Twitter addicts bringing down New York Times computers — The NYT is having some problems with TweetDeck slowing down it’s less-than-robust computers. TweetDeck is an Adobe Air app, and like all Adobe Air apps, it can be resource intensive. But here are some tips:
- Latest version — Make sure you have the latest version (version 0.25) of TweetDeck. The old version of TweetDeck had a nasty memory leak problem. It would literally use more and more memory up as time went on, until it ate up all your ram. We reported two months ago that TweetDeck had a memory leak problem and that the new version promised to fix it. The new TweetDeck handles memory much better. This could be the root problem for many in the NYT newsroom.
- Ram — 2 gigs of ram, combined with the latest (free) version of TweetDeck should allow almost anyone to run this program fine. I’m on a 7-year-old PowerMac right now, powering two monitors. One has Safari open while I write this post, and the other has TweetDeck open. No performance issues here.
- Shut down apps — It’s a good idea to close and restart many apps at least once a day. FireFox is a prime example of this, as it has memory leak problems too. It’s a good idea to close down all apps at the end of the day and the start then up fresh the next day. Certain apps may require more frequency than that.
The City Of San Francisco now lets you submit complaints via Twitter — Social media is really all about being social and connecting people. The City of San Francisco has found a good way to utilize Twitter to improve the city:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced today that San Francisco residents can now send direct messages via Twitter to the city of San Francisco, @SF311, to complain about street cleanings, graffiti, potholes, abandoned vehicles, garbage issues, noise complaints and more. 311 is the primary contact for city services; residents can call 311 to reach a call center to get answers to questions about city services or submit complaints.
Twitter users and San Francisco residents can simply follow @SF311 (which automatically auto follows) to send and receive direct messages about complaints and questions. The useful part of the new service is the ability to send pictures or video of various offenses, such as a pothole, overflowing garbage can or graffiti. Once you submit a DM to @SF311, you will receive a service request number. Apparently, there is a city staff member devoted to handling and responding to @SF311 Tweets.
Many journalists are on Twitter, but news organizations could use accounts to take complaints, suggestions and tips from the public. This is the kind of thing that the main @NYTimes account could be doing, instead of just pushing headlines. Or, the Times could create a another account for this kind of interaction.
Why NPR is the future of mainstream media –Mashable makes a compelling argument why NPR’s approach could be the future of mainstream media. They point out that while newspapers are losing circulation and while cable news viewers are leaving, NPR’s ratings have been steadily growing since 2000.
They point to three areas where NPR shows how it’s done:
- Focus on local — NPR, because of its member station structure, has always been focused on local news gathering.
- Focus on social media — NPR has been quick to move into the social media space and is way ahead of MSM outlets like The New York Times. They saw early on that social media could enhance their coverage and product. “They’ve also put social media to work for them. In October of 2008, for example, NPR asked listeners to factcheck the US Vice Presidential debates and communicate findings via a Twitter hashtag. And in February, NPR’s social media strategist (@acarvin) talked about Twitter on air, including hundreds people tweeting back comments in the conversation. Their conclusion? Twitter let’s us all share the media consumption experience together, and that’s a very positive thing.”
- Focus on ubiquitous access — Rather than erecting pay walls, NPR has a commitment to reaching as large of an audience as possible.
Twitter-jacking on trial: Cardinals’ manager sues Twitter — Tony La Russa is suing Twitter because someone impersonated him on it. This is fairly common, and Twitter so far has allowed these accounts to stay up as long as they are clearly satire. La Russa’s lawsuit may put an end to the fun and games:
Alas, the days of Twitter’s innocence in hijacked celebrity accounts may have come to an end. Tony La Russa, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, is up in arms over the fact that someone other than him tweeted under his likeness and that Twitter permitted it. In fact, he’s so pissed that he’s taking Twitter to court.
So what’s the fuss all about? Apparently the individual tweeting as Tony La Russa (@tonylarussa was removed after the lawsuit was filed) made statements that the real Tony didn’t appreciate. So he’s suing Twitter and the causes of action include trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cybersquatting, misappropriation of name and likeness, invasion of privacy, and intentional misrepresentation.
Digg’s new ads put advertisers on the front page — Digg, which is known for allowing users to vote stories up and down, is now allowing users to vote ads up and down. This is something to watch, because Digg could help change how ads are done and priced on the Web.
5 Ways to Get Your Questions Answered on Twitter — You can just ask a question on Twitter and hope it gets answered, or you could try one of the structured services suggested here. IKnowTweet.Com, for instance, searches Twitter for phrases like “does anyone know?” and “why does?” and collects them all.
The site allows people to post questions and lets others answer them. It also offers a strong search engine. Not a bad place to start when you want a question answered on Twitter. This could be a strong tool for journalists.
Twtpoll is another interesting option. It’s a simple service to conduct polls on Twitter. Obviously these are the most scientific poll, but they could make nice little content for a blogger.
The other three services mentioned in this post are worth checking out too. Twitter is quickly becoming a strong research tool for content producers.
Is Tweetie For Mac Right For You? — I’m a fan of TweetDeck, but I realize it’s not for everyone. What I like about it — its multi-column UI — may turn off other people. TweetDeck can either be considered very helpful or very confusing. If you don’t want something cluttered (and TweetDeck has a cluttered feel), Tweetie is a better option.
