What Does “Verified Account” Actually Mean?

“The @BarackObama Twitter handle is maintained by OFA [Organizing For Action], that is the political organization that was the offshoot of the campaign,” Earnest told Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who asked whether the president reads or approves his tweets. “And that is a Twitter handle that is maintained independent of the White House.” I read these words this morning during my daily “what’s up in the world” scan of the headlines. Aside from the implications of carelessness by our current Executive Branch, I wonder if it’s fair that Twitter maintain the certifications for the President’s twitter account. The “verified account status” is a social cue to social media users that if the actual person implied to own the account doesn’t personally maintain it, they at the very least endorse and agree with the content on this account. It’s clear from the official statement (and other comments to the press) that the @BarackObama twitter account isn’t technically even owned by the president, but is the “brand account” for the Organizing for America SuperPAC. Should this account be verified? If this was Miley Cyrus’s verified account, let’s say, and she said some things that were off message for her via the social media channel (let’s say she made a social faux pas, something homophobic or racist). If she came out in the media the day after and claimed that her manager hired a PR or marketing firm to run her account with no oversight or buy in from her, could or should Twitter maintain the “verified account” status? Keep in mind that we’re not talking about minimal or limited oversight, as is the case with some...

This is what your stats look like when you’re first to blog an earthquake.

I just happened to be looking at twitter today when the first tweets about the DC earthquake hit. I went and quickly got the stats and info from the USGS and did a blog post about it. That landed me in the #1 slot on Google for about 20 minutes. After I’d updated the post with all the relevant info I could find, I vegged out on my real time stats (provided by Woopra). So in case you’re wondering what it looks like to be blitzed by a natural disaster, this is it. Thanks to Rackspace for not rate-limiting my site during the storm. Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is...

The 17th Century Roots of Activity Streams

It occurs to me that history is written by journalists. That seems a bit obvious now that I read it in black and white, so let me backtrack a second and explain the train of thought that lead me to that “epiphany.” The etymology of the word “journalism,” it turns out, goes back to the fourteenth century, when the word “jurnal” was used in Anglo-French to refer to a “book of church services.” The French, sometime in the 1560s, enlarged the word to also encompass a daily record of transactions. It wasn’t until 1600 that the word “journal” was found to be applied to personal diarists’ tome of writings. Somehow, in the ensuing ninety years, the term “journalist” grew in it’s scope, including not only those who kept personal diaries, but “one whose work is to write or edit public journals or newspapers.” If you haven’t read the book yet, you probably don’t recognize the style of writing in this post thus far – the style is a blatant rip off of homage to Bill Bryson. The influencing book in question is At Home: A Short History of Private Life,  a book I’ve been reading in bits and pieces over the last few months. According to my Kindle’s progress bar, I’m about halfway through the book, and it’s taken me up to this point to grasp the utter invaluable nature of historic personal diaries to the end of understanding history. You grow up in school and colleges, and the way history, society and culture is taught, you’d think that our history books were written by, well, history book writers....

This is Why Techcrunch Publishes Your Stolen Documents, Twitter

[Warning: this is even more stream of conscious writing than I’m used to putting even on rizzn.com. Feel free to respond, but please keep the Steve Gillmor comparisons to a minimum. –mrh] If I had the time, I’d re-write the 3000 word post that my computer ate last weekend about the stupid crap that Twitter is doing right now. As it stands, I have to express irritation about something (yeah, big surprise – Rizzn is irritated about something). Twitter’s communication abilities really suck, to the point where people are always trying to figure out the hidden meaning of founder, investor and employee’s offhand comments.  I’ve talked about this at great length before, and I’m not talking about the communication platform itself sucking – I’m talking about the corporate communications of the company.  For a company built around a communications platform (and founded by people who’ve been building communications platforms their whole lives), this is surprising to those who haven’t read between the lines. As I’ve said before, though, everyone involved with the ground floor idea of Twitter accidentally fell into success at every turn. At some point, though, as a pundit who writes about this space, you must stop giving this company that you love a pass on everything and call them to the carpet. Twitter is a happy accident by the same folks that brought you Blogger and Odeo. Yes, Odeo. Remember them? Very few people do.  It was an early entrant in the very small (and some say still nascent) field of podcasting. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it was supposed to do,...

