Oxford Twestival 2010

This year I’ve volunteered to help organise Oxford Twestival 2010. I went to the first event last year, which was a great evening bringing together Twitters from all over Oxfordshire to raise money for charity. This year’s event is being held at The Living Room on 25th March 2010 (doors open 7pm), and playing will be Will Phipps, Ben Walker (aka @ihatemornings ) and Invisible Vegas!

All money raised by the event will go towards the education programme of the global charity Concern Worldwide, who provide funding and support to 28 of the world’s poorest countries. As an example, they have an emergency team in Haiti at the moment, assisting in the support effort following the recent severe earthquake. As well as providing general survival supplies and assistance, they are presently providing education for 30,000 children.

So it would be great for people to show their support for Concern, and to do so by enjoying a top evening’s entertainment. Tickets are only £3, or £4 with a raffle ticket for the evening’s charity auction. Book a ticket now!

Getting Google Buzz to post to Twitter

Google Buzz has been out for a couple of days now. It certainly seems to be getting a lot of attention, personally speaking it looks a lot more active than Twitter was when I first joined it. There is quite a bit of scope to link accounts to Buzz from the off, I’ve already got my blogs, Flickr, Twitter and Youtube posting to it. However at the moment it is all one way. What if you want your posts on Buzz to go back to Twitter?

Well for starters, looking at the API, it looks like that will come soon. However for now I have come up with a way of doing it to some extent. An existing service that has been pulled in to become part of Buzz was Google Profiles. This now has your Buzz posts on it. Usefully though, it also has an RSS feed (okay, an Atom feed), containing your Buzz posts. See my Google Profile for an example, once you’re there, in Firefox click on the blue RSS icon in the address bar, and you should get the option to subscribe to the page (depending on your settings). This will give you the URL for that page.

So, go to your own profile page, grab the RSS feed URL, and then go over to Twitterfeed.com. Create an account there, set it up to use your Google Profile feed, and after a delay of a few hours, it will start posting your Buzz posts onto Twitter.

Provisos are:
1) Obviously Twitter has a much shorter character limit, so your posts may potentially get cut short
2) If you set a post limit in Twitterfeed, it will only take the first x posts you’ve made.
3) It is only your posts, no comments
4) You’ll not get any of the other data such as location etc.
5) It does seem a little flaky thus far, there is potentially for tuning a bit how Twitterfeed changes the post to get it on Twitter, but not lots of options.

A proper integrated solution within Buzz will probably fix all of these, but it will do for now.

Crowdopensourcing

A quick chat on twitter today turned into a rather large comment on Ben Werdmuller’s blog. Ben had written about how game dynamics, such as the scoring mechanism used by Foursquare, gets involvement from its users in a competitive sense, and wondered if that could be applied to open source development. This got me thinking, and I suggested how it could drive a very general question and answers application. Go over there and have a look.

Is tonight the night that Twitter takes off in the UK

It is said that Twitter may be discussed by Jonathon Ross and Stephen Fry on Ross’s chat show, tonight on BBC1. If it is mentioned (and we don’t know it will be, that could have been edited out), it could be the point that Twitter really takes off massively in the UK. I’ll predict if they do, watch out for a load of new people this weekend.

How I Twitter

I’ve been finding over the past few months I’ve been using Twitter more and more. I have used it for quite a while, but recently I’ve found both more friends and colleagues using Twitter, and have found more people I wanted to follow. There has definitely been a surge in interest over the last six months, and it’s being seen in more surprising places, such as a Twitter joke on the election night Colbert/Stewart show, or on one of the many mobile phones of Stephen Fry.

So I thought I’d write about how I use it, seeing as I’ve been doing so for a while, and found myself a nice set of tools to help me.

First thing in the morning

I like to update both Twitter and Facebook first thing, so to kill two birds with one stone (actually a few other social networks too) I use Ping.fm . This allows me to subscribe to multiple social networks, and post my status to all of them from one place. They did also have a Facebook application I used for a while, however this has been broken since about the time the new version of Facebook launched, and they haven’t updated it to work yet.

On the move

Until recently I used a Nokia N95, and so I tended to use the mobile version of ping.fm from a browser. Now I’m on an iPhone, I’m using that for posting, and the Twitterrific application (link to UK iTunes store) for reading other people’s tweets.

On the desktop

I’ve used twhirl for a little while now, as it is an Adobe Air application, it runs nicely on all platforms including Linux. In an ideal world I’d like something that combined Twitter nicely with IM and other social networks, and although several applications have come close, nothing is quite there on the Mac yet. My only real gripe with twhirl is that I’d like to size the window a bit smaller, other than that, it has a lot of functionality, and displays incoming tweets rather nicely. I’ll post on twitter mostly from there in the day and evening.

Sharing links on Twitter

This may not be the most obvious route, but to post a link on Twitter I use the Mahalo Share Firefox extension. You’ll need an account on Mahalo, which if you haven’t come across it, is trying to be a human version of Google, with user-submitted links reviewed by their staff. Once a member, you can set up the extension properly, and have a single button in Firefox you can click whilst on a page to submit the link to Mahalo, and to many other sites in one go. I mainly use it as a quick way of saving links at Delicious, but I have it set up with several accounts, so I can also post the link on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere too. A series of checkboxes allows you to choose which service(s) each link is posted to.

Adding tweets to my blog

I had been doing this by a more tiresome method until recently, however I’ve just discovered the Twitter WordPress Sidebar Widget. Don’t be put off by the fact it hasn’t been updated for a long time, it’s nice and simple, and works fine with my WordPress 2.6 installation.

Sites I read about Twitter

There are a couple of Twitter new sites that have started recently, Twitip and Twitterrati. I’m subscribed to the feeds for both, and have found them both useful. In fact this post was inspired by a recent article at Twitip. I’ve also used Twitterlocal and Twitter Grader to see who else is twittering near me, and how I compare to other Twitter users.

So there you have it: a little insight into the various ways I interact with Twitter. How about you?

Tonchidot – How to really using tagging on mobile devices

Tonchidot were one of the most popular presentations at the recent TechCrunch50 conference. They are developing an application for the iPhone to provide live tags for everything you can see through your camera. Whilst it’s maybe not ready or achievable just yet, it is a fantastic glimpse of what could be possible in the very near future.
Tonchidot | TechCrunch50 Conference 2008

Facebook adds People you may know feature

Facebook now suggests “people you may know” – Download Squad

I’ve tested this out, and my own results seemed rather sensible, they were indeed by and large people I knew. I’m waiting for the “people I knew and lost touch with” feature though, that might be more fun. Or “people you were bullied by at school”.