Tag Archives: facebook

Corporate Pitfalls for IT Staff

We noticed this little zinger on Twitter’s help pages while trying to help out a client:

Due to resource constraints, not every Tweet can be indexed in Twitter Search.
Our engineers are always working to index more updates, but we can’t force individual, missing Tweets into search.

In other words, what you see in Twitter feeds are a supposedly random subset of actual posts and for some reason their “engineers” think this is reasonable?

We began investigating for a user that was Tweeting about an upcoming conference but searching every combination of keywords and hash-tags resulted in NOTHING. The conference is only a few days out and our mashup is streaming the related feeds to the client’s home page, only their own posts were not showing! Not randomly, but none of them. Registrants talking about the conference were showing up fine, but the actual conference information is missing. Contacting Twitter resulted in no joy either. They just referred us to the randomness of their search. So what next? Well, we had to manually parse the search feed and inject the missing posts.

Somehow it seems very unlikely that Charlie Sheen’s tweets are getting “missed” at random by their search, so hiding behind “resource limitations” is a pretty shallow excuse. So Twitter becomes yet another internet company that is assigning values to individuals and widening the gap between the “popular” and the “obscure”  under their control.

Richard Stallman might seem a bit in left field, but there are some bad moons rising in the world of technology, and if the Free Speech people don’t take control of the internet via legislation Google, Twitter, and Facebook will with “resource limitations”. We saw Wikipedia president Jimmy Wales cave in to porn peddler pressure about a year ago when he attempted to “clean up” the graphic images, and to this day, there are still blatantly pornographic images on Wikipedia while Wikipedia remains the top result on most Google searches, despite the site being pornographic.

This is a fascinating time to witness, but also as a tech company we need to be sly and aware. If you want to get publicity without shooting anyone you’ll need these guys’ help and to get it you’ll need to play by their rules, no matter what they are. It doesn’t mean we can’t be clever and work around them. Just be careful not to make them angry.

A final newsworthy quote on “corpcorrupt” culture: “Engineers who simply staked out one component in the codebase, and rejected patches so they could maintain complete control over design and implementation details had much greater rewards.” Caught my attention on Dhanji R. Prasanna’s blog about why he left Google.

We have warned often both directly and indirectly about poor management decisions especially among the “big guys” and this is further evidence. Underneath Twitter’s absurdly implemented search and “resource limitations” undoubtedly lies more excuses, territorialism, and bureaucracy.  In fact, Dhanji is precisely the kind of developer we mentioned that we’d like to know, because big pay checks and cushy couches aren’t enough to keep them happy. He wants to do good work. He is precisely that guy we mentioned that would have left Sony long before their poor standards became public knowledge. I strongly suggest you read his blog as he mentions a few hints about Google’s poor standards. Many of these developers are not as talented as they might seem. Sure they have “Google” on their resume, but they were in the right place at the right time. Talent is what Dhanji had: “working on Search, APIs, UI, performance, scalability and getting each one of those pieces across the line by any means necessary” but he also went on to point out that it “is actually bad for your career.” He goes on to say that he is a “hacker at heart”, the guy that makes things happen after all of the talk. That’s something to be proud of.

The Real Web 2.0

“nofollow” is the new internet. What does this mean? Well it means that instead of the internet being organic and free it becomes controlled and limited to a small group. The big get bigger and the small, well they disappear into obscurity. If you don’t understand what “nofollow” refers to you may have landed at the wrong blog. This is a technical blog. If you do know then perhaps you have turned it on automatically assuming it would help you fight spam? Well, let me contend that this was a mistake. If your loyal site contributors refer to a link then slapping them with a “nofollow” is just discourteous. If you honestly think that the “nofollow” tag will discourage spambots then think again. Has it really? There are much better anti-spam mechanisms available. This site for instance only lets through a bare minimum amount of spam without need for moderation. The spambots don’t even know that your site is adding “nofollow” to their posts. They just keep coming back and posting, over and over. A human being who is taking the time to participate in your community deserves the internet right to link to relevant content. It’s the basis of the internet.

So think twice. Unless you want Facebook and Google to dictate all that is the future internet you may need to draw a line here.