Robert Scoble
Prove that Techcrunch did not pay @biz $10,000 to get on Twitter's suggested friend list. They sure were not more popular than @leolaporte two weeks ago.
Leolaporte deserves to be on the list -- he had twice as many followers as @Techcrunch did a week ago. Twitter's list is corrupt. - Robert Scoble
Interesting suggestion but hard to prove or disprove. - Liz
I'm out of the loop. Where is the list? - Will Johnston
How about prove that they did? - Omar Gallaga
Will: you go to friends/suggested friends on Twitter. - Robert Scoble
wow's he's totally left you for dead, he's a smartie that arrington - Bob Sonin
Omar: that is easy. Twitter has no criteria for getting on this list and mostly added big brands onto the list. - Robert Scoble
Why $10,000? Are you just making up a figure or are you privy to some information? (As an aside, I see Brooke Burke on the list with 62,000+ followers. Wow, when did THAT happen?) - Omar Gallaga
Bob: I will have the final revenge. In a year all the influentials will be on friendfeed. - Robert Scoble
Yeah, I'm liking this, on the 'guilty until proven innocent' premise that Techcrunch seem comfortable in applying to all and sundry, including FB and Last FM within just the last week.. - Andy Connell
Scoble, interesting assertion, but... I must ask: who the f*ck cares? :) - Ⓒⓗⓡⓘⓢ Ⓟⓘⓡⓘⓛⓛⓞ
I'm on the list, and I certainly don't have $10,000 to give anyone. Do you think I somehow bribed them, Robert? Hmm? - Veronica
l0ckergn0me - I echo that sentiment completely. - Mitch
who cares?? i'd rather follow that interest me. not how many followers they have.. - Terry O'Fee
Couldn't this also be taken as a statement on the morals of TechCrunch? - MarkCarras
guilty until proven innocent? - Mark Collier
I just noticed Robert's not on the list. Oh my God, I think I just figured it all out! - Omar Gallaga
Robert, if you're so big on meritocracy, why have you, or the friendfeed founders driven by my ff posts without a 'like' or 1,000 retweets by now? You follow me. I've tweeted big news or quality stuff, and watch the "A-List" wait to see it from another "A-lister" before they'll retweet. Power liking some small fries mixed in with friends just so you can point to your proof is bs. Why hammer Twitter for the 1,000th time? - Ed Shahzade /NextInstinct
so now we know Twitter's monetization strategy - practicehacker
Way to spread FUD. - Veronica
way to spread BS :P - Terry O'Fee
Mark - yeah, gupi.. too complicated? - Andy Connell
Hmm, never checked the list before. Wonder if new users use it a lot, or maybe I'm the only one who doesn't. - Will Johnston
Ed: just today I Twitteted several people with fewer than 50 followers. - Robert Scoble
Veronica: prove it is FUD. THAT is why this feature is corrupt. - Robert Scoble
Please... prove it's true. Is this just TC you're accusing, or everyone on the list? - Veronica
Robert, you made the accusation. I think it's on you to prove there's something to your finger pointing beyond just... you know... your finger. - Omar Gallaga
Veronica: I am not on the list. Neither is @leolaporte. We both had more followers than you did (and more than many on the list). Now I am wondering. - Robert Scoble
@techcrunch and @veronica don't appear on my suggestedfriends list so is it a random list then? - Iain
l0ckergn0me - Reality check .. YOU don't care... - Andy Connell
Veronica - let's forget about Robert's question - being on that list provides more eyeballs and more pageviews for those on the list. for those of you on the list using twitter as a marketing platform (i.e. all of the list) - it provides more traffic and you know what that equals. - Allen Stern
Note too Veronica that I did NOT say you paid. It is just that the criteria for getting on the list is corrupt. - Robert Scoble
HAH! This is the funniest thing I've heard all day. Are you really just that bored this afternoon to accuse people of spending money to be on a suggested users list? #1 As Chris says, who the frak cares. #2 Do you honestly think someone like me or iJustine have that kind of money? #3 Wow, man, I thought we were cool. - Veronica
I've made several "who to follow on Twitter" lists for the publication I work for and it's never just about who has the most number of followers. Maybe they just find the people on their list more interesting/appealing to newbies, from their point of view. Why do you assume the criteria is only "most followers? - Omar Gallaga
Allen, I understand that. But the fact of the matter remains that I (I cannot speak for anyone else) never asked to be on the list, nor did I ever pay anyone to be there. - Veronica
Veronica: I did not accuse Techcrunch of paying either. Read my question VERY carefully. I did accuse Twitter of making a feature that looks corrupt. - Robert Scoble
Robert... Do you have any proof that this occurs? Is there any accounts of this occurring in the past (anecdotal or stated). I'm don't know either way but asking people to prove a something didn't happen without an established cause of suspicion is intimidation and, frankly, wrong. - Johnny
If you are not accusing us of paying, then how are the criteria "corrupt?" - Veronica
Veronica: the fact that Twitter is picking its stars with subjective criteria is corrupt. - Robert Scoble
thanks veronica - yea my point is the marketing and "top of mind" that being on that list gives you special folks - i am not discussing the money point, robert is. - Allen Stern
Robert -- aren't you the one always laughing it off when people unfollow you and saying that the number of followers you have isn't as important as the number of people commenting on Friendfeed? Now you're saying that if Twitter bases this list on anything other than number of followers it's corrupt? Or is your initial question in some third language I can't parse? - Omar Gallaga
Veronica: prove you did not pay. You can not. The feature is corrupt. I can prove I did not pay to get on top of friendfeed. You can no longer prove that on Twitter. - Robert Scoble
Um, Robert... they onus is on you to prove they did... sorry. - Johnny
And what if they decide to rotate the list? If you're not still on there, will you continue to throw around accusations? Sounds like sour grapes, and you're better than that. - Veronica
Omar: yes. Who follows you does not matter. But that does not change fact that this feature corrupts the integrity of Twitter. - Robert Scoble
I agree with Johnny. C'mon, Robert! Show us some of that investigative blogging! Prove that TC (or I, for that matter) paid to be on there. Would you like me to send you my banking statements? - Veronica
Omar: it is corrupt because you can no longer trust Twitters' follower numbers. The people who are most popular on Twitter did not earn their position through objective criteria. That is corrupt. - Robert Scoble
