:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: Twitter

Photo sharing on Twitter – making sure as many people as possible see your photos

For years I’ve been using Twitpic to share photos on Twitter, but now it’s closing down I need a new solution. It’s a great shame Twitpic is closing for two reasons. First, it allowed you to get a RSS feed containing all your Twitter pictures and that was handy for other purposes, and secondly, I am a big supporter of third party services for Twitter – I want as diverse as possible application environment on Twitter, not just everything run by Twitter itself.

Anyway, so what am I going to do instead? My starting point was to test what works.

I registered the Twitter account @PhotoTestEU and tweeted pictures using that account. I included pictures from Twitter’s own image uploading system, yfrog, CloudApp, Droplr, img.ly, Mobypicture, and Twitpic (for comparison) – these are all the image uploading options in Tweetbot for Mac, my favoured Twitter client. I additionally tweeted a pic from Hootsuite, and pasted in links to pictures first uploaded to Flickr and Instagram.

I then looked at these tweets in a number of ways – at Twitter.com, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite in a computer browser, in Tweetbot on my Mac, in the Fenix for Android and Twitter for Android, and in Twitter for iOS. The test was to see whether the images appeared in the stream, required an extra click but were obviously images, or appeared simply as links. These are the results (click to enlarge):

twitter-apps-pics-lowresThe basic result is a simple one: only images uploaded to Twitter’s own photo share service appear in the stream across all platforms and apps. Beyond that, Flickr, Hootsuite and Twitpic appear in the stream on some platforms, but by no means all.

The result then: if you want to maximise the number of people who will see your photos, then just use Twitter’s own photo sharing, not a third party service.

But that’s not all… What happens if you want to do anything else with the images you share onto Twitter, to use them for other purposes – automatically? That was the joy of the RSS feed from Twitpic – you could use this as an input for IFTTT and do all sorts of super things.

So, not to be deterred, and sadly aware that Twitter has removed its own RSS support, I found this code from Fogcat that makes an RSS feed out of a Twitter stream. With a bit of messing around I tweaked the code to deliver Twitter images into to the RSS stream, using this tip. The RSS stream I will then use for photo sharing is here. I’ve then filtered this stream in four different ways using Yahoo! Pipes (1, 2, 3, 4) to make 4 separate RSS feeds. The relatively unfiltered feed is used in IFTTT to backup photos I share on Twitter to Dropbox. The three more narrowly filtered streams are connected to three Photo Albums on Facebook, and to Flickr too, also via IFTTT.

So my photo sharing system is complete – whatever picture I upload onto Twitter, it will also – completely automatically, and according to the rules I have set – end up where I want it on Facebook, Flickr and Dropbox. Yes, it took me hours to work out, but from now on when I’ve snapped the perfect shot I can rest assured it will end up where I want it!

 


The best Twitter app for Android

5144798765_7d9bc93fff_zThis is a blog entry written as a result of frustration.

I am an extremely intensive Twitter user (@jonworth has 12k followers, follows close to 5k, and has produced 54k tweets) and I recently switched from an iOS to an Android phone. A vital question was hence: what is the best Twitter app for Android? Friends gave me plenty of suggestions, and I have tried all of them out, and review the 11 apps suggested to me in detail here.

The short answer is that there is no perfect Android Twitter app, but that some of them are better than others (and none of them are better than Tweetbot on iOS…).

The apps were tested on a Fairphone running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2. Each app was used for at least one whole day, in a variety of situations – at events, while on the road, as a means to follow news as well as to write tweets, and were assessed according to my own Twitter needs. All tests were conducted in the first half of October 2014.

The criteria used to assess the apps were: Twitter List Viewing, Twitter List Admin (can accounts be added to lists), Can RTs be seen, BitLy Link Support, Alternative image upload tools, Text Mute Filters, Hashtag previews, Notifications, Streaming, Saved Searches, Speed, and Multi account support.

Short reviews of each app are provided below, and a table of each of the criteria used can be found at the very end of the blog post. If you think my review is unfair in some way, or you have more to add, please do comment, and if necessary I will update the blog entry accordingly. Continue Reading


Malmström, TTIP, ISDS and disappearing tweets

This tweet by @BenC42, at 2110 this evening, alerted me to a potentially interesting development in the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP):

This pointed me to a press release from the S&D Group in the EP, dated today but not timed, where David Martin MEP welcomes words by Trade Commissioner nominate Cecilia Malmström that she is willing to remove investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) from TTIP (one of the most controversial aspects of the proposed trade deal).

Then at 2217 comes this tweet from Malmström:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 22.35.30

This is however only a screenshot (from Tweetbot, my Twitter app, hence why it looks different to the tweet above from @BenC42), because the tweet was deleted within minutes. This was the original URL of it.

Malmström then followed up with this reply to me:

I am trying to get to the bottom of this, because the document that seems to have been the basis of the S&D Group’s Press Release – be that the right version or the wrong version – does not seem to be available in public.

Even if the wrong version of a document ended up going to the EP from the Commission it’s nevertheless interesting that ISDS was potentially going to be dropped in an initial draft, and at the very least this is administratively embarrassing to the Commission.

If I get more background information about this case I will update the post accordingly. Thanks so far to @BenC42, @GlynMoody, @ibuscke and @MalmstromEU herself for the clarification.

[UPDATE - 26.9.14, 2256]
Turns out that what Malmström would claim is the wrong version of the document – which is actually her written answers to the EP before her hearing next week – has been put up on his website by the Green MEP Sven Giegold here. The text that’s caused the fuss is this (my emphasis):

As the President-elect Juncker has committed himself to in his Political Guidelines – and I quote –, “the Commission will negotiate a reasonable and balanced trade agreement with the United States of America, in a spirit of mutual and reciprocal benefits and transparency. Europe’s safety, health, social and data protection standards or our cultural diversity will not be sacrificed on the altar of free trade. No limitation of the jurisdiction of courts in the EU Member States will be accepted in this context; this clearly means that no investor-State dispute settlement mechanism will be part of that agreement.” I fully support this approach of the President-elect and will work in this sense in the negotiations, which are ongoing and where this issue is on the table.

[UPDATE - 28.9.14, 1600]
I have had a crazy schedule the last few days, so haven’t updated this until now, but a few things have happened in the last 36 hours…

This tweet by Nicholas Whyte on Saturday afternoon

examines Juncker’s statement on this issue, that are rather similar to the words used by Malmström, and that statement from Juncker is dated 15th July, confirmed here by Juncker’s Chef de Cabinet Selmayr. So, is this whole thing a storm in a tea cup?

On Sunday Tagesschau in Germany have started reporting on this (text of the news story in German here – and better late than never, only 36 hours after this blog entry first went up!), and that Malmström has sent a re-drafted version of the document in question to the EP. Tagesschau says it has the document, but does not link to it, and Giegold has not published it either. The document should be available tomorrow (Monday) in any case.

Lastly, and slightly tangentially, David Meyer has written a piece about letters from Malmström obtained by a Freedom of Information Request in the USA regarding data protection, seeming to indicate she was undermining Viviane Reding on this issue. While not directly related to TTIP, looking to be too close to the USA might make Malmström’s hearing in the EP next week extra bumpy.

[UPDATE 29.9.14, 1015]
Euraffex has more on the story here. The section of their piece entitled “A new version – the mystery continues” is the crucial one. The new version of the document sent to the EP now makes no commitment from Malmström herself to get rid of ISDS, but lays this firmly with Juncker’s earlier statements, as explained above.

[UPDATE 29.9.14, 1535]
So perhaps it wasn’t just an administrative error of the “wrong version” after all. From Malmström’s hearing:


A life without Google. It’s harder than you think.

2568436053_a9734f5d0d_zSo I am in China for a week. I will write about the wider politics of the place when my time here draws to a close, but for now I will focus on just one aspect: what China’s block on Google tells us… about our use of Google.

China blocked access to Google services before the 25th anniversary of the Tian’anmen uprising, and it seems that things have not improved since. On my laptop I can access no Google services through my web browser at all. The only thing that works is Gmail via IMAP (web interface is also blocked). Twitter and Facebook are also blocked, but I do not actually need those as urgently, or they are not as central needs. Dropbox not working is a pain, but for a week I can live without it, as I use it mostly for my own files anyway.

So I can live without Google Search, right? Indeed that’s actually the easiest part. I have added DuckDuckGo to my browser and it works fine. Bing.com is just about passable if I need it. The interesting thing here is how I have become so used to browser address bar search – after years of doing just that, going to a website for search felt really odd.

The next challenge was maps. I have used nothing but Google Maps for a good few years, so what’s the best bet for a replacement? Turns out that the search on Bing Maps is rubbish unless you use the Chinese characters. So here Apple Maps (and indeed the Maps app in Mac OS that I’d even forgotten existed) has turned out to be a fair substitute.

Then what about calendars? I use Google Calendars for a bunch of collaborative projects (I don’t use these for my own use), so those I will have to live without for now. Were I to be in China more often I would have to find an alternative, as would businesses doing China – non China collaborations.

fontsapis

Then, to my surprise, there is Google’s Font APIs that are increasingly heavily used, even in open source software – including WordPress that powers this blog. Yes, pages will load without these fonts, but browsers keep on trying to load the APIs, and slow down the loading of pages.

Last but not least, and rather central when in China as I do not speak Mandarin, is Google Translate, which is also built into my browser. Baidu’s translation tool is useless as its interface is just in Mandarin (unless I am missing something), so Pons is basically my only option.

So the conclusion is this: while Google makes the argument that provision of web services is a free market, and that anyone can switch to alternatives, we nevertheless find ourselves so dependent on Google as a matter of habit that those habits are damned hard to break.


If you want one of the placeholder Twitter accounts I’ve registered, here are a few things to bear in mind

I was an early adopter of Twitter, and have been using it for political purposes ever since. Throughout that time I have conducted all sorts of experiments with Twitter, and registered dozens of Twitter usernames for numerous purposes over the years.

One of these experiments was to make unofficial accounts for all Danish government ministries on Twitter, back in April 2013. These accounts were all automated, tweeted news from the Ministries, and clearly stated in the biographies that the accounts were unofficial.

Something has recently started to change in Denmark though, as 4 Ministries have contacted me in the last few weeks to ‘officialise’ their accounts. The first of these – Kulturministeriet @KUM_dk renamed to @Kulturmin – has now gone live.

The process to officialise the account was however far from ideal.

I received a stern e-mail from their Comms guy, telling me the account was a “problem” (why only now is this a problem, I answered, as the account has been tweeting for 12 months?) but agreed to hand it over to them. At no point in my e-mails exchanged with them was the word ‘thanks’ used once from their side, and the newly-renamed and officialised account has not tweeted anything about the process to say it is now official. I’ve delivered them a starter-following of 110 people, for free, and helped out. As I have made clear here I will of course not demand any payment if people want access to any of these accounts I happen to have registered.

Further, if they had been friendly towards me, I could have happily sent some of my 10000 followers towards them too. But no, by being unfriendly they can have this blog entry berating them instead.


The power of a title to make a picture go viral: “Politicians discussing global warming” by Isaac Cordal

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.37.11

 

For the last 5 days the picture shown above has been shared far and wide on Twitter (link to the tweet), and to a certain extent on Facebook too. The title “Politicians discussing global warming” and the stunning picture match perfectly. I too was one of the people who retweeted the tweet a few days ago.

Then I thought “Ooh, it’s in Berlin, let’s find it!” But Googling it just found websites talking about the tweet. It prompted me to wonder whether the picture was indeed real, and some debate among friends of mine – including some Berlin residents – on Facebook ensued.

Determined to get to the bottom of it, I downloaded the picture, and ran it through “Search by image” on Google’s image search. Hey presto, the original picture – from the artist Isaac Cordal’s photo stream on Flickr. But with one important difference – the original is entitled “electoral campaign”, and while it was in Berlin it was from 2011! You will not find it today on Gendarmenmarkt as far as I know.

The interesting conclusion here is that the picture, with the title “Politicians discussing global warming” as tweeted above, is immensely more powerful than entitled “electoral campaign”, and that is the reason for its reach now as far as I can tell. I wonder whether it was Nigel Britto who first applied that title? Anyway, it’s an interesting little case!

(thanks @benteka and @ManagerYin for contributing to my thinking that informed this blog entry)


I was @JC_Juncker. Lessons for Twitter, and for political social media too.

Just over a week ago, as the EU Twittersphere was starting to turn its attention to the EPP’s Dublin Congress, I wondered what presence – if any – Jean-Claude Juncker had on Twitter. None was the answer. So on 2nd March, at 2117 CET, I registered @JC_Juncker, a spoof Twitter account. This screenshot of the confirmation e-mail from Twitter confirms the time of the registration.

The profile of the account looked like this:

IMG_4640

The screenshot is from Tweetbot on my iPhone, but you get the idea. The cover picture is an overflowing ashtray, alluding to Juncker’s well known smoking habit. The biography is clearly not serious. This is obviously not an official account – it is a spoof.

So then, just over 2 days after creating the account, and having followed 800 people, and having amassed 300 followers, the account was suspended by Twitter on Wednesday 5th March, sometime in the late afternoon, and remains suspended. I do not know when exactly the account was suspended, as I received no e-mail notification of the suspension. I filled in the form on Twitter’s website as fast as I could, requesting the suspension be overturned (screenshot of the e-mail confirming this request was submitted is here).

Since then I have heard nothing from Twitter. The account, I admit, does not fully comply with Twitter’s parody policy, but I have had no opportunity to add “parody” to the username to make it clear the account is not real as Twitter would demand. Further the account has now been suspended for more time than it was actually running, and this leads me to smell a rat – how did someone manage to get the account suspended so fast, while I am still awaiting a response from Twitter to my appeal? The Twitter parody page very clearly states “We process complaints in the order in which they are received” – in this case this has clearly not been respected.

Does the fact that Twitter had a stall at the EPP Congress in Dublin have something to do with it I wonder? Does having the right connections to Twitter allow you to bypass the official policy? If we are to trust Twitter as an impartial platform for political communications then it should not be possible to use connections to bypass the policy – I do hope this is just an oversight from Twitter in this case. I will update this post once I know more.


Merkel in London – a case study in political tweeting

Angela Merkel spoke in London earlier today, and – as could have been predicted in advance – it was one of the most interesting political stories of the day in UK and indeed EU and German politics. A BBC story with all the background can be found here.

Such events of course are now accompanied by live commentary on Twitter, today mostly on the hashtag #Merkel. Here are some of the key tweets, and explaining what they each show.

The “the speech in a tweet” tweet
Congratulations to @olafcramme here. This, sent within seconds of Merkel having spoken the words, summed up the whole speech. Nailing it so clearly and so quickly takes skill, and 47 Retweets is the least it deserved.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 21.32.38

The amusing but nevertheless political tweet
Some amusement never goes amiss when you’re trying to maintain your concentration through minutes of impenetrable prose. Here @lukereuters managed the tweet of the day (210 RTs), likening the Cameron and Merkel on the sofa to an IKEA catalogue. Guido Fawkes followed up with analysis of the DVDs behind them.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 21.34.13

The “what does all this mean” tweet
Not all summed up in the tweet itself admittedly, but the title of the piece is neat – this tweet by @kosmopolit drew my attention to this piece from @jeremycliffe at The Economist that, in its short and succinct way, summarised many of the issues at stake in today’s speech.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 21.42.08

The person who’s actually there, providing context
While the speech was live-streamed, the later press conference was not (or at least I was not aware of it). But @DavidCharter was there or somehow watching, providing context on Twitter, and was ready to follow up if you asked him questions.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 21.35.29

Those were my highlights of following the Merkel speech on Twitter. Anything interesting I missed? If so do comment below, or tweet me – @jonworth.

[UPDATE 28.2.2014]
Some of this is also featured in Tweets of the Week from viEUws.