Last night, tennis took over Twitter, as lifetime and one-time tennis fans came together to produce an onslaught of tennis tweets that in previous years would have stretched Twitter's service to its limits.
At its peak, Twitter users were sending over 120,000 Wimbledon-related tweets per minute. To put that in perspective, Centre Court holds 15,000 people, and they were loud enough by themselves; the racket created by 120,000 shouts and whoops per minute would have been a little much. The below graph shows the huge flurry of mentions right after Murray won the tournament.
In terms of what was actually being said in those tweets, the ball was in IBM's court to work out who was the favoured player. A foregone conclusion you might say. And you'd be right: Andy Murray dominated the Twitter rankings, receiving 1.1 million tweets throughout the Wimbledon competition. Second in the men's ranking was Serbian Novak Djokovic, with a respectable 868,000 mentions.
However, Murray will be appalled to discover that his approval rating wasn't the highest of all players. Indeed, most of the love went to fellow Brit Laura Robson whose twitter mentions were 94.7 percent positive. Murray could only manage a paltry 93.3 percent.
Elsewhere, the women's singles champion France's Marion Bartoli didn't top the Twitter rankings, despite the controversy caused by John Inverdale's infamous comments proclaiming her not to be ‘a looker'. She racked up 208,000 mentions and while she beat German Sabine Lisicki in the final, Lisicki can go home with the knowledge that she received 301,000 mentions throughout the tournament (and the £800,000 prize pot just for showing up to the final).
Murray, ever the outgoing attention seeker, took to Twitter after the match to express his happiness, and received a cool 90,000 retweets as a result.
Can't believe what's just happened!!!!!!!— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 7, 2013
Eight of the ten trending topics on Twitter last night were Wimbledon related, although how many of those were "I wish everybody would stop posting about tennis" wasn't clear at the time of publishing.
By V3's Michael Passingham, who isn't a tennis fan
17 Jun 2013
When Twitter first exploded into the public consciousness a few years ago there was a rush to add the letters ‘Tw’ to everything related to the site, resulting in some awful words such as Twestival and Twitterati.
While this craze seems to have, thankfully, disappeared, some other key words that Twiter spawned remain part of our daily lexicon. Hashtag is now completely understood with reference to a topic that’s trending, while ‘following’ someone is no longer a creepy term that could land you in hot water with the fuzz.
Now another common word, 'tweet', has received the seal of approval as a new noun and verb with relation to Twitter, after the chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, John Simpson, confirmed it will appear in the next edition of the esteemed work.
“The noun and verb tweet (in the social-networking sense) has just been added to the OED. This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for ten years before consideration for inclusion. But it seems to be catching on,” he said.
The influence of Twitter is clear, as the venerable institution OED is willing to bend its own rules and allow a term be added to its tome because of its huge prominence in the wider world.
One other notable new edition set to enter is the wonderful, “to have a cow” because, as the aptly named Simpson explained: “This American slang term meaning, essentially ‘to have a fit’, is often associated with the character Bart from the animated series The Simpsons, but it is much older than the television show. The new OED entry traces the phrase back to 1959.”
That's definitely something worth tweeting about.
Twitter has teamed up with Vizify to launch #Followme, a video tool that lets users create a short clip of their highlights on the social site.
The video shows which topics you tweet about the most, a selection of your pictures, the people you interact with the most, when you're most active on Twitter and even your most popular Vine post. And best of all, you can edit all of these to portray yourself in the best possible light, including the choice of musical soundtrack from rock to jazz.
Here at V3, we've had a busy and productive morning trying out the Vizify service and while it's not the most ground-breaking tool, it's a handy way of getting a quick view of your top followers and topics.
You can see our #FollowMe video clips below, which include kittens and onesies to Windows and security gurus.
06 May 2013
The Syrian Electronic Army has hacked the Twitter account of satirical news website the Onion.
Early reports had the hack pegged as a bit of satirical comedy from the site. However, a picture from the Syrian Electronic Army seems to validate reports that the Onion was indeed hacked.
Among the villainy performed by the hackers was a picture of the group's logo posted on the Onions Twitter page. The Syrian Electronic Army also tweeted out a slew of tweets displaying Onion articles before their actual posting.
The Onion being the comedy site that it is took the hack in good fun. Following the hack, the site posted stories recommending the best practices to avoid getting hacked and a reminder that the firm had changed its password.
"Reduce interest in your website by cutting down on stories about very popular subjects, such as Syria," read one of the websites anti-hacking tips.
Hacks on Twitter have led to calls for two-factor authentication on the social networking site. Following the requests, Twitter has been said to be working towards bringing the feature into the fold later this year.
While two-factor authentication is a good option, we don't think the Onion will mind going without for a few months. The satirical news site seems like a terrible company to go after with a hack. The Onion, more than any other site, seems capable of turning a cyber attack to its advantage.
Following the high-profile compromise of the Associated Press Twitter account, the microblogging service is said to be mulling some major security changes.
According to a Wired report citing company sources, Twitter is now working to introduce a two-factor authentication option which can help to prevent account theft from phishing attacks. After hearing how the AP incident occurred, such protections are more than welcome.
In the aftermath of the breach, which resulted in fraudulent claims that the White House had been bombed and president Obama had been injured, staffers reported receiving some suspicious emails which were later found to be connected to a phishing attack.
