Recover lost luggage with Twitter


Here’s a great story of how Wendy Perrin at Perrin Post expedited the return of lost luggage by tweeting with American Airlines.

“Late last night I arrived in Quito, Ecuador, but my luggage did not. Somewhere between Newark, Miami, and Quito, American Airlines lost my husband’s checked bag. I filed a report at Quito Airport—after waiting in a long line past midnight—but the non-computerized lost-luggage system and lack of information about when the bag might be delivered to my Quito hotel hardly instilled confidence that I will see it again soon…So I turned to the fastest way I know of to get help: Twitter. At 1 a.m. I tweeted to American Airlines and, within literally three minutes, it responded with more useful information than I had been able to extract in more than an hour at the airport.”

After a short exchange of direct messages, Wendy’s luggage was en route back to her.

Last week, I suggested following your airline on Twitter. Wendy’s story is a fantastic example of why.

iPhone travel tip: follow airlines on Twitter


Summer storms can disrupt your travel, and spending the night on the floor of an airport is no fun. A great way to stay on top of the latest alerts, changes and notices from the major airlines is to subscribe to their Twitter accounts. Having a Twitter app on your iPhone puts access to that information into your pocket.

In these situations, being connected to your airline on Twitter can offer more than simple news delivery. In 2011, brutal winter storms left hundreds of thousands of people without a flight. Many stranded travelers  who shared their predicament with their airline via Twitter (along with the reservation number) were rebooked faster than those who waited in the customer service line or called the 800 number. Here is a list of Twitter accounts as used by several major airlines:

On your iPhone, choose a Twitter app that supports notifications (I use Twitterrific, but there are many others available). Enable notifications for mentions. That way, if you send a message to your airline’s account, your phone will let you know when you’ve received a reply. Happy flying!

Thanks to Twitterrific 5.2

ad_52TigerI’d like to thank Twitterriffic 5.2 with push notifications for sponsoring the site this week. I’ve been using it for several days now and it’s great. In fact, I’ve finally been able to delete the app I was using just for push. 

If you want to get in on this, act fast. The Iconfactory is releasing this feature as a public beta, and the first 1,000 users who download the app and enable push will be able to try it out. So download Twitterrific 5.2. now, flick that setting to the on position and enjoy.

Each type of notification has an accompanying, color-coded symbol (below) so you can know exactly what has come in (DM, reply, mention, favorite, retweet or new follower) at a glance. If you dislike the color symbols, they can be turned off (I like them).

Push isn’t the only nice change in this update. Others include:

  • Profiles redesigned to display user banners
  • Discussions can now be shared via email & Storify
  • Droplr thumbnails now display in the timeline
  • The timeline can now display up to 600 tweets (was 400)
  • Various changes to make VoiceOver less verbose
  • Bug fixes, UI tweaks and much more

I’ve used Twitterrific since the beginning and I still believe it’s the way to go. From great new features like push to little niceties like the pull-to-refresh animation, it’s the iOS Twitter app for me. Get it now.


Twitter is making me dumber

Reading tweets is like a car ride with someone who’s just slammed an 8 ball. We bounce between unrelated thoughts, ideas, conversations, suggestions, requests, etc. in a matter of seconds. There’s no time to give anything a moment’s contemplation. For example, here are the some recent, sequential tweets from my stream:

  1. @shelitwits I knew the answer to that one!
  2. Beer break after assembling too much office furniture.
  3. RT @baixakioficial Mito ou verdade: Macs não servem para jogos?
  4. RT @yummygoods: want a copy of my book? want to read about  random stuff? i have just the post for you:
  5. So, it might be who I follow, but MY view via the Tweets app is really noisy. cc @MarioSundar . Others might have a better shot.
  6. #Opensource #HIT data exchange: “Anyone can see it at”-CTO Chopra #g2e #gov20
  7. Computer model shows Earth’s mantle is speeding
  8. Hey the American Library Association was just an answer/question (whatever!) on Jeopardy!
  9. #Opensource #HIT data exchange: “Anyone can see it at”-CTO Chopra #g2e #gov20
  10. One less, for now:  One of the five wind turbines proposed for private property in South Plymouth m…
  11. So, if I want to share about an Internet Marketing community with LinkedIn, I just do –  #in ?
  12. ME! RT @TheChip Guess who’s coming to #Sturgis Buffalo Chip for his next Big Adventure?

