There was a bit of a buzz on Twitter today about a rather silly application called Twifficiency. It calculates “your twitter efficiency based upon your twitter activity. This includes how many people you follow, how many people follow you, how often you tweet and how many tweets you read.” Most Twitterers – myself included – like silly apps like this for the sole reason of curiosity (and perhaps a dash of stroking the ego). So, when I saw the automated messages appear on my Twitterfeed, my curiosity was activated and, like that, I clicked it and had it calculate mine. (45% by the way – in case you care, but really you shouldn’t as it is actually is not real).
Next thing – Twitter goes berserk. Although it states on the frontpage that it will autopublish the result when allowing the app to link to your Twitter account – as with anything in life – most users fail to read the little letters. And are not happy. Bring on accusations of spam, trying to steal passwords, the lot. What really happened was the following:
A 17-year old boy (Dundee based James Cunningham) played around with oAuth, to test how it works and how he could use it. oAuth is the little screen that pops up when using apps outside Twitter, requesting to allow a tool, in the same way Tweetpic or Tweetmeme use access to Twitter for instance. So he created a fun little app to test it with and created the website to go with it. I’ve copied a bit of his Twitter timeline to show his genuine surprise at how it took off. The first one I find particularity cute: “OMFG I HAVE A TRENDING TOPIC!!!!!”. When I checked his profile this morning he had somewhat around 150 followers – as you can see for yourself, that has now risen to over 500 and I presume will go up a lot more. The search I have running for “Twifficiency” still produces around 100 results every minute or so.
In short: young James went viral – and seemed to be genuinely stressed and apologetic about it all, and, to be honest, I can’t blame him. I am 99% convinced that it was all in good faith and in an innocent fashion. If anything, I’d like to hope that perhaps a few doors have opened for James, as he seems to be rather talented and was able to make a silly application a trending topic on Twitter. Not a lot of us can say that…