Twitter is Your Friend

Insert Twitter post disclaimer here.

I’ve noticed a humorous trend that you can use for a laugh.

People like to rant at Twitter, just check out twistori’s hate feed for samples. The beauty part of Twitter and its many clients is that it provides easy outlet for your frustration. Can’t get a piece of software configured? Flame it on Twitter. Don’t like the customer service you’re getting? Rant about it on Twitter.

I’m guilty of this too. My reasons are a bit different than most though. Over the past few months, more and more companies are using Twitter as ad-hoc customer support. So, when I rant, I expect an answer. If I don’t get one, it tells me a lot.

For example, as I write this, I’m on hold with eTrade trying to figure out why suddenly, after 10 or so years, I’m being charged an account fee. You bet I tweeted my displeasure with this waste of my time.

I’ve mentioned before that I use Summize and Tweet Scan to track keywords on Twitter. Based on what people say to Twitter, I can only assume they think it’s semi-private. For example, earlier today, someone tweeted his Oracle database password. Actually, it looks like he tweeted an entire SSH session, including the connect string to his Oracle database. Fail.

And no, I’m not including the link or any other information.

As with many issues, a little bit of engagement goes a long way. For example, this guy was epically frustrated with Oracle a few weeks ago. Justin and I reached out to him, noting that are a lot of active Oracle experts on Twitter who could be polled for assistance. He seems to be happy, or at least, he realized that Twitter’s not as private as he thought.

Newsflash: Writing code is hard. Using new software is often frustration. If you have an easy way to vent, why not use it? I used to write code. One reason I left that line of work is that writing code can be maddening. I can only imagine what I would have told Twitter had it been around then.

So, for a giggle, subscribe to your favorite keyword feed on Summize and Tweet Scan. You don’t even need a Twitter account to play. Then, sit back and giggle at the things people say to Twitter.

And now for protips.

Protip: Twitter isn’t private, and it’s not meant to be. By making the conversation public, Twitter allows you to find interesting people and find interesting conversation, by using a search engine like Summize to track your favorite topics.

Another protip: I recommend setting your @ replies to “Show me all @ replies”. You can find this on under Settings-Notices. This shows @ replies from people you don’t follow in your timeline. It’s a bit cumbersome to follow someone, wait for a reciprocal follow, then start a conversation.

Final protip: If you really want privacy, protect your updates. I always recommend against this, and I tend to avoid people who do this because it seems antisocial. Plus, it really fractures a discussion, since one side of the conversation is hidden.




  1. I was linked to your article by @Jkuramot on Strands, and I love twistori's hate feed! Also, another good tool for listening on twitter is Quotably. I have RSS in my MacMail from both Tweetscan and Summize (sometimes Summize catches tweets that TS misses), and if I want to know more about to context of the tweet I search for it on Quotably.

  2. I am jkuramot, pretty much everywhere.

    I tried Quotably in the past, but didn't find it that useful. Will have to check it out again. I do wonder how it is that Summize and Tweet Scan have different result sets; each has gaps for any given time period, which makes me wonder about the indexing.

    Twistori rules. I wish they'd make it generic for any keyword. It's an awesome visualization. Then maybe people would get what I mean when I talk about what people are saying on Twitter.

    BTW I'm not really getting Strands. Maybe someone can clue me in tomorrow at the Ignite PDX 3 after party.

  3. I was talking yesterday and I think I coined a new term. I think the proper name of people who twitter must be “Twit”? OK Maybe I'm wrong. FWIW I am not in love with the “fail” term, still seems a bit lame to me. I'm just so un-hip but at least I'm a Twit….oh…. wait…

  4. There's no official way to refer to people who tweet, as far as I know. I use tweeple and tweeters interchangeably. I think if you called people twits that would be a communication fail.

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