I asked if you think a feature like this should be based solely on number of followers. Is that the only criteria you think is fair for making suggestions on who to follow? - Omar Gallaga
Veronica: you did not earn a position higher than @leolaporte. So why are you defending this feature? - Robert Scoble
Omar: it should be based on objective criteria everyone can figure out so no questions of propriety will stick. - Robert Scoble
Allen is on point with his comments. Being on the list does equal more $. Regardless of how folks got on it. But again this list does show that who you "know" is critical in the social web. - Kipp Bodnar
I think you should enter some criteria to generate the suggested user list (likes etc) - Iain
What criteria besides number of followers? That's the only one you've brought up. - Omar Gallaga
Robert the influentials won't be on FF, it's just an aggregator, the influentials will have their own quality medium with distribution - Bob Sonin
I do not know why Veronica is on the list and not @leolaporte so now I am wondering what is going on and no one can prove money and gifts did not get exchanged. - Robert Scoble
I'm not defending a feature. I'm defending myself from being accused of paying a company to feature me. - Veronica
Robert, you're a bank robber. Prove to me that you aren't. See how dumb that sounds? - Veronica
I heard he stole $10,000. - Omar Gallaga
That is easy: I have not received a gift from a bank I did not earn. - Robert Scoble
In that case Robert, you are traveling the path of Joseph McCarthy. Rather than presenting evidence of corruption, you are throwing around accusations and telling those you accuse to prove you wrong. - Johnny
Prove it. - Veronica
Johnny: people are getting gifts from Twitter they DID NOT earn with subjective criteria. Why? - Robert Scoble
@Scoble your headline is linkbait - but your point is valid - the recommender is crap. They should buy @mrtweet - Chris Saad
I think Robert is making weak arguments, but his base point is sound--if there is an algorithm that is making those picks, then it's not very transparent. If the list is editorial, it would be nice to at least know who has made the picks. - Eric Florenzano
Tell us what you think the criteria should be, Robert. Other than "being Robert Scoble." - Veronica
@ev posted that they just picked some names. It's not really that big of a deal. - Christian Burns
Veronica YOU received a gift from a corporation you DID NOT earn. I did not receive such a gift. This feature is corruptible. - Robert Scoble
Great question Robert... maybe you should lead with that rather than dropping corruption accusations. I actually think there may be some underhanded work in a few selected cases but unless I have evidence, I'll ask questions first, set up witch hunts later... - Johnny
Why didn't I earn it? Also, it's not a "gift," it's a recommendation. - Veronica
I say the feature is done by hand and the appearance of impropriety is nothing more than lack of research by an intern. - MarkCarras
@Veronica Robert is not suggesting he should be on the list. He has always actively worked to flatten these tools, not do land grabs which he could easily do. Suggesting that's what he is saying is not very productive. - Chris Saad
Chris, it's hard not to take personal affront to this bad logic. - Veronica
@Veronica, as I said his initial tweet is linkbait - it's clearly an exaggeration - but his underlying point is valid. - Chris Saad
@techcrunch prove to us that you are not plotting to take over the world while you pretend to drop out and take pictures of tropical beaches. I bet you aren't even going to answer me. - Christian Burns
Johnny: note that I did NOT accuse anyone of anything. PLEASE read carefully! I just am pointing out that some people are receiving gifts without earning them. This is why Fast Company forbids me from accepting gifts. So MY integrity does not get called into question. - Robert Scoble
In that case, I'd like my gifts BACK - Chris Saad
If someone added up all the pro ff posts, anti-twitter posts, link direction, they'd assume Robert was into the FF funding. - Ed Shahzade /NextInstinct
Chris -- in a separate post Robert said " two weeks ago I was more popular than Techcrunch and @leolaporte was a lot more popular than me. Today Techcrunch is way more popular than either of us" -- that's flattening the tools? - Omar Gallaga
Robert, your inflammatory remarks and accusations (and they are that, no matter how many times you tell us to READ CAREFULLY) come off as really childish and insulting. If you have an issue with a feature of Twitter, there are better ways of pointing it out than accusing people who considered you acquaintances, if not pals. - Veronica
I just can't believe I am not on the list! I sent @biz 5 bucks too. WTF? - Beebo Wallace
Veronica: you did receive a gift. Advertising is sold by 1,000 viewers. Ask Ryan how much 1,000 people are worth. You did NOT earn that gift by any objective measure. - Robert Scoble
Must have some troubles with the American to Australian translation but without this thread for explanation, it sounds like you wondering out loud if Techcrunch paid biz to get on the list... - Johnny
@Omar ok well that's an even lamer way of expressing the point haha - Chris Saad
Beebo: obviously $5 wasn't enough. - Robert Scoble
It's well-known you can't "prove a negative". Or make logic with such as "clearly, pigs fly, because we have a black president" - more to the point, that list stinks, and bad -- McCain and Tony Robbins are on my list, and a bunch of corporations. - Richard Walker
Robert, you keep avoiding the question of what you think Twitter's objective measures should have been if not just number of followers. What do you think they should have been? - Omar Gallaga
I've been saying for years that recommendations should be based on interest overlaps, still, no one listens. - Chris Saad
@scoble just admit you are asking Twitter to implement APML Profiling and Matching and let these people chill out - Chris Saad
Insulting people is a great way to get a point across. - Veronica
I think it is definitely a gift. You are gaining followers who are in turn being effected by your content. They aren't mailing it to you with a bow on it as in a physical gift, but they are making it much easier for you to generate revenue or web influence power. - AJK
Robert, there is no such thing as CPM for Twitter because followers -- and recommended user spots -- are not bought and sold. Period. You think they are? Prove it. - Ryan Block
Who gives a frak? Honestly. Accusing @techcrunch of paying $10,000 is stupid. How do we know he DID? Did Twitter contact you and say "the only way you can be on the list is if you pay $10,000?" And all the bagging on Veronica isn't necessary. It's a stupid list. GET OVER IT. - Zach Flauaus
Veronica: it is interesting that you feel accused. This feature sucks. Some day you will see why. - Robert Scoble
