Twitter at BarCamp 2008

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A general update on the state of Twitter to BarCamp Austin during SXSW 2008.

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  • (introductions)

  • So, I’m going to talk a little about the things we consider when we talk about new features at Twitter. Now, I can’t talk about any specific new features, but what I’m going to do is try to highlight a few important themes. And after I’ve done that, Alex and Blaine will talk a bit more about the where Twitter has been recently and is headed in the future from an engineering perspective.








  • First of all, here’s some news. We recently had our biggest week ever in terms of activity - here, we’ve counted page views and number of updates. Again, I can’t talk about specific numbers, other than to say that they’re very good.

  • - importance of number of updates vs. page views (since people use twitter over channels other than the web, this is more important for us than page views in many respects - it’s a measure of how many people are actually using the service)

  • - this is backed up by what we here from our users.

  • - that twitter isn’t a website

  • - but rather a service, that they use from the web, API clients like Twitterific, and their mobile device, whether it’s SMS or the mobile web.

  • - so any feature we design must work across all of those touchpoints, even if the experience might differ.




  • - okay, so this is an easy one. but twitter is all about communication, and that is always our focus when thinking about improving the service.

  • - does this new feature make it easier for people to update?

  • - does it mean that people will be compelled to update more, or find more utility in updating?

  • - perhaps another obvious one

  • - but a huge part of the compelling experience of twitter is grounded in it’s simplicity

  • - we don’t want to dilute that core function of communication, which is what we’re all about




  • - as an example: people have done some fantastic things with our API

  • - we could roll lots of this functionality into the site

  • - but we don’t want to. we definitely can do a better job of promoting that this exists and point users in the direction of it, because some it is incredibly cool, but adding this stuff into the web experience could detract from what we really want people to do with twitter - communicate with each other.

  • - and it also helps us to focus more on the essential core of the service




  • - another important way we reinforce our simplicity is through constraints.

  • - 140 characters

  • - what are you doing? now some people ignore The Question, but having it present means you’ve never stuck looking at an input box thinking of something to type... it’s a pretty easy question. you can always say what you’re doing... even if sometimes you perhaps shouldn’t.




  • - another thing we have to bear in mind is that twitter is a global service - we have users in countries all around the world. here’s a recent graph from our blog which illustrates this:



  • Twitter at BarCamp 2008

    1. 1. Talking at Barcamp al3x / Alex Payne Blaine / Blaine Cook benfu / Ben Fullerton Thursday, February 5, 2009
    2. 2. ever Biggest week (page views at twitter.com and number of updates) Thursday, February 5, 2009
    3. 3. Website Thursday, February 5, 2009
    4. 4. Website Thursday, February 5, 2009
    5. 5. Service Thursday, February 5, 2009
    6. 6. What’s important? Thursday, February 5, 2009
    7. 7. Communication Thursday, February 5, 2009
    8. 8. Simplicity Thursday, February 5, 2009
    9. 9. Thursday, February 5, 2009
    10. 10. Constraints Thursday, February 5, 2009
    11. 11. Localization Thursday, February 5, 2009
    12. 12. Thursday, February 5, 2009
    13. 13. Relevance Thursday, February 5, 2009
    14. 14. Usage: Thursday, February 5, 2009
    15. 15. Shared experiences Thursday, February 5, 2009
    16. 16. Thursday, February 5, 2009
    17. 17. Thursday, February 5, 2009
    18. 18. Recording life experiences Thursday, February 5, 2009
    19. 19. EXAMPLE HERE Thursday, February 5, 2009
    20. 20. Promotions Thursday, February 5, 2009
    21. 21. Thursday, February 5, 2009
    22. 22. Tracking Thursday, February 5, 2009
    23. 23. Reporting Thursday, February 5, 2009
    24. 24. Thursday, February 5, 2009
    25. 25. Engineering Thursday, February 5, 2009
    26. 26. Stability Thursday, February 5, 2009
    27. 27. API += 1 Thursday, February 5, 2009
    28. 28. Hacks we’d like to do Thursday, February 5, 2009
    29. 29. Questions! Thursday, February 5, 2009

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