ReadWriteWeb had a solid scoop last week when it uncovered Twitter was set to go live with an account called @EarlyBird. Well, it has just gone live, with a tweet pointing to this page where the company explains what it’s all about.
Looks like Twitter is about to start offering users exclusive, time-bound deals, events and sneak peeks, for which it has partnered with a number of (yet unnamed) advertisers. Those advertisers will distribute offers via the @EarlyBird account, and they get to determine the terms of the offer, including availability, amount, and pricing.
If you want to get access to said exclusive deals, you need to of course follow the @EarlyBird account, although you may also see offers if someone you follow retweets a tweet from that account. Yes, that means exclusive deals are bound to get viral pretty quickly, which will be interesting to observe given that many of the offers distributed via the account will be time-sensitive of nature (otherwise it wouldn’t be called Early Bird, of course).
Twitter outlines that it has deals with select advertisers in place, but welcomes suggestions of a product/event sent by @reply to @earlybird. Nevertheless, since Twitter clearly looks at this like a significant potential revenue stream, it is keen on emphasizing that it will be selective about the type of deals they highlight. Also, the company suggests that deals will come mostly at the start of the day.
As for internationally available offers:
Will these deals be targeted toward Twitter’s many users outside the United States?
At first, many of the advertising partners will be large, international brands or focused on the U.S. market. As @earlybird grows beyond this first early phase, so will the deals in different places.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that at the end of the list of questions presented on the introductory page, Twitter makes it clear that while it is kicking things off with US-wide offers, the company will explore location-based and even thematic (e.g. fashion or music) deals in the future.
(More coming)Information provided by CrunchBase
I’m studying what Twitter is doing because it will become a dominant hyperlocal advertising platform.
Much of this indifference stemmed from an obsession with profits, come what may. But there also appears to have been another factor, one more universally human, at work. The people running BP did a dreadful job of estimating the true chances of events that seemed unlikely — and may even have been unlikely — but that would bring enormous costs.
Perhaps the easiest way to see this is to consider what BP executives must be thinking today. Surely, given the expense of the clean-up and the hit to BP’s reputation, the executives wish they could go back and spend the extra money to make Deepwater Horizon safer. That they did not suggests that they figured the rig would be fine as it was.
For all the criticism BP executives may deserve, they are far from the only people to struggle with such low-probability, high-cost events. Nearly everyone does. “These are precisely the kinds of events that are hard for us as humans to get our hands around and react to rationally,” Robert N. Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard, says. We make two basic — and opposite — types of mistakes. When an event is difficult to imagine, we tend to underestimate its likelihood. This is the proverbial black swan. Most of the people running Deepwater Horizon probably never had a rig explode on them. So they assumed it would not happen, at least not to them.
Similarly, Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan liked to argue, not so long ago, that the national real estate market was not in a bubble because it had never been in one before. Wall Street traders took the same view and built mathematical models that did not allow for the possibility that house prices would decline. And many home buyers signed up for unaffordable mortgages, believing they could refinance or sell the house once its price rose. That’s what house prices did, it seemed.
On the other hand, when an unlikely event is all too easy to imagine, we often go in the opposite direction and overestimate the odds. After the 9/11 attacks, Americans canceled plane trips and took to the road. There were no terrorist attacks in this country in 2002, yet the additional driving apparently led to an increase in traffic fatalities.
When the stakes are high enough, it falls to government to help its citizens avoid these entirely human errors. The market, left to its own devices, often cannot do so. Yet in the case of Deepwater Horizon, government policy actually went the other way. It encouraged BP to underestimate the odds of a catastrophe.
In a little-noticed provision in a 1990 law passed after the Exxon Valdez spill, Congress capped a spiller’s liability over and above cleanup costs at $75 million for a rig spill. Even if the economic damages — to tourism, fishing and the like — stretch into the billions, the responsible party is on the hook for only $75 million. (In this instance, BP has agreed to waive the cap for claims it deems legitimate.) Michael Greenstone, an M.I.T. economist who runs the Hamilton Project in Washington, says the law fundamentally distorts a company’s decision making. Without the cap, executives would have to weigh the possible revenue from a well against the cost of drilling there and the risk of damage. With the cap, they can largely ignore the potential damage beyond cleanup costs. So they end up drilling wells even in places where the damage can be horrific, like close to a shoreline. To put it another way, human frailty helped BP’s executives underestimate the chance of a low-probability, high-cost event. Federal law helped them underestimate the costs.
In the wake of Deepwater Horizon, Congress and the Obama administration will no doubt be tempted to pass laws meant to reduce the risks of another deep-water disaster. Certainly there are some sensible steps they can take, like lifting the liability cap and freeing regulators from the sway of industry. But it would be foolish to think that the only risks we are still underestimating are the ones that have suddenly become salient.
