Thursday, April 05, 2007

One-sided Twitter Q&A

Had my first taste of frustration with one-way friendships on Twitter tonight.

I'd been following Dave Winer for a while and for very understandable reasons, I'm not on his friend list.

Believe me, that's fine with me because I seriously don't expect any big name blogger (what more someone who's been blogging for a decade!) to reciprocate just because I happen to befriend-and-follow them on Twitter.

It just so happens that he threw out a few questions tonight that I would have liked to help answer through Twitter's direct messaging feature... except that I couldn't since I'm not on his friend list.

I didn't want to answer his questions through the commonly used practice of posting a public tweet with "@davewiner" for a few reasons:

  • It's past midnight on this side of the world, and the last thing I want to do is bother my Asia-based friends at such an ungodly hour, especially when I know most of them haven't had a chance to set their do-not-disturb Twitter settings yet;
  • I think that most of the people who follow me (being non-techie and non-web) would be totally uninterested in the information; and
  • I had no assurance that Dave would actually get to read what I wrote anyway.
* sigh! *

Oh well, I figure I will simply blog the answers that I would have sent him because it's possible someone else will stumble upon this entry in the future, and will actually find the information useful.

An added bonus: my answers are not confined to 140 characters! haha!
davewiner: What's the best way to include a box on my blog containing recent Twitter posts? Steve Rubel has one. Looks like it's done with Feedburner.
Steve Rubel uses a Twitter badge (that link works only if you're logged into Twitter), which Twitter provides for free.

Personally, I prefer to style my own Twitter updates rather than use the badge because the badge looks a bit clunky on my blog template. Jon Aquino has posted the necessary script and CSS to accomplish just that. He was also nice enough to update the script to compensate for a recent bug with the relative_created_at date field.
davewiner: wondering if there's a developer diredtory (sic) for twitter, one place where apps and website tht build on twitter are listed
It's not a directory per-se, but a good site to check out is the Twitter Fan Wiki.

Most of the third party applications and sites are listed right on the homepage. And if you happen to develop your own thing, you can update the wiki to advertise it. The password is indicated on the homepage too.
davewiner: Twapper is interesting, but it's missing a box where I enter what I'm doing.
I haven't tried it myself, but apparently, you can send messages using Twapper if you happen to be logged in to 30Boxes Mobile.

In fact, posting your update is only one of several new features they've just introduced. Another nice one is group messaging -- they let you define a group composed of specific Twitter friends and allow you to send direct messages to everyone in your defined group with just one post.

Of course, the message will only be sent successfully if your intended recipients have befriended you as well.

* * *

Update 1: See also detailed step-by-step instructions for setting up Twapper Mobile.

Update 2: Dave apparently saw this blog entry within hours of me posting it -- or at least early enough that he actually found the information here useful -- all thanks to Technorati. That's really amazing.