First Tweets From 51 of My SEO Heroes

Today is Twitter’s 8th Birthday. Happy Birthday, Twitter!

To celebrate, they launched #FirstTweet – a tool that lets you see your first Tweet ever. How awesome is that?!

In case you didn’t know, here’s the very first Tweet ever:

I don’t know if there is any way to prove this, but I bet SEO’s were one of the first groups to adopt Twitter, embrace it, and start pushing it to the masses (via introducing it to their clients, friends, family, etc…). Several well-known SEO’s jumped on board during SXSW 2007. I remember how Twitter really stole the show that year. By the time SES San Jose 2007 rolled around, Twitter was *THE* thing in the SEO community. Everyone was on it!

I thought it would be fun to look up the first Tweets of some of my favorite SEOs. I’m going to sort the Tweets chronologically (oldest to newest). It’s kinda like a time machine. I like time machines. Here we go!

Hacker Croll Hacks Into Twitter Account Via Password Retrieval

Holy crap. This does not sound good, and Evan Williams (@ev, founder of Twitter) is definitely distressed about the whole thing. There are several news stories popping up all over the place, reporting that Twitter was hacked. However, the more I read about it, the more it seems that user accounts were not necessarily the goal of the hack. In fact, Ev claims that no user accounts were compromised. Rather, it seems that the hacker gained access to an email account. From there, Hacker Croll was able to use password retrieval methods (and social engineering) to gain access to all sorts of other services. Hacker Croll claims to have gotten access to all sorts of stuff – from email accounts to PayPal accounts to Apple accounts to Twitter accounts to Twitter’s domain name account at GoDaddy to phone numbers to time sheets to Twitter financial projections. It’s amazing what Hacker Croll claims to have accessed.

I’ve been running through the headlines. From what I can tell, here’s what happened:

  • In May, an anonymous hacker who goes by the name Hacker Croll hacked into Twitter (PC World)
  • He gained access to the Twitter account of Jason Goldman, a director of product management with Twitter
  • Hacker Croll posted 13 screenshots to a French online discussion forum ( – posts have since been removed by Hacker Croll)
  • Twitter co-founder Biz Stone (@biz) confirmed the break-in (
  • Hacker Croll claims: “one of the admins has a yahoo account, i’ve reset the password by answering to the secret question. Then, in the mailbox, i have found her twitter password…” (
  • Here is a roughly translated list of everything Hacker Croll claims to have gotten access to: Twitter Hacked!
  • Ev confirms an attack, but claims it was not an attack on Twitter and that no Twitter user accounts were compromised (
  • TechCrunch gets a zipped file with 310 Twitter documents (
  • Update: TechCrunch publishes a Twitter financial forecast document from February 2009 (

So there. That’s the story so far. Wow. I just read it again. I’m not sure if this is the work of one hacker or several. The screenshots don’t look shop’d. Either way, I feel very badly for Ev. Having your account hacked is one thing, but his wife’s account was also hacked. It sucks when people target your family. And it looks like Hacker Croll was able to gain all of this access by correctly guessing passwords and security questions for email accounts. Hacker Croll certainly has some skills. From Hacker Croll:

What I would like to say is that even the biggest and the strongest do silly things without realizing it and I hope that my action will help them to realize that nobody is safe on the net. If I did this it’s to educate those people who feel more secure than simple Internet novices. And security starts with simple things like secret questions because many people don’t realise the impact of these question on their life if somebody is able to crack them.

How do you protect against someone being able to socially engineer their way into your account? I guess Ev, his family and the  Twitter employees will have to take extra steps at security for their personal email accounts. It sucks for them, but they’ll come out of this stronger. God luck, Ev. You’ve got my support.

Did Michael Jackson’s Death Fuel June’s Twitter Growth? Reports Unique Visitor Growth in June 2009 Reports Unique Visitor Growth in June 2009

Remember Twitter? It was growing by leaps and bounds earlier this year. In May, that growth flattened out. But now, according to, Twitter is back in style for unique visitors. (Source)

Personally, I believe some of this growth can be attributed to Michael Jackson’s death. MJ’s death was the most viral social phenomenon we have ever seen. It was setting records for search on Yahoo, and Twitter also reported some amazing stats during the days after the King of Pop’s death. Would it make sense that more people flocked to Twitter for MJ news and messages? Did more people join Twitter just so they could be part of the circus that followed the death of arguably the most famous entertainer in the world? I think so, but I could be wrong. And I’m not saying that MJ’s death contributed to all of this growth, but I do think it’s a big factor in the growth. Just sayin’ is all…

If Facebook Nails This, Twitter is Toast!

Wow. Facebook continues to take on Twitter. Mashable’s post describes the new Profile Fans feature Facebook rolled out recently. Check it out here: Facebook to Emulate Twitter’s Follower Model With Profile Fans

Notice something different? Look closely and you’ll see the new option to receive an email notification whenever another Facebook user “Connects to me as a fan.” In other words, Facebook followers, here we come.

Facebook has a long way to go, but I think they are on track to become the clear winner in the long run. I do not believe that Twitter will completely go away or throw up a white flag. I do believe that Twitter will be around for a while, but by following Twitter’s lead (no pun intended), Facebook may one day have a clear upper hand in the microblog/status feed market.

