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June, 2008:

Twitter Issues, Tissues for Short

Two facts are known through the web and tech community regarding Twitter: 1) It has quickly moved from a simple ‘what are you doing?’ tool to the poster-child of the micro-blogging phenomenon 2) It has been having huge scaling issues which has been causing service outages over the past several months. Both facts have created BIG issues for Twitter (Tissues).

I cannot add anything to the second Tissue, others have blogged about the technology and architectural framework issues that Twitter is experiencing. Ironically, Tim O’Reilly messaged his interest in blog post detailing some hypothesis about Twitter’s issues via a tweet itself. I definitely recommend reading it. Anyway, technology is one major Tissue, let’s leave it at that.

Secondly, micro-blogging has taken hold. This is also a major Tissue. Quite simply, there are so many things in the world you can convey in 140 characters (the character limit that Twitter allows in a single message). Anything you can think of, even notifying others of earthquakes, can fly in seconds over Twitter.  Because of this dynamic, many are shooting their thoughts over Twitter instead of blogging.  I find myself tweeting much more than blogging because I find I can convey much of the thought in two sentences so why ‘go on’ about it.  So we are witnessing a change in human behavior or at least the behavior of early technology adopters, we still must admit most of the world doesn’t blog or tweet.

Anyway, one could argue this dynamic is basically causing Twitter to slowly but surely handle all of the messaging load from every blogging platform out there, a major Tissue. In fact, now even when people blog, they shoot a note out via Twitter that their blog post is posted.  When they use FriendFeed, Tweets are fired out.  When people reply, Tweets are fired out. So Twitter’s success, adoption and use cases is what is causing all of the Tissues to begin with and could lead to Twitter’s downfall, the ultimate irony.

It is this irony that I find the most fascinating of all.  I’m personally rooting for Twitter.

BTW, I could have used Twitter to convey much of this via Twitter instead of blogging. In fact, I did to make a point.  And don’t forget to find my tweet notifying you all that I published this blog post ;).

Times I Love the Web

It is seeing videos like this when I really enjoy the web and get yet another glimpse into the viral power of it. It can bring people together in creative ways and in ways no one imagined. While over 3M people have seen the video below, I had not until today so thanks to the twitter from @Defrag who tried to brighten everyone’s day. It certainly brightened mine.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Matt took a creative outlook on life and turned it into an interesting site. Looks like Matt also did an earlier video back in 2006 as well.

Google Heads

Yet another very obvious sign that Google is having a profound effect on our society and culture. I believe we all need help. :) A cute video from 2006.

Negatives of Recommendation Systems

For the most part, I’ve been impressed with Amazon’s e-commerce capabilities: reviews, book recommendations and very often, their algorithmic book bundling system. However, I have now witnessed one that has gone terribly wrong. My wife bought the book on tape, The Lady and The Panda.

In this particular case, Amazon’s algorithm went terribly ary:

Check out the bottom of the graphic above, and the book that is recommended: Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves.  Their scoring mechanism missed by quite a big margin on this one.

Metrics-Driven Innovation

Recently Marissa Mayer spoke at the Google Developer I/O Conference. This video has been promoted elsewhere but I thought it was worthwhile to promote again. The elements of web innovation and design approach, using Split A/B testing and the value of metrics is simply too important in our industry to go unnoticed. I think when people look back at Google’s success, their analytical approach to testing will go down as one of their key pillars. Eric Schmidt discussed its importance recently as well.

Here are some of the highlights from the video that I thought were great:

  • Story of why the Google home page is the way it is
  • The fact that Google even A/B tests white space; imagine testing negative space as a practice
  • Number of search results on a page; this is a dangerous one to blindly follow because I think it depends on how much data is on each search result but Google’s finding through regression testing that there is direct correlation between number of search results and results on the page
  • Making a product faster, you get that back in product usage: SPEED MATTERS!

Definitely check out the video, Marissa covers a lot of other interesting topics beyond the analytics as well discussing things Google is considered and how they are viewing things.

The story was also covered over at Yahoo!