When you’re an unemployed late night talk show host, what do you do with your time? Well, if you’re Conan O’Brien, you change the life of one Twitter user with the simple click of a button.

On February 24th, Conan O’Brien launched a Twitter account that he has been posting to once a day ever since.  The Tweets have all been extremely random, and mainly make fun of his unemployed status since he left The Tonight Show.

As his follower count grew past the 500,000 mark, there was an oddity in that he was not following any one back.  Around 4 PM EST on March 5th, Mr. O’Brien decided to change all that with just one Tweet:

I’ve decided to follow someone at random. She likes peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs. Sarah Killen, your life is about to change.

Before this Tweet, Ms. Killen had three followers, but as I write this she has 9,438 followers.  She has received a free Mac as a gift, been extended an offer for a wedding ring for pending nuptials, been interviewed by MTV and who knows what else.

Will her new found Twitter fame last?  Who knows.  So long as Conan O’Brien follows only her, she will stay in the spotlight, and it does make for a heck of a joke.

Congratulations Ms. Killen on your new Internet fame, and on your impending nuptials.

(In case you’re curious, Mr. O’Brien’s people reached out to Ms. Killen prior to the Tweet via MySpace to make sure she would be okay with this, but she didn’t believe it would actually happen … apparently he is a man of his word)

Categories: Social Networking, Twitter   

This video played last night at the Shorty Awards, and while it’s only funny to people in the tech world … its hilarious to us.

Suze Orman, the financial guru receives a call from “Mark Z.”, an obvious nod to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who wants to buy Twitter for $1.5 billion.  It really is hysterical and well worth your time to take a look.

Categories: Facebook, Twitter   

Ever wondered what it would be like if your dog had a Twitter account? Well, Mattel is here to answer that question for you … kind of.

The Mattel toy company has announced a new product called Puppy Tweets that will send a randomly selected message from 500 preset ones to a Twitter account.  The dog wears a pendant on its collar that sends a signal to a USB receiver you plug into your computer, and whenever the dog moves or barks, a Tweet will be sent to the dog’s Twitter account.

While it sounds cute, its novelty will quickly wear off.  If your dog is scratching, you might get a Tweet about it chasing its tail.  If your dog is very active, you could quickly find a Twitter stream that is just flooded with messages of your dog being active.  Do you really need to know every time your dog moves a muscle?  Seeing as I have four dogs, imagine if I had one of these on each of them … ugh.  It would be a never ending stream of messages as one of them always seems to be active.

Perhaps it would amuse a child, but until the technology actually has some sort of connection to what it does for real, we’re going to suggest you pass.

Categories: Twitter   

Wonder what it’s really like at the Vancouver Olympics?  Jump on Twitter to find out.

The 2010 Winter Olympics are in full swing now in Vancouver, and if you’re curious what is on the minds of the athletes, it seems Twitter will be the best place to find out.

It shouldn’t really be a big surprise that the popular microblogging service is being used by the athletes; it seems like they would be the perfect demographic for such a tool.  Finding them might have been a bit difficult though, and then there is always the question if they are who they really say they are.  Luckily Twitter thought to take care of both jobs for you.

If you head over to the @verified/olympians page, you’ll currently find about 100 Olympians who have all had their accounts verified by the company. Not all of them are from Team U.S.A., so don’t think this isn’t for everyone.  As a matter of fact, the Swiss team has an official account and is quite talkative.  I have no clue what they’re saying, but they do seem to post quite a bit!

The athletes seem excited to be sharing the thrill of the event with everyone and are posting information like weather conditions, photos of their commutes to and from the venues, what’s going through their heads before they compete and so on.

So if you’re tired of pre-packaged inspirational videos from the televised coverage already, be sure to check this page out, and, no, you don’t even need to have a Twitter account to enjoy it!

Categories: Twitter   

If there was ever any doubt that Twitter is beginning to play an important part in all of our lives, it was pretty much dispelled this week when the National Football League (NFL) unveiled its official Twitter hashtag for the Super Bowl.