Michael Jackson Death Sets Search Records on Yahoo

Yahoo’s Corporate Blog announced today that the passing of Michael Jackson led to some new records for Yahoo search (source). Without further ado, here are the main highlights of that post:

  • Yahoo’s front page story ‘Michael Jackson rushed to hospital” received 800,000 clicks within 10 minutes.
  • Yahoo’s news of his death received 560,000 clicks within 10 minutes.
  • The News area on the Yahoo homepage received 5 times the normal amount of traffic it usually gets
  • Yahoo News set a record with 16.4 million unique visitors (breaking the previous record of 15.1 million unique visitors on Election Day 2008)
  • 4 million people visited Yahoo between the hours of 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
  • Yahoo recorded 175 million page views for the day June 25th (placing 4th highest on the all-time behind Inauguration Day 2009, the day after Inauguration Day 2009, and Hurricane Ike)
  • In Yahoo Music, 21,000 people left comments on a blog post about Michael Jackson
  • On Flickr, 4,000 Michael Jackson-related pictures were uploaded

Also, according to, Michael Jackson’s death had a global impact on social media, specifically Twitter (source):

  • In total, at least 30% of Tweets are remarking upon the star’s tragic passing, and that’s likely an underestimate.
  • 22.61% of Tweets currently contain the phrase “Michael Jackson”.
  • 22.61% of Tweets currently contain the phrase “Michael Jackson”.
  • “MJ”, meanwhile, accounts for 9% of Tweets right now.

Granted, Michael Jackson was likely the most famous person in the world, but this event shows you the power of the internet and social media in regards to breaking news.

Google Wave: The Future of Real-Time Internets & Web Communication

Google Wave Logo
Google Wave Logo

Holy radio waves, Batman! The folks over at Google Wave made a huge splash yesterday. Led by Lars Rasmussen, Jens Rasmussen and Stephanie Hannon, Google Wave is a real-time collection of chat, IM, and other real-time apps, and it’s quickly moving to integrate with Google Docs and Gmail. As for the nerdy details, Google Wave is built on the Google Web Toolkit, using HTML 5, and it is interoperable. Furthermore, Google plans to launch the Wave code as open source. Here’s a screenshot released by the Google Wave Dev Team:

Google Wave Combines Chat, IM, Friendfeed, Docs, Pictures, etc...
Google Wave Combines Chat, IM, Friendfeed, Docs, Pictures, etc...

Fun fact: Lars and Jens are brothers from Denmark. They founded Where2, a mapping company that was acquired by Google and is now known as Google Maps. From the way that Lars and Jens describe Google Wave, it’s almost like they are discussing the email of the future. It totally reminds me of those kitchens from the 1950’s, where they would advertise “The Kitchen of Tomorrow – Today!

I think if email was invented today, it would be like Google Wave. It’s like dragging email and chat into real time., so you can do both at the same time within the same tool. Both Yahoo and Google have tried to merge chat with their email services. And I think I have even seen the same thing in my Hotmail account. But matching chat and email has not been a seemless experience to date. Google Wave goes way beyond the current methods of shoe-horning chat into email platforms. Everything in Google Wave is real-time. From the look of it, Wave is more like Facebook in nature. There are pictures, links and docs, and everyone can comment on any given element.

I guess the big question is: Will Google Wave ultimately kill other Google products like Gmail, Google, Talk, Picasa, Google Docs, and Blogger? Also, will Google Wave kill Twitter, Friendfeed, IM, Chat, and other real-time apps or services?  The answer: probably not. I’m fairly certain that Google engineers could go after any service and effectively design a better wheel if they wanted to, but the factor that will make Google Wave so compelling is not it’s ability to destroy any current real-time services. Rather, the thing that makes the future capabilities Google Wave so intriguing is the fact that they are opening up the protocols from the beginning. [Note: In the long run, they plan to release a “lion share” of the source code, and they are going to open up a ton of the code early on.] Furthermore, if I know Google well enough, they are probably thinking more about integrating with other currently-popular services, like Twitter, rather than aiming to destroy them.

Google Wave Chat & Email
Google Wave Chat & Email

The Google Wave team has created a platform that can be taken and used by third parties. Unlike Twitter, data does not have to be stored on a Google server. Because of this, hundreds or thousands of third parties may create Wave systems, and just imagine the possibilities for apps and extensions! No matter where you create a Wave account, you should be able to communicate with other Wave users. Or if a team of developers wants to create and run a Wave server for private use within their company, that is possible to. The data will remain on their Wave server and never be seen outside of their corporate network. And to add to the excitement, Google Wave offers people the opportunity to collaborate on projects. Did I mention the open architecture and APIs? Wow. What didn’t they think of?

While everyone is still digesting the capabilities and possibilities of Google Wave, it’s clear that the concept has the chance to revolutionize the way we communicate on the web. Wave is a gigantic undertaking. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of popular internet services, and that is going to make it an interesting Google product to watch. Google expects to keep Wave limited to a developer preview product for several more months. I know they have invited people to sign up for updates. If you want a shot at early access, I suggest you sign up, too. You never know. You just might get lucky enough to have another internet-based social distraction. But that’s what we live for, right? 🙂

PS. How will Yahoo and MSN respond to this? What about Facebook, MySpace and Twitter? I’m definitely interested in their responses. Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, has made Google Wave one of the projects he is putting his time into. So unlike other Google products that whither and die due to lack of support, Google Wave has the support and attention of the co-founder of Google. Me thinks he won’t let this product fail. It’s too good of an idea. In the spirit of friendly competition, I hope Yahoo and MSN are working on something to compete with Google Wave. Good luck to all competitors. I think you’ll need it.

Here is the video of the 80-minute presentation from yesterday at Google I/O: