Twitter: The Best Of The Week (March 21-27, 2009)

These are the best Twitter stories of the past seven days. Did you see all this cool stuff?

(This is a new weekly feature. Click here for last week.)

Happy Birthday Twitter!

Twitter turned three years old on Saturday, 21 March, and much celebration was to be had. The party was great, wasn’t it? All that free beer and food, the dancing girls were amazing, and that preview of Iron Man 2 was unreal.

What? Oh. Ah. Awkward. Maybe your invite ended up in your spam folder?

The 14 Types of Twitter Personalities

Allegedly, there are fourteen different kinds of personality on Twitter. Which one are you? Click here to find out.

Me? I like to think of myself as somewhere between a link mogul and a journalist…

Is Twitter The Most Important Website Since Google?

So ponders, and you know what, I think they might be on to something. Although I don’t believe for a second that Twitter is any kind of threat to the big G, certainly not in its present form.

Recovery deleted tweets, or those that vanished with the recent Twitter downtime, at (Is it just me, or is the ‘Tw’ in front of every word getting a little irritating? I know, fairly hypocritical, but at least mine scans well/makes some grammatical sense…) (This Week In Tech) is a weekly show hosted by Leo Laporte that screens live as a video but is also downloadable in podcast format. (I don’t think the video is downloadable, probably for space reasons). Sunday’s show was superb, and featured Kevin Rose, Jason Calacanis, Gina Trapani and Dan Patterson – plus guests – chatting with Leo about all sorts of good tech stuff (Facebook, iPhone cut/paste, SXSW, and more). Highly recommended.

Jennifer Aniston Ends Relationship With John Mayer… Because Of Twitter ‘Obsession’?

So reported the world’s media, and it does indeed appear to be true. Well, they’ve broken up at least, and Mayer has now spoken out about his problem. Next step: rehab.

The Ultimate Guide to Twitter

A very detailed and quite splendid guide to all-things Twitter over at Definitely worth your perusal. (Hopefully will make the cut in the next update.)

Guy Kawasaki Discloses Twitter Ghost Writers

One of the perhaps less-than-shocking news stories to emerge this week was the revelation that some celebrities use ghost writers – sometimes a full team – to update their tweets. What I did find quite surprising and, being frank, somewhat disappointing was Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki) admitting to the exact same thing.

Of the 35 or so messages he tweets per day, Guy said he only does somewhere between 13-19 of them. The rest are automated messages from and, companies owned by Kawasaki, and 5-6 by a couple of folk Guy trusts to tweet on his behalf.

To his credit, he owned up, and even added a note to his Twitter profile. To further establish credibility within his tweets, his ghost-writers are now adding their initials to any submissions they make (example).

Still, as said, I find it slightly disappointing. I understand he’s a busy guy, but so are Shaquille O’Neal, Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher.

Of course, this isn’t limited to Guy. While watching the show I linked above I noticed a tweet from Kevin Rose appear on the stream when his hands weren’t anywhere near a keyboard or his phone. Sure, it could have been scheduled, but somehow I doubt it. Either way, it does take away a little bit of the magic.

Kim Kardashian Wants Her Twitter Name Back

Kim Kardashian is a pretty big star in the USA, thanks to Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Dancing With The Stars and Disaster Movie. That’s right – all the quality. She also released a pretty popular sex tape.

Still, Twitter is where all the hot action is now, so Kardashian, fed up with all the imposters posting under her name, emailed Twitter to sort it out. Her main complaint? The fake Kardashians were making her look bad.

“They’re just like e-mailing messages to my friends, and my friends at first thought it was me and then they got a little inappropriate and they were like, ‘Kim would never talk like that!'”

Quite. She hasn’t threatened legal action yet, but @ev and co should move fast before she’s forced to whip out the big guns.

Geek Warriors Planning to Overthrow Twitter

Leo Laporte and others had a few things to say about the problem of Twitter. That being, essentially, that Twitter might ultimately become a monopoly. Plus, of course, they’re stamping all over his brand name, and every time he mentions Twitter on the show, the network gets bigger while… stays the same.

