There are many goodies in the new version of TweetDeck (0.33). The one that I like most is the Column Navigator, a usability improvement that makes navigation between columns a snap and will make you say goodbye to horizontal scrolling.Another worth mentioning feature is the additional media types you can view inside the client, like Flickr images and YouTube videos.
A few weeks ago my friend Roy Zu-Arets (disclosure: I created his wikipedia page) who is the most gifted musician and very original composer I have had the luck to meet and I began working on a fun side project that involves music & social media. We call it “The Vibe Of Now”.
The idea behind “The Vibe Of Now” is to create a musical micro-blogging experience – release of original compositions that are created in a spontaneous, immediate, unplanned and instant way and reflect what the composer is feeling at that moment. The entire production process is also very fast. We meet at Roy’s studio in Hollywood three times a week (Mon, Wed and Fri) for 1 hour. It takes us 45 minutes to record a piece, mix the video with stereo audio that we pull out of the recording console and publish the clip to YouTube.
Both of us have worked and released products that reached millions – I have done it in the internet space at Snap, JDate and ICQ and Roy has worked as a composer, pianist and producer with many artists, performed in prestigious halls in front of thousands and produced platinum and gold albums. But this small side project has its own magic and is very exciting for both of us. Users from all over the world send us their feedback on the music videos and how they touch them. Our YouTube channel metrics are growing week after week – the number of daily views, subscribers (now is a good time to become one), friends, comments and ratings.
A few days ago we reached a new major milestone with the release of Roy’s first solo piano solo album (after a 20 year career of playing, producing and composing with and for others) called “Confessions of a Composer”. The album features selected tracks from the first series Roy released to YouTube during the summer of 2009 plus a few bonus tracks recorded with guest musicians. You can buy the album on iTunes , Amazon or order as physical CD.
We are also about to put the “The Vibe Of Now” concert. It will be a very original and different show from a typical piano recitals, and it will feature the album pieces, variations on a theme of known songs but with some twist, and original compositions that will be composed during the concert together with the viewers similar to the process that happens at the studio. If you are interested in bringing Roy to your venue, university, tech-conference, town hall or your next corporate event, please contact us.
Next for us are a few additional mini projects:
* A special album for the holidays which is being finalized these days (Update: It is now live)
* Collaborations with some of LA’s finest musicians
* A 100% live session that we will stream to the web using UStream and twitter
* And probably a few more fun projects since the tools we have in our hands allow us to do almost anything and take it to the masses.
Last thing – this project would not exist without users’ feedback. So if you have one for us, a request, suggestion, media inquiry, touring/booking request or a testimony/album review, please contact us using this form or on twitter – royzuarets or jaym.
Together with the release of All Rich Shots, we have also released the TwitterShot. It uses the Twitter API to display various information for different links to twitter:
- For a link that points to a tweet’s permalink we display user’s information and the content of the tweet. For example: this tweet from Lance Armstrong
- For a link that points to a user’s twitter page we display the user’s profile information and his latest tweets
- For a link that points to a twitter search results page we display the tweets that are part of this result set
Since the first Twitter clients on the iPhone came out, I have tried many of them. Eventually I picked TwitterFon and when the Pro version was released I immediately upgraded to it. I find the feature set rich, it is very easy to use and has overall good stability and performance.
But as a long time user of TweetDeck’s desktop client, when I read that an iPhone version was just released, I thought to give it a try.
Well, I must say that TweetDeck for iPhone still has a long way to go before it becomes my preferred twitter client on the iPhone. Here are a few reasons why based on a 5 minutes usages:
- The app is not stable at all. In 5 minutes it crashed 5 times on me. In one of the cases, after a crash I had to try 3 times before the apps actually worked
- Strange error message indicating that I am not connected to the internet appeared while I was on Wifi kept appearing (see gallery below)
- The app does not seem to have a local cache of draft messages. If the app crash while you type a tweet, after restart you will have to start all over again!
- If you type in a tweet and then attach to it a photo, your tweet message will disappear and gets replaced by the link to the photo. Ugh!
- Search is not easily accessible. A few steps are required before you can do that which makes search a feature for power users only. First you need to add a new column called “Twitter Search” and set its initial search tern. Then whenever you want to actually edit the search term you have to: (a) navigate to the search column (b) click on the column settings wheel (c) change the search term. However, on TwitterFon search is a main function that is always visible at the bottom bar which makes it very easy to modify a search term
- Too many times and extra click is required:
- TweetDeck opens by default in the column preview mode and it forces you to hit another time a column in order to make it use all screen area. IMHO, this should not be the default logic as for most user the Friends column is what they want to read most of the times when the app loads. Better usage of the 80%-20% rule would help here
- When viewing a streem of tweets, you can not just click on a link that was tweeted to open it. You first need to open a specific tweet in a large preview mode and only then the link becomes live
- Last personal preference is the UI color. I prefer a light and bright app
On the positive site, TweetDeck has some features that I wish could be added to TwitterFon like:
- Growl integration – those little notification icons that float at the upper left corner whenever there is a new update
- QuickFollow button which lets you quickly type in a user name and follow
It is interesting to see how the battle to be the most popular twitter client is accelerating. But for now, I stick with TwitterFon Pro as my preferred Twitter client for the iPhone.
For a detailed comparison check out this great post.
I read earlier today that Twitter is turning three today. As a parent to three young boys, one of them is a few months younger than Twitter, I had some thoughts on twitter’s development during his first two years and how similar they were to the first two years of a baby that grows to be a toddler.
Just like every baby in its first year, very few understood what twitter meant when he made his first voices and mumbles. But this fact did not stop many to get impressed, excited, happy, loving and forgiving.
During the second year, an age referred also as ‘the terrible twos’, twitter was really trying to test the boundaries and our (the users) patience. He misbehaved by going down frequently and acting immaturely. But at the same time, he had these magic moments that created huge excitement among us.
And as twitter approached the age of three, things have become much better. He behaved much better & didn’t go offline that often, and he became really friendly and played along really really well with others (using its robust API).
My blog gets a fairly small number of visitors and page views every month. But just like TechCrunch, Fred Wilson and Sean Percival, I decided to take a look at my Google Analytics account and see how much link love social media services like Twitter, Facebook and others send here.
Below is February 09 referring sites data and a couple of observations:
- February was not a usual month for this blog in term of traffic. At the begining of the month, my Tropicana’s poor re-branding post was picked by FastCompany and the blog recieved (and still continues to) large number of readers.
- As pointed out by the bloggers I mentioed above, social media services are becoming major traffic drivers in the overall mix of referring sites. Specifically in my blog’s case, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Ginx (a Twitter interface), Facebook and Outbrain appear high on the list. In addition, their positions improved compared to previous months.
- Users referred by social media services seems to be of “better quality” than users referred by Google. These users tend to spend more time and often read more than the specific page they land on. In addition, a smaller percentage of them, compared to users referred by search engines, hit the browser’s Back button immediately after seeing the landing page (bounce rate %).
I will keep following whether this trend continues to grow over time and post about it.
Despite what a few bloggers have posted lately, despite the fact Google wants to buy Twitter very much, despite Twitter’s speculated price tag, I am calling the Twitter executive team not to sell itself to Google’s.
If Twitter will be part of Google it is probably going to go down at the same time Gmail and other Google services go down (you can check status here). This would leave millions of folks in the twittersphere with no effective tool to immediately post their rants.
Arik Fraimovich (the co-creator of QassamCount which I blogged about in the past) together with Ouriel Ohayon (VC & Blogger) launched a very useful service for Twitter called Topify. It is an improved new follower email alert that addresses one of Twitter’s weaknesses – getting bio information and other useful stats (following/followers counts) inside an email and being able to follow back using a simple “reply”. Topify also makes it possible to reply to direct messages (DM) using email. I signed up earlier today (super easy & friendly sign up) and already noticed the benefit. You should do the same. More info on how it works here or on TechCrunch and here is Ouriel’s announcement.
Related to that, I was thinking how come Twitter has not released this feature and kept their new follower email so basic. After all, you would expect that with all the hype and buzz around Twitter and the almost-endless resources they have ($55M in funding to date), the Twitter team would be releasing new features constantly. So, I put this short list of pros and cons and this is what I came up with:
A: Why twitter should have implemented improved email notifications long ago:
- Twitter’s basic new follower email has been a major user pain and many users have requested this feature. Listening to your users & enhancing your product to address their needs is important and it creates an engaged user base.
- The current email notification is actually hurting Twitter since it is not optimized to help users grow their network. Users don’t check their email constantly. Even when they do that, they don’t immediately take the necessary action. Many of them are limited in time, attention or don’t have the right device (ie a smartphone) that makes it easy to visit their new follower’s twitter page, read the bio located on the right side bar, and then, log into your Twitter account and follow back. This is a very long and cumbersome process which leads to poor conversion.
B: Why twitter has not implemented improved email notifications:
- Keeping the product feature-lite encourages more & more 3rd party developers to use the Twitter API and it cements Twitter in the center of the eco-system.
- The current basic email alert forces users to visit the twitter website in order to get information about the new follower. This helps increase the number of page views & unique users Twitter.com gets. After all, if the entire Twitter usage comes from 3rd party apps & clients, how can user-rating services like Compete & Quancast measure Twitter’s growth?
- Investing resources in email related features is a low priority to Twitter (same as SMS these days) since they see their future in its robust API.
My wild guess is that the folks at Twitter deliberately chose (B) despite the fact it makes their product inferior, and that they will continue to do that until they establish their web property as a top destination site and get bought by Google. Once this happens they won’t have to worry about how to position the company for an exit and then they will start releasing new features like crazy, including one similar to Topify. They might even acquire Topfiy like they did in the past with other missing features (Summize the Twitter Search company).
What do you think?
Since then, in less than 36 hours, I am sorry to say that I have received 4 twits, broadcasted every time rockets were fired by Hamas terrorists, from Gaza strip, targeted to the Israeli Negev cities and villages, in attempt to kill innocent civilians and destroy their homes.
In this account a twit is more than just a status update, a new blog post announcement or a way to share a link to a cool site or photo. A twit sent from this account means a bombed house/street or (god forbid) an injured person(s).
Kudos to the operator(s) of this account for using Twitter to help increase the awareness of this terrible situation. My wish for the new year is that I will not receive any new twitter updates from QassamCount.
Follow QassamCount. It is important. And spread the word.