Why most people don’t understand Twitter

Despite being well connected with a lot of my friends and colleagues online, only a handful of people I know use Twitter. Ask the others and I often get to hear “I just don’t get it!”. This got me thinking – I have never heard such a reply for any other website! Then what is it that people find so mysterious about Twitter?

The answer was right on Twitter’s homepage.

Check out Twitter.com. All I see is – “Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world. Join the conversation. Sign up now”

There is not a single word on why and how you can start using Twitter. Anyone who comes to Twitter.com for the first time will most certainly have the following questions in mind –

  • what is a tweet? How do I start twitter-ing?
  • what does @someone mean?
  • Why do people say “RT @someone” and what does it mean?
  • Why do I need to “follow” someone and how is it different from adding a contact on a social network?
  • What does a #tag do?
  • What is twitter search and why is it useful to me? What exactly is a trending topic?

and none of them get answered. No wonder. In essence, Twitter needs it’s “missing manual”.

Entrepreneur magazine now in India

entrepreneur_magazine_india Entrepreneur magazine has been launched in India from September 2009. I got my first issue and found it totally worth it. This is a great addition to a fantastic line of products by the Network18 group in India.

Also worth checking out are T3 and the recently introduced Forbes India magazine.

Best ever viral videos which spread entirely through Social Media

1. Numa Numa

2. The Last Lecture

3. Here comes another Bubble

4. 12 days of Christmas

5. Where the hell is Matt?

6. Diet Coke + Mentos

7. Little Superstar

8. OK Go

I bet there are quite a few which deserve to be in this list but I missed out. Send it to me as a comment and I’ll update the post.

Related post:
Do you believe Social Media is a fad?

Apple seeking divine blessings for iPhone 3GS launch in India?

apple-iphone-3gs-indiaRumors of the upcoming iPhone 3GS launch in India might be true this time. The iPhone was supposed to launch in more than 30 countries in the final phase, and it seems that the iPhone is already out in Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Egypt and Peru.

Going by the latest rumor, the iPhone is set to launch on 19 September 2009 in India. 19 September also happens to be the first day after the end of Sharad (which is considered an inauspicious time for buying) and the first day of Navratri.

Is this a mere coincidence? Or, are Apple/Vodafone/Airtel really seeking divine blessings to boost their sales in India?

Related post:
Top 10 reasons why iPhone 3GS will be a success in India

Why tweets are more social than Facebook updates

“Status updates”, though meant to share what one is doing, are not really taken by their literal meaning. People use status updates in a variety of ways, including sharing links, breaking news etc. However, I observed a fundamental difference between how Facebook and Twitter updates spread on the web. An interesting comparison can be drawn between the two:

1. On Facebook, the “Share” link is only present for status updates which include a sharable resource (say, a URL, video etc.) and not for simple text-only updates.

Why did Facebook choose to do this? Why isn’t there an option to “re-feed” someone else’s status update into your own feed? Comparing this with Twitter, quite a lot of re-tweets are not necessarily about sharing video, URL’s etc., implying that this use-case definitely exists.

2. I generally post a lot of interesting videos and URL’s into my Facebook feed, because I surf a lot and often come across interesting content which is worth sharing. But, anyone can “Share” my post with their own network, without giving me any credit as the original source of the content.

I feel hurt, I feel cheated… almost as if someone “stole” it from me. If I’ve posted something interesting, you’re supposed to “Like” it or post a comment on it. If you must steal, the least you can do is credit the source! If you can be a good boy on Twitter (by including “RT @gauravgupta” in the tweet), shouldn’t you be able to do this on Facebook too?

Comments and feedback welcome.

Share iPhone apps with multiple iPhone’s

If you have more than one iPhone or iPod touch, you need not purchase the same app twice to use it on both devices. Here’s a quick How-To from CNET on how to share your apps (and other media) between multiple iPhone’s and iPod Touch’s.

