Hollywood Twitter, Facebook = Frangelina

Meliza Solan Surdi · May 30, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/8a1

What am I Missy, Episode 21

Is Twitter going Hollywood? Production companies Reveille and Brillstein Entertainment have inked a deal with the micro-blog site to create an unscripted television show that will focus on celebrities and ordinary people who use Twitter. No word on what the show is about, but it is meant to be pithy. Each person is only allowed to speak 140 characters at a time.

Facebook landed $200 million in funding, Valuing it at 10 billion dollars. The new backers?  Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian based holder of popular Internet startups such as mail.ru, Forticom Group, and Vkontakte.ru. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, " a number of firms approached us, but DST stood out because of the global perspective they bring." Global perspective? Or a lot more zeroes? After all, the funding comes just a month after reports said U.S. private investors were valuing Facebook as low as $2 billion. Whatever the case, all money is green, and Facebook has now raised $600 million of it.

See:Russian firm invests in Facebook

Speaking of Facebook, which is known as the "Frangelina" of the tech world these days. My mother is not on the site but if she were to go on, she would likely leave soon enough. A recent study found that the site is losing the 55 and over crowd. Maybe that's a good thing. I cannot imagine getting a stream of updates from my mother.

See:Facebook too confusing for older folks?


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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 Twitter.com, 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 Twitter.com, 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 Virginamerica.com 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.