Still, the article raises some good points and is definitely worth a read.

Jason Calacanis Offers Twitter $250,000 $500,000 To Be On The Controversial ‘Suggested Users’ List

Did they accept? Did they? Uh, no. Read Jason’s thoughts on why he made the offer here, and then check out my take on the suggested users list in an article earlier this week.

Pupils To Study Twitter And Blogs In Primary Schools Shake-Up

This one broke on Wednesday and has caused a bit of a stink with the establishment. The revamp, which is being touted as the biggest change in the primary school system for a decade, would place a greater emphasis on modern-media and web-based skills for children aged 5-11 (and one assumes beyond).

Personally I think it’s a good thing. The school system has improved considerably since my day, but many an hour was wasted learning about stuff that I never needed to know (like drip irrigation in geography: y’wha?). Primary school is a great start for this stuff, and when they move on, balance that social media with some common-sense advice on running a bank account and paying bills, and the world just might not be in the mess it is now.

Twitter Topics Now Show Up In Google Search Results

This is quite a big deal. Google has started to not only rank Twitter search pages for topics, but also minor changes made to Twitter profiles now means that for many users a Google search for their name often places their Twitter account at or near to the top of the results. Try it yourself.

Twitter Brings Back SMS For Vodafone Customers

To my surprise, this has been given some fanfare within Twitter and across various blogs. I’ve never personally seen the point of accessing Twitter via SMS messages. Even if it was free (which I believe it is temporarily through Vodafone), it’s an extremely limited way to interact with the network. Nearly all modern phones have some kind of web browser. Why not just point that at Twitter mobile or when you need your fix? Clearly some folk would rather be inundated with updates at untimely points throughout the day, instead. And then pick up the tab for the privilege.

I’m with Vodafone, and I won’t be using this. Nor will Orange, O2, 3, T-Mobile and Virgin customers. I bet they’re very pleased about that.

Celebrity Twitterers Use Ghostwriters (Say It Ain’t So!)

I touched on this above, but to the surprise of, well, quite a few people actually, a few celebrity accounts have been tweeting using ghost writers. These include 50 Cent and Britney Spears. But not, thankfully, Shaq.

Christopher Walken Is A Fake

Well, not Christopher Walken the ac-tor, but Christopher Walken the Twitterer, aka @cwalken, was revealed to be a hoax. The account is still active and seems entertaining enough that few people unsubscribed and/or cared. It did seem a bit too good to be true, though.

How To Spot A Twitter User With A ‘Fake’ Follower Count

Fascinating and detailed analysis from the boys at I propose that anyone who says they don’t want lots of followers be filed next to those bands that say they don’t want a hit record, but there are definitely ways and means to go about doing it the right way.

Free tip: Avoid any kind of ‘system’, even if they work. Unless you are or want to be perceived to be a spammer or mass-marketer. Because that’s how you’ll come across to everybody else.

How Can You Tell If Your IM Buddy Is Really A Machine?

This isn’t Twitter-specific but you better darn well believe it will be in years to come. Once a year, a group of scientists gather to test the evolution of artificial intelligence via an interesting competition. A judge engages in an electronic conversation with another human and a machine simultaneously, and if he cannot tell one from the other, the machine wins. The entrants are contesting for the Loebner Prize, which is worth a not-too-shabby $100,000, and is reserved for the first computer that is absolutely indistinguishable from human intelligence. As of yet, it goes unclaimed.

Why is this relevant to Twitter? Think about it. Elbot, the winner of this year’s tournament, fooled 25 per cent of all judges. These people aren’t idiots. They’re, well, judges. My gut says Elbot could probably fool 50 per cent of Twitter users (and 100 per cent on MySpace). In 2-5 years, Elbot, or his kin, are probably looking at a 50-75 per cent success rate for the Loebner. When Elbot hits Twitter, he’s gonna hit it hard. You think spammers are a problem now; wait until Elbot pitches you that free Macbook Air.

Of course, there will be some good Elbots, too. They’ll be the ones you’ll be meeting for drinks later that night. Better bring a screwdriver. And a big bag of humility.