Is SxSW Swamping TwitPic? Or is TwitPic just Unreliable?

Until yesterday, my experience with TwitPic had been quite good. If you’re not familiar, TwitPic is a utility that lets you upload pictures from your iPhone (if it’s available for Blackberry, please let me know) to Twitter using clients like Twitterific or Twittelator, and publish a link to the photo as part of your tweet. TwitPic was profiled in Twitter 121.

For example, it worked well on Saturday when I attended the Austin boys’ section semifinal basketball game at Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center, and uploaded a picture just after the game started. Here was my tweet:


And the photo was just as I had expected.

But yesterday I experienced something, as Monty Python would say, “completely different.”

I snapped a picture of a slide from presentation I was watching, and uploaded it with this tweet:


Let’s just say the photo my Tweeps saw when they clicked the link wasn’t what I had uploaded.  (The second time it worked.)

A similar thing happened a bit later when I took a photo of a a former colleague during our dinner:


Here was the photo that showed up:


That picture doesn’t look anything like Chris! And it gives the impression that he was having digestive difficulties. 😉

I’ve heard that all the iPhone users at South by Southwest (SxSW) 2009 have overwhelmed the network capacity at the location with their TweetingDo you think this might have had anything to do with the TwitPic failures I experienced yesterday? That maybe lots of pictures were being uploaded at once, and somehow the links got switched? Have you had any problems with TwitPic?

I know that based on this experience I’m going to be extremely reluctant to upload work-related photos to TwitPic, until I find out what caused this problem and what has been done to resolve it. If you can’t trust that the photo you’re uploading will be the one linked in your Tweet, how can you use TwitPic?

TwitPic = FAIL

Twitter 130: Listening with Twitter

In Twitter 107, I compared two desktop applications for improving your Twitter interactions: Tweetdeck and Twhirl.

In this course, I will take you through a case study of what can happen when you listen and engage through Twitter.

Several months ago, I set up a Twitter search for the term “mayo clinic” and subscribed to the RSS feed. And frankly, for quite a while the feed wasn’t all that interesting. Mayo Clinic wasn’t mentioned very often on Twitter, probably because Twitter’s earliest adopters skewed younger and male, at least as compared to the typical health care consumer or decision maker.

That’s recently changed quite a bit, though, especially as Twitter has reportedly grown by 33 percent in the last month. While the Tweet volume is still nowhere near what Comcast experiences, for example, we’re at least seeing a dozen or more Mayo Clinic tweets a day. 

So as I set up my Tweetdeck to be more intentional and regular in listening on Twitter, I created one pane to monitor the “Mayo Clinic” search. (I had previously used the Twilert service, which sends you a daily email with the tweets that match your search criteria, but wanted to be more responsive than a daily email digest would allow.)

I was somewhat surprised last Sunday night to see the following Tweet from a gentleman named Tom Vanderwell, who goes by @tvanderwell on Twitter:


I wasn’t sure what to make of this. Was that a negative comment or a positive one? So I replied to Tom’s Tweet with:


Much to my relief, Tom’s response was:


After clicking through to Tom’s Twitter profile, I found out he was from Grand Rapids, Michigan. As we exchanged replies and eventually direct messages, I mentioned that I was going to be at a conference in Grand Rapids this Wednesday. It turns out the convention was right across the street from his office, so we arranged for a real-life meeting Wednesday morning (a picture from which I posted, of course, using Twitpic).

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

In a future post I will profile Tom and how he’s using social media in his mortgage banker business, particularly with his Straight Talk about Mortgages and Real Estate blog. But for now, let me just say that we had a delightful conversation and were able to connect in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without Twitter. 

What’s your favorite example of a Tweetup? When have you been able to meet someone in real life, either a brand-new friend you made through social media, or someone you’ve known virtually for a while but only later got to meet face to face?

Twitter 121: Sharing Photos with TwitPic

Note: This is the first in a series of reviews of third-party applications that are part of the Twitter ecosystem. If you would like to write a review of another application, please contact the Chancellor about becoming a SMUG Associate Professor.

Twitpic is a site that lets you share photos using your Twitter account. It’s easy to use; You don’t even need to sign up separately. You just log in with your Twitter username and password:


Then, from the main page you can click the “Upload Photo” link:


This starts a three-step process. First you select your image (I chose for the sake of illustration to use the same image I embedded above):


Then you enter information about the photo, including where it was taken and tags. If you use a real address, the photo will show up in a Google maps mash-up. I’m trying a non-standard approach for this one:


Finally, you enter your Tweet and hit “Post It”


Here’s what the Tweet will look like in your timeline on Twitter:


The link to your photo shows up right after your username, and if people click that link they can see and comment on it.


And of course, their comments also become Tweets:


And from the TwitPic site you can share the photo via several other social networking platforms:


Lest you think TwitPic is just for screen shots, here’s the first photo I shared via TwitPic. I was in San Francisco earlier this year and caught my first foul ball at a major league baseball game.


  1. Sign up for Twitter if you haven’t previously.
  2. Comment on my baseball photo.
  3. Follow me on Twitter (I’ll follow you back.)
  4. Upload your own photo to TwitPic.

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