with Web sites from the command line, you know there are lots of illegal characters that cannot be included in URLs and, by extension, on command lines of utilities that interact with the Web, such as curl. As a result, one of the tasks of our send.twitter.update script will be to make all of the necessary substitutions before sending the new status message to the Twitter server. On a lightweight service like Twitter, I think it's probably crazy to go through too many hoops to ensure security, so I actually will be including the account name and password in the script. Given some of the suggested applications we'll explore later, it makes sense to create a new Twitter account just for the command-line updates, in which case, a shared password isn't that big a problem anyway. Here's a first stab at a simple stu (sent twitter update) script curl --basic --user user pass --data-ascii status echo tr 1 1 '+' user name Dave Taylor , description Blogger,...
curl --silent --user user pass --data-ascii status (echo tr ' ' '+') dev null echo (sent tweet ) exit 0 The bigger issue is recognizing when we've already responded to a Twitter query to the bot. I'm sure no one's going to appreciate it if a query for hours results in an answer every ten minutes for the next two weeks There are two ways to address that particular problem, one of which is to add timestamps to each tweet and figure out when we last auto-responded, but that sounds suspiciously like work. Instead, we simply can remember the most recent tweet to which we responded, including user ID, and use that as the starting point for subsequent auto-response parsing efforts. I can't squeeze it in this month, but rest assured that next month we'll add this third piece and then talk about how to slip it into a cron job so that every N minutes our Twitter response bot answers any pending queries from the twitterverse. Dave Taylor has been hacking shell scripts for a really long time....
Vendors offering devices for the Multimedia Users group have a preexistent and ready-made market growing out of the current market for smart phones. Although multimedia is most often associated with images, text, and music, it can also mean application programs that integrate data from a broad spectrum of independent sources. Probably the best known and most popular application that does this for mobile devices is Canola. It is built using Python and the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), and it uses a plug-in system to enable YouTube, Flicker, and more. There are Google Summer of Code 2009 projects approved to create plug-ins for Twitter, Remember the Milk, and even an IM client.
People in this segment are comfortable with the Internet, particularly within social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. A survey of 7,705 college students in the United States, undertaken by Reynol Junco and Jeanna Mastrodicasa for their book Connecting to the Net.Generation What higher education professionals need to know about today's students), has shown that a key motivator is peer recognition. Other interesting points from this survey are that
In England, the foremost site is Live Departure Boards which provides reasonably accurate information about most trains on the U.K. network. It doesn't include an API, unfortunately, but it is very easy to scrape for the current train times and also comes with a Twitter feed detailing the station closures and the overrunning of engineering works. It also has the advantage of using a basic GET request to retrieve the times of all the trains between two named stations, making it easier to bookmark. One journey I make on occasion is between St. Pancras and Luton Airport.
Although Twitter has adopted a broadcast mechanism, Facebook has continued to focus on the facilitation of a personal network with whom you share data. For HA, you are probably more interested in sharing information with friends than strangers, so this can be the better solution. However, writing an app that uses Facebook has a higher barrier to entry with comparatively little gain. It does, by way of compensation, provide a preexisting login mechanism and is a web site that many people check more often than their e-mail, so information can be disseminated faster. However, Facebook does change its API periodically, so what works one day might not work the next, and you have to keep on top of it. If you are using Facebook as a means of allowing several people to control or view the status of your home, it is probably easier to use your own home page, with a set of access rights, as you saw in Chapter 5.
Kyle thinks Twitter is just another rehash of tried-and-true tech, while Bill thinks it fills an interesting niche in people's on-line lives. What's the reality though Read on to find out. (Bill is simu-tweeting this, so his replies are limited to 140 characters, just to prove that Twitter can be useful.) BILL Kyle, I found a Twitter client for you. It's BILL CHILDERS text-based and plugs in to an IRC client like another BILL Besides, Shawn Powers is on Twitter. You can tweet with more people than just me. It'll be fun limited number of people in an IRC room. With Twitter, my content is open to the whole world KYLE Considering all the posts that talk about what someone had for lunch, I don't know that everyone on Twitter shoots for quality either. Really, people use Twitter like a chatroom. You can replace what are you doing right now with what you put in an IM or IRC away message. BILL Kyle, I thought the same thing. I was so wrong. Twitter isn't...
BUGwifi opens up many options, from connecting different devices via Bluetooth to sending messages to your Twitter account when motion is sensed. In addition to using the existing Web services, you can implement your own Web service or Web front end using Java servlets. For example, we recently made a BUGbot BUG with wheels attached. We created a Web page served from the BUGbot that could control the direction and speed of the device. We then used the BUGbot to drive around the office snapping pictures. The BUGbot was easy to make. We attached a motor shield to the BUGvonHippel module, hooked that up to some wheels, put a tripod on the wheels and a BUG on the tripod. With the Wi-Fi module (BUGwifi) attached, this BUGbot also can upload the captured images to Flickr or Twitter.
Flickr To set up a Flickr account all you need is the account login id. Twitter Requires a user name and password. StatusNet A login id, domain and password is needed. Qaiku You will need an api key, instructions for this are provided in the Gwibber window. You will also need your login id.
What Really IRCs Me Twitter In my never-ending search to do all communications through the same IRC client, this month I present tircd a great way to connect to Twitter over IRC. In last month's column, I talked about the fact that I thought IRC was the ideal interface for quick communication with my friends. I keep an IRC session running at all times within a screen session, so I can continuously lurk in all of my channels. Because many of my friends use IM instead of IRC though, I've had to figure out ways to manage all of my communication without having a ton of different programs open. Last month, I discussed how I used Bitlbee so I could access all sorts of IM services from my IRC client, and I promised that in the follow-up column, I would talk about how to do something similar for Twitter. A Quick Twitter Rant In case you didn't read last month's Point Counterpoint column, let me summarize my opinion here. I don't see the point of Twitter. I think everything people use Twitter...