Browsing Twitter News

All the news from around the Twittersphere

Twitter Tweeks Title Tags and Ranks Higher For Your Name – What do you Think?

Techcrunch today are reporting that Twitter has just tweaked the title pages on Twitter users pages to now include users names at the start of the tags instead of the end.

So my tags now read – ‘Darren Rowse (problogger) on Twitter’ instead of ‘Twitter / ProBlogger’.

This might not sound like much but it’s actually a fairly significant tweak when it comes to search engine optimization and has already increased the search engine rankings for Twitter for the names of those using it.

For example – on a search for my name in Google (not that I’d ever search for it…..) my Twitter page now ranks #3 whereas it previously ranked less than 10th (on the second page). Many twitter users that I’ve just done searches for now have their twitter pages rank at #1 for their names.

There are a number of implications for this:

1. It could be useful (or not) for reputation management – online reputation managers often teach about how it is important to ‘control’ the top listings. The more results that you control in the top 10 search results for your name/brand the less likely people are to find negative things about you. Of course this could also be used for ‘evil’ by people wanting to hurt your reputation :-(

2. Twitter is outranking many users homepages/blogs – I’m lucky to have a blog that ranks higher for my name than my Twitter page but as mentioned above there are quite a few Twitter users whose Twitter pages outrank their own home pages. This won’t phase some – but I know a few people who will be a bit ‘miffed’ by this.

In fact I just chatted to one blogger who is now outranked for his own name by Wikipedia (he didn’t even start that page (and doesn’t really ‘control’ what appears on it), LinkedIn, Technorati and now Twitter. His own blog (with his name in the URL even) ranks 5th for his name!

update: there’s a poll at Tweet Social asking people where their Twitter page ranks in Google – it is early days but most seem to be reporting rankings between #1-#3.

3. Good for Twitter’s Growth – as the Techcrunch article explains, this will certainly increase the number of people hitting Twitter as a result of search results. I guess this is potentially good for Twitter users as it means more and more people will be on the network.

Interested to hear your thoughts on this SEO tweak by Twitter?

Twitter Suspending Re-follows – Is Your Account in Danger?

by Sherice Jacob (follow her @sherice), a web designer, copywriter and author of Get Niche Quick!

One of the more openly advertised ways of getting a high number of followers to your Twitter account is to follow high-profile bloggers, tweeters and newsmakers.  There’s nothing wrong with that, right?  According to a new post by TwitTown – automated re-following could be putting your account in danger.

If you’re like most Tweeters, you shouldn’t be worried.  However, Twitter is taking a closer look at automatic re-following, originally promoted to help new Tweeters get attention and build an audience, as a case for spam and closing your account.  What particularly annoys Twitter is when re-following doesn’t happen just once, but constantly over the course of a certain period of time.


The TwitTown article highlights Twitter user Louis Gray who has profiled two of the rogue Twitter spammers, @PoliticalUpdate and (both of whose accounts have since been suspended).  Like many users, Louis has set his Twitter account to update when he has new followers.  Getting several emails a day from these Twits got his attention and he started chronicling their follows, un-follows and re-follows.  Of course, like many spammers, they’re hoping that the more you see their name in your inbox, the more your curiosity will be piqued and you’ll check them out.

So How Do You Stop Them in Their Tracks?

Until Twitter adds a simple spam-prevention layer like a CAPTCHA (those random letters and numbers you enter when you register on some websites) or keeps portions of their API closed to prying eyes, people will always be trying to game the system.  In the meantime, you can clear out notifications like these by doing just what Louis did.

First, if you don’t have notifications enabled in Twitter, enable them in your Twitter settings so you can find out when people follow you.  If you get several follows from the same user, you likely have a spammer on your hands.  You might even want to create a message filter just with that subject line – such as

“@_____ is now following you on Twitter!” – so any emails with that subject will be diverted to a specific folder.

