Saturday, November 5, 2011

List management on Twitter

Twitter gave us the ability to construct up to 20 lists of up to 500 members each. But it gave us no tools with which to view, update, prune, or otherwise manage, these lists, so that our lists get out of date rapidly. (Believe it or not, there's no way on Twitter to remove someone from the list if their account has been suspended or cancelled. And if you've unfollowed someone, or they've unfollowed you, they are still on your lists, which may or may not be your intention.)

Since Twitter leaves us in the lurch with these unwieldy lists, there should be internet applications and/or desktop applications which give us the ability to:

1. view each list in its entirety on a single page, including member's account name and avatar;

2. sort and/or filter by different variables, including (a) date of last tweet, (b) name, (c) date listed, (d) whether following you, and (e) whether followed by you; and

3. go down the list, select members by check boxes, and then (a) remove selected members and (b) move and copy selected members to another list.

I'm aware of no tools that do the above, and would appreciate your telling me, through the comment section, of any which may exist. I will update this post as new information, on software which appears workable, comes to my attention.

[My advice to the twitter API developers out there would be to concentrate, if feasible, on desktop applications which can save and store data on the user's hard drive, so that "API" calls would not have to be drawn upon except to upload the updates.]

These are the only list management tools I know of:

Refollow This follower management tool has added some list management functionality. You can pick out one of your twitter lists, load the entire list, review the list members seeing their icon, last tweet, and certain other information, remove list members in bulk, and add designated list members in bulk to another list or a new list. Indirectly it gives you the ability to move list members from one list to another, since you can add them to another list and then remove them from the list you're working with. What is more, you can filter the list members by certain variables -- e.g. find all members of a list who haven't tweeted at all in 90 days, all who have no icon, who you're not following, who's not following you, etc. Internet application. Has sortable lists and 'select' buttons for bulk operations on a list. These guys really "get" it, about what's needed to manage lists. h/t Liss (@lissnup)

Tweetfind's Twitter Lists Tool. This tool lets you view the membership of a list, in a serviceable manner, and provides checkboxes. So it's a start. However the only thing you can do with the checkboxes is to add the people to a list, which is the least useful function, since (a) they're already on a list, and (b) adding people to lists is the one thing twitter does enable us to do without too much trouble. And the view populates somewhat slowly, and does not show all the list members on a single page. The developers at Tweetfind seem to be pretty cool and responsive. It will be interesting to see if they can (a) improve the view (b) add functions to be invoked by the checkboxes such as remove, copy, transfer and (c) provide sorting and/or filtering. They're adding a "remove from this list" button, which is helpful, and you can tell -- from the presence of a "follow" or "unfollow" box -- whether each list member is or is not being followed by you, which is also quite helpful.

Tweetdeck. Multipurpose desktop twitter portal application. Enables you to "edit" a list, removing list members one by one, or to add non members one by one. It doesn't sort the lists, but does sort the non-list members alphabetically.

Listomatic. An internet application, its "manage" function assembles lists, collects members to be viewed from 20 to 100 at a time, allows easy removal from a list by double clicking the icon, on hover signals the following status of each list member. Does not have sorting. Slow to load. [a word of warning: if while using this you want to look at someone's profile on, when you come back you may have to wait for screen to repopulate to 100 members; best workaround --> try to open "in a new tab"] h/t Liss (@lissnup on Twitter)

Listorious. Internet application which does one thing brilliantly, and does nothing else: it provides a great view of the list on a single page, sorted by the number of followers each has. It shows the icon + the bio of each peep. It provides no ability to sort by any other variable, or to perform any operation at all. Caveat: it seems that Listorious updates the lists very very slowly, if at all. So if you make changes in your twitter list, I don't know how long it will take to get updated at Listorious. [update, Listorious seems to be going out of business; there seems to be little going on there] Website which enables you to check, on a one-by-one basis, whether a particular person is on a particular list.

mixero. A desktop application which provides some list management ability, such as the ability to remove people from lists. You need to go to the field for 'adding contacts' in order to delete contacts. It automatically sorts the list members alphabetically, so that's a plus.

formulists. Web site which falsely bills itself as being for "list management", but is really just for creating new lists. It doesn't help you manage your existing lists. I don't need a tool to help me create new lists.

(Here's a short URL for this post: )

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to create a "tree menu" in

The major drawbacks to blogs are that they are organized strictly chronologically, rather than by subject matter.

Here's an interesting article which tells you how to create a "tree menu" in a blog.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why is @Twitter butchering URL's?

I and many of my Twitter friends have noticed that Twitter is now doing strange things to URL's that make them unusable in subsequent replies, tweets, and retweets.

Needless to say, this greatly hampers the Twitter 'conversation'.

This is yet another example of Twitter shooting itself in the foot.

Does anyone know if this is accidental or intentional, and if intentional what the geniuses at Twitter are trying to accomplish by it?

Is it another step in Twitter's war against traditional, or classic, retweets?

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

A word about working with YouTube playlists

I had some lengthy youtube playlists and found it impossible to sort them.

I've since figured out a few things by trial and error:

1. If the lists have 100 videos or less, they can be sorted by:

-most viewed
-A to Z
-Z to A

So to keep your lists sortable keep them to 100 or less in size.

2. If you need to cull out duplicates from such a list you can just sort alphabetically and find the culprits.

3. If they're longer than 100, they're not sortable.

4. If you need to cull out duplicates from an unsortable list, or from multiple lists which have duplicates among them, there is a way to do it, based upon my discovery that while youtube playlists tolerate duplicates, the 'favorites' folder does not. So if you clean out the favorites folder, and move the offending playlists into the favorites folder, you'll have the duplicates automatically removed. At that point you can put the videos back in their respective playlists and remove them from 'favorites'.

For example:

-Ray has 580 blues videos in 6 playlists; he knows there are duplicates but doesn't even know how many, or which ones.
-He empties his favorites folder.
-For each list he (a) "adds" the videos to favorites, then (b) "removes" them from the list.
-When he's done with the 6 lists, he finds there are 530 videos in favorites, telling him there were, but are no longer, 50 duplicates.
-Now he "adds" the videos back to their lists, removing them from 'favorites' after he adds each column to its proper list.

[the way to do bulk operations is to click the arrow in upper left, wait for column to be selected, then perform bulk operation... for me it operated slowly, but it's better than nothing]

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to get retweeted

If you would like some of your tweets to be retweeted, there are -- in my book -- 3 simple rules:

1. make them good;
2. make them short; and
3. be a retweeter yourself.

If you have to ask people to retweet you, it's because you're not doing a good enough job at (1), (2), and (3).

As to what I mean by "good", there's no simple rule, but studies have shown that tweets with links to substantive content are more likely to be retweeted than those without.

And as to keeping them short, studies have shown that using shorter URL shorteners like rather than longer ones like tinyurl will increase the likelihood of getting retweeted too.

And to those of you who feel it's wasteful if you fail to use up all 140 characters every time you tweet... it's not.

(PS, if you want to know "How to get unfollowed", one good way is to send a DM to someone whom you rarely, or never, retweet, asking them to retweet something of yours.)

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Friday, June 10, 2011

My 200,000th tweet. Even I think that's a bit much.

Well, today I posted my 200,000th tweet:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. #rays200k

I definitely tweet too much.

But I have met a lot of extraordinary people on Twitter, and learned an awful lot.

The experience has been priceless.

Of the 200,000 tweets, the only ones I would take back are the few I squandered responding to right wing nutjobs and other trolls, before I learned not to do that.

I chose that Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, because it best exemplifies why I take Twitter seriously. As citizens we have important work to do.

Here's a screenshot of what my home page looked like, including my 200,000th tweet, and the two which preceded it.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Twitter lesson I learned from Carolina (@MissBrazil) : the power of @

One of the greatest Twitter lessons I learned was from Carolina (@MissBrazil), cofounder of The Bloggers School (@BloggersSchool).

Carolina taught me the power of " @ ".

I was just getting started, and really didn't "get" Twitter, having bought into its founders' misguided use of language, calling my stream a "timeline" and my tweets "updates" about "what I'm doing".... and wondering why on earth would anyone want to read my "updates" on "what I was doing".

As if Twitter was a game of solitaire, where I record my random musings, and others mysteriously would find that of interest.

But Carolina disabused me of that. She said "I want you to be a good citizen of Twitter, I want you to be courteous and polite. Many people don't know how to be polite, they don't know how to respond to tweets. But I want you to understand. When people send you a tweet, you must respond to it. That's just good manners."

And then she taught me how to unravel Twitter's mystery and find the mysterious hidden location of the tweets addressed to me, since Twitter had no inbox and was silent on the subject (it has since updated its format to include such a 'place', but at the time offered none).

She taught me that every tweet addressed to me had a " @ " before "raybeckerman", so all I had to do was search for "@raybeckerman" and I would find them.

And then I was able to respond to them.

I have since learned that the " @ " is at the core of all interactivity on Twitter.

Every tweet intended for my eyes has my name preceded by the @; every tweet I send to someone has their name preceded by the " @ "; and every time anyone gives another the honor of a "retweet", the retweeted person's name is preceded by an " @ ".

The other day, I noticed that when I am looking at someone's profile page, to decide whether I wish to follow them or not, the most important thing to me is the incidence of " @ "'s in their timeline. The absence of "@"'s tells me this is someone who is just talking "at" people; their presence tells me this is someone who is engaged in conversation and sharing.

Since sharing and conversation are what Twitter is really all about, for me, the " @ " is what it's all about.

I see many, many twitter accounts -- many of them accounts of people who supposedly are knowledgeable about "social media" -- which have very few tweets that include " @ ". I'm glad I avoided that mistake. In my opinion those people are wasting their time here, in self-promotion, self-adoration, or just plain isolation, and are missing out on the treasure that is here, which is community.

So thank you, Carolina ( @MissBrazil ), for the valuable lesson I learned from you: the power of @.

(Here's a shortened url for this post:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to set up your twitter apps (or "clients") to do traditional retweets rather than rubber stamp retweets

As most of you know, Twitter's fake "rubber stamp" pseudo-retweets should never be used (see "The "traditional retweet" (#TR) : the key to conversation & visibility" ).

Some twitter applications (or "clients") can be configured to ensure that whenever you're going to retweet something, you will be doing genuine retweets instead of the fake ones.

This post will collect links to instructions on how to do that for each app.

If you know of any that aren't listed here, or if anything here is no longer the fact, please use the comment section to let me know the details and your twitter name, and I will incorporate them into this post, and credit you with a "hat tip".

If your app does not provide a method for defaulting to traditional retweets.... scrap it.

The following apps can be configured to do traditional retweets when you retweet; each link will take you to the instructions on how to do it:

-Tweetdeck (Android): needs no configuration; once you start doing a retweet, if you tap in compose section it converts to traditional retweet.
-Twicca (Android): no need to set up; choose "quote" rather than "retweet" and it automatically uses "RT @" format.
-Twidgit (Android) uses traditional retweets only. h/t @jameld
-Twitterific is an app for Macs, iPhones, & iPads. I'm advised that it supports traditional retweets, where they are called "retweets with comments", but have no information on how to configure it.
-Seesmic desktop does not provide a method of doing it, except by making an extra click and using its "quote" function.

(Here's a shortened url for this post:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Article by @lizgannes makes me think new @twitter is a step back to 1950's network TV

[first published 9/16/10]

I read, with sadness, this article, "10 Things You Didn’t Know About the New" in by Liz Gannes (@lizgannes), brought to my attention by my friend @polipaca, in which Liz writes that
Twitter wants to position itself as a place for fast and easy consumption of information. Product manager Josh Elman [@joshelman] said that he expects Twitter will be more like Google than Facebook: a destination for quick visits rather than extended time-wasting and engagement sessions. Twitter users come to the service when they have an extra moment waiting in line, and return throughout the day. Elman (who previously worked at Facebook) said it’s philosophically important for Twitter that the people don’t necessarily know what they’re looking for when they access the service; they just want to be informed. (More on Twitter CEO Evan Williams’ thoughts on that topic here.) Cheng said that it’s more important for people to get a lot out of each visit to the Twitter site than it is for them to spend more time there.
Sounds to me like the twitter management erroneously thinks we need another feedreader, and that that's the way forward for Twitter's business.

As most of my Twitter friends know, twitter has been a vehicle for engagement and interaction, and that is what makes it special and unique.

It is incredible to me how ignorant and short sighted a business plan this would be.

But I don't doubt that this is an accurate description, since I've been saying for many months now that a number of Twitter's actions have been inexplicable, except as paving the way for twitter to become just another means of broadcasting information, and monetizing the process.

Chief among them was the development of the false retweet -- the rubber stamp retweet -- instead of accommodating the traditional retweet twitter's users had developed (see "The "traditional retweet" (#TR) : the key to conversation & visibility" ). This was a move meant to benefit the big paying customers, with a side effect of cheapening the twitter experience for the rest of us.

Other things like the new home page with "top tweets", top peeps, paid search results, paid additions to 'trending', suggested peeps to follow, buying up independent applications and turning them into captive twitter-only "official" applications, requiring OAuth authentication instead of username/password authentication, etc., are all part of a scheme to turn twitter into a way for companies to use tweets to promote themselves.

It was particularly sad to see twitter management equating "engagement" with "time wasting".

Twitter is clearly regressing from Web 2.0 to Web 1.0.

What's next? 1950's era television advertising?

Very sad.

I hope twitter's competitors are paying close attention.

[update 9/19/10. Twitter's adding another anti-social device: taking over exclusive control of URL-shortening, with its own shortened URL's that will always take up 20 characters]

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Monday, March 14, 2011

How to set up a StatusNet ( account in @tweetdeck desktop

If you would like to set up Tweetdeck desktop to accommodate your StatusNet ( account, here's how:


1. Go to accounts > add new account > twitter

2. Put in the StatusNet username & password

3. Click "advanced options"

4. For the "twitter base url" type in : [your url for status net home page]/index.php/api/

5. Save settings.

Your tweetdeck now handles your StatusNet account.

1. Go to account > new account > twitter

2. Enter the username & password for your account

3. Click "advanced options"

4. For the "twitter base url" type in :

5. Save settings.

Your tweetdeck now handles your account.

Question (to which I do not know the answer): Would these same techniques work for FriendFeed and other microblogging services?

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Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm going to start tweeting less about the "retweet" button; those of who you who don't listen are on your own

I've repeated many times my detailed article about why people who use Twitter's faux-retweet button are just hurting themselves.

But no matter how many times I tweet about it, there are still people on twitter using that button.

I recognize that most of the people who follow me are aware of the problem, and most of the people unaware of the problem are people who are new to following me, but there comes a point when it's just plain rude to my followers to keep repeating the same thing over and over and over again.

And I'm tired of wasting my time editing faux-retweets when I want to retweet them, to try and make the misguided "retweeter" less invisible.

So my present game plan is:

1. I'm only going to tweet about this subject rarely... maybe once a month or less.

2. If I want to retweet something which is in the wrong, "invisible", format, too bad for the person who retweeted it. I'm not going to spend another minute of my time making visible people who elected to become invisible.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

My Twitter "refollow" policies

The following are my Twitter "refollow" policies:

My primary interest on Twitter is having good conversations with interesting people who care about people, and other living things, other than themselves.

Please do not follow me, as I am not likely to follow you back, if:

1. You describe yourself as wildly successful and completely happy, living a perfect life in total contentment. (You don't need me to screw it all up for you.)

2. Your Twitter account is primarily about selling something, promoting yourself, promoting your religion, or picking fights with people like me.

3. You are a company or a bot.

4. You want to be my "coach", "guru", "visionary", or "thought leader". (I would much rather fail on my own terms).

5. You tweet frequently about how to make money, get more followers, and/or achieve as much success as you. (I will never be as successful as you, and I already am struggling with how to find the time in the day to give, to each of the followers I already have, the attention he or she deserves.)

Also, if I do refollow you, please do not send me automatic DM's suggesting I read something or do something; I already have too much to read and to do. If you do send me an automatic DM, I may send you a pretty "automatic" unfollow.




