The internet has been available just about everywhere in the past few years. People aren’t locked to their desk these days. If you have a laptop or other portable device that has Internet capabilities you can sign on from restaurants or anywhere that offers Wi-Fi. But what about those that are not physically on Earth like those on airplanes or even the ISS astronauts on the space station? Can they tweet from space?
Electronic Devices on Airplanes
You might mistakenly think that electronic devices are all banned on fights since you are told to turn everything off at take-off. But actually, only cell phones are officially banned by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Everything else while not banned is not allowed by the airlines. So tweeting or Googling or Facebook has to wait until you are on the ground again.
The reasons for this as explained by the airlines is that the devices will interfere with the aviation electronics in some planes. In other words the airlines suggest that interference from electronics can cause the plane to crash. They further state that usage of cell phones; laptops etc. will disrupt signals in cell phone towers on the ground. Airlines also worry that use of cell phones specifically would cause disruption among passengers and those making calls would bother those not wishing to overhear private conversations.
This is now all being challenged since testing has never been done to confirm these explanations would actually happen. Additionally, some airlines are now considering offering at least Wi Fi for laptops while in flight. Of course, those planning this will need a high speed strong Internet connection. Because of the altitude only the best Internet connection will work without dropping the signal. It is good news for those wanting to check out the news, tweet about their trip or otherwise connect online with friends. It does come with a price though as the airlines also plan to charge a fee for the service.
First Tweets from ISS
In spite of concerns from airlines about electronic use in the air, it seems those higher up out in outer space don’t share these concerns. For example, a special type of Internet called The Interplanetary Internet has been created by scientists so that astronauts can be connected all the way from the ISS (International Space Station) which is in orbit 400km from the Earth.
On February 22, Google+ Hangout and NASA teamed up to connect the ISS astronauts to social media. Now people were able to follow the astronauts and about the space station mission directly from the astronauts themselves. In the Google+ hangout session people were able to ask questions and get answers in an online session. Since then the astronauts have followers on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Routine updates are tweeted to followers. One of the most recent was an April Fool’s joke from astronaut Chris Hadfield. He posted a series of five tweets describing a “flying saucer type object” before tweeting a photo of him holding a little green creature. Another time William Shatner, the famous actor who portrayed fictional Captain Kirk of The Starship Enterprise tweeted with Hatfield who is on Twitter as Cmdr Hadfield. Shatner asked Hatfield if he was tweeting from space to which Hatfield replied “Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface”
Although Interplanetary Internet is used for more official reasons it has to feel great for the astronauts to relax for a bit and have fun on social media just like anyone else. Plus connecting online offers the advantage of feeling closer to home and loved ones through their Internet system.
Technology will evolve and that will include Interplanetary Internet as it is refined and elaborated. But for now just knowing you can connect to someone living in outer space kind of boggles the mind. Who knew in the early days of the Internet that someday we would be able to see the ISS astronauts in action in real-time situations or tweet with them as though they were just down the street.
This is a post by Jefferson Vergo. Jefferson is a freelance writer and an occasional tech blogger currently working for Clear Internet. When he has free time he likes to travel and discover hidden, untouched places around the World.
Have you ever found that the fact you’re on the move has had a negative impact on how often you’re able to tweet, and the quality of those tweets in terms of being able to link and embed easily? Well, it’s not an uncommon problem – staying as productive on any platform while mobile as much as you would while stationary is a serious challenge, but as long as you’re willing to do two things while you do so, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier.
The first thing you should think about doing is adapting. Many people try to use Twitter in the same way when they’re mobile as when they’re at their desk, and this usually just results in them falling behind with anything else they’re doing (or even just phasing out). So when it’s just you and your iPhone, start thinking about how you can put your non-office, shifting environment to use when you’re on the move.
Take photos of interesting things you might come across, or make videos and get them onto a personal YouTube channel (monetise it, too, as it’s not worth risking a video going viral without any ads to reward you for inadvertently entertaining millions). You can also use it as an opportunity to give you new topics to write tweets about that contain no embedded media – live-blogging events you’re attending or simply commenting briefly can help draw people in and showcase your ability to use your feed as a way of offering users a window into your life, rather than just your occasional moans about late trains and cold coffee.