Watch, Wait and Report

Now you wait a couple of days.  Collect the evidence of these robotic re-follows and bring it to Twitter’s attention.  You can take a screenshot as easily as pressing the Print Screen (PrtScn) key on your keyboard (usually above the Home / End / Delete keys) and opening up Microsoft Paint and choosing Edit > Paste to add the screenshot.  Then save it as a JPEG and you’ve got some proof to hand over to the Twitter authorities.  You can submit the information in a support ticket by contacting Twitter here.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to keep your Twitter account clear of unsightly spammers and hopefully motivate Twitter to add in the protective steps it so desperately needs.

Here Come the Twitter Books!

twitter-books.jpgI was just surfing on Amazon and decided to see what books were surfacing on the topic of Twitter.

While Twitter is mentioned in many book about the broad category of social media – there are a few new books specifically written about Twitter – including a few that are available for Pre-Order.

Here are those books with Twitter in the title (not including books about birds…) arranged in order of how they’ve been selling (including pre-sales of books yet to come out – I’ve noted those that are yet to be released):

  1. Twitter Revolution: How Social Media and Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Do Business & Market Online (November 2008 – pictured right)
  2. Twitter means business: how microblogging can help or hurt your company (November 2008)
  3. Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time (Available for pre-order – Out in February 2009)
  4. Twitter: Free Social Networking For Business – 100 Success Secrets To Increase Your Profits and Sales Using Twitter Business Strategies (November 2008)
  5. Twitter API: Up and Running: Learn How to Build Applications with the Twitter API (Available for pre-order – Due in March 2009)
  6. Twitter For Dummies (Available for pre-order – due for release in June 2009)
  7. Twitter Top Success Secrets and Best Practices: Twitter Experts Share The World’s Greatest Tips (December 2008)

Also of note is Joel Comm’s Twitter Secrets Kindle Book – which ranks in the middle of this list.

33 High Profile Twitter Users Accounts Hacked

It’s been a bad week for Twitter – over the weekend the community was attacked by a Phishing Scam attack and in the last 24 hours 33 high profile Twitter users had their accounts hacked. These accounts included President Elect Barack Obama, Rick Sanchez, Britney Spears and other high profile/celebrity Twitter users.

Twitter explained what happened in a post on their blog:

“The issue with these 33 accounts is different from the Phishing scam aimed at Twitter users this weekend. These accounts were compromised by an individual who hacked into some of the tools our support team uses to help people do things like edit the email address associated with their Twitter account when they can’t remember or get stuck. We considered this a very serious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline. We’ll put them back only when they’re safe and secure.”

To be fair to Twitter – both this situation and the Phishing one were responded to quickly by Twitter however it does show that Twitter is increasingly being targeted by malicious attacks and should serve as a warning to those using Twitter to expect the unexpected. While there wasn’t anything that those who had their accounts hacked could have done to prevent this – do keep your password secret and regularly updated.

Twitter does seem to be moving towards a more secure system with an beta test of OAuth scheduled for later this month – but until it goes live (and even after it) be a little more alert than normal.

Twitter Under Phishing Attack

Twitter have alerted Twitter users that there has been a Phishing attack on many of their users over the weekend. You can read their full post (with updates) on it on their blog.

The Phishing ’scam’ went like this:

Emails were sent out to Twitter users that resembled emails you’d get if you got a Direct Message. The email said that a blog post had been written about the Twitter user and contained a link. The link led to a page that looked like the Twitter front page – complete with a login form.

It seems that quite a few Twitter users didn’t realize that they were not on the front page of Twitter and logged in anyway – in doing so giving their login details.

Once this happened the second wave of attack has set in with those people who gave away their login details now having their accounts being used to send DM’s to their friends telling their friends to check out a link on a blog. Again these links were directed to a page looking like a Twitter front page.

It seems that the attack didn’t have much more agenda than to cause trouble as to this point there are only reports of the information being used to keep the scam going – but none the less many Twitter accounts seem to have been compromised (I’ve had 20+ DMs from legit Twitter users in the last 12 hours).

Twitter have acted pretty quickly and have reset the passwords on accounts that have been compromised and have reported the URLs concerned to OpenDNS’ and Google’s reported phishing lists. I just visited the page and firefox warned me of the danger.

