All posts tagged ‘Twitter’

File Under: Social, Web Services

Twitter Adds More Media-Sharing Services to Inline Previews

Twitter now offers inline previews for more services, like the popular Instagram.

Twitter has expanded the integration of third-party services on its website, adding five new photo and video sharing services to the growing list of what shows up as an inline preview.

Among the new services to secure a spot in the ever-expanding Twitterverse is Instagram, the current darling of the Twitter hipsters. The photo-sharing service has managed to build an impressive following even though it’s currently only available as an iOS app. The majority of Instagram fans use Twitter to post links to their artsy photos.

The other new services available as inline previews include videos from Blip.tv, music players from Rdio, slideshows and presentations from SlideShare and photos and videos from Dipdive.

The new inline preview feature, introduced in September’s make-over, shows a preview of an image or a video in the right-hand pane whenever somebody tweets a link to a supported video or photo site. At launch, that was Flickr, Vimeo, TwitPic and YouTube. Along with the inline previews, you also see associated conversations, recent tweets and mini bios of the people mentioned in the tweet. It’s a feature we really like — it takes Twitter beyond the 140 character limit to include photos, videos, maps and all sorts of other rich media.

While we’re happy to see Twitter integrating with more web services, the new web-based preview features highlight just how far behind the website the company’s official mobile apps have fallen. Neither the official Android client nor the iOS Twitter clients support any of the inline previews you’ll find on the web. Twitter’s mobile site doesn’t show them, either. For a richer mobile Twitter, you’ll need to turn to third-party mobile apps.

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File Under: Social

Bundle a Bunch of Sites Behind One Bit.ly Link

Link shortening service Bit.ly has unveiled a new link bundling feature that allows you to group multiple links — up to 100 — on a single page and share that page with your friends with a single short URL.

If you’ve been looking for a way to share more than one link at a time with your Twitter followers — perhaps links to both sides of an argument, a collection of your favorite restaurants in New York, or collected coverage of some major, earth-shattering news event — a Bit.ly bundle fits the bill.

Link-shortening services such as Bit.ly have seen an explosion in popularity in the past few years thanks to the steady growth of Twitter, Facebook and other services which limit posts to bite-sized bursts of 140 to 420 characters. Bit.ly remains a powerful link-shortening service with over four billion unique URLs shortened. The company also offers some stand-out features like stat-tracking for each link, automatic QR Code generation, some open APIs and support for popular social web technologies like OAuth.

Now that you can wrap multiple links inside a single Bit.ly URL, it becomes even easier to squeeze more info into a single tweet.

If you’re thinking that a page of links would be pretty boring, well, Bit.ly seems to have had the same thought. The company has integrated media previews of images and videos, as well as any titles, descriptions and notes you want to add to your links.

Bit.ly bundles can also function as a group collaborating tool, your friends can comment on your bundles and even build their own based on your starting points. It also makes Bit.ly a more valuable service, rather than just a middleman of necessity standing between a URL and Twitter.

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File Under: APIs, Identity, Web Services

Connect to Twitter Without OAuth

OAuth is a great way to sidestep the dilemma of having to hand over passwords to third-party sites and apps to access user data. This is the primary reason the authentication method is fast becoming a de riguer part of today’s social APIs.

But while OAuth solves one problem, it creates another — it greatly raises the complexity of simple apps.

We’ve looked at the issue in the past, particularly with regard to Twitter’s transition to OAuth, which broke countless small scripts. The good news is that OAuth 2.0 is less complex than its predecessor and removes much of the headache for small developers. Unfortunately, OAuth 2.0 isn’t widely adopted yet, and it’s not quite ready for prime time.

But there is a solution for Twitter. SuperTweet was created by developer David Beckemeyer. The service sits between your script and Twitter, where it does the heavy lifting of OAuth for you. Even better, you don’t have to hand over your Twitter password to SuperTweet — instead, you create a password on the site, approve SuperTweet to access your Twitter account and then connect your script to SuperTweet.

The service isn’t meant for full-blown apps, nor does it support commercial uses. But for individuals and non-profits without the development resources to make the switch to OAuth 2.0, it can bring those simple Twitter scripts back to life.

Of course using SuperTweet means adding another potential failure point between your script and Twitter, but if you can live with that, using SuperTweet is easier than wading into OAuth’s waters.

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File Under: Social, Web Apps

ThinkUp Adds Color, Depth to Your Social Network Stats

If you’ve ever wanted to archive your social network activity, store in your own database and pull all sorts of interesting visualizations out of it, then the new ThinkUp app is what you’ve been waiting for.

ThinkUp is one part metrics app — tracking which of your posts are most popular, for example — and one part cross-network aggregator. It offers features you won’t find on Twitter or Facebook, like a detailed “conversation view” of exchanges with other users. ThinkUp also acts as a backup for your social network data, pulling it into your own database. It even offers CSV files for creating your own spreadsheets.

Since it archives all of your activity, ThinkUp is an especially useful tool for those of us who like to maintain control over our own data. It takes stuff that would otherwise only live in the various networks’ silos and copies it to a database where we’re the administrator. So if we want to ditch Twitter or Facebook in some distant future where those companies start acting against our best interests, we don’t lose the massive stores of updates, links, photos and, most importantly, friend relationships we’ve already set up. And in the meantime, it lets us have fun with all the data it’s archiving.

Although ThinkUp is still a beta release, we took the code for a spin and found it to be stable enough to be useful. At the moment, it only supports Twitter and Facebook data, but ThinkUp plans to add additional social networks in the future, including LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube and Google Buzz. If you’d like to try out the limited beta, head over to Github and grab the code. You may notice it’s a project published by Gina Trapani, the former Lifehacker editor who is now an independent author, blogger and programmer.

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File Under: Social, UI/UX, Web Apps

Take a Tour of the New Twitter

Twitter launched a full redesign to its website Tuesday, showing off changes that lead Twitter.com away from its humble stream-of-updates past and towards a more interactive, app-like future.

The new Twitter went live to a select few users Tuesday afternoon and began rolling out to everyone else Wednesday. If you don’t see it yet, you will soon.

The website now has a new two-panel view. Your familiar stream of tweets runs down the left side. On the right side is a dashboard of sorts, where you can see recent activity from your followers and the people you follow, trending topics, and the list of people you might want to follow.

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