Tweetie is clean, streamlined and easy to work with. If that’s your thing, I’d suggest checking it out:
Let’s face it, multiple columns is right for a percentage of Twitter users, but for the rest of us, having multiple accounts integrated into a bug-free single column view with a sleek design is ideal. Tweetie for Mac does not disappoint on that front.
The other stellar features of Tweetie are:
- Threaded direct messaging — If you send a lot of direct messages, this is an extremely helpful feature. Twitter’s Web UI (and TweetDeck) make it difficult to have back and forth conversations on Twitter, but Tweetie changes all that.
- Conversations — “A simple double-click in the body of any Twitter message will display the entire life of that tweet’s conversation history. It’s pretty convenient for those moments when you need to keep up with real-time conversations on Twitter.”
- Image options — Tweetie supports a bunch of imaging services.
Screencastle puts software-free screen recording in your browser — Screencasts can be a great teaching tool, and many newsrooms have begun creating internal screencasts to help teach employees about Web and new media technologies.
The one problem with screencasts is that there is a barrier to entry for producing them. The software costs money (usually at least $79), and screencasts aren’t that intuitive to create. They require editing and knowledge of video codecs.
Screencastle is Web-based, free and easier to get started with. For journalists and news orgs that want to get their feet wet with some simple screencasts, Screencastle is a good option. There is no editing or fussing with video codecs; it’s pretty bare bones.
Since it is free with no software to install, there is very little risk with Screencastle. If you like the results, great, you can keep on making screencasts or even upgrade to a more expensive software-based system. Or, if things don’t go well, you won’t have lost much by going with Screencastle.
Facebook: From 100 to 200 Million Users in 8 Months — If you’re not on Facebook, what would you say you’re doing? I would at least see what all the fuss is about. Facebook has been a good tool for beatbloggers, especially education beatbloggers. Don’t let a good tool pass you by.
It’s a safe bet that Facebook’s growth will continue. We should see at least 300 million users this year, if not 400 million:
Facebook hit its 100 million user milestone back in August 2008. Can you believe it went from 100 million to 200 million in less than 8 months? When you have hundreds of thousands of users, 100 percent growth in such a short period is impressive. But when you have a hundred million users, it’s nothing short of amazing.
TweetDeck Plugs Memory Leak; Launches Facebook Integration for All — This is a big update and makes TweetDeck even better. First, for those of you who don’t know what a memory leak, it’s when software consumers ever more memory over time due to a flaw in its programming. This causes your computer to get gradually slower, until it is often almost unusable.
The memory leak has been fixed (or so they tell us), and that’s big news. If you weren’t running a new machine with a lot of ram, TweetDeck could really slow things down. I can report that I have yet to see memory issues with TweetDeck. This means that TweetDeck is safe to keep open for long periods of time. This makes the software a lot more usable, as TweetDeck is a great listening device.
The Facebook integration is also very welcome. Now you can send updates to both Twitter and Facebook at the same time. You can also monitor your Facebook friends’ status updates. If you’re a journalist that uses both social networks for work, TweetDeck is certainly worth a long look.
20 of the Best SEO Plugins for WordPress — SEO is massively important on the Web. Many of you run sites and blogs with WordPress. Therefor, you need to read this post. The first plugin on the list, All in One SEO Pack, is a must for any WordPress user. This one blog post could help change the fate of your blog. Read it:
With more than 120 million blogs in existence, how do people find YOUR content on the Internet? The key starts with great search engine optimization (SEO), which is an art and a science that helps search engines discover your content and understand how relevant it is to specific search queries.
You can blog your heart out, but if you don’t have good SEO, then odds are you won’t have many readers. Luckily, the WordPressWordPress reviews plugin community values SEO and has developed a number of plugins to help. Here are 20 of the best SEO plugins to help you choose the right tags, tell search robots what to work on, optimize your post titles and more.
99 Essential Twitter Tools And Applications — Okay, so not every one of these “essential” tools and applications is really relevant to journalists and content producers, but there are some real gems here:
- Tweetlater is a nice little app to schedule tweets in the future. This is great for group Twitter accounts where multiple employees are responsible for providing content. It’s also a nice way to ensure you spread out your tweets. It also allows you to keep your account active while you are away.
- Tweetbeep allows you to keep track of when people mention you, your company or other keywords that you want to track. This is great for journalists who want to be alerted every time certain words are mentioned on Twitter. This is also great for news orgs that want to track what people are saying about them. Yes, Tweetdeck can do the same things, albeit, without the alerts.
- StrawPoll asks different questions for polls each day, which is an interesting way to see what people think on Twitter. For journalists, however, it’s much more helpful to be able to create their own polls. That’s where StrawPoll really shines.
Hands-on with IE 8: A giant step for Microsoft — Internet Explorer has finally become a decent browser. I know most people still use it, but IE7 and IE6 are categorically inferior browsers to Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc, etc, etc.
For journalists, the most welcome new feature in IE8 sandboxing. This feature means that individual tabs crash, not the browser itself. This is an extremely useful feature for those of us who have a lot of tabs open at once.
Chrome also features sandboxing, and I expect most browsers will get this feature in the coming years. Essentially, sandboxing makes Web browsers much more similar to modern operating systems, in that they will crash a lot less. Yes, individual applications/tabs will still crash, but that’s a lot better than having your whole computer/Web browser crash.
Sandboxing will make IE users more productive because less time and knowledge will be lost to crashes. IE8 still has some major issues:
Check out this CNET video to learn more about it: