My No-Longer Super Secret Twitter Application: FollowerHQ

For quite awhile, I’ve teased on Twitter that I was working on a big Twitter application.  I didn’t reveal the name except to a select group of beta testers.  Well, today that “select group” is widening.  Today, FollowerHQ launches.

First, some history.  As I gained followers on Twitter, I would get e-mails that Twitter would send to me letting me know about my new follows.  Some people decide to automatically follow back, but I’m not of the opinion that this is useful.  I tend to be more selective in who’s tweets appear in my timeline.  So I would open up each e-mail, open up the link to the person’s profile page, examine the last few tweets as well as the person’s information, decide whether or not to follow the person, and then move on to the next person.  This was fine when I’d get 20 new followers in a week.

Unfortunately for this process, though, I began getting more and more people following me.  It became more and more of a pain to manage these new followers and I fell further and further behind.  Of course, the more people I needed to go through, the less I wanted to spend the time pouring through page after page.  I wondered if there was an easier way.  Being a programmer, I decided to build an easier way.

Thus, FollowerHQ was born.

NotFollowingScreenWhat FollowerHQ Does:

FollowerHQ will, after you authorize it, check who is following you.  It will compare this list to the people you are following.  You will then see 4 tabs: You Aren’t Following Back, Not Following You Back, Dropped Friends, and Ignored.  There is also a fifth tab called Export.

  • You Aren’t Following Back – These are people who follow you, but you aren’t following back.  You can choose to follow these users or ignore them on a case-by-case basis.
  • Not Following You Back – These are people you follow, but who don’t follow you back.  You can keep following them or stop following them.
  • Dropped Friends – I’ve seen this happen quite a few times.  Someone realizes that they aren’t following someone anymore.  They didn’t unfollow the person.  It just happened.  FollowerHQ will compare your following list against the list of people you were following the last time you logged in.  Any dropped follows will be listed here.  These might be people you decided to stop following or they might be mistaken drops.  You can re-follow these people or continue to not follow them.
  • Ignored – These are people from the first queue who you’ve chosen to ignore.  You can stop ignoring them or just leave them in the listing.
  • Export – I’m a big fan of keeping your data yours so this tab lets you export your user lists to import into your favorite spreadsheet program.

In each tab (except for Export), you can search and sort through the listings.  You can even take actions on multiple users at once.  For example, if you spot a bunch of spam bots following you, simply check them all and click the “Ignore Checked” button.  They will all be moved to the Ignore queue.

FollowerHQ Pricing

For now, FollowerHQ will be free.  I’m not going to rule out setting up some pricing scheme in the future.  Should FollowerHQ become popular and/or require more time and effort to maintain, I would need to offset the time/money spent on it, of course.  (Let’s face it, I’m *hoping* this becomes popular.)  However, even if there is some sort of payment plan in the future, I’ll always keep a free version around.

Enough talking, though.  It’s time for everyone to go play with FollowerHQ.  In case you haven’t already guessed, you can find it here:  I’ve also registered the @FollowerHQ Twitter account.

Enjoy and let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

NOTE: I also want to thank my beta testers for all of their work finding bugs, suggesting new features and putting the application through its paces: Alena29, blogdangerously, CutestKidEver, dadofdivas, DadStreet, geekbabe, Kissyfur19, LindaCarmical, SandraFoyt, simplycathi, slpowell, and TheAngelForever.

My Super Secret Twitter App Revealed: Rout

With all of the fuss over Klout dropping their score, I’ve decided to reveal my super secret Twitter application: Rout.  No longer do you need to fret over low social media ranking scores.  Don’t like your Rout score?  Generate another one.  My score is 65.  No, wait, it’s 87.  No, wait, it’s 15.  No, wait, it’s 3.  THREE?!!!  Whew, 96.  As you can see, I’m extremely influential.  Rout is powered by a highly scientific process called Picking Random Numbers From

Generate your Rout score here.

Ok, obviously, this is a joke.  What isn’t a joke, though, is that I have a super-secret Twitter application under development.  I’ve been delaying it due to bug fixes and paid freelance projects, but I think it’s finally ready for prime time.  Or, wide-spread beta testing, at least.  I’m setting November 1st as the release date, so stop back on Tuesday for the real announcement.  Until then, have fun generating Rout scores!

Yom Kippur and PR Apologies

On Thursday, I wanted to go to sleep early.  I was tired and NEEDED my sleep.  But I didn’t.  I was too enthralled with watching the reactions from the fallout between Brand Link Communications and TheBloggess.

In case you are the single person online who hasn’t heard about it yet, TheBloggess was pitched by PR firm Brand Link Communications to run a piece about one of the Kardashians in pantyhose.  Now, TheBloggess’ blog is many things, but it is not about celebrities and what they wear.  This wasn’t the first bad pitch she’s gotten.  In fact, she gets so many that she has a dedicated page to send them to.

Normally, PR firms will either not contact her back or will apologize and/or remove her from their lists.  This time, however, they replied in a bit of a snippy manner.  At this point, I’m sure TheBloggess would have just shrugged and gone on with her life.  She would have, that is, had Jose from Brand Link not hit reply all and used quite a colorful phrase to describe her.  From this point on, the situation spiraled out of control and not in a positive way for Brand Link Communications.

What does this have to do with Yom Kippur?  On this Jewish holiday, we realize that we’re going to be judged for the things we’ve done in the past year.  To make amends, we traditionally apologize to people we’ve wronged.  An apology doesn’t always make everything better, but it can go a long way towards repairing all sorts of relationships.  However, these apologies need to be sincere.  Just saying “I’m sorry, but I’ll do it again” or “I’m sorry if you were offended” isn’t enough.

