Tag Archives: twitter

Art in 140 Characters

Is it pos­sible to encode and com­press an image to such a degree that the raw data can fit in a single Twit­ter mes­sage (140 char­ac­ters) that, when decoded again, is still recog­nis­able? The answer to the ques­tions is a resound­ing Yes, as con­firmed by a cod­ing chal­lenge inspired by Mario Klinge­man­n’s attempt to com­press and encode the Mona Lisa down to 140 char­ac­ters.

Klinge­man­n’s attempt, dubbed the Mon­aT­weeta II, is def­in­itely an image recog­nis­able as the Mona Lisa, but it must be said that some of the entries to the main cod­ing chal­lenge are truly breath­tak­ing.

The win­ning tweet (with a char­ac­ter to spare):


via @spolsky

Identification through Anonymous Social Networking Data

Anonym­ity is “not suf­fi­cient for pri­vacy when deal­ing with social net­works” is the con­clu­sion from a study that has suc­cess­fully man­aged to de-anonymise large amounts of san­it­ised data from Twit­ter and Flickr.

The main les­son of this paper is that anonym­ity is not suf­fi­cient for pri­vacy when deal­ing with social net­works. […] Our exper­i­ments under­es­tim­ate the extent of the pri­vacy risks of anonym­ized social net­works. The over­lap between Twit­ter and Flickr mem­ber­ship at the time of our data col­lec­tion was rel­at­ively small. […] As social net­works grow lar­ger and include a great­er frac­tion of the pop­u­la­tion along with their rela­tion­ships, the over­lap increases. There­fore, we expect that our algorithm can achieve an even great­er re-iden­ti­fic­a­tion rate on lar­ger net­works.

There’s been some mer­it­ori­ous cov­er­age of this study. This from BBC News:

The pair found that one third of those who are on both Flickr and Twit­ter can be iden­ti­fied from the com­pletely anonym­ous Twit­ter graph. This is des­pite the fact that the over­lap of mem­bers between the two ser­vices is thought to be about 15%.

This from Ars Tech­nica:

It’s not just about Twit­ter, either. Twit­ter was a proof of concept, but the idea extends to any sort of social net­work: phone call records, health­care records, aca­dem­ic soci­olo­gic­al data­sets, etc.

via Schnei­er

Text as UI (On Twitter)

Put­ting me in mind of Dustin Curtis’ mul­tivari­ate ‘split’ test­ing to increase click-through rates to his Twit­ter pro­file (pre­vi­ously), Jakob Nielsen dis­cusses his iter­at­ive design pro­cess for a Twit­ter mes­sage advert­ising his latest usab­il­ity con­fer­ence.

The mes­sage went from,

Announ­cing LAS VEGAS and BERLIN as the ven­ues for our biggest usab­il­ity con­fer­ence of the year http://bit.ly/UsabilityWeek


LAS VEGAS (Octo­ber) and BERLIN (Novem­ber): ven­ues for our biggest usab­il­ity con­fer­ence ever http://bit.ly/UsabilityWeek

I am by no means a high-out­put Twit­ter user and I dis­like ‘How to Twit­ter’ art­icles with a pas­sion. Nielsen’s latest I quite like because he notes that, in the case of Twit­ter and oth­er micro-blog­ging ser­vices, text is a form of UI in itself.

It’s a com­mon mis­take to think that only full-fledged graph­ic­al user inter­faces count as inter­ac­tion design and deserve usab­il­ity atten­tion. As our earli­er research has shown, URLs and email both con­trib­ute strongly to the Inter­net user exper­i­ence and thus require close atten­tion to usab­il­ity to enhance the prof­it­ab­il­ity of a com­pany’s Inter­net efforts.

The short­er it is, the more import­ant it is to design text for usab­il­ity.

Tests On Language and Click-Through Rates

By vary­ing the lan­guage used in a sen­tence at the end of his art­icles, Dustin Curtis increased click-through rates to his Twit­ter pro­file by 173%.

Dustin describes his mul­tivari­ate (‘split’) test­ing of dif­fer­ent call to action sen­tences, reveal­ing the most per­suas­ive, in a visu­ally excel­lent art­icle.

This puts me in mind of how both Tim Fer­riss and Ram­it Sethi tested vari­ous titles for their products; The 4‑Hour Work­week and I Will Teach You To Be Rich respect­ively.

While we’re on the sub­ject;

  • You should sub­scribe to my RSS feed here.
  • You should fol­low me on twit­ter here.

via @zambonini