I feel accused because you accused me, and everyone else on this list. Not indirectly, directly. Oh, someday I will see why? When I'm not longer ON the list? Actually, Robert, that will be fine with me because I won't care. Because I haven't invested in BEING on the list. - Veronica
Zach: I did NOT accuse anyone of paying. I am accusing Twitter of designing a corruptible list. Friendfeed's list is defendable. This one is not. - Robert Scoble
Scoble obviously "deserves" some sort of recognition. If he doesn't get it, others must be paying. Right? - coldbrew
Read about this and other social media revelations in Robert's next e-book, "Scobleized: Destroying Relationships, Throwing Out Baseless Accusations and Talking Down To Peers." - Omar Gallaga
@Everyone who is saying the discussion is pointless just doesn't get it. These things are worth $. They seriously affect the way twitter works and who gets attention. Attention = $. Social tools are about finding niche audiences. If Twitter is biasing towards celebrities or given individuals (for whatever reason) it changes the medium and the message. Stop pretending that these things don't matter. - Chris Saad
@Omar - LOL. - Veronica
Robert... do you think that Techcrunch did pay biz $10,000 to get on the Twitter's suggested friend list? - Johnny
This whole discussion is rather petty and absurd. - coldbrew
@Johnny *sigh* he was making a point by giving a clearly exaggerated and baseless example. Our inability to prove it either way IS THE POINT - Chris Saad
has anyone tried to find out how the suggested friends algorithm atually works or are we assuming its a manually generated list cos they haven't said much about the suggested friends feature? - Iain
Perhaps the problem is that Robert should just say what he means. Also, still waiting for that objective criteria. Waiting... waiting... - Omar Gallaga
Veronica: well since there is no objective criteria for being on the list and since being on the list is a gift of tens of thousands of in earned followers and since you don't care anyway why don't you tell Twitter to make the list based on objective criteria and pull yourself off of that list until it is? That is what I would do (friendfeed fixed its list after that kind of pressure). Not to mention I can not accept unearned gifts anyway. - Robert Scoble
Chris.. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want my name used in this way. My issue is not with the point Robert is trying to make, it is the way he is going about it... - Johnny
Scoble: "Prove that Techcrunch did not pay @biz $10,000 to get on Twitter's suggested friend list." That's not accusing @techcrunch paid $10,000 to Twitter? Twitter designed that list for who they (read: employees) think people should follow. Perhaps it was money, but I highly doubt it. - Zach Flauaus
How has your follow rate increased since being on the list? My assumption would be that it has increased significantly since being on the list. - AJK
Yeah, this is like a high school kid whining about his brother having all the friends, and mindlessly laying blame. - coldbrew
@Scoble accusing @techcrunch is not making things personal. @techcrunch is a big boy and Arrington and Scoble are friends. It was clearly a statement to reveal ambiguity in the process - @Veronica no need to read any more into it than face value. - Chris Saad
@coldbrew I think everything is reminiscent of high school... I'm in the damn place. lol - Zach Flauaus
Johnny: no I do not think Techcrunch or Veronica paid to get on this list but there ARE brands on there. Did they pay? I have no idea. But this feature is as corruptible as shelf space at Fry's. - Robert Scoble
Robert -- you're saying that you would have asked to be removed from such a list had you been included? What if you and Leo were both on it, but this phantom "objective criteria" you keep mentioning was not transparent? - Omar Gallaga
One man's corruptible is another man's monetizable. - Mark "Rizzn" Hopkins
Definitely Chris! Recommendation algorithms MUST be based on something else than "popularity". We've discussed this, you and me, often, and I still believe that these algos could be 100 times smarter using "personal relevancy" — I'm sure you still share this opinion with me :) I hope I'll be able to provide a proof-of-concept thingy (yes, the one you've seen) still experimental but surely optmizable. - directeur
Omar: yes. I would be forced to remove myself from thiis list if added. - Robert Scoble
Robert: To me it looks like a list of people who aren't going to overwhelm new users and people that are going to be interesting. The reason your not on the list is because you would flood a new user and might make them want to leave the service. And all Leo does is promote TWiT and doesn't really present much value to the newer users except to lead them to his show. Honestly Scoble there is nothing corrupt about this. This list wasn't designed for us anyways, it's for new users, just let it go. - OCoG of FF, Jimminy
I'm checking out of this conversation now :) - Chris Saad
Robert, that's cool, but again without the context of your friendship with Mr Arrington and this thread for explanation, .normal' people will think that the list is corrupt and, by extension, cast dispersions on the name of the people on it (which I think is a part of Veronica's issue). While your point may be valid about the integrity of the list, please be advised that your words will have an effect on those not on the inside of social media. - Johnny
I am not allowed to accept gifts worth more than $100 and being on a list decided on subjectively is a no no for journalists. Especially those at Fast Company. - Robert Scoble
@directeur - is it popularity, an algorithm, or just a random sampling of people the folks at Twitter have heard of? it doesn't seem to be randomized whatsoever. - Mark "Rizzn" Hopkins
Robert. you have more than enough people following now. Why does this bother you so much? it's rather sad. - Terry O'Fee
Good point James. I never thought of those reasons for the picks. I think Robert posts stuff of great value most of the time, but the point is still very much on target. - MarkCarras
Terry: the integrity of the tools I use for my living concerns me a lot. - Robert Scoble
Robert -- did you ask to be removed from this Forbes Web Celeb list? Seems like that was quite a gift: - Omar Gallaga
Mark, sure, it definitely is not random! It can't be random and show the same faces all over the web (friendfeed, twitter..) You've described very well "popularity". But the fact is, that me "directeur" (a given user) would really like to see people who'll share my interests, this is imho the next step in socialmedia: connecting people "smartly", and providing content for users smartly too! and this could really be done (I've crafted 3 modest proofs of concept) using notions like APML. This is really DOABLE - directeur
his ego would be mended! :P - Terry O'Fee
