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Twitter offers embeddable tweets, complicated for a reason?



Embedding individual tweets

Yesterday, Twitter alluded to a big announcement that they will offer embeddable tweets so users could refer to individual messages on Twitter without the hassle of taking screenshots of the message, uploading to a blog, adding links, etc.

Today, Twitter announced how users will be able to embed tweets with their new service “Blackbird Pie.” With Blackbird Pie, users can copy and paste the URL of a specific tweet (found by clicking the time stamp of any tweet) into the code generator, then users copy and paste the code into a blog post.

What Blackbird Pie looks like in use:

What Blackbird Pie looks like when embedded:

SmartZip, real estate analytics company gets $4.5M in funding than a minute ago via web

My thought: it’s stupid and overcomplicated

So instead of just adding an “embed” button like this…

…Twitter has decided to “make it simple” and offer a new service on a new website that asks you to hunt down the URL of the specific tweet, copy and paste it into the other website, generate an embed code, then copy and paste THAT into your blog. It sounds stupid and overcomplicated to me, just give me a frickin’ button.

Here’s the rub- Twitter can do what they want, I’m actually excited that they’re doing something with the millions of dollars that they’re oozing, even if it’s not innovative… at least it’s something. But Twitter isn’t being honest about their reasoning for offering Blackbird Pie, the embeddable tweet website. Twitter isn’t admitting that they’ve lost control over trending topics, rendering them useless, and I believe this is one way for them to replace trending topics with “most quoted tweets” or something similar.

Twitter isn’t being honest that this is a move to get a better grip on data and how it is being used because currently, the third party sites have taken away the ability to analyze data simply because desktop apps, mobile apps, third party apps all skew the data of actual Twitter use. Embedding tweets gives a unique data point for Twitter to measure and there’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t call an overcomplicated process “simple” when that’s a thinly veiled reason for releasing a product.

Twitter isn’t doing anything wrong, but they’re not being honest with the reasons behind their new project- I don’t suspect ease of use is anywhere near the top of the list, there are many more reasons that trump that and the public will remain in the dark.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Robert Quigley

    May 5, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Great points all the way around, Lani. Twitter is fumbling around. The lame “retweet” feature and these recent enhancements all seem pretty weak. The best innovation in Twitter’s functionality has come from third parties.

  2. Julie Gomoll

    May 5, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I read the headlines about Blackbird, but hadn’t gone to check it out yet. I figured it was a plugin. I cracked up when I saw that big honking block of code in your post. I suspect you’re right, Lani — this isn’t simplifying our lives, it’s giving them something to measure.

    So, will you use it?

  3. Bryan McDonald

    May 5, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I agree the process was overcomplicated. Thank goodness it didn’t take long for someone to create a bookmarklet that only takes 3 steps to create an embeddable tweet instead of the 8 steps it took with Twitter’s Blackbird Pie. TechCrunch has the story:

  4. Colleen

    May 5, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Nice. I’ll be using this. An embedded tweet will certainly help in supporting blog entry content.

  5. Matt Stigliano

    May 5, 2010 at 10:09 am

    @LaniAR – I’d rather take a screenshot – I can do it in a few seconds and it’s just as easy.

    Good point about trending topics. I was semi-enthusiastic about the idea of localized trending topics, but they proved to be worthless and had little to do with anything localized.

  6. Mark Jacobs

    May 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Great Post

  7. ~Angela

    May 5, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I certainly agree that they could have made it a whole lot easier by adding an embed link. I’m guessing that they may at some point make this available as a web services, which could be why they chose to go with a different domain. Did they have to do it that way? No, of course not.

    As for the code that they generate, it’s not quite what you think it is. They’re not using any JavaScript, so there is very little that they can track. They can track the usage of your profile image and your background image from that code and that’s about it. (They can of course track the usage of their form to generate the code.)

    So it doesn’t look to me, like they’re looking to “get a better grip on data”, etc. because if that were their goal, they would have given you a script tag. Now, if they’d done that it would scream of tracking and what some of us geeks would do is get the HTML/CSS code their script would have generated and just used that (in order to avoid the tracking).

    Why did they do this in the first place? My theory is, that someone saw the abundance of twitter screenshots there are out there on all the various blogs and news sites and realized that it was a golden opportunity to get more inbound links. (That’s really important in the world of Search Engine Optimization.)

    I imagine facebook and others will probably offer similar embed tools. It’ll be interesting to see if BlackBird Pie takes off.

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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