It seems that the Syrian Electronic Army used a series of targeted phishing emails to harvest the credentials of AP staffers and eventually gain access to the company's main Twitter account. The stolen password was then used to access the account and launch a hoax that managed to temporarily disrupt the stock market.
If the reported series of events is true, then the AP hack could have been easily thwarted, and if reports on new developments are to be believed, it soon will be.
Wired has posted a report which claims that Twitter will soon be launching a two-factor authentication platform. The site uncovered a job report from earlier this year which would suggest that additional protections would soon be arriving.
Why is that so important? Two-factor authentication ties the account credentials and log-in to actual holder. The platform not only requires a username and login, but also a numerical code which is randomly generated and then sent to a user's mobile phone for one-time use.
It's not easy to see how this can help to protect users. Even when a username and password are harvested, the attacker would have to steal the mobile device of a user in order to access an account. This can dramatically reduce the number of attacks, especially high profile breaches, which result from phishing.
Of course, in order to be effective, these efforts have to be put in place. Corporate accounts will have to identify a single manager who can receive and provide the one-time credentials for protected accounts, and that may prove to be another headache for corporate marketing and public relations teams who share an 'official' Twitter feed.
17 Apr 2013
Twitter hacking is a serious issue. Take for instance, the recent hack of National Public Radio's (NPR) Twitter account. NPR's account was hacked and erroneous tweets were sent out following the attack.
The slew of hacks makes it obvious that something needs to be done. Twitter called on its users to create stronger passwords in February, but that isn't enough. The company needs to take action and implement two-factor authentication for those that want to use it.
It's not a ground-breaking idea. Security experts have called on the firm to implement authentication for the last couple of years. Other companies like Microsoft even plan to use multi-factor authentication later this year.
Yet, Twitter has failed to get the memo (tweet?). At a time when more and more businesses begin to use Twitter for PR, something has got to be done. Enterprise can't have hackers getting a hold of their feeds and sullying their names. It's bad for business, both Twitters and the users.
It's becoming clear that something is wrong. Even the words "#IveBeenHacked" have become something of a meme on the micro-blogger site.
Luckily, something may be on the horizon. Earlier this year, a Twitter job posting popped-up calling for a software engineer to build multi-factor authentication.
The job posting looks to be leading to some sort of security update. Hopefully, it comes sooner rather than later.
On Thursday V3 reported that six Metropolitan Police staff, including three serving officers, were sacked for writing ‘offensive’ and ‘intimidating’ posts on social media sites.
Well, that number has risen by one with the resignation of sergeant Jeremy Scott who wrote a message claiming he hoped recently deceased former prime minister Margaret Thatcher had died a “painful and degrading" death and that the world was a “better place” now she’d passed away.
Alas for Sgt Scott that he doesn’t read V3, as he may have been aware of the hardline stance taken by the Met against those that posted inappropriate updates on social media sites over the last few years as the perils of social media continue to catch out the unaware.
"These serious cases are relatively rare and we remain vigilant. We will continue to support and train our staff to ensure they are fully aware of our policies on social media use," said Directorate of Professional Standards at the Met, commander Allan Gibson.
Then again, it seem strange someone with such a public position doesn’t stop to think about what they’re writing on social media and whether it could land them in hot water.
Then again, that’s the trouble with social media – it can seem so instant and ephemeral it’s easy to forget everything you say is public, easily disseminated and lives, essentially, forever online.
11 Apr 2013
Time was, any start-up with even the vaguest connection to the 'social' buzzword would have an army of venture capitalists knocking down their doors with the offers of money. Indeed, it's the idea that social ties can provide advertisers with more effective ways to target their message that has seen the likes of Facebook achieve massive valuations.
But what if these social ties aren't as effective as we might assume? That's the conclusion of a group of researchers from Delft University of Technology. Are friends, they wonder, overrated?
Christian Doerr and his colleagues have been studying the impact of social ties on Digg – which may not enjoy the buzz it did in its heyday, but still represents a useful example of how users engage with content on a social network.
Doerr and his group wanted to study what impact friendship had on the popularity of any given story on Digg – and whether friends were a critical component of stories getting promoted to Digg's front page.
Users of the site can vote up content they find interesting, and see what other stories their friends have voted up too. Indeed around 180 stories per day get enough votes to be deemed popular, at which point they're featured on Digg's front page, at which point the can go viral.
In examining which stories went viral, the researchers looked at 10 million stories from two million users over a four-year period, 200,000 of which achieved a critical mass.
"The impact of the friendship relations on the overall functioning and outcome of the social network is actually surprisingly low,” Doerr and his colleagues reported.
So while users with similar interests and physical locations could be seen forming friendships, they showed little sign of following up on what their friends were doing.
“Users with even a nearly identical overlap in interests react on average only with a probability of two percent to information propagated and received from friends,” the researchers note.
Furthermore, of the stories that became popular, friendships were only important in driving popularity in about half of all cases – and even then, they needed a large of random users to vote stories up to the extent they made Digg's front page.
“The importance of friends and the friend network in the propagation of information is less than originally perceived,” they concluded.
Such behaviour is a far cry from the marketing message often pushed out by social networks, who argue that peer group recommendation makes a uniquely powerful way to reach consumers.
The research was published on the ArXiv academic paper [pdf] repository.