We’re still trying to figure out why we, and many people we know, became much more popular on Twitter in the last few days. Via e-mail, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone offers four possible answers:
- “Notification emails were not sent out for a period of about 12-15 hours over the weekend”: i.e. – we didn’t get more popular on Sunday – we got more popular over the weekend, and didn’t get the news until Sunday. A bunch of commenters liked this theory as well. But if that’s the case, why were we still adding a slew of new followers Monday afternoon (see below)?
- “There are apps built on our API that drive more connections”: One example Biz mentions: Twubble, which combs through your friends’ followers and recommends people that you might know. Others that fit this category are TwitDir (a Twitter directory that allows you to search for someone or something) and TwitterTroll (allows you to search through 1000s of indexed Twitters to find new people to follow), among others.
- “We featured search more prominently in the web interface”: It’s now on the top of every personal Twitter page. It used to be much harder to find.
- “Increases in account creation and activity will lead to more connections”: We — and Twitter — have a high-class problem. Lots of people like/use us.
One question Biz doesn’t address, though we’ve asked him specifically about it: How much of our newfound following is just spam? Again, many of our commenters have a hunch that at least some of their new pals are spammers — one noted that he’s recently been followed by a debt settlement company and two “myspace-looking” girls. Reader Chris Pallé even suggests a new term for Twitter spam: Spitter.
If Twitter does have a spam problem, that’s worrisome, since the lack of noise/hype within the service was one of its chief appeals. The flip side: Spammers won’t show up until there’s an audience to bother. This is a problem you only get once you’ve made it.
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