I have no stake in whether Tech Crunch did or didn't pay someone to get @biz on the suggested list on Twitter, I do however believe that the twitter suggested list it self encourages herd following , and that those who have a massive jump in following over a short period, have a very shallow following, while those who acquire their followers over time have a much deeper following - Kim Landwehr
I understand Scoble's point. His post is misleading and deliberately provocative, but the underlying point is fair: "Twitter's suggested friend list generates lots of followers for those who are on it." Decoding his original post: "1. Two weeks ago, @techcrunch was less popular than @leolaporte. 2. Then @techcrunch ended up on the suggested friend list. 3. Now @techcrunch is more popular than @leolaporte. 4. The method of how or why people end up on the suggested friend list is not transparent. To an outsider, this enormously influential list seems arbitary. 5. Since there's no criteria for how to end up on list, no one outside Twitter would be able to prove or disprove that there wasn't an exchange of funds. - Stephen Mack
The fact that we're having this discussion is just sad. Just one blogger's opinion, though. - Ben Parr
Mark: I totally agree that Robert posts stuff of great value but he can throw controversial ideas out that he can't back up sometimes, case in point. The main reason that I don't see him on the list isn't quality but moreover the quantity of his tweets. I wouldn't want to be on the list either just out of respect to new users. - OCoG of FF, Jimminy
Well, directeur, your model is incorrect unless it places Scoble at the top of everything. If it does not, you're taking a pay off :-) - coldbrew
ben - i agree. instead of using this for what its meant for, people cry that they dont get on the top of the list. it's hillarious.. - Terry O'Fee
coldbrew :) No, Robert will be just like you in this system. BUT, there's something else and I've had the pleasure to discuss it with a very smart guy: AUTHORITY. This is NOT popularity, it's smarter (should be - because the current used definition in socialmedia is wrong) more specialized and could be done too (collaboration planned with that smart guy) - directeur
directeur: The issue is that they can't predict who someone would like. We're talking about something that none of us should be using. It's an introductory tool not something you use once you have developed your network. It's impossible to create a recommendation that works using a non existent data-set. The only way they could modify it is if they ask the user some questions about themselves during registration, that's not user friendly. Would you like to be trown a bunch of questions when you sign up? - OCoG of FF, Jimminy
James, very smart question, and yes it's doable. The content submitted by a user, the content a user likes, comments on, retweets is a very rich dataset that could be used to establish an APML profile. - directeur
thank you, jason. probably one of the smartest comments ive seen on this useless conversation... - Terry O'Fee
Robert, would you be in the same position on this if you were on the list? Or would you promote the list and the fact that you made the cut? - Debi Jones
i wonder if he would of posted it on his website too... - Terry O'Fee
Firstly, can you prove they did? - sofarsoShawn
directeur: You didn't get me though, it's for new users they have no data, they haven't retweeted, followed anyone, hasn't liked or commented on anything yet. And the majority of people aren't going to have an APML. Therefore trying to pick people off of this nullset is impossible. Honestly if I want to follow someone on twitter I'll ask my current followers for suggestions. Starting out Tabula Rasa on a new service though it's not possible. - OCoG of FF, Jimminy
Looks like we have a good old fashioned weekend BitchMeme going on here. - Mike Doeff
I don't follow @scobleizer because he's a twooshbag. But I did learn that @brookburke twitters, so I'll be following her. - kchu
Wow I can't believe you are getting so bent out of shape about this "corrupted feature" Scoble. I respect what you do but I had to stop following you because it was just too much and became annoying after a while. But seriously, who cares? Why is being followed considered a "gift?" And why would you tell them to take you off this list if you were recommended? That's just stupid. Being followed is like me walking up to you and saying, "Hey I read your blog." Is it not? I can't believe you reacted this way. - Eric Bland
hmm.. look at it the other way: some new users are joining twitter and the twitter team is simply trying to improve the experience of those users so they put together *a* set of profiles to help. This is how it works in startups. Over time, they will improve that feature so that it is more transparent, targeted, effective but you have to start somewhere. I do not think that twitter is trying to bribe anyone: they are way beyond the point of needing to do that. Too provocative Robert! - Edwin Khodabakchian
Honestly, I would never recommend @scobleizer, or any frequent twitterer, to a n00b twitter user because he would scare them away. Scoble is for hard-core users. - kchu
The burden of proof lies with the party making the claim, as this is obviously not a case of prima facie. And even if it were true, who the hell cares? This is fascinatingly idiotic. - Mouse
This entire thread reads like petty, petty bickering, mostly on the part of Robert. It's this kind of narrow minded, stubborn soap boxing that gives blogging in all its variants a bad name. I imagine what really happened is a few folks at Twitter saw some fun twitter peeps with a high profile name and a nice signal/noise ratio and decided to throw them on a list without much second thought and then moved on to more important business of the day. - Joost Schuur
OM NOM NOM ... hmmm these grapes are very sour today... - Terry O'Fee
Robert Scoble is playing the Bullshit card on TC! I see a war coming... - Outsanity
The only thing to be answered by this unanswerable question is: you get tons of followers by being on Twitter's suggested friends list. - sofarsoShawn
I was on that list (@cinevegas) and did not pay to be on it. Somebody actually alerted me that I was since I didn't even know. - Roger @ CineVegas
Also this feature is a month old, why now are you attacking it? - Roger @ CineVegas
Lord all mighty. All of you don't get it do you? Twitter is about community, conversation, relationships. You are all to narcosistic to see that. Quit arguing like children. Just Twitter or shut up. Ge'ez! Act like an adult already. - Norbert Davis
it screws with the integrity of everything on twitter. in every way. i have 18K followers, but am not on the list. maybe i got all those followers in some side-deal with twitter that wasn't disclosed? or one day i lose 10K followers and my competitor gains 98K. is it because @biz was given some stock? or they didn't like something i said? it could all be totally innocent but it still taints everything. - Dave Winer
#followfriday = Communism - Andrew Smith
The thing is that the Twitter Suggested List is simply corrupt because there isn't an actual method behind it. - Tyler (Chacha)
Robert is simply saying the the list isn't based on popularity. - Tyler (Chacha)
I think that is a valid statement (I think I've ended the comments.... boo) - Tyler (Chacha)
Twitter needed to pick some suggested names that would be most likely to get a beginning tweeter to continue tweeting. If Twitter decides that Hammer is the way to get people to continue using the service, that's Twitter's prerogative. - Ontario Emperor
It's brilliant way for twitter to expand it's user base from tech geeks to the larger populace overall. - sofarsoShawn
Robert's argument are weak at best, founded on the assumption that Twitter's "suggest" feature should only be based on a user's # of followers. While it would be nice to know how they choose who makes it on the list, I honestly don't think Twitter has to disclose it. This is a parallel to Flickr's "interestingness" meter, which decides who make it onto their "Explore" page. The fact they don't tell you exactly how the photos are chosen, doesn't mean that it's corrupt. - Trevin
Coming to this late, but just want to thank Chris Saad for laying out the objection to an arbitrary list of recommendations in clear and sane fashion. (As opposed to inflammatory fashion, which resulted in all this hot air.) Saad's right: attention = $. - Ian Wilker
None of this will matter when celebrities and sports figures get on Twitter, and Twitter really goes mainstream. Scoble's 63K and Laporte's 90K will be dwarfed. Reality check: Twitter is much bigger than Scoble. - mj
@Mohamed J I would much rather have scoble who is real on Twitter than some PR person for a celebrity. - Michael McGimpsey from twhirl
MichaelMG: I haven't seen the suggested users list but @TechCrunch, @aplusk, @the_real_shaq, @mchammer are not run by a PR employee. Plus, Scoble is too noisy for the Twitter newbie (who is most likely not a tech head). - mj
Leather ♥ Donut - ftw. - kchu
A few questions: 1. Does 'suggested friends' imply impartiality? To me 'suggested' or 'recommended' connotes a subjective opinion while 'popular' or 'top' implies a strict numbers-based ranking. 2. If a service's 'recommended friends' list is created by number of followers and is in itself the most effective way to get more followers, then how can this help but be a feedback loop? How could this list ever change? I don't have any of the backstory before this post, but the whole accusation seems strange to me. - Kevin Fox
Put a different way: Why do we assume that Twitter should only recommend the most popular people? - Kevin Fox
Isn't this more about one person wanting a different set of criteria for 'eminence' in a list vs a set of criteria decided by another person(s)? Sounds like you should make your own list to your criteria; folk love lists and someone is bound to look at it. Their list, their criteria ... your list, your criteria. - Colin Wheeler
Even when you are on holiday you are causing trouble Mike - Chris Saad
just seems to me that twitter made a selection of accounts that might be of interest to a new user, trying to cover a wide range. Perhaps their criteria are not as ominous as you make it, perhaps they looked at a stream that someone new could feel would be accessible to newbies? - Iphigenie
Pay @biz :) - Josh Lam
i am convertible to 1 e-token of intangible 'value' in this imaginary perceived point value system of social media numbers - sɹǝɥʇɐǝɟʞɔɐןq
& i rate your performance by the # of sounded claps i make @ a given rate per sec w/ respect to the db emitted. right this sec, this is convertible to 1/3rd the popularity rate unit counted in the perceived cumulative total + 1 in regards to the gross popularity total i just made up and substituted from other people's realities assumed to be true. this is my derived perception of social media popularity that may change at any time and may be replaced for another assumption. - sɹǝɥʇɐǝɟʞɔɐןq
Ah the smell of conspiracy in the morning. - Robin Wauters
I think twitter should replace all the little avatars with Tom from MySpace. - Wes Hoogenboom
This should be re-named as "pre-selected list", not suggested. Twitter is just trying to quickly increase usage for future monetization. - William Mougayar
if recommend is synonymous of "most followed", then #1: @scoble you say the contrary all day long (followers are pointless) #2: this feature itself is useless since we just need a search engine "by number of followers". I therefore assume that twitter tries/is trying/intends to/ put value other than simply nr of followers. and how can you do this with objective measurable inputs? Finding someone interesting or not is based on your own standpoint. So the feature is controversial per se - Jean-Charles VERDIE
I'd pay 10K to get a profile there, do i twitpic a check in? - sean percival
To market my brand, I'd pay 10k, get put in front of 1m faces, and another mil or 3 over time after this post gets thoroughly read. All this attention is worth quite a bit more than 10k, wouldn't you say. - Steve Ram
My first thought was that they would sell spots on that list if they hadn't already. Robert's topic is provocative only because Twitter's added a feature that looks so baldly commercial. Not that there's anything wrong with it! - Michael Pilla
Here's a simple test: Go to 2 different Twitter accounts you may have (e.g. personal/business). Check that list. It's the same! So, this isn't a "Recommended list" in the way that FF or APML might do it. It's not related to who you follow/don't follow & what you like. It's just a list that's marketed by Twitter- let's take it as it is. - William Mougayar
"Robert -- did you ask to be removed from this Forbes Web Celeb list? Seems like that was quite a gift: - Omar Gallaga" So Robert, how about it? Did you pass on the "gift" Forbes made you? - Alexander Kucera
Wow, longest conversation every! - Sweyn Venderbush from twhirl
Omar and Alexander: I didn't pull myself off of the Fortune list because 1. that didn't end up getting me much of anything, certainly not provable. 2. It was a subjective list done by a professional group of editors and it was presented as subjective. 3. it reflected real-life popularity. In fact, one could argue that being high on Twitter and friendfeed follower lists is why I got onto Fortune's list. Before two weeks ago those follower lists had integrity. Today they do not. But no big deal, I'm over it. - Robert Scoble
I didn't see him on the list. - Patricia
This is eerily similar to a high school election. - Oldengrey (Jay)
Twitter has a suggest list? don't remember the last time I used it if ever - Jeff Quinton
Biz Stone - From The LA Times: Twitter co-founder Biz Stone acknowledged that offering “suggested users” wasn’t the ideal solution and suggested that the service might evolve to cater to particular users’ interests. “Right now it’s sort of like staff picks at your local bookstore,” he wrote in an e-mail. - Jim Connolly
Robert: I view the Suggested Users feature on Twitter as a Staff Pick in iTunes. They have no relevance to anything else. It's just what the guy behind the screen wants to pin. I was very sad to read this. I love the idea that the individual user is beginning to rise over traditional mainstream media. It's something I've worked toward for the past 3 years. However, I see this as the death of journalistic integrity. - George Force
Robert: You speak of Twitter's Suggested User feature being corrupt, however, within the same action you lay down egregious accusations. What ever happened to the days of fact checking? You have to keep in mind, no matter what your intentions are, you swing a big stick. Thousands of people are going to read what you say. If you do not intend for something like this to be taken as media, then you need to make clear what your intentions are. - George Force
Everyone has been waging war to try to win the popularity contest, and they've focused so hard on this that they've forgotten the basics. As the paradigm shifts, we are starting to create a high tech sewing circle where the words slander and libel have no meaning. We all need to work a little bit harder to try to remember that there are real people with real emotions on the other end of the wire. - George Force
George: read again. I did NOT lay down ANY accusations. I did not accuse anyone of anything, I just said this creates a situation where we can not be sure how they got on this list. Please read carefully. This feature is corrupt. Why does Ryan Block have 1/10th as many followers today as Veronica? (They used to be about the same). Because Twitter "picked" Veronica to be popular. That's subjective and ruins the integrity of the follower system. - Robert Scoble
George: right. Subjective systems pick stars for weird reasons. Do you pay to get on the iTunes list? I don't know, but given the music industry's past of payola I really wonder. How did the brands get onto Twitter's list? Did they pay? Why Veronica and not Ryan Block? Ryan ran Engadget. He deserves to be on the top of any list too. This system is stupid and lame and not well thought out (which even Twitter admits in the Los Angeles Times this weekend). - Robert Scoble
I understand that you want change on Twitter. I don't blame you for that. But why should they listen to what you have to say? You go onto their platform and out them publicly more than once a day. Twitter doesn't owe anyone but their VC anything. If you hate Twitter so much, then stop using it. It could easily be said that you're giving friendfeed a gift by going to Twitter and talking about friendfeed. Are you receiving a check from friendfeed? - George Force
Your whole argument could then be boiled down to, "Twitter made a poor choice in thinking about their recommended accounts feature and it is poorly thought out." Good thing this was just an FF thread and not a blog post. - coldbrew
There is no reason to say vile things about a service on their platform due to a matter of preference. If you don't like Twitter, stop using it. It's that simple. Twitter works very well for what I need it to do. friendfeed serves another purpose entirely. Twitter does not need to be friendfeed. You said in a different post about how we need to stop focusing on followers and start focusing on who's talking. I would say we need to stop focusing on followers and start focusing on what we're saying. - George Force
George: I do not receive checks or any compensation from friendfeed. I didn't receive any compensation from Twitter when I talked it up a LOT two years ago (my readers got sick of me talking about Twitter all the time back then too). - Robert Scoble
Now I'm going to go watch some guy get kicked in the groin on YouTube! - George Force
coldbrew: who said this is not a blog post? :-) There's no real definition for what a blog is. Friendfeed is blogging. So is Twittering. - Robert Scoble
George: I totally disagree. These are communications platforms and one of their uses IS complaining about how they are built. I used to use the telephone to complain about AT&T too. So there. :-) - Robert Scoble
I'd like to wrap up my opinion about the whole subject in 2 sentences: 1) Who are you to recommend people to me? 2) Recommending people to me means that you know me, that you know what I'm **interested** in. i.e. Every recommendation algorithm that **IGNORES** the user is by definition stupid. - directeur
Jason: I did not make any claim. Go and read it again. This time read it. Don't react emotionally. Read it like a computer compiler would. Parse each word. I will admit I was sensational and stupid. I did NOT call out Techcrunch. I called out Twitter. That's different. I did say that I am not sure how people got on the list. Why did Veronica get on this list and not Ryan Block? You can't explain it. Neither can I. So, that opens up the door to corruption and graft. Perception does matter. - Robert Scoble
Because my name was used in Robert's post (and we discussed this ad nauseum on Gillmor Gang) I'd like to weigh in. I know it sounds like sour grapes when I say anything about this. And I suppose some of it is. I did enjoy being at the top of Twitterholic. And there's tangible benefit to it - it gives you cred (some, not a ton). I suppose Twitter leaves me off its recommended list because I'm not always a fan of how Twitter does business. That, in itself, points to a problem with how the list is generated. - Leo Laporte
Why does perception matter? Because you are not even able to unemotionally read a sentence without reading meaning into it. Now, try to read a sentence (like what Twitter is communicating by making Veronica a star and not Ryan Block or not Leo Laporte) and add that same emotionality into it. THAT is what I was trying to point out. - Robert Scoble
I do admit I made that point in a stupid and lame way, though, and for that I'm sorry. But it did get you to engage on this and think about it and for all the hurt feelings this morning THAT is a positive thing. - Robert Scoble
If you don't think number of followers is important, then the "suggested list" is irrelevant. And I think that's what Twitter is saying. "Who cares if Whole Foods is acquiring thousands of unearned followers a day? We just want new users to have someone to follow." My point is that Twitter has immense power to influence the course of Twitter. This simple suggestion list thrusts some users forward for arbitrary and opaque reasons. This is why an open solution is ultimately better for us all. - Leo Laporte
Leo: I prefer to use the words "algorithmic" and "objective" instead of "open" but I get what you're getting at. - Robert Scoble
Look, Robert, I'm not trying to bust you up. I respect you and what you've done for the community. What I'm saying is that "Prove that Techcrunch did not pay @biz $10,000 to get on Twitter's suggested friend list," sounds an awful lot like an accusation. That's it. Hence, the focus on quality. People need to stop a second and think not about WHAT they're saying, but HOW they're saying it. - George Force
@scobleizer That's because you want to preserve Twitter. I don't think _any_ private micro-messaging solution is adequate. It needs to be open, like email. No algorithm is going to make a proprietary solution acceptable in my mind. - Leo Laporte
George: the point is that I don't know what the criteria is. So, you can't prove anything about anything on this list. That causes a perception problem for everyone involved. I know people who WOULD pay to get on this list. Why? At some point thousands of followers will mean money. I used to work for a magazine with 110,000 subscribers that made millions every year. This list ruins integrity of community. It is corruptible. - Robert Scoble
Goodness gracious, folks. I'm in la la land right now and I still understand the point Robert was trying to get across. Pour out the Scoble haterade for two seconds. - Shawn Farner
Leo: ahh, I see what you mean by open. I thought we were just talking about the recommended follower feature. Now that you are talking about the entire system I totally agree. I have on my to do list to take another look at We should start another thread about whether or not that's the answer and if not, why not. - Robert Scoble
I have to agree with Jason H. Robert, you DID accuse TC of paying off Twitter. You creatively arranged the words to make it look like you are not directly making an accusation, but we can read between the lines. You do have something against TC, but that is your issue to resolve, don't bring it here. Ba a man and either say it out loud and to Arrington's face or shut the hell up about this. If you have a problem with Twitter then bring it against them. Sack up or shut up. Investigate or go home. - Norbert Davis
Robert, I'm not disagreeing with you entirely, and I'm certainly not becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Would you be interested in having a round table with myself and Ben Heckendorn on my podcast? Leo would also be welcome. - George Force
I'm not trying to get ratings or promotion. I'm interested in this subject. - George Force
Norbert: Mike Arrington (founder of Techcrunch and I are friends. I picked Techcrunch because he would get what I was trying to say. He speaks out against corruptible systems elsewhere (like his competition with Demo conference, which companies pay to get on stage). I didn't accuse anyone of anything. I did say that this system raises the perception issue. This is why journalists aren't allowed to own stocks in the companies they cover and why they aren't allowed to take gifts. This is a corruptible system. - Robert Scoble
Scoble could post about the air-land speed of a European Swallow and get "engagement" much like TC and their one-word post, "Twitter." - coldbrew
Twitter needs the cash, good for them. It's about time they found a way to make a little $. Also, I don't think popularity is the best indicator of a friend. @Techcrunch has been good to me, Leo on the other hand...(-; - tarafireball
"And, therefore, Twitter is a witch. Burn Her!" - coldbrew
Spill it, tarafireball. What'd Laporte do? - coldbrew
Its amazing that this topic gets more comments than the ISP/wireless bill, that will affect us all. - Joe K
Here's Arrington's post with 442 comments: - coldbrew
This post wouldn't have gotten nearly the attention with a less incendiary title. Even "I can't prove Techcrunch didn.t..." probably would have blown over quick. - Bruce Lewis
It'd be interesting to see some eye-tracking type analysis on threads like this to see, on average, how many comments people read before commenting themselves. Seems like there's a whole lot of repetition. - Ken Sheppardson
That's not entirely fair, Lewis, I wouldn't continue if I didn't have some assurance that some smart folks would chime in. - coldbrew
There are 256 comments on this post. I guarantee you I'll not be reading them all before I post this. - Rahsheen
Rasheen, it is a summary about how they chose the Knights of the Round Table. Hint: The Black Knight always wins, b/c it is merely a flesh wound no matter what happens :-) - coldbrew
FTR, I read every last comment (like always), sigh. - coldbrew
As someone who moved away from just numbers to quality numbers, it's all a tempest in a teapot to me. I can reevaluate my relationship with either TC or Leo at any time, but the specter of payola makes it feel like 1999 all over again. - Scott Pierce
I am amazed at the level of BS people are spewing here to grind their personal axes - also amazed that some people would take this so personally as an attack when it clearly wasnt an attack on them at all. Robert, in a rush to post like he often is, did not craft his words carefully enough and issued a challenge using incendiary language and referencing a friend (who will survive the debate clearly). This sort of thread is what makes Andrew Keen squeal with delight... - Chris Heuer
Q1: is twitter adopting a pay to play model for being featured anywhere on its site? Q2: Will the user community (especially new signups) be better off if they are open about how they are doing it? NO DOUBT - FAIR DISCLOSURE ALA ADVERTORIAL Q3 Does this sort of advertising (and the sort that has GaryVee using adsense to promote his twitter account) have a positive or negative impact on folks or does it matter at all? does this use of money as power to get attention take away from open/meritocratic ideals? - Chris Heuer
one disclosure piece - last week I contacted the folks behind twitter counter to see if we (aka me for Social Media Club) could buy a 'follow us' ad on their top 100 page - as the noise gets louder, we need better ways for getting noticed. was in the top 100 there for several months until recently being kicked off list by hollywood celebtrities joining conversation - Q4 should celebrities and companies be on separate lists - should we have user 'types' to differenentiate - Chris Heuer
How is this at all different from Google Reader's suggested content bundles, or the defaults that are included on start pages (some of which actually do pay to be there). Frankly, I'd have no problem if Twitter did charge for these spots, though I'm confident they haven't done so thus far. People are clearly willing to pay (see twittercounter) ... it's a good biz model - Adam Ostrow