Use your situation on-the-go to your advantage and take that window into your life to a level where people will actually feel that your feed is a useful source of information, should they enjoy your work or want a similar career. While the internet is a great platform for arguing about one’s favourite movies or sharing pictures of cats, it’s also an opportunity to contribute to the greatest collected library of human knowledge in the history of our species, and if your way of contributing is giving someone a daily day-in-the-life collection of tweets then that’s good enough.
Additionally, take the second approach, and prepare. Schedule a load of your regular tweets – this could take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour depending on how frequently you normally tweet – and stagger their scheduling so they don’t flood everyone else’s feeds over the space of a single, crazy second. Depending on how you schedule tweets, you may or may not be able to embed media, but ensure there are links to said media in the tweet at the very least, rather than an entire day of scheduled text.
Finally, and this is important: reply to people! Do not spend your day of being on-the-go as a one-way Twitter megaphone. Respond to people as often as you reasonably can, and you’ll immediately find that people appreciate it more when you’re tweeting about being mobile as it’s clear you’re busy, but still taking the time to respond to their tweets. So remember: adapt, prepare, and don’t go silent on people! Good luck!
About The Author
Jimmy Wentz often talks about web design, books, startup businesses and online media. His free time is taken up writing about tech developments, news from companies like Apple, O2, and Microsoft and exploring his passion for playing video games. Jimmy can be found on Google+ and Twitter
Today I came across a clever new twitter application that offers people the chance to donate the remaining characters from their tweets in order to raise awareness of the charity Help for Heroes.
It is all part of a wider campaign called http://www.hashtags4heroes.com/. The campaign has been created for the whole month of May (which in PR terms is Military Appreciation Month) to raise awareness for Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and injured service members.
Every time a user tweets during the time period, the application will autofill any unused Twitter characters with messages that help spread the word about their charitable services.
What I love about this is they are using something which is free to raise awareness of a particular message at a particular time. It’s a great example of a clever idea executed brilliantly. They have even created browser plug-ins and a dedicated mobile application.
They have set a target of 300,000 characters donated by May 31st 2012 but I think they will smash that as at the day of writing they have already secured 148,000.
The reason why I like this idea is because it is simple but it is PR and social media combined to deliver a multi-platform campaign. I would love to work for a charity on something like this and I tip my hat to the guys that came up with it. I have even tweeted my support – great campaign well done.
1. Trending Topics Are NOT Always The Most Popular Things People Are Tweeting About: Buffer this
But for a topic to become a trend, it actually has to meet several criteria beyond just being “popular:”
► It has to have no foul language in it. ► It has to be popular with a lot of people in a short period of time—it has to “peak” in popularity. ► Total tweets AND the total number of people tweeting BOTH matter. But unless there are tweets from a lot of people—what Twitter calls “widespread popularity“—total tweets will NOT matter.
But that’s still not enough to become a trend! Even when a lot of people are tweeting about something, it won’t become a #TT unless it also meets one of these other criteria:
It has to be a new topic that has never been popular before, or…
It has to be a previously popular topic that has become popular with a new group of people.
So lots of tweets is not enough. And lots of people tweeting is not enough. A topic also has to be newly popular, or popular with a new group of people, as determined by Twitter’s automated algorithm—see below.
2. Why Twitter Removes Still-Popular Topics From Trending:
Some popular topics stay on the #TT list for a long time because more and more new people start tweeting about them. But some topics continue to get tons of tweets for a long time, yet are removed from the #TT list quickly—because no new people begin tweeting about them.
The same people saying the same things will NOT keep a topic trending.
The classic example of a very popular topic that is NOT a #TT is Justin Bieber. #Bieber tweets are virtually always popular on Twitter, but it’s always the same people tweeting.
3. Why Twitter Stops Some Tweets About Political Events From Trending. Buffer this
This is a very frustrating feature of how Twitter’s algorithm selects Trending Topics. Political events (or topics) can become deselected from the #TT in several ways:
► An event becomes “old news” before it happens
Scenario: People begin tweeting about the event in the days beforehand, and it becomes a #TT. But by the time the event arrives, it is “old news,” and unless a lot of new people begin tweeting about it, it won’t be on the #TT list anymore.
Scenario: Thousands of people tweet about a topic. If the tweets are all sent out in the same few minutes, it could easily become a #TT. But if those people send their tweets out over the course of several days, the topic will likely not trend.
► It wasn’t blocked—you just missed it
I see this all the time. Topics trend briefly, then the algorithm determines they are no longer really “peaking” and so they are removed. And then people say “Why isn’t this trending?” It did trend, but you missed it.
► But I have proof Twitter censored something!
Okay, but I’ve checked many such claims, and in each case, a much simpler explanation was obvious. Plus, every “proof” I’ve ever seen has been based around how many tweets are being sent, and trending is not just about the volume of tweets. (Plus, if Twitter really wanted to censor something…wouldn’t it want to hide the tweets themselves?)
4. Twitter BLOCKS Some Tweets From Counting Towards Trending Topics: Buffer this
► Twitter counts people more than tweets
Remember, Twitter’s algorithm counts how many people are tweeting about something—not just total tweets. So the same person tweeting 50 times about the same topic can be counted as “one person tweeting repeatedly about the topic” instead of “50 tweets about the topic.”
Twitter even says it could suspend your account if you “Repeatedly Tweet the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending/trending higher.”
► Twitter doesn’t show all tweets in search results.
Tweets that do not show up in Twitter search results won’t be counted towards making a topic begin, restart or continue trending. Reasons tweets go missing can include:
Your profile has no name or bio.
Your account was just created.
You have almost never tweeted before.
No one has ever responded to your tweets—you don’t converse, are never retweeted and never mentioned.
Adding one or more topics/hashtags to an unrelated Tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search.
Repeatedly Tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending/trending higher.
Tweeting about each trending topic in turn in order to drive traffic to your profile, especially when mixed with advertising.
Listing the trending topics in combination with a request to be followed.
Tweeting about a trending topic and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.
5. What Is Twitter’s Secret Formula For Selecting Trending Topics? Buffer this
While Twitter doesn’t reveal the exact formula, they have provided some details about how #TT’s are selected. The main things to remember are: ► Twitter may count total people tweeting more than total tweets. ► Twitter counts topics that are newly popular. This means topics must be “breaking” or “peaking” in order to trend. ► Topics that have been popular for awhile will not trend again (or will not keep trending) unless new people begin tweeting about them in large numbers in a short period of time. ► If Twitter allowed simply whatever is being tweeted about the most to always trend, large groups could dominate the trending topics all the time. In fact, this is what used to happen before Twitter implemented its algorithm. The main group that dominated the #TT’s was…Justin Bieber fans.
“Twitter Trends are automatically generated by an algorithm that attempts to identify topics that are being talked about more right now than they were previously.
“The Trends list is designed to help people discover the ‘most breaking’ breaking news from across the world, in real-time. The Trends list captures the hottest emerging topics, not just what’s most popular. Put another way, Twitter favors novelty over popularity…”
6. Why Twitter Will Be Censoring MORE Trending Topics In the Future. Buffer this
As first reported on the TweetSmarter blog, Twitter is considering censoring “clearly offensive” topics in the future:
I have just been reading Sharon Chan’s blog and I came across this new recruitment video that Twitter has done. I think its a great example of how you don’t need to take everything so seriously to get a good message across. It’s cheesy but it’s also low budget and people like cheesy stuff.
I think the fact that it has gone viral probably has something to do with the fact that it’s Twitter which is a cool company that most of us would love to work for. The clip has been viewed by more than 500K people.
Despite the rift between the lifestyles of the ordinary fan and players getting ever wider, social media has helped bridge the gap, giving followers much demanded access to their heroes. Once upon a time fans used to associate with players in pubs and join them in drinking a pint and sharing a cigarette, now they follow them on Twitter.
Nowadays, players can occasionally be seen in a nightclub, but if you really want to know what they are getting up to you follow them, not literally of course. A large number of high profile players and ex-players have quickly gained another level of notoriety through these streams. But is it really a good thing giving footballers the ability to speak their mind without having any control over what they’re saying?
