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Analyst: Twitter Passed 500M Users In June 2012, 140M Of Them In US; Jakarta ‘Biggest Tweeting’ City

twitter-bird-calloutA milestone for Twitter today, according to the Paris-based analyst group Semiocast. The social network has now passed the half-billion account mark — specifically 517 million accounts as of July 1, 2012, with 141.8 million of those users in the U.S., still about half as many users as Facebook has but positioning it as the second-biggest social networking site.

And just as most of Twitter’s users are coming from outside the U.S., so are the tweets: the top three cities in terms of tweets, it says, are Jakarta, Tokyo and London.

Twitter’s Laying Eggs: Many Avatars Missing

default_profile_0_normalTwitter’s having a rough day. It was down for nearly an hour earlier today, and now, many users are complaining that their Avatars have been replaced by an egg, the Avatar given to newcomers who have not yet uploaded their own picture.

Naturally, users are tweeting in droves complaining, trying to find out if they are showing up as an egg to their friends and making terrible egg-puns.

Coming Soon (Well, Maybe): All Those Tweets You Wrote

twitter-bird-calloutTwitter CEO Dick Costolo told The New York Times that users will soon be able to access and download all of their old tweets. Twitter currently only lets users browse back through a few thousand of their old tweets.

How soon? Costolo declined to give a timeline.

The Power Users Are Revolting

pitchforks-torchesDigg, which in its heyday was effectively run by its power users, is dying. Wikitravel is probably joining it: two-thirds of its admins want to jump ship to the greener grass of the Wikimedia Foundation. Who in turn have their own people problems–a stubborn gender gap and a diminishing number of active admins. Meanwhile, across the Web, people are asking “Is StackOverflow being ruined by its moderators?”

There’s a common thread here. Site starts up; site scales; a power-law minority of its users become its key community, and if/when that community withers, the entire site is endangered. The examples above are edge cases who explicitly assign admin rights to unpaid users, or take the power law to its extreme. But they indicate a larger point.

Like it or not, we live in the Age of Social Media, and the wars for dominance have just begun. Facebook bought Instagram as a defensive move. They’re clearly in Google’s sights–and before you laugh, bear in mind that Google+ traffic is apparently up 43% since December and now surpasses LinkedIn’s. Path is gunning for Facebook too, whether they admit it or not. App.net just set its sights on Twitter. Meanwhile, Reddit is rampant, Pinterest just erupted out of nowhere, and Quora continues to underachieve.

But how do you conquer an enemy social network?

Twitter Loses Another Comms Director, As Former iMeem Exec Matt Graves Steps Down

h8zi79wfvlih4tcuh41yThey don’t always get a lot of credit for their work, but it’s not easy to be the one in charge of communications for a large organization (or really any size for that matter). Depending on the complexity, age and structure within a company, developing communications strategies and maintaining consistency of brand and message across a variety of products and departments — while reporting directly to the Big Kahuna — can be anything but an enviable job. And it seems this may be especially true at Twitter.

Twitter’s Director of Communications, Matt Graves, announced via tweet this afternoon that he will be stepping down from his post and taking some time off. Graves has been the company’s comms director for over two years, joining the company from iMeem, where he was formerly VP of Marketing Communications. Prior to iMeem, he spent 6.5 years as PR Director of RealNetworks.

Facebook ads in desktop and mobile News Feed outperform Twitter promoted accounts

[Update 7/20/12 1:31 p.m. PT - An earlier version of this story said that Sponsored Stories in the Facebook feed outperformed Twitter's in-stream Promoted Tweets, however, TBG has issued a correction to its report. TBG's data comes from Promoted Accounts, which … Continue reading

Twitter’s Open Source Big Data Tool Comes to the Cloud Courtesy of Nodeable

nodeable_logoUsually when we think of a pivot, we think of a company that has decided to drop its core offering and market a different product or service. Obvious Corporation put ODEO up for sale and focused on Twitter. BRBN shuttered its location check-in service and became Instagram. But Nodeable’s pivot isn’t that sort of pivot.

OldTweets Reveals Twitter Founders’ First Tweets, And Yours Too. (Wow, They Were Boring!)

twttr_logoThis week, Kellan Elliott-McCrea launched a new Twitter search engine called “oldtweets” to a bit of buzz. As the name implies, this tool finally lets you pull up tweets from Twitter’s early days, specifically its first year up-and-running. That means tweet IDs 1 to 20,000,000, to be exact, which occurred during parts of 2006 and 2007. And you guys, this is the most fun I’ve had on the Internet all week.

Now, we all know the infamous first tweet from co-founder now CEO Jack Dorsey: “just setting up my twttr,” but with oldtweets, you can actually pull up a history of Twitter’s early adopters’ first communications. And so, for the heck of it, that’s just what we did, starting with the Twitter co-founders themselves.

Twitter Launches “Age Screening” With Buddy Media, Preventing Underagers From Following Registered Adult Brands

Twitter Age Screening ImageThe next time you try to follow an alcohol company or other brand with age-restricted products who has opted in to Twitter’s new “Age Screening” system, you’ll be required to submit your age, and won’t be allowed to follow if you’re too young. Nothing will change about who you already follow, but you’ll be sent a DM with a link to submit your age upon your first new follow of an adult brand, and your age will then gate your future follows of brands who’ve signed up for age screening.

You can try it yourself by going to follow Coors Light, Jack Daniels Honey, or Jim Beam’s Skinny Girl magarita.

Buddy Media built the product in a partnership with Twitter after alcohol brands requested the microblogging service add the feature to protect them from legal scrutiny. Oddly though, adult brands can still advertise sweet, sweet booze, gambling, and pharmaceuticals to minors on Twitter.

Twitter Turns Toward The Masses, Gets Serious About Reach Beyond iOS & Android With Latest Mobile Update

new_old_merged2Twitter finalized a major overhaul of its mobile site today aimed at users on feature phones and older browsers. In a blog post, the Twitter design team wrote that they built a “lighter-weight, faster client that looks and feels like twitter.com and our mobile apps.”

The new site is much cleaner and is very similar to the browser and app interfaces, allowing the company to deliver the best version of its product across more platforms. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s release of new Twitter mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The results of Twitter’s nine week project brings mobile support to thirteen different browsers for thousands of different devices. On the blog, the team writes about working to provide users with a “consistent experience on any device.” The new site can scale from screens as small as 240 x 240 pixels up to desktops. In an effort to accomodate slower networks and different browsers, the site is optimized for browsers with javascript turned off and offers page sizes that are up to 63% smaller than the old version.