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Twhirl, Real-Time Analytics & Twitter as a Traffic Referral

Over a year ago, I wrote about the need for analytics for the real-time web (and the potential business model surrounding it): "Twitter and Friendfeed: Understanding Referral Traffic; Arriving at a Business Model".

Since then, the real-time web has exploded (thank you Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc)... and the need for deep data, filtering and search has only become more glaring (a notion made very clear in Twitter's internal documents and memos).

I have also written about Bitly and the role it can play in this ecosystem. Recently, I have started using Bitly's sidebar and data more actively (Clicks, Referrers, Locations and retweets). I love it. It's a glimpse of: - what discussions and posts are active and engaging - where the traffic and discussion is beginning (email, IM and desktop clients like Twitterific are primary drivers) - where the discussion is occurring (for the most active topics, it is more off my site than on it... fascinating) - Twitter's ecosystem (in the below example, accounts for only 6.5% of the direct clicks)



Twitter, Facebook's Feed, Facebook Connect and Seesmic: Navigating it All

I've been using Seesmic's Adobe Air Facebook application for a few days now. Despite all of it's inadequacies (see below), it raises a larger question to me - and one that I have written about before: Is there room for both Twitter and Facebook feeds? Both on the consumption and creation side - navigating between both is a pain.

If a user has to choose between the two, which would it be? This is where I struggle the most: as a consumer of content, Facebook's stream is more interesting and 'valuable' to me. It is more relevant, less noisy and generally less promotional. Hence why I have converted to the Seesmic client (again, despite it's inadequacies). As a marketer (in other words, a producer of content), Twitter has the larger reach (because it is open rather than closed) and consequently a more effective promotional lever. But again, navigating between both communities is troublesome.

Seesmic for Facebook Connect

These questions arose as my desktop real estate (and more importantly... my time) were looking at Twhirl, Tweetdeck and now Seesmic for Facebook. And, at least for now, I have opted to use Seesmic because I still find Twitter to be too noisy and too cluttered to make the experience both relevant and efficient. But it is not without it's limitations:

- First, it is really a glorified sized-browser of my Facebook feed - There is no ability to post, reply, navigate, etc... it is purely for reading - There is no customization other than window size - Ideally, you could post to Facebook and have it also post to Twitter (which would solve 90% of my complaints). Twitter currently allows the opposite flow... - Finally, I am confused how this fits in with Seesmic and, if it doesn't, why it is branded as such ("Seesmic for Facebook")

All We Need is Connectivity: Why the iPod Touch & Netbooks Matter

We have three computers in our household: one desktop and two laptops. Right now, I'm on my desktop with two wide-screen monitors. Every inch of real estate is covered in applications.... all web-based: - Gtalk and Skype - Gmail - Google Docs - Pandora - Dropbox - Twhirl - About 15 tabs within my browser (Chrome)

My computer usage is entirely online - from content to applications. In fact, the only three programs that I use on a routine basis that aren't web-based are Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Excel. There simply aren't powerful enough equivalents at this point. And for every PSD, PPT and XLS file, I move it between computers via Dropbox.

Here's why this is important:

First, while I am not the typical internet user... this is occurring more and more frequently. For me it started with smaller transitions such as from Microsoft Word to Notepad and Notetab... and from those two to Google Docs.

And it's not just the consumer: corporations are also making the shift. Supposedly one-million companies now use Google Apps. At Widgetbox, we are one of those companies. We also use web-applications to track our product process, backlog, QA, business development flow, and so on. It's a remarkable movement.

I think the shift (for consumers and corporations) reveals as much about portability as it does about lightweight, comparable functionality... which when combined, allow me to access content and applications on lighter-weight hardware - such as my iPhone. And this is precisely why the iPhone, the iPod Touch and Netbooks are the future of computing: I don't need a huge processor to do my day-to-day work. Rather, I prefer portability and form factor.

The only thing I need is visual real-estate. If I could my monitors into a netbook.... I'd be more than happy.

Twhirl and AlertThingy Leave Me Half Full, Half Satisfied

I love Twitter. And I've written about why. I also struggle with Twitter... and I've written about that too.

But one thing remains consistent with my Twitter usage: it happens on third-parties like Twhirl and Alert Thingy as I rarely visit (unless on my Blackberry).

I've used Twhirl and Alert Thingy heavily over the last few weeks and have a completely unsatisfied feeling. They are each great as way of pushing and pulling data from Twitter... but really, that's about all they offer. Sure, there are quick links / buttons for various actions like direct messaging, searching, etc... but there really is no available functionality that isn't offered at (or for that matter).

Twhirl and Alert Thingy each have some much data and activity running through them that they really have no reason to be merely an API service. They should both be revealing interesting data sets and trends. For instance, I would find Thwirl infintely more useful / valuable if it surfaced my network's must 'interesting' information - perhaps that's base on my network's reading habits, click trends, etc.... whatever, it is, showcase some information or trending that can only be accessed via Twhirl. After all, that's really the only way to distinguish yourself among the competition (and there happens to be tons) and the only way to leverage your massive usage.

A complete side note - I'd LOVE some sort of mobile integration!

Twitter - Experiencing Windows 7 Via Twitter (Rather than Blogs)

Techmeme is filled with major tech sources covering Microsoft's Windows 7 debut (TechCrunch, D6 Highlights, WebWare, Engadget, and many more). But the action is also being covered actively (perhaps even more actively) on Twitter. In the last two minutes, John Battelle, Jason Calacanis, Loic Lemeur and others have tweeted updates, insights and analysis... starting conversations and valuable dialog.

It's well known that Twitter is as much a short-form of blogging as it is an instant source of news. In fact, one of the first users I followed was @redsoxcast - a user that broadcasts nearly every Red Sox pitch. I pay for's service - but actually prefer following @redsoxcast because it is portable and always accessible.

What I am struck by, however, is that this is the first robust, instant dialog I have followed on Twitter. I have followed one-person updates before (like the Oscars or Red Sox games... but I haven't yet seen this level of interaction. Of course it's covering a tech event... but if Twitter can amass this sort of activity across multiple, they will be a major player in news and a major competitor to bloggers.

A Twitter search for "Ballmer" on Twhirl:

My live Twitter feed - notice the updates are all Microsoft and Red Sox