The Great LBS Wars of 2010

I did a little mini-doc containing my thoughts around Location Based Social Networks (entitled “The Great LBS Wars of 2010”). Full description and post is up at SiliconANGLE. This is a non autoplaying version of the embed, so feel free to share it around for those of you who hated the other version. From my post at SA: Jeff Pulver and Justin Kownacki have been advancing a conversation last week week that the germ of which started at this year’s SxSWi in Austin. In Siegler-esque headlines, the question is “What was this year’s Twitter at SxSW?” In terms that don’t make the early adopters gag, the real question is actually: “How relevant and likely to go mainstream are the location based social networks, with emphasis on Foursquare and Gowalla?” Location-based social networks were the buzz of the conference, or at least what most people were paying attention to during the show, due to the hype from a couple of specific organizations. After trying to pay attention to what would be 2009’s Twitter and coming away somewhat disappointed, I decided to just keep an open mind, schedule tons of briefings and see what themes emerged from the conference this year.  I came away with a much different conclusion that what most did, which I’ll get into in later posts, but in terms of the “location based social networking wars,” I think the clear answer as to which one is going to end up mainstream and replacing Twitter is: none of them. In their essence, a location based social network is simply a feature of another service, and generally isn’t something...

Gangster? Twitter? Really?

I found this in Mike Elgin’s Raw Feed. I’m sorry – but if you’re in a gang called Original Young Gangsters, even if you go shoot someone over what they said on Twitter, you’re neither Original nor Gangster.  You’re just...

What I've Been Busy With

You may have noticed the lack of updates here. Several reasons for this. Chief amongst them is the fact that I’ve been increasingly busy with Mashable’s new video podcast series, which is getting better and better by the episode (we’re already worlds better than episode number two, which is the first episodes that I produced end to end). In other news, I’ve been busy on projects away from Mashable, as well. I’m building up a queue of shows to release on my personal video podcast feed. I’ve got a couple screencasts and a few interesting discussion episodes, as well. (By the way, if you’re interested in spotting me some cash to run some ads in that show, I’ve already got a pretty impressive number of folks subscribed to the show, especially considering there haven’t been any episodes released to the feed yet.) At any rate, I’m pretty proud of the stuff I’ve been doing for Mashable. Check out the latest July 4 episode of Mashable Conversations, where Sean P. Aune and I discuss Twitter and Identi.ca Aside from the work related things, I woke up early on Thursday to appear on an episode of Falken’s Maze, a show about AI and the Semantic Web. You don’t want to miss it, it was a lot of fun to do (my episode should be up on Monday)....

Twitter is Poo Poo Bad

Hey folks. There’s a lot of folks who’ve Direct Messaged me lately on Twitter. I’m real sorry for not getting back to you. I’m used to Twitter sending me my DMs via Twitter. Unfortunately, I’ve been missing them all since Twitter’s IM functionality has been all goofball for a good long while. You probably know this. At any rate, apologies go out to @technosailor, @duncanriley, @markdykeman, @patrickruffini, @micah, @calilewis, @seanpercival, and @sampad. Those that are timely for me to reply to, I will, for the rest, I extend my apologies....

Who Here Uses Kyte?

I’ve been tasked to look into Kyte over at Mashable in connection with one of our side projects. I used the product a long time ago, and I’m sure the service has changed radically since then. The last time I used it, it would crash my browser half the time, and the other half, it wouldn’t really play anything resembling video. None the less, it sounded like an interesting concept at the time. At this moment, though, I’m only nominally familiar with the product line over there. I’ll likely be taking a close look at it during some point during the week, but I know a number of my readers have used it extensively (I’m looking at you Robert Scoble). As I haven’t gotten comments working using my FriendFeed engine yet, go ahead and head over to FriendFeed or Twitter or my email and respond with your thoughts on the topic. Specifically: What is Kyte good for? What does it excel at? Where does it suck? Is it in the UStream space, the Utterz space, or some as of yet undefined space? Thanks for all the response (how’s that for...

Excuse the Dust

My site (rizzn.com, for those of you viewing this somewhere else), is undergoing some major changes. Robert Scoble, a few days ago, was talking about his diminished influence via his blog somewhere (probably FriendFeed). That got me to thinking of the value of my personal domain simply displaying only my blog content and a list of headlines of what I write at Mashable. My personal influence is distributed all over the place. Digg, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Mashable, Google Reader, and FriendFeed, in no particular order. I suppose I could throw up a bunch of widgets here on the site and be done with it, but what I’d rather have is an integrated experience. What I’m trying to create here at Rizzn.com, essentially, is a showcase for what I do everywhere. FriendFeed’s API is going to be a central piece to all of this, since it’s where I think the conversation is moving to for my circle of friends, but also because it aggregates everything I do elsewhere. You’ll see my FriendFeed, er, feed, along with what I say on these various items very prominently listed on the front page. Within the next few days, you’ll also see FriendFeed become the way I power my comments system. Goodbye Disqus (not that I didn’t like you, I just like FriendFeed better!), and definitely goodbye Blogger comments. And yes, I’ll be making this available as a service or product or something soon. Stay tuned...