Robert, the fact that you claim over and over again that you didn't make any claims, makes it even worse. The implication is there, even if you didn't mean to suggest it. A lot of people read that implication as an assertion. You are a polarizing person, and people aren't going to be carefully parsing your words anymore. You must realize this by now, and if you don't recognize this passive aggressive aspect of your nature, then that is the real issue here. - Joost Schuur
Why does it even matter if Twitter is 'broken' just because they don't have a perfect way to recommend followers at a time when they've just started opening up to non techies? Twitter suggestions have been available for a few weeks now. Can't we just let the system try and balance itself out for a while, before we freak out? Twitter is going to improve the system on their end, and some people are going to naturally unfollow folks over time that weren't a right fit and follow others that they've found through other recommendations (search, blog postings, @replies and other news items). - Joost Schuur
Joost: OK. It was a lame and stupid way to make a point but I think we are all adults here and everyone can see I wasn't asserting that corruption had already taken place. I just wanted to point out that this is a corruptible system that is rewarding significant gifts to some people in the community. - Robert Scoble
It doesn't matter that Ryan Block has 13,000 and Veronica has 110,000. You are right. Onward! - Robert Scoble
Leo shouldn't be on that list. He trashes Twitter. I wouldn't list him if he trashed my company all the time. - PC Easy from twhirl
PC Easy: so not being on this list is punishment for bad behavior. Got it. That is why I hate subjective lists. - Robert Scoble
Haha, we run mrtweet. We were #5 two weeks ago, and we were absolutely shocked by the massive increase in numbers by everyone. It is pretty puzzling for us - we are pretty sure we did not get recommended at all, since our growth remains very consistent. Oh well. ;) - ming yeow
@ Robert: A) According to Merriam-Webster a gift is "something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation". So no, since you call being on Twitters recomendation list a gift, Veronica did not earn it neither did TechCruch and neither did Leo. B) Your statement "Prove that Techcrunch did not pay @biz $10,000 to get on Twitter's suggested friend list." sure sounds like an accusation of coruption. C) Your ranting is really only damaging your reputation and FF by association. - ChiliMac
Who even uses this feature anyway? I know I don't. I'm only going to follow people I find from other people I follow. That way I'm getting people with similar interests not what Twitter or FriendFeed THINK I might like to follow. PS. I just checked out my suggested user list and TechCruch wasn't on there. Maybe because I already follow him. But, in that case, if Robert knows he's on there doesn't that mean Robert doesn't follow him? - ChiliMac
ChiliMac: Re "Who even uses this feature anyway?" Every new Twitter user sees this list. After you sign up, you're first asked if you want to try to import friends from another service (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, etc.) The next screen is 20 users selected from an apparently larger (~100ish?) list --with all 20 checked--and a big "Finish" button. Following everyone in the random(?) group of 20 is the default for new users. - Ken Sheppardson
I think Roberts problem is not that they implemented this feature but that the way it has been implemented. If the selection method was clearly paid or algorithm based then I don't think too many people would have a problem with it. It would appear at the moment that the criteria is just "people that I think are good". That is open to abuse as it has a bearing on the influence certain people have withing the network so if money isn't the criteria and there is no actual algorithmic calculation going on then why are some people promote over others? What's the agenda?. If they are paying for this then ok. If an algorithm selects them then that's ok too. The problem (and suspicion) arises with the lack of clarity in the selection process. - Anton Mannering from twhirl
I bet $10 you are mentally handicapped :D - coldbrew
Wow, I think you can get posted in Who's Who for only $35. Who cares? - Todd Kulick
Well, it's either pay up or join the train of Twitter users who wave through the system and are fast approaching 40,000 followers even though you've never heard of them, nor have they ever added anything of value to your life. Coercion is a bitch. - matt
gila kuasa, gila nama... (power crazy, name crazy!) - Pajama Domain
How do I get on this list? I have all this money that Obama gave me to spend to stimulate the economy. Can I stimulate Twitter's economy? Where do I mail the check? - Stephen Antonucci
This is a provocative post, Robert. iJustine did give Evan cupcakes. I remember their public exchange and acknowledgment. Was that a coerced coincidence or just innocent cavity propagation? I think the real power of the "suggested" followers "scam" is choosing high profile folks while including the lesser folks you have been calling out. The nobodies who are now the most popular proves to the business world just what Twitter can do to propel you forward. The proof-of-power is not in the payoff, but rather in the dessert. - David Boles
There are a lot of comments, so if this is duplicating what someone else said - so sorry :) If you want a great way to get a REAL recommended list, head over to HubSpot's Twitter Grader - get graded and there will be a recommended list below. - Mitch Canter
lolololol - "Joey"
Not trying to bash anyone, but I'm curious as to why people think that twitter is under any obligation to make their free service "open". Twitter seems to be saying that they reject the meaning of twitter follower counts as defined by others. Twitter's ultimate goal, I think, isn't to be a public service so much as to be a profitable company. "Their house, their rules" so to speak. If people want an open system, then they would probably prefer services like those that Leo Laporte proposes. - James Brodman
James: For me it sorta boils down to a monopoly power argument. What's wrong with Twitter not being open (and thereby controlling the "micromessaging" market/protocol) is the same thing that's wrong with AT&T controlling the phone service market or Microsoft controlling the operating system market. - Ken Sheppardson
Robert, by your metric, wouldn't any celebrity (tech geek or otherwise) also have an unfair (and unmeritorious) advantage in getting followers? Thus, having unfair influence? Veronica, you did get a gift. However, I am not sure you can earn a gift. - Rob McNealy
"promotional consideration" disclaimers are standard practice in TV game shows. Why not on Twitter? - Michael Markman
Why $10,000? Do you a have a copy of a check or a receipt or some such? - Chuck Baggett