When Jose realized his mistake, his response should have been an unequivocal apology.  Something along the lines of: “I’m sorry.  I messed up both in my language and in the match between the original pitch and your blog’s content.  I’ll look into ways to better target pitches so that you receive pitches that your readers will actually find useful.”  This would have helped smooth things over and we would likely have never heard about the interaction (a good thing in hindsight).

Instead, Jose sent an “I’m sorry but…” reply.  He even went so far as to blame TheBloggess for starting the mess and to tell her that she should be thankful that they send content her way.  As if, without PR firms, TheBloggess would be a nobody with nothing to write about.

TheBloggess replied with soon-to-be-immortal (and hopefully emblazoned on a shirt) words: “Please stand by for a demonstration of relevancy.”

What happened next was quite a demonstration.  TheBloggess blogged about the situation and many of her 160,000 followers on Twitter started tweeting about it.   The story was picked up on by none other than Wil Wheaton (1.8 million followers) and Neil Gaiman (1.6 million followers), and Perez Hilton (3.9 million followers).  Obviously, there’s likely some overlap in followers, but needless to say that this story had millions of people worldwide viewing it.  It was a very public affair and very bad for Brand Link.

At one point, Jose (who has since deleted his Twitter account), tried defending his actions as trying to defend Wil Wheaton.  Then he claimed his account was hacked and finally, he mentioned that he had apologized to TheBloggess.

Could this have been avoided?  I was thinking about this during Yom Kippur and realized there were many times that Brand Link could have apologized and made it all go away.  After the original pitch and TheBloggess’ response, they could have apologized.  (And not had someone commit Reply-All-icide.)  After the Reply All, Jose could have been proactive, realized what he did and quickly followed it up with an apology (and not just a “I’m sorry if you were offended, but…”).

Once TheBloggess posted her blog post, however, the quiet person-to-person apologies needed to be big public apologies.  At that point, they didn’t need to satiate one angry Bloggess, but a few thousand (if not hundred thousand or million) folks.  There are many lessons to be learned from what happened between TheBloggess and Brand Link Communications, one of the big ones is how *not* to apologize.

Distracted TechyDad

Lately, I feel like I’m being pulled in a dozen different directions at once.  In addition to the usual stuff (work, family, blog, etc), I’m also working on My Upcoming Twitter Application (getting closer to launch), a freelance project or two, and helping B plan our 10th anniversary trip.  Yes, we’re actually taking a trip together without the kids.  I feel such a weird mixture of happiness and guilt.

Anyway, with all of this happening, I’ve been staying up late trying to do it all.  This means I don’t sleep well which means I’m not feeling 100% the next day.  Right now I’m hungry (why is it I get hungry when I’m tired) and headachy.  I just want to take a nap, but I’ve got so much to do.

Luckily, the weekend is almost here.  I’m going to try to get at least one night of decent sleep.  Then, perhaps, I’ll be better able to focus and get stuff done and be less distracted.  Until then, please bear with me if I seem a bit… oh, I really should work on this project now.  *shuffles off*

Lack of Sleep

If I ramble a bit today, it’s because I’ve been burning the midnight oil lately.  I came up with an idea for a Twitter application (more on that later) and, after a few false programming starts, suddenly found myself in a coding zone.  I would come up with new ideas and then implement them quickly.  As midnight approached each night, I would suddenly get a burst of energy.  My mind would race with ideas and bug-solving solutions.  I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep because I needed to “just code this one last thing… or maybe this one then I’ll go to sleep…”

Of course, I’m not 22 anymore.  I can’t code all night, sleep for four hours and then take on the new day full of energy.  Well, I can to a small degree.  Being a parent has shown me just how little sleep I can survive on.  When your baby wakes up every hour or two and stays awake for hours on end completely oblivious to the fact that it is 2:30 am, you find out just what sleep deprivation is like.  Luckily, our boys aren’t like that anymore (usually).  They go to sleep (albeit with various degrees of cooperation) by 8:30pm and sleep until 6am (when NHL, weekday or weekend, wakes me up to ask if it’s ok for him to go to the couch).

Still, I’m turning 36 in a couple of months.  Thirty-Six.  I’ve got to start realizing that I’m not a young man anymore.  After three late nights, I was really tired.  I probably should have gone to sleep early last night.  Still, I stayed up until midnight.  I might have even been fine with that, but other events conspired against me.

First, it was a call from work with an issue.  I helped as much as I could and then went to bed.  At 3 am, I got a second call from work.  At the same time, NHL woke up and asked to come into our bed.  After a half an hour, my call was done and I tried to get back into bed.

I got less than a half hour’s worth of sleep before JSL woke up crying.  He asked to come into our bed, but that just couldn’t happen.  One kid in our bed is a tight fit.  Two kids and there would be no room for us grown-ups.  So I asked him if he’d want to sleep with me in NHL’s bed.

I grabbed my pillow and cuddled with JSL in NHL’s bed but couldn’t fall asleep.  Right outside our window, some birds apparently decided that 4am was the perfect time to tweet and squawk incessantly.  This went on for about another half hour.  I finally fell asleep and slept fitfully for an hour and a half when B woke me up so I could go to work.

I think I’ll go to sleep at 9pm tonight… Unless I get some coding ideas for my new Twitter application.  Then maybe I’ll go to sleep an hour later. Or two hours.  Or… wait, how’d it get to be 1am so quickly?!!!

Ok, I know I said “more on that later” about my Twitter application, so here’s a teaser.  It’s an application designed to make it easier to manage your friends and followers.  I’m quite proud of the work I’ve done and can’t wait to release it.  My biggest obstacle right now is that I need to figure out a good name for it.  I’m hoping to find something catchy with an available dot com and Twitter handle.  I’m open to ideas if anyone thinks of anything catchy.  I’ll even credit you in the application when it launches.

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