Saturday, 6 February 2010

Too many updates suddenly appearing in your Twitter profile? Then you're a victim of tweetflation - the term was first used by Sydney user @smurray38 yesterday, when the phenomenon started to be reflected in the twitterfeed.

Naturally, you're upset. After all, people who view your profile apply a quick calculation to the numbers they see there. By comparing the number of updates to the number of people following you, they can gauge your popularity. A low tweet count and a high follower count is a sign of popularity.

Some of those hit by the miscalculation were demonstrably upset.

From @jessmcguire: ... lied to by the one thing we should be able to trust, a social networking site :(

From @alyssatasker: what are we going to believe in now.... :(

Others engaged in a bit of verbal sparring.

From @julie_posetti (who has a small baby at home): Breast-tweeting inflates the stats my end - but not that prolifically!

From @smurray38: Maybe Twitter is gearing up for an IPO and needs even more amazing numbers of Tweeters and tweets to impress the market

This last was in response to a challenge from @julie_posetti: So how many times have you tweeted now @smurray38? I challenge you to invent a conspiracy to accompany Twitter HQ tweetflation.

There were some outrageous hypotheses, but most were trying to come to some understanding of how the updates suddenly ramped up.

From @smurray38: @julie_posetti Yes, tweetflation is occurring across the board; doesn't seem to be confined to any one app, so must be at Twitter HQ

In any case, there was crossness mixed with consternation across the board.

From @Tzarimas: What's with the incorrect tweet count? Mine says I've done 3x more tweets than I actually have. #tweetfail

From @smurray38: I marked 5000 tweets in total a few weeks ago, now I have 19686 ... well now 19687

I saw tweets like these all day yesterday, as the scourge migrated from one account to another. Committed tweeters like @julie_posetti and @smurray38 may have been irritated and dismayed, but there seemed little alternative at hand to just getting back to business as usual.

It seems that people are very forgiving of their favourite software, especially one as important to their lives as Twitter. Patiently waiting, however, they'll all be keeping an eye on their update totals to see when the error is corrected at Twitter headquarters, and life returns to normal.

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