The Iranian government (or its supporters) are starting to use Twitter to spread disinformation. ABC News reports on a Twitter user who is retweeting items from their correspondent that he didn’t write. Marc Ambinder’s suggestion that people think like a CIA analyst is worth remembering.
As I’m sure you already know, I’ve created the rc3dotorg Twitter account so that I can let people on Twitter know when I’ve published something. One unfortunate side effect has been that it has complicated my workflow when I write new posts.
Normally I just compose the post in MarsEdit and hit the publish button. I’m sure the process could be greatly simplified, but for two things that complicate the process. The first is that I like to use short URLs that I furnish myself, and the second is that I like to compose the tweets by hand.
So here’s my workflow these days:
- Compose a post in MarsEdit and publish it.
- Go to the WordPress application on the server and navigate to the new post so I can copy the short link.
- Open my Twitter client and write a new tweet, then publish that.
The main inconvenience is opening WordPress in the browser once I’ve already gone to the trouble to write the post somewhere else. What I need is a tool that will allow me to access the internally generated short URL and compose a Tweet from MarsEdit that can be published whenever the blog post itself is published.
It’s looking like I’m going to need to write my own WordPress plugin to do exactly what I want. There are a ton of Twitter plugins, I think I’ll just have to find the right one and adapt it to my needs.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a stamped of big media figures making their way onto Twitter. During the campaign we had folks like Ana Marie Cox and Slate’s John Dickerson. These days, we have everybody.
I wanted to call out the reporter who I think does the best job of anyone using when it comes to using Twitter — Mark Knoller, the White House correspondent for CBS Radio. If you ever wanted to know what life is like for a White House correspondent, or you want to keep up with what the President is up to on a daily basis, Mark Knoller is your guy.
His Tweets are well written, often funny, and almost universally informative. If you’re interested in politics at all, you should start following him immediately. When people protest that they don’t see the value in Twitter, Knoller should be part of the explanation of why they’re wrong.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill on why she tweets:
Second, as his bar graph showed, I tweet an average of 4 to 5 times a day. This has become a welcome discipline for me in Washington. As I am walking to a hearing, or riding the tram over for a vote, I think of what I want to tell the folks at home about my work or life. This, I believe, is a fairly decent way to stay connected. After all, I’m in Washington to work for them and this process reminds me of it several times a day.
The anti-Twitter backlash is stupid, but at least it has given people who enjoy or find value in Twitter a good reason to write smart things about why it’s stupid.
Alex Payne on online technical debate:
In practice, the conversations that are most widely heard in the tech community are full of inaccuracies, manufactured drama, ignorance, and unbridled opinion. In discussing these Internet-spanning debates with non-technical friends, comparisons to Hollywood tabloids come first to mind. It’s a time sink for an industry that should be a shining example of how to use the newest of media for constructive debate.
Tim Bray weighs in citing Sturgeon’s Law — 90% of everything is crap, which works both ways. Yeah, most everything is crap, but a bigger pie leads to more crap, but more non-crap too. A rising tide lifts all boats.
The “Dalai Lama” (aka @ohhdl) on Twitter was a fake. The account has been suspended.
A few links from the past few days.
- Martin Fowler: Flaccid Scrum. An argument that the Scrum process, which is focused on project management, is doomed to failure without good technical process operating in the background.
- Fraser Speirs: On the Flickr support in iPhoto ’09. Musings from a third party developer whose product is being subsumed into the platform.
- Bruce Schneier: The Exclusionary Rule and Security. A perspective on the recent Supreme Court ruling that loosened the restraints on police handling of evidence. Schneier argues that loosening the rules creates poor incentives for the police.
- Last.fm: Closing in on clean metadata: artist and track spelling auto-correction is here. Very cool.
- Dom Sagolla: How Twitter Was Born.
- Dealbreaker: No More Than The President Of The United States. A look at the President’s real compensation.
- Food & Think: Wing Shortage Looms On Eve of Big Game. 5% of the chicken wings consumed each year are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday.
- Vitalsecurity.org: Direct Revenue: A Twisting History. An informative followup on this widely linked interview with a reformed adware author.
- Marginal Revolution: What is the best food produced en masse? An interesting answer to an interesting question about food.
- Felix Salmon: Where’s Markopolos’s Blog? An argument that had Harry Markopolos, the guy who tried repeatedly to inform the SEC of the Madoff ponzi scheme, just published his findings on a blog, he would have seen results. Wikileaks would have worked too.
- Sam Ruby: Rails 2.3.0 RC1. I don’t know how developers keep up with all the changes in Rails, I feel particularly bad for authors publishing Rails books.
- git ready: converting from svn
- Michael Widenius: Time to move on. MySQL creator leaves Sun.
- Paul Buchheit: Communicating with code. An argument for skipping design and requirements and just iterating in code.
I linked to Tim Bray’s argument that Twitter is not a safe place to keep your words. Here’s the other side: James Governor says Twitter is the new London. I find myself agreeing with both arguments.
Tim Bray asks whether publishing on Twitter is a good long term strategy. The network effect of writing on Twitter is incredibly powerful, you toss your words out there for a bunch of people to read, and the responses they provide are incredibly valuable. I love being involved in a running conversation with a bunch of interesting people all day every day. At the same time, my Twitter posts would in some way constitute a journal of what I’m up to on a day to day basis. I’d sure like to feel confident that they’re not going anywhere. I’m not terribly concerned about it right now, but it bears watching.
Now it can be told (apparently). The Twitter abuse that I posted about yesterday resulted from a Twitter employee giving their password to a third party service. Someone then used that password to access Twitter with administrative rights and amuse themselves.
Part of the problem here is that the credentials required to access your account through the API are the same as those required to access the site through the Web interface. But the other lesson here for developers is that you should really split up the administrative features of your application and the end user features into separate accounts. They probably shouldn’t even use the same interface. That may be more painful for users but it eliminates a lot of risks. And of course employees should know better than to hand out their passwords to random Web sites.
Update: Turns out the password in question was guessed, not phished. Either way, it’s an argument for separating the administrative functions from the standard user interface.