The Twitter-focused SF Mobile Meetup

Chris Caceres · February 6, 2009 · Short URL:

Twitter developers gather to share ideas and demo their products

Ever heard of the SF Mobile 2.0 Meetup event?  

Probably not, because it’s an extremely exclusive invite-only event for mobile application developers in San Francisco.  Founded in May of 2008 by Lars Kamp, an executive at Accenture, it has grown from a small gathering of developers sharing ideas, to hundreds of developers applying and sitting on wait lists to get in. 

The Meetup takes place once a month at a different location depending on who is sponsoring it.  Past events have taken place at Accenture in San Francisco, and Plug and Play in Sunnyvale.   

From location based services to mobile payments, Kamp organizes the event so that a different mobile 2.0 topic is highlighted once a month.  

Yesterday evening, I was fortunate enough to attend the event - this time at Orange Labs in South of San Francisco.  The theme of the night was the Twitter API and about 120 hand-selected guests showed up to view presentations on some pretty neat Twitter apps.

Amongst the featured speakers were the developers behind some of the more well known Twitter apps – Twittelator, Twitpic, Twitterfon, Mosio and the grand finale, Twitter themselves.  Here's a little bit about what they had to say about themselves.

 Twittelator – This Twitter iPhone application stays aside from the simplicity of Twitter and brings on many customizable innovations.  Some of the basic features of this application are the ability to manage several accounts, subgroup Tweets, and search nearby Tweeters. It doesn’t end there yet, with the Pro version you get ‘Copy and Paste’, Automatic Tweet splitting, and Imogees – emoticon like icons.  
Twittelater is developed by Stone, and has some other very interesting products coming out soon.  Check back for a future video demo-ing some new products by Stone.

 Twitterfon – If you’re simply seeking simplicity, this is the app to download.  It’s free and does everything you can do with Twitter.  Developed by Kazuho Okui for fun, the developer explains, “I do this on my spare time.”  


 Twitpic – Not exactly mobile, Twitpic allows a user to easily upload a photo and post a Tweet with an automated quick link to the photo.  This service provided some of the first images of the Hudson plane crash landing.

 Mosio – Mosio uses Twitter as a broadcast tool.  You Tweet a question to Mosio, and they Tweet you back an answer, by real people who are actually other members of Mosio.



 Spime - The Spime Twitter widget allows users to upload their real-time location to their profile from any phone.  The widget reads the XY location from GPS or Wi-Fi.  The XY location is then reversed-geocoded to get the address.


Twitter closed the night with some interesting and breaking numbers.

 They announced there are currently 3400 developers working with the Twitter API, and 2000 registered applications.  On top of that, they are currently working on ways to better promote up coming Twitter applications.  The Twitter 2.0 API is set to come out hopefully by Q2 of 09 and will open doors for new applications and an overall better response time.

Check back the Vator Newsroom for videos from the event.  

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.