The first live tweet from space…

In the past, tweets have been produced on behalf of astronauts, but they were actually posted by someone on the ground…

Now though, that’s changed…

first twitter update from space

The first tweet to have been constructed and posted from space

So 8.13am on January 22nd, 2010 marked one small tweet for man, and one giant leap for microblogging kind…

Barack Obama pushes the button on his first tweet

If you were one of the people shocked and appalled when it was revealed that President Barack Obama never actually used his Twitter account to chat to his 2 million + followers, then you’ll be happy to know he’s now a published Twitter user.

President Obama ‘pushed the button’ on a message on the @redcross account “President Obama and the First Lady are here visiting our disaster operation center right now.” I’d guess the reason it’s in the third person is that it was probably written by someone else, rather than any bizarre third-person view the President has of himself. The next tweet confirmed the historic event: “President Obama pushed the button on the last tweet. It was his first ever tweet!

It’s interesting that someone persuaded him to tweet on behalf of the Red Cross and perhaps raise a little more awareness and support for their work dealing with the Haiti disaster – it’s got 50,000 followers as opposed to ‘his’ own account @barackobama with over two million, which surely would have raised more funds?

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And before anyone starts getting their hopes up that they’ll be exchanging @ replies and DMs with the President himself from now on – I suspect there are still a number of reasons why we won’t see him regularly tweeting – not least the potential security risk of disclosing his location. Which I guess also rules out Foursquare

Share videos on Twitter with twitvid

If you want to go beyond sharing text, pictures or audio on Twitter, you can not only share videos with Twitvid, but even upload from your iPhone 3GS with their new mobile application.

That’s in addition to their earlier integration into popular iPhone Twitter app Twitterfon.

Alternatively the site itself allow you to upload a video file or capture your webcam, tag people, tweet it, and also send to Youtube at the same time.

There’s also an API available.

Be careful when naming your Twitter application…

If you’ve built a third-party application for Twitter, you’ll want to think carefully about what you call it, following the company trademarking the term ‘Tweet’.

The official response has been posted on the Twitter blog by Biz Stone, after Robin Wauters highlighted the issue over at Techcrunch. The official announcement is:

‘We have applied to trademark Tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of “going after” the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter. In fact, we encourage the use of the word Tweet. However, if we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important.

Regarding the use of the word Twitter in projects, we are a bit more wary although there are some exceptions here as well. After all, Twitter is the name of our service and our company so the potential for confusion is much higher. When folks ask us about naming their application with “Twitter” we generally respond by suggesting more original branding for their project. This avoids potential confusion down the line.’

Which is interesting from a marketing point of view – Twitter has namechecked and praised some of the great apps currently using the word ‘Tweet’, including Tweetdeck for example, and suggests it may only use the trademark to go other apps which try to pass themselves of as official, for example.

Then again, ‘to tweet’ or ‘I’ve just tweeted’ suggests common usage of the word as a verb anyway. I’d be interested in hearing from any legal experts about what that would mean for any trademark cases.

And Mark Evans points out that Tweet.com is currently a site claiming to be about birds.

So if you can’t use ‘Twitter’, and might want to stay away from ‘Tweet’, what about Twit?

Well, that could cause problems as well – Robert Scoble reports that Leo LaPorte has trademarked ‘Twit’ for his longrunning TWiT TV netcast network (It stands for This Week in Tech if you didn’t know, rather than being Twitter related, and is something I recommend having a listen to…). There’s a related Friendfeed discussion going on…

So you might want to steer clear of Twitter, Tweet and Twit.

There are obviously reasons why Twitter wants to maintain some clarity between company products and 3rd party applications – particularly when they might be launching more of their own for premium users. At the same time, the constant referrals to ‘Tweet’ and ‘Twit’ have definitely helped publicity and common usage of the parent service, as has the availability of such services.

At the same time, the generic terms aren’t as well used – for instance, microblogging. Which is a bit of a shame, given 140char’s ranking for the term ‘microblogging blog‘!

Personally, I’d recommend building your own brand name – it’s a long term win but means you aren’t tied to one service or risking trademark problems. The short term benefit of going for the most common Twitter terms is likely to be waning as so many exist, and you’ll be able to carve out your own niche.

More micro-recommendations from Goodrec

I’ve just signed up for a new site offering micro-recommendations via web and mobile, Goodrec, after picking up on it via Scobleizer (Who has a great video interview with the CEO, Mihar Shah)

It looks like a good service, although as you can see I’ve just started playing with it.

But what’s interesting to me is that 50% of their traffic comes from mobile, and mobile is a big part of their offering, with recommendations around your location, for example.

The reason I’m so interested in the mobile aspect is that it’s the main difference (along with restaurant and nightlife reviews) from Blippr, a micro-recommendation service whose creators I interviewed back in September.

  • Both focus on allowing short form reviews.
  • Both include categories for Entertainment.
  • Both have a pretty simple rating option, with up to 160 characters for the actual review.

But the big difference is that Goodrec appears to have had mobile in mind from the start, especially with location-based services. Blippr, meanwhile, had a user suggest an iPhone app seven months ago on it’s Get Satisfaction page, and a lot of postive feedback from other users, but the staff replies explain that with one developer, the decision was to focus more on the site. Blippr has exposed it’s API in case a third-party wished to create something, but the most recent work has been a host of improvements to the site itself (details are on the Blippr blog)

Choosing between the two is a tough call – from emailing and Tweeting with the guys behind Blippr, I can appreciate what they’re doing immensely – but without having the resources to develop mobile-based recommendations they’ve left themselves widely open. After all, mobile integration is a major adoption attraction of Twitter.

So combine Mobile with location-based recommendations, and I think Goodrec has launched with a sizeable advantage.

It will be interesting to see if Blippr respond, if anyone else joins the space, and in particular, whether Twitter itself has any plans in the area linked to monetising.

(I’m also on Blippr, although not particularly active).

Brevity – Hamlet in 140 characters…

Just spotted an amusing exercise to try and condense the plot of Hamlet into 140 characters on Twitter .

It was kicked off by JP Rangaswami, and it’s just a bit of fun – just tag your effort with #TwitBard.

Already one of the contributors has added Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

It’s quite a challenge in some cases, equal to the venerable site ‘The Four Word Film Review’, which unfortunately seems to be offline at the moment.

And of course, 160 character review site Blippr, (I interviewed the founders on 140char a while ago).

It’s started me thinking about the many criticisms claiming that microblogging and Twitter are reducing us all to quick and superficial short updates with no meaning – isn’t that overlooking the fact that often a short message can encourage us to look deeper – such as a 140 character summary of Hamlet reminding me of family trips to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company, and wondering if I can find time later to reread Henry V?

Tweet of the week

A belated one this week:
140char Tweet of the Week: Zero Influencer

They really must dislike social media and digital types in Holland. Hope it wasn’t enforced with pointy sticks!