Calling All Beta Testers

logoYou might know that I made a little Twitter application called FollowerHQ.  It was born out of frustration of being unable to keep up with the people following me.  I’d try to evaluate each person to see whether I wanted to follow them back, but I couldn’t keep up.  So I made an application to help me decide who I wanted to follow back.

Of course, like any developer, I wasn’t fully satisfied with my final product.  It was nice, but it had a big flaw.  If you loaded the site, you needed to wait for a long loading screen to complete.  Part of this was due to the Twitter API.  Thanks to how it was structured, I needed to break my requests up into multiple smaller requests.  (In their defense, Twitter has a good reason to do this.  It likely keeps their server load down.)

Depending on how many records I needed to pull, this back-and-forth would take awhile.  It might not be so bad for someone with a thousand followers, but ten thousand or more would get painful.  Furthermore, you needed to keep the browser open at all times or you would need to start again.  Finally, if you came back to the site the next day, you would need to pull down all of these records again.

My solution was to restructure FollowerHQ into a "request and report" system.  In FollowerHQ Version 2, You submit a request to see the followers you haven’t followed back (including your e-mail address as a contact method).  In the background, FollowerHQ will queue your request up, retrieve all of the information, and store it in its database.  When it is done, it will e-mail you notification.  Then, you simply come back to the site and view the results.

Have a hundred thousand followers?  No problem.  Your report might take some time to generate, but you don’t need to wait by the browser.  Go do something else and FollowerHQ will let you know when it’s done.  Too tired to get through the whole list or computer crashed? No problem. Coming back to the site gives you the ability to open the report again and pick up where you left off.

Of course, I’m sure there will be bugs that I haven’t picked up on, cool features that I didn’t think of implementing, or refinements that I didn’t think of making.  That’s why I need some beta testers.  So who’s in?  Who would like to try out FollowerHQ Version 2 and let me know what they think?

If you’re in, please comment below and then visit  Happy beta testing!

Would You Pay For Social Media?

Would You Pay For Social Media?Twitter just tossed a grenade into the room.  One that’s causing developers everywhere to scatter for cover.  This grenade took the form of a blog post detailing the upcoming changes to the Twitter API.  There are many controversial changes, but perhaps the most shocking is that all Twitter apps will now be capped at 100,000 users.  If a Twitter app currently has more than 100,000 users, they will be allowed to double their user base, but no more.  This (and the other changes) means that popular Twitter clients will likely get the axe.  Soon the only way to browse through Twitter may be on

There are many different rumors about why Twitter is doing this.  Many think that Twitter will soon be showing ads in an attempt to turn a profit.  If you are using a Twitter client, however, you wouldn’t see these ads and so Twitter needs to find a way to pull everyone back to

This possibility got me thinking.  What if Twitter charged for access?  What if you were able to read tweets for free, but actually tweeting out required a paid subscription?  Would people pay?  Or would they switch to another service?

Twitter will likely hit 250 million users by the end of the year.  If the subscription fee was $10 a year and only 10% of those people paid, Twitter would earn $250 million.

I’ve got to be honest.  I’m not sure whether I’d pay or not.  On one hand, I enjoy taking part in social media and I understand that Twitter needs to make money to pay for servers, employees, etc.  On the other hand, there are free alternatives (Facebook, Google+, etc).  I guess if the fee were small enough, I would pay, but if they set the price tag too high, I’d bid a tearful farewell to Twitter.

How about you?  Would you pay for the ability to Tweet?  If so, how much do you think you’d pay?

NOTE: The money image above is by Kamil Koszuta from

Slumbering Inspiration

nicubunu_Emoticons_Sleeping_face"It came to me in a dream, and I forgot it in another dream." – Professor Hubert Farnsworth (Futurama)

I’ve had a few times when ideas came to me when I couldn’t write them down.  At one point, this might have been when I was out and about.  Of course, since the advent of texting (and, later, Smartphones), this isn’t a problem.  A quick text or e-mail to myself and I’m good to go.

Recently, ideas seem to come to me on the Jewish holidays.  You see, during certain holidays, I refrain from "working at my occupation."  I take this to mean that anything that I could use to do work for my job is off-limits.  I’m a web developer, so computers are no-nos as are pen and paper (could write down code/designs to type up later) and phones (could call in to discuss work issues).  (NOTE: I’ll carry a phone with me in case of emergencies, but it is set to vibrate and everyone knows not to call unless it is a matter of life or death.)

So what happens when I get an idea in the middle of a Jewish holiday?  That is, during a time when I can’t write it down, type it up, or use my smartphone to send a reminder to myself?  That’s when I’ve got to exercise that brain of mine to remember it myself.  Kind of like how people used to remember things before computers were all-but-grafted onto us.

A couple of nights ago, I had a weird dream.  In it, I had built a very popular Twitter application.  I was showing it to someone to demonstrate how it worked.  I’m going to leave off the "how it works" details for obvious reasons, but suffice it to say that my dream was quite descriptive.  When I woke up, I remembered it perfectly and realized that this was an application that I could actually develop.  One that people might use.

Of course, the past three days have been Jewish holidays.  (Shabbat followed by two days of Shavuot.)  Since I couldn’t record it in any other manner, I kept it in my mind up until the Jewish holiday ended.  Luckily, by then, it hadn’t been forgotten.  If anything, it’s taken root and expanded.

Now if I only had more free time to work on Twitter applications.

Have you ever had an idea come to you in a dream?

Disclaimer: The "sleeping face" image above comes from

Introducing Rout… Again

Remember this blog post back in October?  That was a joke post of mine intended to parody a popular social media ranking website as well as to whet my readers’ appetites before I released my real Twitter application. Then, last week, I happened to see an interchange between CuteMonsterDad and Chris Brogan.  I was inspired.  A few quick codings later, I had a full Rout application.  Now, I could give everything from a +A in Awesome Alliteration to a +Z in Zombie Defense.

Yes, this new version of Rout will actually tweet these random pluses.  You don’t even need to give me access to your Twitter account.  The text is passed to Twitter, which puts it into a tweet ready for you to submit.  In addition, virtually no tracking of these tweets is done.  They don’t contribute to an overall score or anything.  The two “tracking” exceptions are Google Analytics and a recording of the categories “routed.”  The former is to give me an idea of how many people are using it.  The purpose of the latter is to find interesting new categories to highlight on Rout.  (NOTE: These categories have to be approved by me.  This keeps topics that are inappropriate or limited in usefulness from appearing.)

So, go have some fun and give out some Rout:

Aloha Friday: Follower Habits

On Tuesday, I launched FollowerHQ to help Twitter users manage their followers.  I’ve heard that many people follow back whenever anyone follows them (usually via automated tools), but I never saw the use in that.  If I auto-followed everyone, I’d probably wind up not caring about most of the updates in my stream.  I’d also likely wind up following a bunch of spammers.  Instead, I tend to review each person who follows me to see if I want to follow them back.  The tediousness of this procedure led me to create FollowerHQ.

I have two Aloha Friday questions for today: First of all, do you auto-follow-back? Secondly, have you tried FollowerHQ yet and, if so, what did you think of it?

Come to think of it, that’s kind of three questions.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #112

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