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TwittDM – Automated Twitter Mass Direct Messenger (in JAVA)

Awhile ago, I wrote about the about an automated  mass direct messenger for Twitter to allow users to contact all their followers at once, and making sure that their tweets will not be lost in the wild. Well, the wait is now over. I wrote a proof concept that I will enhance with more features as users make request.

Here is a simple list of current features:

  • Direct Message – Users can write a single message and have sent directly to all their followers.
  • Mentions – Users can write a single message and have all their followers mentioned so that followers will read.

Future feature

  • Select message recipients – Users will be able to select which users will receive the direct messages or which users will be mentioned in their updates.
  • any feature requested by users.

The application was developed using JAVA, ReST API and Twitter4J API. This is a secure interface and I am not storing users’ passwords and username and authentication are handled by Twitter web services.

You can find the application @ http://twittdm.appspot.com/. Yup, the application is deployed on Google App engine.

Feel free to let me know what you think of the app, and please do not mentioned by graphic skills because I am not a designer.

All comments are welcome, and you request features by sending me a tweet.
          

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URL Shortner Service – how to monetize?

In the world of microblogging where users are trying say more with less, it is important that the resource url do not take more than the actual message. Enter the “URL Shortner Services” such as Bit.ly, is.gd, TinyURL among others, to the rescue to shortened those long URLs. From a user point of view, this is not much life to shortener services once the url has been turned to a small set of characters. I personally do not believe that anybody uses url shorteners outside the microblogging realms. We all know that there is no such thing as a free service, especially if you are looking for the service to stick around for a while. Therefore one question comes to mind, how can we make monetize the service.

I was at bar in Canary wharf with one of my investment friend when we were discussing several monetization ideas in regard to social networking based businesses. Obviously, Twitter was discussed but then the conversation shifted toward the third party apps built for Twitter and microblogging sites.

I am sure that anybody using Twitter has come across those funny urls in twits. When you clicked a link, there is a redirection from the url hosting server to the original source. So how can we monetize this service? That same question again. Here are some ideas and you are welcome to agree or disagree.

  1. charge microblogging site and third party developer to use the service and implement a free quota. I do not personally see how this is going to work as the microblogging site are currently in the driving seats. This option might not be viable for the url shortener service providers.
  2. when a shortened url has been clicked, the hosting server should redirect them to their site and present the user with an advertisement which will be displayed for a few second or until the user clicks it off. The ads have to be targeted the user this might involve parsing the title of the original source for keywords. This solution might be a good approach but how will user react to this. It can put them off therefore the services might have to offer some incentives to the url referrer.
  3. This probably the simplest way and less intrusive from a user’s perspective. When a user clicks on a link, the original site should be opened into a frame which is integrated into url shortener service provider’s site. The top frame of the window could display some ads.

The above are just some suggestions and they might not even be feasible or might be receive with hostility from the community but it is worth trying. Here is my final option:

  • Twitter should implement is own url shortener service where the destination page will be displayed within a frame simialr to option 3 above. Or twitter should open all links within a frame and advertise similar to option 3 but this time without cutting out the the third party url shortener service providers.

That’s all folks!

The Anatomy of Twitter Automated Mass Direct Message

So Twitter is the new web phenomenon and it is still shy of its third birthday. Since it has come to the scene, we had heard much about it in the media; about its popularity and security breach. So what is twitter? This is how I define it:

  1. It is a social (networking) site J where users can send short messages to each other in the same manner as SMS (short message service) and mainly targeted to the mobile market; but a lot of people still use the web to twit messages including myself.
  2. It is a “PUSH” application where when a user publishes a message all the registered interested parties will automatically receive a copy’ this is almost similar to RSS feeds. When using the Application Programming Interface to develop third-party client, it then becomes a “PULL” based broadcasting system.
  3. It is also a marketer best friend ( but I do not see how Twitter as a company can monetize on it), people on Twitter are more likely to click on a URL link, due to the fact that only 160 characters are allowed, either by curiosity or in hope to find out more about the subject of the twit.

The popularity of Twitter is a funny one. When the web first surfaced, technologists were discussing its lack of multimedia and its static type, then came Youtube and Facebook among others. Twitter on the other hand is based on text and that’s all! Takes much of its features from SMS but it does not even allow for smillies L
J but I am sure that they are probably working on that and hopefully it will not cause any problems to Twitter current internal commands.
Anyway getting back to the subject at hand (see blog title), let me explain how to implement automated direct messages on the Twitter platform.
Twitter has some cool functionalities but it has a lot of restrictions. First, there are two types of messages available on the platform:

  1. Public Messages – this type of messages can be viewed by anyone with an account on twitter.
  2. Direct Messages – these messages are private messages that you send to people and hidden from the public stream. They are a good of making sure that the recipients notices (not sure they will read it but that’s a start).

The platform allows you to monitor (tracking) words in the public stream which is very useful if you are running an automated Mass Direct Message campaign. So how does the mass message works?

  1. You can only send DM to people who are friends define by Twitter as:
    1. Friends are those who follow you and reciprocal meaning you need to be following them as well.
  2. Mentions and Replies messages are very useful for automated messages and will be of greater value if you do not have many friends.

To have an automated mass Direct Message, you need to do the following:

  1. Setup a (ro)bot which tracks certain words on twitter.
  2. Every time a track word is flagged, the bot should send a public reply to the originator.
    1. A public reply will make your message available in the public stream.
    2. A mention of the message originator will bring your message to his attention thus a very good marketing tool.
  3. Use a bot to send a DM messages to all your followers to make sure that they have a look at what you have to say.

Nothing is guarantee but when I run a test for a friend online shop, he was getting at least 100 visitors a day when he usually only gets about that a month or so. They are tools that can do the job but there is a chance of you getting banned by Twitter.
I have written a working prototype in JAVA, so it should be able to run on any platform, get in touch with me for a copy. It is free but I do not want to post it online in case it against the Twitter terms and conditions. You can also DM me on @armelnene.