You always wanted this but never knew this was possible, right? I know. πŸ˜‰

Managing multiple identities on the web

If you have accounts on multiple social channels, it’s hard to get a consistent username across all networks, especially if you have a common name (like me). It’s also incredibly hard for your friends to keep a track that you are a “gauravgupta” on one network, “guptagaurav” on another and “gauravgupta123” on some other.

Moreover, some sites like Orkut (and initially Facebook) don’t even have the option of having a sharable profile URL. I had met somebody on a plane few months back and we wanted to connect on Orkut later on – There was no way I could tell him how to reach my profile!

One thing I do know however is that all my friends know my homepage URL (www.gauravgupta.in). To manage this social mess, here’s a simple solution – Create subdomains on your homepage URL, which point to your various social network profiles.

So, for example-

twitter.gauravgupta.in redirects to my twitter profile
facebook.gauravgupta.in redirects to my facebook profile

and so on. You can find me on YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, Orkut, Google Reader, Delicious, Friendfeed, LinkedIn, all by remembering one URL. And they’re easy to share too.

Neat, isn’t it?

Looking forward to your feedback and comments.

Top 50 Technology and Business Books – Part 1

direct-from-dell 1. Direct from Dell by Michael Dell – Talks about Michael Dell’s early life, obsession with computers and electronics, founding of Dell and Dell’s direct to customer business model.

icon-steve-jobs 2. iCon Steve Jobs by Young and Simon – Coming together of Steve Jobs and Wozniak, starting Apple computers and Steve Jobs eventually performing the “greatest second act in the history of business”

biz-speed-of-thought 3. Business @ Speed of Thought by Bill Gates – Interesting insights into Bill Gate’s vision of the future of computers. A few interesting examples from Microsoft too.

winning-jack-welch 4. Winning by Jack Welch – How Jack Welch single handedly changed the course of General Electronics leading from the front as CEO.

google-story 5. The Google Story by David Vise – An amazing book on the formation and rise of the Google we all know today. A must read.

the-dip 6. The Dip by Seth Godin – Seth describes how the “dip” is inevitable and is the biggest differentiator between success and failure. Like many of his blog posts, the book is short and precise.

men-of-steel 7. Men of Steel by Vir Sanghvi Well known Indian journalist interviews the czars running a few of the largest businesses in India.

one-minute-manager 8. One Minute Manager by Blanchard and Johnson – Management can be simple. A must-read if you want to learn how. Read my complete review of the One Minute Manager.

road-ahead 9. The Road Ahead by Bill Gates – Another great book by Bill Gates about his vision of the future of computer science.

good-to-great 10. Good to Great by Jim Collins – Your product is good. What differentiates a “good” product from a “great” one? This book has the answer.

GMail Wishlist – Features I’d love to have in GMail

1. Tagging conversations

Search in GMail is useful but not perfect. A common problem I face is not being able to search for a particular email thread just because I don’t know what to search for.

Ex. I call up my friend Asok and ask him to email me his mobile number. He sends me a blank email with his phone number in the subject. No text, no words, just the number.

Say, I need to find his number a few months later. By then, a few thousand emails would have cluttered my inbox and the email I’m looking for is lost in the haystack. Of course I can short-list emails by using filters (“from:Asok”, in this case) but this may not always work.

A possible solution – The ability to tag a conversation and search by tags seamlessly. So I could tag the above conversation as “asok mobile number” and later search for “asok mobile” and fetch the email.

2. Sharable permalinks for email threads

GMail assigns a unique URL to each email message, which look something like https://mail.google.com/mail/#inbox/12345abcdec79ed9d . If you send an email to more than one of your contacts, it would be great if I can later send this URL to one of those people and it opens up that email thread in their inbox. This could be incredibly useful – you can refer to a previous conversation with a simple URL. You can share this URL, put it as a reference in your bug tracker etc.

What do you think about these ideas? Do you have any ideas you wish to share? Post a comment.

Do you believe Social Media is a fad?

Then you got to watch this…