Twitter has become the hub for conversation of current events, and the best way to track those conversations is via the use of hashtags.  You simply add something like “#topic” to your post (minus the quote marks), and then people can track that conversation via the search feature, or by clicking on the word to see a page of results about it.

One of the problems with hashtags has been the Twitter community coming up with a uniform tag for any given event.  You’ll see multiple tags going for an event like the Apple iPad launch, so some of the conversation may get lost.  With Super Bowl XLIV being this Sunday, the NFL decided that it would remove some of that confusion for you by launching the site Tag The Super Bowl where it unveiled the “official” hashtag of the game, #SB44.  (thankfully they didn’t go with #SBXLIV)

Tweets and images on Flickr that are tagged with #SB44 will appear on the tag page, so you’ll get some “official” NFL glory for your efforts.

While it seems a little silly at first, it makes some sense instead of everyone trying to get their own hashtag to be the one everyone adopts.

Categories: Social Networking, Twitter   

PasswordsTwitter has been undergoing an attack on passwords, and while we think some of their logic is flawed to the cause of it, they still make a good point.

Over the past few days there has been an increase in password problems at Twitter. As the popular microblogging service tried to track down the problem, they feel they tracked it down to a problem with fake Torrent sites: sites that trade in pirated movies, music, TV shows and more. Their conclusion was you created an account on those sites, used the password you use on other services, and the site owners then went around attacking you on other sites with your passwords.

While there are some flaws in this theory, namely people who have never used a Torrent site were also attacked, their reasoning is sound on using different passwords.  If you always register at sites with the same email address and password, then it is easy for someone to take your information from one site and apply it to another.

Using different email addresses for each site would be a pain, but you need to at least change your password for each site to keep your security levels up.

It’s 2010, folks, shouldn’t we be passed people still coming up with lame passwords?

Categories: Security, Twitter   

Securing your name online can be as important as finding a physical location for a business, luckily TweExchange is aiming to help you out.

While there have been services out there for ages now that will help you with locating an unclaimed domain name, and there have also been a few to check for unusued Twitter names, no one has merged the two into one service before.  TweExchange is a new direction for a site that used to auction off desirable Twitter usernames (much to Twitter’s chagrin), but now they are all about helping you choose your online identity while you are still in the brainstorming phase.

The site is amazingly handy when you’re trying to decide on a name for your new online site.  Where you only used to have to worry about the domain name, now you also want a name that you can secure on the social networking site Twitter.  The site starts working almost immediately as you type each letter, showing you possible variations for both domains and Twitter names as you go.  Once you find one you like, you can register the domain via the built in link to the GoDaddy domain name service, and you can also click the link to go to Twitter and register the user name.  (click the image below for a larger view of what the results look like)

The site is simple, straight forward and a breeze to use.  If you want to start fresh with another search, just make sure to click the “Clear results” link below the “Search” button or else you get a jumbling of your previous search results along with the new ones.  As someone who dreams up a lot of sites, but doesn’t always get around to launching them, this site is going to be extremely useful to me.  If you want to launch a totally new online presence, this site should be invaluable to you, so make sure to bookmark it.

Categories: Site Reviews, Twitter   

drew careyHave you followed Drew Carey on Twitter yet like we suggested to you back in October?  If not, why haven’t you?

Back in October of this year we wrote up how Drew Carey was working to drum up charity donations for the Livestrong Foundation to further cancer research.  At that time he was aiming to raise $100,000 by getting 100,000 followers.  Well, he reached that goal, so he upped it to $1,000,000 for 1,000,000 followers and … well … here is some of what I wrote on my personal blog:

This was all inspired by Drew Olanoff, a well-known individual in the social media scene, auction off his Twitter username, @drew, to raise money for cancer research.  Mr. Olanoff recently had a fight with cancer himself, which it thankfully appears he has won, and he felt auctioning off a desirable four-letter Twitter username was a way to go.  His minimum bid was $10,000, but Drew Carey was the first to bid, and he went right for $25,000.  See, Mr. Carey got stuck with the username@DrewFromTV, so of course he wants @drew.  Well, the problem was that it appeared he scared off other potential bidders, so he said if he had 100,000 followers by Nov. 9th, the end of the auction, he would pay $100,000 for the name.  When he easily beat that goal, he extended it to Dec. 31st and $1,000,000 for one million followers.