Take Wayne Rooney for example. He has 2.5 million followers hanging on his every tweet. Given his personality on the pitch, it may have worried many at Manchester United that he was going to able to say anything he wanted without the club having any say, a worry that manifested itself when Rooney offered to fight a Liverpool fan after receiving abuse. He said, “I will put u asleep within 10 seconds hope u turn up if u don’t gonna tell everyone ur a scared little nit. I’ll be waiting.” Rooney later described as a “bit of banter.” However, the Man United Media Officer must have been reading with a bead of sweat on his brow and worried where it was going.
Lower down the leagues at Leeds United, a forum had to be temporarily shut down after a number of its members began to abuse the clubs Media Officer Paul Dews and make a number of unfounded accusations about his personal life. The decision was made by one of the site moderators to be shut down so that the situation could be calmed and an apology made. The situation could have become libellous but many fans thought it was the power of the club that had forced such a decision.
Most recently, ex-footballer Stan Collymore was racially abused through his Twitter account which came during the height of the racism row between Man United defender Patrice Evra and Liverpool midfielder Luis Suarez. Police arrested a 21 year old man after sending the tweets to Collymore whilst he was hosting his Talksport radio show.
It works both ways. With the price of watching football constantly increasing fans feel that they deserve more access to players, but once they achieve this they just berate the players. At the same time, players and ex-players like to try and stir things up which often leads unruly comments. Robbie Savage is constantly making statements such as, “had to take my wallet out of my suitcase because it was too heavy.” This is just said to get a reaction from fans. Once he loses control of the “banter” however, he then proceeds to throw his toys out of the pram and threaten to leave Twitter.
Whether football fans should have such access to players will always cause debate. At Leeds United players are banned from using Twitter after striker Davide Somma admitted to picking up a season-long injury before the club had gone public with the information. This may well be a sensible move that other clubs adopt if there are more incidents like Rooney’s. Fans, even of opposition sides, will tell players what they think of them and feel it is their right to do so. Fans look on and see players getting paid more money in a couple of seasons than many fans will earn in a lifetime. But does this give them the right to direct abuse at players?
On Friday morning I started to get some new Direct Messages on my account (see examples in image) with phrases like:
“Want to lose any weight? go here: [link removed] best product for losing weight” And then later, “You seen what this person is saying about you? [link removed] terrible things..”
The first one of these is a link to yet another ‘Acai Berry’ site, but I’m pretty convinced the people who tweeted me didn’t know they were promoting this product through their direct messages.
The second one is currently out of action this morning, however it is linked to a domain tivvitter.com which has been associated with Stalktrack, a bogus app which purports to be able to ‘see who ‘stalks your twitter’, which was active last summer.
The stalktrak scam presents you with an ‘Authorise StalkTrak to use your account?’ page similar to ligitimate twitter authorization pages, which required you to enter your twitter login details. The purpose of the page was simply to steal your login so as to use your account to spread the messages to your followers via public and private messages.
Twitter is waging an ongoing war against spammers and hackers. I wrote about this here and here. It isn’t surprising that with such a large community there are some attempts to do this, so lets look after each other.
What if I’ve been Hacked?
If you believe that your account has been compromised and you have given away your login or authorized an app like this, or if your account sends out messages you didn’t authorize, there are two things you must do. 1. Revoke access to the applications that already have access to your account. Do this by visiting the Applications tab in Account Settings (when you are logged in).
TweepsMap is an interesting Twitter app that will put your followers on a map of the world, literally. It analyses the percentage of total followers from countries, states, and cities. (here’s more about how it works) While you can check out the profiles of your followers and find out where they’re from (if they filled out the location information), you can’t really get a snapshot. When I analysed my followers, I discovered that 60% were from outside the US (compared to 70% on Facebook)
I made a mistake, I didn’t give my data the sniff test before sharing it. That’s some great advice from KD Paine for the last chapter of our forthcoming book, ”Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” which is on data analysis and turning data in action. So, look at every chart, every graph, every number and ask does it make sense.
So I asked on Twitter if there was anyone out there from Washington state – and a number of them responded back. So, it looks like there is a glitch. My colleague, Zan Mccolloch-Lussier, from Washington state suggested that the problem might be that is confuses Washington, DC with Washington state.
Despite a few glitches, you use this tool to see if your audience is local or global. What did you discover by putting your Twitter followers on the map?
I’ve been using Twitter for more than five years. It is amazing how much has changed… both in perception of thEdite service as well as usage of service. And while the fail whale is still a dreaded sight it has become ingrained into our vocabulary. Twitter has done an amazing job of not only changing the way we communicate, but also changed the way we relate to one another. Lets step back in time and take a look at what Twitter used to be to the few early adopters and what it has become today to the masses.
First, its not a stretch to say that in the early days of Twitter it was viewed as some “nerd/geek” thing that was pointless. The only people who spent time on Twitter probably had no friends of their own. Plus, the biggest statement about twitter users was that they were “over-sharers”. People who were so narcissistic that they believed other people actually wanted to know when they were brushing their teeth or what they were having for dinner or the fact that they “just woke up”.
Fast forward to today and we see that Twitter has morphed into an amazing avenue of content sharing. But the truly amazing thing is that its not just for content sharing but also for content consumption. People from all different demographics are sharing content, conversation, and consumption. These are people that users probably would have no way to connect with or discover without Twitter.
I remember when talking to people about Twitter and its usefulness, most people simply laughed and made some reference to the fact that Twitter was simply a tool to keep you from doing any work. It was a procrastination enhancer. This probably correlated to the first issue where people just thought others were “over-sharers” and that anyone who spent time on Twitter was just wasting their time following people’s daily tasks… watching paint dry.
Now when any major news or event happens around the world Twitter is one of the most reliable and fastest sources of information. People tune into news and individual twitter accounts to get the latest and even real-time reporting of events. When was the last time we heard about a plane crash, earthquake, tsunami, sports victory, or election debate where we didn’t hear something about Twitter saying this or that?
Even when Twitter was getting started back in 2006, Jack Dorsey (founder/creator) tweeted the first tweet, “just setting up my twttr”. It was setup to share short bursts of inconsequential bits of information. It was built around the 140 character limit in order to encourage a more condensed form of chit-chat.
That original limiting 140 characters has become the creative building block to shape headlines and even help popularize the shortening of URLs so that linking of content would take the least amount of space because space was so valued. The 140 characters enabled users voices to get right to the point and not deal with idle chit-chat.
In the early days of Twitter, there were times it would seem like a massive black hole sucking all content and thoughts. The impression was left not only on critics but even many users felt that when they tweeted on twitter it was like talking to the wall. Even though there were lots of people, at times it could seem like nobody was listening.
I can’t tell you how many people I meet today who say they first made a connection with a friend or business associate first on Twitter because of a discussion revolving around a topic both participants were engaged and spun the conversation out into real life. Twitter has because a resource for creating connections and facilitating conversations.
Twitter was viewed as an mob scene with everyone shouting at the same time. There were only individuals. There were no brands, there were no products, there were no organizations. Even Twitter itself spent countless hours (and years) trying to find its own brand and financial stability.
But now, Twitter has an ongoing engagement between companies and brands and their valued customer base. Twitter gave a voice to brands. Twitter because useful for driving traffic… because now people were listening. It isn’t just a shouting black hole. And those companies and brands who take customer service seriously, Twitter has been an amazing gift for them as they are able to connect with and assist their customer base.
How have you seen twitter change? Do you think Twitter has gone in a positive direction? Where do you want Twitter to go from here? Oh, and if you want…. you can follow me at @benjaminbradley
This was a guest post kindly written and shared by Benjamin Bradley if you wish to see the original post you can do so here. If you think you have an interesting Twitter post that you would like to share with the world drop us an email.
A big hat tip to them, I was not very suprised to find Justin Bieber at the very top but it seems the UK must be having some effect too as the X-factor band One Direction have managed to make the number ten that did suprise me. I thought it would all be US type news and topics.
Our friends at What the Trend (now a HootSuite company) analyzed over 207,518 hashtags to identify the top trending topics of 2011. Along with the big list comes a handful of more focused categories including movies, TV shows and news events. They’ve whipped up the handy infographic below for your year-end reflection on the vox populi.
Have you managed to contribute to this list in 2011?