Should I post to Twitter in English instead of my native language?

In little over a year, I became quite a Twitter-fanatic. I follow around a hundred people (which I organized in categorised Lists for easy reading), and I daily post a handfull of messages myself (using the account @JorgK). Up until now, my tweets are in Dutch. Being a citizen of The Netherlands, Dutch is my native tongue.

For quite some time, however, I have been wondering if I should switch to English as the language of my tweets. The reason is obvious: there are (at best) a few hundred thousand people in The Netherlands using Twitter, while the number people on Twitter whose primary language is English, or who are able to understand English as a second language, are more like to reach into the few hundred millions. In theory, the audience for my tweets would multiply significanty. Either people who could follow me directly, or people who found my tweets by searching the Twitter timeline for specific subjects.

However, I always had a feeling that most of the topics that I tweet about are very locally focused. Would these topics lend themselves for an international audience?

To get a better insight into this, I decided to have a look at what exactly it is that I tweet about. For this, I analysed all the messages that I sent in the past 30 days. And this lead me to unexpected insights.

Let me give you a quick summary of what I found: Frequent topics of my tweets. Continue reading


How Twitter’s new Lists feature will dramatically impact follower count

Twitter is great, and like millions of others I’m a big fan of the service. Many people are worth following. In my case this includes of a great number of personal friends, but also a big number of media reporters, tech bloggers, scientists and politicians. With the growing number of people to follow, it gets harder every time to keep track of all those messages. To get a more organized view, it would be a great idea to group these people into various categories, so that related posts are shown together.

For quite some time, many Twitter-clients offered some functionality to create groups of people. However, this resulted in a less then ideal situation. For starters, these groups you created in one particular client are not portable across different clients, let alone be visible on the Twitter website. This meant that in order to sync them up between your mobile and desktop, you had to use the same client on both your iPhone and your Mac, which had to support some form of group syncing, and you had to remember to sync between the clients from time to time. Many people choose to use different clients though (such as in my case Tweetie on the iPhone, and Nambu on the Mac), or just use the well designed Twitter website when sitting at the desk, so this does not provide a valid solution for them. Furthermore, there was no way to see how other people categorised their Twitter-contacts so you could learn from them, nor could others see the efforts that you put into ordering your Twitter-users. Continue reading

YouTube higher quality video and stereo sound

As you might be aware, videos uploaded to YouTube are usually of a higher original quality than what the site shows you in the video window. Video and audio are transcoded to a low quality Flash format, resulting in a fairly low quality video and low quality mono audio. I expect YouTube made this trade-off in order to lower the server load at their end (and as such reducing cost), but one might even argue that a lower bit rate results in a better user experience for the user when he or she is using a slow connection (faster loading times, less hickups, altough this is becoming an increasingly smaller problem).

However, it seems that YouTube does in fact store the original uploaded video material and not only the low quality Flash video that is presents to its users by default. This became clear when Apple introduced its iPhone in June of 2007, and with the Apple TV firmware update of that same month. Both devices cannot play Flash, however they both allow viewers to watch YouTube content. For this to work, YouTube offers the video in AVC or H.264 format. And since older videos were also made available to users of these Apple products, one can assume that YouTube saved the original videos in order to do the transcoding.

As a nice side effect, videos played back on these devices looked better than the ones on the web site accessed from a computer, as H.264 is a fairly powerfull, efficient and high quality codec.

Continue reading