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TwitterFriendsβ - FAQ

What is TwitterFriends?

If you are using Twitter, you probably have a few contacts (= people you follow). Probably more than just a few. If you live a liberal following policy (= if another user follows you, you follow back), then the network of your contact does not have any deeper meaning. But there is a smaller, much more meaningful network hidden behind your total web of followers: the relevant net. TwitterFriends helps you to find the users that are meaningful for you and keep in touch with them. Those could be users you are talking to on a regular basis or who are feeding you great links all the time.

For more information, see this blogpost. The paper by Huberman, Romero and Wu about Twitter's social network analysis has been an important inspiration.

Which features does TwitterFriends include?

With TwitterFriends, you can see a tag cloud of people a) you have addressed on Twitter (with the '@' sign) more than once, b) people, that have addressed you more than once and c)a list of users in your Twitter contact list that haven't updated their status for a long time ('sleepers').

If you have suggestions for new features, please tweet them to @twfriends or @furukama.

What data is saved? Is using TwitterFriends safe?

With Twitter not allowing for OpenAuth at the moment, every third party application that wants to access private data or data that requires many requests, has to ask the user for his or her password.

For the larger part of TwitterFriends' functions, you don't have to enter your password. Only the complete list of your followers sorted by last activity (the "Inactive" tab) and the list of your friends that are currently online (the "Online" tab), your password is needed. It will be saved only in your PHP session and expires after half an hour. Your password will not be saved in the TwitterFriends database.

Also, no private data are saved in the database. Most data is collected via and is open to everyone. TwitterFriends only saves this data to accelerate the computation of the network or the statistics. The only thing that is received via the API that is saved, is the total list of your followers - but this list is also visible on your Twitter homepage.

The database looks like this: Username, URL of the picture, total list of friends (only if you used the "Inactive" tab), list of Twitter friends with number of replies in the last 30 days (incoming and outgoing), Conversation Quotient, Link Quotient, Number of links posted by your friends. If you've got any further questions, don't hesitate to contact me on @twfriends.

How does TwitterFriends work?

I am a big fan of open measurement standards, so here's how I am calculating all this at the moment: For the tag cloud of your @replies, I am fetching the 500 most recent tweets you published on Twitter and selecting those that are addressing or referencing another user (@replies). For the tag cloud of the replies to you, I am downloading the 500 most recent tweets that were addressing you. The list of 'sleepers' is a list of your contacts sorted after their activity.

What is the Conversation Quotient (CQ)?

The Conversation Quotient tells how many of your tweets are replies. People with a high CQ are using Twitter to have direct conversations with other users. People with a low CQ are using it more for broadcasting links or status messages. The average CQ is 25,4% (see Huberman/Romero/Wu 2008: 3).

What is the Link Quotient (LQ)?

The Link Quotient tells how many of your tweets included links. While the CQ is about using Twitter for relationship management, this is about information management.

Who wrote this?

See this short self description or my profile on LinkedIn, Facebook or Xing.

Some time ago, I wrote a network analytical application for FriendFeed, called FFSixDegrees. See also here.

What features are you planning to add in the future?

Next on my todo list is a lightweight mobile interface. I'm accessing Twitter very often with my mobile phone. TwitterFriends should have a mobile friendly interface that allows you to keep in touch with your relevant net wherever you are.

I am a big fan of network visualization and social network analysis, so there definitely will be a nice way of viewing your relevant net as a network. Done!

Finally, TwitterFriends will not only be calculating your Link Quotient, but also your relevant network's LQ. TwitterFriends will allow you to see the latest links your Twitter network posted - not everybody's links, but only the top links of the people that are meaningful for you.