The big financial risk is no longer a housing bubble. Instead, it may be the huge deficits that the growth of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will cause in coming years — and the possibility that lenders will eventually become nervous about extending credit to Washington. True, some economists and policy makers insist the country should not get worked up about this possibility, because lenders have never soured on the United States government before and show no signs of doing so now. But isn’t that reminiscent of the old Bernanke-Greenspan tune about the housing market?
Then, of course, there are the greenhouse gases that oil wells (among other things) send into the atmosphere even when the wells function properly. Scientists say the buildup of these gases is already likely to warm the planet by at least three degrees over the next century and cause droughts, storms and more ice-cap melting. The researchers’ estimates have risen recently, too, and it is also possible the planet could get around 12 degrees hotter. That kind of warming could flood major cities and cause parts of Antarctica to collapse.
Nothing like that has ever happened before. Even imagining it is difficult. It is much easier to hope that the odds of such an outcome are vanishingly small. In fact, it’s only natural to have this hope. But that doesn’t make it wise.
David Leonhardt is an economics columnist for The Times and a staff writer for the magazine.
This article explains the oil spill dynamics
One of the most important questions people ask about Facebook once they get started is, “How do I separate my business and personal identity?” It’s a very important question: you don’t necessarily want prospective clients to see pictures of you drinking a bit too much at the last family reunion! One solution people sometimes use is to simply have two different Facebook profiles: one for their personal life, and one for their professional life. However, that solution is somewhat unwieldy. We suggest a better one: using the privacy settings to configure who can see what about you on Facebook.
1) To give you the most flexibility, it’s best to categorize your Facebook friends; you might, for instance, have the following friend lists: Work, friends, family, acquaintances, clients, prospective clients. If you have lists, it’s not mandatory that all your friends actually be in a list; also, any friend can be in one or more than one list. They’re quite flexible. (See Facebook tutorial 2.1 for more information on this).
2) To see your current lists, click on Friends near the top of your screen. In the left sidebar you’ll see the lists that you already have. (Note, of course, that might not have any lists if you haven’t set them up yet!) At the bottom of the lists you’ll see a little Create button which allows you to … tada!!! … create more lists. Go ahead and create some of the lists that you’ll need.
3) Now go through your friends and put them into the various groups. To do so, simply click on the Add to list button next to each friend and then click on the list into which you want to put them.
3) Now that you have at least some of your friends classified, let’s see how to use the privacy settings. To start with, when you do a status update, upload a video or picture, or share a link, you can configure — on the fly — which people will be able to see it. Simply click on the little padlock icon next to the share button and choose whom you want to be able to see the update. In the below example, for instance, we’re typing in a status update Went drinking last night with old college buddies — had way too much This may not be an update you’d feel comfortable sharing with business associates, so let’s make it private.
4) By clicking on customize, you can fine-tune who will see it. In the below diagram, for instance, we have shared the update with only one list of friends (”Drinking buddies” — you can’t see the name of the list in the diagram, only the fact that 1 list has been selected), but NOT Cynthia Boer Tanis.
5) Now let’s look at how to configure privacy more broadly. Start by clicking on Privacy Settings on the Account tab at the top of your screen.
6) You’ll see you have five categories you can configure: Profile Information, Contact Information, Applications & Websites, Search and Block List. The latter is as simple as it sounds: you simply add the undesirables in your life and they will not be able to contact you on Facebook, or even find you on Facebook. (Of course, they may still be able to find you on other sites on the Internet outside of Facebook!)
7) Now we’ll look at Profile Information in greater detail; the remaining categories all work similarly, so we won’t go into detail on those.
8 ) Click on Profile Information.
9) You can control how Facebook displays many, many aspects of your Facebook presence: About me, Personal Info, Birthday, Religious and Political Views, and so forth. We’ll use Birthday as an example. Click on the drop down box next to Birthday.
10) In the order of least to most restrictive about who can view your profile, here are the setting choices, an explanation, and some thoughts on when they might be appropriate.
11) Let’s look at the customize option. Select it, then click on Edit Custom Settings.
12) You can choose some of the same options as before (Everyone, Friends of Friends) but you can also selectively hide certain information from certain people.
14) When you’re done configuring to your heart’s content, click on Save Settings.
15) At the bottom of the screen, click on Save Changes.
16) Finally, you can test if the setting accomplishes what you want it to by clicking on Preview my Profile.
You can put in a friend’s name in the top part, next to where it says This is how your profile looks to most people on Facebook. This will allow you to see exactly how that particular friend will experience your Facebook profile.
Now that you understand the basics of how to get into Facebook and use it, and how to leverage it as a business tool, it’s time to look at configuring how you interact with Facebook. There are three different types of configuration settings: Account Settings, Private Settings, and Application Settings. In this sub-module we’ll look at Account Settings.
1) Start by clicking on Settings — Account Settings.
2) Account Settings has six different tabs to choose from: Settings, Networks, Notifications, Mobile, Language, and Payments.
3) Under the Settings tab there are seven options: Name, User Name, Email, Password, Linked Accounts, Privacy, and Deactivate Accounts.
4) The first four are fairly intuitive: they allow you to change your name, your user name, your email address, and your password. The Linked Accounts option allows you to log in to Facebook using a login id from another internet site, like Google. Click on Change next to Linked Accounts.
5) We’ll use a Yahoo account as an example, but the same principles apply for the other services. Click on the drop down box next to Linked Accounts and select Yahoo, the click on Link New Account.
6) In the pop up window, click on Agree.
7) Facebook now tells you “If you are logged into one of the accounts below, you will automatically be logged into Facebook.” In other words, if you’re using, say, Yahoo! Mail — a Yahoo service that requires you to be logged in — and then open up another browser tab and go to Facebook, you’ll automatically be logged into Facebook without having to physically log in again.
8 ) The final two settings on the settings page are Privacy and Deactivate Account. The privacy setting is covered in one of the next modules, and you would only use the Deactivate Account option to, well, deactivate your account!
9) Let’s move on to the next major heading — Networks. Click on the Networks tab near the top of the screen.
10) Networks are closed groups of people — closed in that for many of them, you need to prove that you’re a legitimate member in order to be allowed in. Schools, alumni organizations, and companies are three of the most common examples of networks. For instance, if you’re an employee of Hewlett Packard or a student at the University of Michigan and you wanted to join the corresponding network, you could only do so if you had an @hp.com or @umich.edu email address. See below screenshot for an example.
11) The next tab is the Notifications tab. Go ahead and click it.
12) The Notifications tab simply allows you to configure which Facebook activities — a friend request, a friend acceptance, a comment on a picture of you, a tagging of a video of you, and so forth — will alert you by email or, in some cases, by SMS. Note that you probably want to minimize or even eliminate the number of notifications that get sent to your cell phone via SMS! When you’re done, simply click on Save Changes.
13) Back at the top of the screen, click on Mobile.
14) The Mobile tab enables you to configure Facebook to be able to send you updates via SMS to your cell phone. Simply click on Register for Facebook Mobile Texts to begin the configuration process.
15) The final two top-level tabs are Language and Payments. There’s not much to show there; the Language tab simply allows you to select which language you want to interact with Facebook in (note that it includes some interesting languages like Upside Down English!). ThePayments tab allows you to configure which credit card to use to make purchases.
Now that you’ve set up your Twitter account, it’s time to configure it. Follow along…
1) Go to Twitter.com and log in (if you haven’t done so already).
2) Click on Settings in the upper right corner.
3) You’ll see a number of tabs, including Account, Password, Mobile, Notices, Profile, Design and Connections.
4) Click on Account. Your name, user name, and email address will already be filled in.
You’ll want to let Twitter know your time zone (so that your Tweets will have the correct time stamp). Click on "Add a location to your tweets" only if you are comfortable with letting the public know where you tweet. You may not want to click on this box if you want to keep your home and your daily destinations secret.
Finally, click on Save.
5)Now click on Profile
First upload a picture. If the picture is too large in size, Twitter will reject the picture and tell you. Scroll down towards the bottom of this section to see how to resize your picture to fit into Twitter.
Add your full Name so people can find your Twitter account by searching for your name.
Under Location, be fairly specific with your town and state or province; this will make it easier for other Twitterers to find you. Under Web, add a link – your website or blog, or even your Linkedin or Facebook account.
It’s common for Twitterers to put something pithy and/or witty in the Bio box; if your bio is neither pithy nor witty, that’s fine for now — just put something quick there. Simply keep your eyes open for good ideas on how to improve your bio.
Remember to Save.
5) If you need to change your password, you can do so on the Password tab.
6) For now, you can ignore the Devices tab, which is where you can configure Twitter to work via SMS on your cell phone. We’ll talk about how to do this in a later session.
7) Next, click on Notices.
Enable New Follower Emails if you want an email when a new person starts following you.
Enable Direct Text Emails if you want an email whenever somebody direct messages you. (You’ll find out shortly what a direct message is.)
Enable Email Newsletter if you want regular email updates from Twitter about new features.
Finally, click on Save.
Next, click on Picture.
As you’ve no doubt guessed, this is where you can upload a picture of yourself. As you spend time on Twitter, you’ll notice that many pictures are in casual settings. It’s certainly fine, however, to upload a more formal shot of yourself.
Unfortunately, Twitter’s picture upload feature isn’t terribly sophisticated, so you’ll need to do some things to get your picture ready.
Take this picture, for instance:
There are at least three things wrong with it (apart from the goofy grin and the overly formal attire!): It’s not square, it’s too big, and it’s not cropped around the face.
We recommend using a tool like Paintbrush (which is on most Windows-based computers) or Irfanview to fix these issues. Once you’ve done so, it will look something like this:
Once you’ve cropped and saved your picture, go back to Twitter, click on Settings, then click onPicture. Click on Choose File, find the picture you edited, then click on Save.
9) Finally, click on Design. You’ll notice that you can choose from several different themes. Go ahead and pick one that suits you. When you’re done, click on Save Changes. For now, don’t worry about changing the background image or changing the design colors.