Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Lets You Look Over Your Friends’ Shoulders, in Real Time

Twitter today started rolling out features to help shed light on the way tweeted content is received by other users. Two new tabs on Twitter’s Web site show users when their own tweets or tweets from the people they follow are favorited or retweeted.

The tabs are labeled “@username” (insert your own user name) and “Activity.” The Activity tab also shows when a Twitter user that you’re following follows someone new.

The tabs are only available on and at the moment only for a small percentage of users.

Twitter does offer some exposure of favorites and other activities around a user’s personal tweets through its user stream’s API, which many developers incorporate. However, the new Activity feature exposes activity around other people’s content, which is intended to promote discovery and exploration, said Twitter spokesperson Carolyn Penner.

Common actions are collapsed into a summary line, in an interface that resembles the Facebook newsfeed. So for instance a user might see that “Kris, Trammel and Elyssa favorited your Tweet,” as in the screenshot below.

Penner said she did not know if the new features would be incorporated into Twitter’s APIs so other developers can use them.

Twitter is also in the process of rolling out its link-shortening service,, to all links posted on Twitter. As of August 15, when Twitter users post URLs that are 20 characters long or greater, they will be shortened to a link.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work