As I write this, Mr. Carey is at 307,212 followers with a week to go.

… what is wrong with you people?

That was a few days ago, and with less than 48 hours to go, he is up to just over 320,000.

Please folks, please go and follow Mr. Carey.  He doesn’t care if you unfollow him on Jan. 1st, all he is doing is trying to raise awareness of cancer research and to peg his donation to something.  As I also said on my personal blog:

I normally don’t believe in guilting people in to doing things, but come on folks: You click a button, and someone else gives a $1 to charity.  All you have to do is click a button.  That’s it.  Nothing else is required of you.  If you’re a Twitter user, please do it.

It is so simple, and as I said, you just click a button, and someone else donates the dollar.  Just follow the man!

And if you think this deviates from the normal tone of StarterTech, it does somewhat, but it is also about the power of social media to affect change in the world and … oh, forget it, just go follow the man … please.  Again, it is @DrewFromTV, just click the “Follow” button and you’re done!

Categories: Social Networking, Twitter   

tweetpeekLet me just state up front that if you purchase the TwitterPeek, someone from StarterTech will come to your house and punch you squarely in the face and then take your lunch money for good measure.

We see a lot of stupid ideas in the world of technology, there seems to be no bounds to which people will go to cash in on a fad, but even we are blown away by the TwitterPeek.

Peek is a mobile device company that seems to specialize in devices for people that have never explored the capabilities of their cell phones.  The first device from the company, simply called Peek, was a device dedicated to delivering only emails to you.  They branded it as a way to save $100′s over buying a smart phone, lower monthly plans, etc, etc.  The problem is that it is another device to carry around with you, and even non-smartphone options are beginning to offer email capabilities.  It was pretty much of a joke device, but yet it must have had some success because it has now spawned the TwitterPeek.

The TwitterPeek uses the exact same body as the original Peek (i.e. massive cost cutting), but all this device does is Twitter.  Look, we love Twitter around here, but the idea of a device that does nothing but Twitter just makes us scratch our heads.  Yes, it does offer all of the Twitter features you want such as ReTweeting, direct messages, replies and so on, but, again, Twitter is all this device does … nothing else.

To get your Tweet on with the TwitterPeek you’ll need to head over to Amazon (it is exclusive to them at least for now) and buy it in either black or Twitter blue (can we say ‘ugly as sin’?  I knew you could) and pay either $99.95 plus $7.95 a month for the pay as you go option, or $199.95 for the lifetime of service option.  Or you could, you know, buy a Motorla RAZR phone for next to nothing and pay a few bucks a month for a data plan … we’re just sayin’.

All kidding aside, we here at StarterTech try to guide the less tech savvy people as best as we can without being judgmental, but this really is one of those times where we have to highly suggest you stay away from this device.  Our fear is that a lot of teenagers will be putting this on their wishlist for the holiday shopping season, and we would strongly encourage you to look at other solutions for your kid.  The newness of this device will wear off with any child in a matter of days, if not hours, when they see how truly limited it is in functionality.

Trust us, avoid this device, get yourself a nice phone instead … and save me from having to come to your house to take your lunch money.

Categories: Gadgets, Twitter   

twitter logoYes, Twitter is having issues, but the world is still rotating … we promise.

Some people, myself included, are experiencing issues with the popular micro-blogging service Twitter at the moment.  According to the Twitter Status Blog, it is some form of network connectivity problems:

Responding to network connectivity problems

We are currently investigating a problem whereby some Twitter clients in widely scattered network locations are unable to connect to twitter.com.

It’s been a while since Twitter had widespread problems, but these things do happen. Enjoy some time with your family, read a book, go outside … it’ll come back eventually.

Categories: Twitter   
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