(Here's a shortened URL to this post:

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@RayBeckerman's Twitter ReFollow Policies by Ray Beckerman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shorty Awards orders vote-buying to stop; I resume my campaign

The Shorty Awards has responded to my complaint about DustyTrice's vote-buying. This was their response:

We've looked into this. We don't want people exchanging anything for a nomination, but in this case it was a bit of a grey area since he only promised #followfridays shout outs rather than a physical good or money. We didn't anticipate a situation like this so the rules didn't clearly prohibit it. We just added a specific prohibition of a "promise anything of value in exchange for a nomination" and have sent an email to the offerer to stop doing that and he has agreed.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention and sorry for the delayed response.
Since they ordered him to stop this practice, I've decided to resume my campaign.

I would appreciate anyone who hasn't submitted a "nomination" yet to vote for me for a Shorty Award in #politics using the following link:

The deadline for nominations has been extended to February 11th.

I've been off the campaign trail for 11 days, so any help you guys can give me would be appreciated.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The @ShortyAwards finally respond to my complaints!

The Shorty Awards have responded to some of my complaints:

(Click image below to get larger version)

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Why I'm not campaigning any more for a Shorty Award cc @shortyvotes @shortyawards

(Originally written Jan. 21, 2011)
I've decided that it's a waste of my time and my friends' time for me to campaign for the Shorty Awards.

I don't think it's a legitimate contest.

Here are my reasons.

1. Last year the award in politics went to an account which (a) had less votes than all the other candidates, and (b) was a basically noninteractive account, consisting primarily of tweets spit out from an RSS feed. What possible basis there can have been for granting the award to that account is a mystery.

2. Last year one of the accounts which did have a lot of "votes" received most of them from transparently fake dormant accounts, each of which had 10 or 15 tweets over the account's entire lifetime, and had clearly been kept on "the shelf" for the purpose of being used in just such a ruse some day. The Shorty Award's so called "audits" -- if they ever occurred -- never disallowed those fake votes.

3. This year, after a week of voting, the Shorty Awards began "suggesting" accounts to nominate. It is completely absurd and corrupt for an organization running a "vote" to "suggest" which names you should nominate. It would be like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences suggesting to its members who should be nominated for an academy award.

4. This past night, although I had 20 more votes than the person in 1st place, I was listed as being in 2nd place. While I know the Shorty Awards claims it discounts votes from illegitimate accounts, my votes were from legitimate accounts: I'd read all of the votes that came in, and all but 2 or 3 were from regular twitter accounts that were familiar to me. All, or almost all, of my votes deserved full credit. I can no longer continue asking my friends to take the time to vote for me, knowing that their votes are not being counted honestly.

5. This year, the account which is in 1st place, even though I have more votes, has acquired about half of its votes by a form of "vote buying". The account holder offered to give #followfriday recommendations in exchange for Shorty Award votes. So far he's bought and paid for approximately 200 votes that way. The Shorty Awards is doing nothing to stop the practice.

Bottom line, the Shorty Awards "election" and "selection process" are without credibility. An election with no integrity is not an election, it's a scam. I'm through campaigning, because in doing so, I'm just giving publicity to a dishonest event, and wasting my friends' time.

I apologize to my friends and followers for having wasted your time.

(A shortened URL for this post:
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

The @ShortyAwards "suggesting" who we should nominate? How corrupt is that?

I cannot believe what I saw when I went over to the "politics" category at the Shorty Awards web site:

At the top of the voting category it has avatars of eight (8) twitter accounts which are not faring well in the voting, and says: "Undecied? [sic] Check out these popular politics accounts you can nominate."

Then it provides a "more" link which leads you to a small number of other accounts that aren't faring too well in the election, either.

Don't they realize how corrupt this is???

It would be like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences suggesting to its members who it should nominate, and who it should vote for, in the Academy Award voting.

This really taints the award process, and suggests something really wrong with the company administering the Shorty Awards.

Can they possibly be that clueless, not to realize that you can't run an election and make suggestions on who to nominate in that election, without demonstrating to the world that your election is rigged?

(A shortened URL for this post:

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