Journalism and Marketing Tools: Focus on Twitter

Hey Rizzn-ites, This is a broad topic, really. Someone brought it to my attention this evening that I do an awful lot of evangelizing for Twitter amongst my friends and associates, and I haven’t really explained it very well to my inner circle. Essentially, twitter is what is called “Status Micro-blogging.” Don’t worry. The term didn’t make much sense to me either. I remember being in an airport or somewhere and reading a Wired review of the service, and then getting home, and every single feed on my list was talking about how great Twitter was, and how much of a huge hit it was at the SXSW conference, and it’s the next big thing. For someone who’s such an avid user of technology, I must admit that whenever I hear that something is the ‘next big thing’, I get a little queasy in my tummy, and have an immediate desire to distance myself from said technology. Usually, I’ve learned, it’s best to ignore this instinct. The same feeling I had about podcasting, I had about twitter. To me, it seemed destined to fail, especially since it revolved, at least in part, in sending tons of SMS messages to people’s mobiles. In a world where text messages can add literally pounds to your phone bill, set aside dollars, I can only imagine how poorly the service is going to do. As with podcasting, however, I was sorely mistaken in my initial reaction. I’ll describe Twitter from my perspective, which is that of an independent content producer, and how you can do the same as I. Robert Scoble often describes...

Yahoo Pipes + Twitter = RSS TwitterTrack!

Hey Rizzn-ites, This post goes out to the developers in my audience that are Twitter-heads. I really love the new Twitter “track” feature. In case you haven’t checked it out yet, basically, you type “track [keyword] into Twitter, and it’ll alert you whenever a new twitter containing that is mentioned by anyone on twitter. I’ve been noticing my tracks have been wiped out a couple of times – not sure if that’s a bug or a feature. At any rate, it’s not a supported (in the API) feature just yet, and for an applet I’m working on, I need the data fed into another routine. I toyed around with all the search engines out there, and wasn’t able to find exactly what I need out of it (that is, an RSS feed based off system-wide tweets by keyword). So then I remembered Yahoo! Pipes. I made this little pipe that allows you to enter a search term, and then get search results based off of that. It also generates the content in just about every type of RSS feed you could ever dream of. Want it? Go here for it: Twitter Tag Searcher. Are you a developer? Want to be able, say, CURL an RSS to get what you want? Syntax below: RSS:http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=ss4dzZt03BGTD2OwBx2yXQ&_render=rss&tag= JSON:http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=ss4dzZt03BGTD2OwBx2yXQ&_render=json&tag= That’s the latest from here. I’m headed to bed. (there’ll probably be a PHP snippet on this from me soon. maybe. depends on how motivated i am tomorrow). /rizzn Want to be part of the Rizzn-ite army? Indoctrination instructions...

Final Post of the Day

I’m running up on the end of my day, and I don’t think I’ll have enough time to really give this topic the amount of time it deserves, so I’ll bottom line it up front, and then go into more depth until I absolutely have to leave the office and head home: I like Twitter. I won’t go into the whole history of how this stupid little service became popular. You can find a hundred other blog posts that talk about the birth, death, and re-birth (in terms of popularity) of this little Web 2.0 app. What I will say is that this simple little script is useful for a number of varied reasons, and has an added benefit of stirring a bit of nostalgia for the ol’ Mr. Rizzn here. Let me explain this. Twitter is defined as status microblogging, in case your wondering. Essentially, if you’re familiar with MySpace… imagine the bulletins system hooked into your Instant Message client or your SMS system for your phone, with RSS capabilities. Twitter reminds me of my old Diaryland days… people reading and writing short (although in the case of Twitter, they are limited to 140 characters) blog posts about what they’re doing and feeling, etc. You’re exposed to your closest friends, and instead of being forced to channel your writing into a niche as in traditional blogging (for professional reasons), it’s more stream of consciousness, more real. That was the beauty of Diaryland. The format was unique, the sub-culture was limited in size, up until the end, and you were able to make and keep friends that were both...