If you’re trying to login to Twitter and your password has been reset by Twitter you can reset it here.

Update – it seems that the phishers are now starting to send DMs using the accounts of those who have given their login details that invite people to visit an iPhone site. While Twitter say they’ve changed people’s passwords I’m still getting quite a few of these DMs. Looks like this Phishing thing has still got legs!

Happy Twitmas

Just a short note to wish all TwiTip readers a very happy Christmas. I’m taking the day off today (although am sure I’ll update my followers on Twitter during the day ahead) but I did want to say thanks for your support this year and have a happy holiday period!

Normal posting will return tomorrow!

PS: I’ve written a few more Christmas reflections over at ProBlogger today.

Speed Tweeting (reports, stats, videos and more) – 24 December 2008

There has been lots of good Twitter news, reports and ideas around this week:

The State of the Twittersphere [REPORT]

Hubspot has produced their State of the Twittersphere report. A few stats from it:

  • 35% of Twitter users have 10 or fewer followers
  • The average number of followers is 70
  • The average number of people that Twitter users follow is 69
  • Top locations on Twitter include London, San Francisco, New York and Chicago

Here it is in full:

State of the Twittersphere – Get more Information Technology

ReadWriteWeb takes the stats in the report projects forwards – concluding that Twitter would take 36 years to catch Facebook.

Facebook, Twitter and Traffic [STATS]

Also on the topic of Facebook and Twitter – Jacob Cass reports that he gets more traffic from Facebook than Twitter despite having fewer Facebook friends than Twitter followers and shows some stats from his metrics package.

I tweeted this link earlier today and had a heap of people tell me that their own results are quite the opposite. I decided to check my own and mine are completely different to Jacob. To my ProBlogger blog I had 11,500 visitors come from over the last 30 days and only 1500 come from Facebook. My links to new posts go up on both as Jacob describes.

Here on TwiTip the stats are even more one sided towards Twitter – although that’s skewed because this blog is about Twitter of course.

I don’t dispute Jacobs results – but would argue that it is always going to vary from site to site and topic to topic.

ReWeeting [ANALYSIS]

Pistachio Consulting has a good analytical post this week on the Phenomenon of Retweeting

Twitter for Business [VIDEO]

Laura from Pistachio also has a great presentation on the topic of Twitter for Business. It is well worth the look.

Check out her powerpoint deck here.

Twitter and Legal Ramifications [LAW] has an article up talking about how tweets could get employers in legal trouble. Sounds like a whole lot of articles we saw a few years back on the dangers of blogging to companies.

Round Follow Buttons! [DESIGN]

And the news of the week – Twitterrati notes that follow buttons went from square to round!

Twitter Survival Guide

twitter-survival-guide.jpg I spent some time today reading a good little ebook resource by the name of The Twitter Survival Guide.
This 94 page ebook is written by Bob Walsh and Kristen Nicole from MultiSocialMedia. It combines some teaching on the basics of Twitter with interview insights from 12 Twitter users including Guy Kawasaki, Steve Rubel, Gary Vaynerchuck, Marshall Kirkpatrick and myself.
Sections in the ebook are:

1. Why should you care about Twitter?

2. Twitter: What, How, Where and Why?

3. Creating your twitter presence: A checklist.

4. Twitter Tools.

5. Where does Twitter start and blogging end?

6. What can you do with Twitter?

7. Twitter Power Profiles.

8. Conclusions.

The ebook is up to date and comprehensive. It’s a great introduction to anyone starting out with twitter – particularly those wanting to use Twitter for branding or some other aspect of a business.

The ebook is $24.95 so not for everyone – but for those wanting a crash course in Twitter it’s a great place to start.

Read more about the Twitter Survival Guide

Speed Tweeting – SMS off in Canada, Twitter for Dummies, MrTweet, Facebook and More

speed-tweeting.jpgI’ve just returned from a few days away and here’s a quick summary of the stories that broke around Twitter while I was gone:

Speed Tweeting [14 November 2008]