At work I finally got around to doing a project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: analyze the sharing behavior of a year’s worth of content at Mashable.
It’s no small project. First, a year’s worth of Mashable content must be collected, which ended up being 13,979 articles in total. Next, the author, publish date, headline, and full text of each post must be extracted from each page, which requires a (fortunately simple) custom scraper to be built. Next, the social resonance data of each article must be collected. For this analysis, I collected share counts for Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest, plus clicks from Bitly and per-article submissions from Reddit. Once all that data has been collected and structured, it must be analyzed. I found good ol’ Excel pivot tables to be perfect for most of the analysis. Tracking mentions of key topics from the past year, like Gangnam Style, requires the ability to do full-text searches against headlines and article content, so I indexed all of the data from above into ElasticSearch. It performed brilliantly.
By no means the finest infographic ever made, but hopefully not the worst one, either. Enjoy!
Today, Twitter announced version 1.1 of its API. The announcement included some interesting changes:
- All API requests must now be authenticated. Twitter doesn’t talk to strangers anymore. You have to at least introduce yourself before it’ll talk to you.
- API hits are now counted per-endpoint. Some APIs have more hits hourly and some fewer, purportedly based on endpoint popularity.
- Display Guidelines are now required to be observed. If you display tweets off of Twitter, they must be consistent with Twitter’s visual style or else.
- Pre-installed client applications must be certified by Twitter. Applications that come installed on things like mobile devices must be Twitter tested, Twitter approved.
- Twitter app growth is limited to 100,000 users. Apps are only allowed to have 100,000 user tokens before they’re forced to ask Twitter “please, sir, I want some more?”
Twitter developers in 6 months
In short, Twitter started acting like a business. And the world was shocked and apalled.
What the hell are annotations for?
If you weren’t at Chirp (or you were there but weren’t paying attention), the Twitter Annotations API will let you attach arbitrary metadata to tweets. So just as Twitter clients can attach GPS coordinates to tweets, so too will you be able to attach moods, who you were with, or funny pictures of cats to your tweets.
One of the primary messages we heard at Chirp was that Twitter is hard to use. For those of us who know and love Twitter, and use it every day, hearing that from Twitter execs came as a bit of a shock. For us, Twitter’s a snap. But our skepticism was quickly replaced by a sense of surprise when @ev, Twitter’s CEO, put up a video of a Stanford grad (yes, that Stanford) trying for five minutes to get Twitter on her phone and failing.
Last night, I posted a data set about which Twitter clients were the most popular on Day 1 of Chirp. Since then, I’ve gotten a few requests for data about which Twitter clients are popular here at Chirp normalized to users instead of to tweets.
Ask, and ye shall receive.
Here are two new data sets: one with clients counted by users, and a refresh of clients counted by tweets collected about 5 minutes after the first.
Oh. And then there’s the rate limit bump to 20,000 requests per hour. That’s kinda neat too.
As a quick first project for the evening, I decided to follow up on a suggestion from @_stritti_ to do some quick analysis on which Twitter clients were popular at the daytime part of the conference.
The first morning of Chirp has been very interesting. After a nice mimosa to open up the morning, moderator John Betalle ( @johnbetalle ) got us off to a nice start and the very distinguished speakers started taking the stage.
The opening remarks by Biz Stone ( @biz ) teased us with promises of talk about upcoming changes to Twitter’s API and Twitter’s revenue model. We haven’t heard a lot about the revenue model yet — I expect that will come as we discuss the ad platform later today with Ev Williams and Dick Costello at 3:30 and 3:45 — but Ryan Sarver delivered with some huge announcements about the Twitter API. But Biz is a Twitter cofounder, so he’s been there since the beginning, and my favorite parts of his talk were about Twitter’s history. For example, it turns out that the first big “Twitter is actually important” experience the founders had came at SXSW in 2007 when a whole meet-and-greet spontaneously changed venues when someone tweeted they were going from one bar to another. And, as he said, he knew Twitter had made it big when they had to postpone some planned maintenance because Iranian protesters said their lives would be in danger if their communication channel of choice went down during some upcoming protests. (He also just slipped in that the original Twitter prototype was written in two weeks. Damn.)
I’ll be at Chirp, the official Twitter conference, on April 14-15. Anyone going and want to meet up for a frosty beverage? Or anyone not going who has questions they’d like me to ask the Twitter team? Leave a comment here, or drop me a line at @sigpwned! And I’ll be tweeting the whole time, so for live updates during the conference, follow me at @sigpwned, too.
Expect to see new stories here during the conference, and I’ll be sure to post a recap as soon as I get back, so subscribe to my RSS feed or check back for a wrap-up and postmortem.
One fateful friday in January 2009, @micah sent out a tweet that still echoes weekly in the twittersphere:
What began as a simple idea is now a full-blown weekly phenomenon on Twitter. #FF may have started small, but nowadays there are so many #FF updates rolling through your followers’ streams that it’s easy to get lost in the mix. If you stick to these six rules, though, your #FF updates will start to get the attention they deserve.
When it first came out, I believed (like most people) that Twitter was a flash in the pan, and nothing but one more way for the Me Generation to get another attention fix. After listening to the WCG social media team in the InnovateTexas offices using and talking about it for a few months, though, I got curious and finally created an account.
Now that I’ve been using Twitter for a couple weeks, I’m going on the record: I was wrong.