Breaking it down:

Tweets 1, 2 and 5 are partial conversations that I’ve missed. Therefore, they’re just clutter. Number 2 is a pleasantry that has no bearing on my day. Number 3 is in a language I don’t understand. Numbers 4, 11 and 12 are sales pitches.  I honestly don’t know what numbers 6 and 9 are about; I assume the author is attending a convention or workshop.

Numbers 7, 8 and 10 are interesting and I’d like to follow up on them, but they’re lost in the noise. Plus, by the time I get to wind turbines, I’ve forgotten about the Earth’s mantle and 20 more tweets have arrived, demanding attention.

This phenomenon isn’t unique to Twitter. Facebook also offers Information McNuggets. Instapaper makes me feel good momentarily, but I know that I’ll probably not read that article I saved in a timely manner. Days later, I’ll sync Instapaper on my iPad and remember, “Oh, yeah. I wanted to read this the other day. And these fourteen others.”

Social media allows people to reach out and distract each other. The immediacy of the Internet is a benefit and a hindrance, reducing thoughts and stories to virtual Tic Tacs that we mindlessly pop into our mouths. By all means, connect to those who interest you and share what you’ve got. But also take time to stop, reflect and think. Or you’ll end up worse for the experience.

5 things to like about Twitterrific 5

Ollie, Twitter’s elder statesman [1. Note that post from 2007 still says “post” instead of “tweet.”] and official unofficial Twitter logo, is flapping his wings (literally) in Twitterrific 5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (universal, $2.99 launch price). This update is a clean slate for The Iconfactory and Twitterrific customers. There’s much to enjoy in this version, and I’ve picked my top five. Here they are, in no particular order:

A Customizable Theme [1. Watch as my iPhone’s battery drops closer and closer to zero across these screenshots.]

You expect Iconfactory products to look good, and Twitterrific 5 does. What’s fun is that you can affect that to a degree. Once your account credentials are set up, tap your avatar and then the “AA” button to produce the theme customization screen. From here, you can:

  • Select one of five fonts
  • Make user avatars larger or smaller
  • Increase or decrease font size
  • Choose a light or dark theme
  • Adjust the spacing between lines
  • Adjust brightness

My aging eyes prefer the light theme, large icons and huge lettering with lots of space in between. You youngsters may differ.

Swipe to Reply

Previous version of Twitterrific let you determine what a double- or triple-tap did. For instance, you could have a double-tap create a reply and a triple-tap a retweet. I liked that. Now I wonder how I lived with it. Twitterrific 5 employes gestures in a clever way. To reply to a tweet, simply swipe right. A composition window appears with your target user’s handle in place. Super.

Swipe to View a Conversation

You know where this is going. Swipe left to view the conversation surrounding a tweet.

It’s Crazy Fast

Perform a gesture to compose a reply or view a conversation and boom, it’s there. Pull to refresh (that’s right, pull to refresh in Twitterrific!) and the timeline refreshes. It’s crazy fast.

Timeline Refresh Animation

When you pull to refresh your timeline, you’re treated to a delightful animation. Ollie bursts from his egg, flaps his wings and then disappears into a flash as the update is completed.

You’re going to say, “That’s just a bit of fun,” to which I’ll say, you’re right! Software can be fun! A feature can have no purpose other than to make the user smile. The first person who says “gamification” gets punched in the junk. Lighten up and have some fun.

There’s more, of course, like my beloved color coding. Each type of tweet you’ll compose (public, mention and DM) has its own color. Those colors are more subtle in v.5 but not gone. No more horror-stricken moments of, “Dear God, I hope that was a DM.”

Twitterrific 5 is a swell app that will remain on my iPhone’s home screen for the foreseeable future.

If Twitter kills its Mac client

There! Are! Four! Lights!

9to5 Mac suggests that Twitter will cease development of its Mac client. I sincerely hope that does not happen, because I depend on these indicator lights. I must monitor several accounts. The Twitter for Mac app lets me see which one has received a new message, mention or DM at a glance, via these handy lights.

Other apps don’t do this as clearly or at all. It’s not a convenience for me, it’s something I depend on. As much as I might not like it, I must monitor all these accounts all day long.

I’ve been wondering why Twitter would kill the Mac app, and my buddy Berserk Hippo make a good point: “[Killing the app makes sense] It does if they want everyone using the web because that gets them the most money.”

I cannot and will not use Twitter in a browser. This change would not only be an inconvenience, it would affect my workflow in a significant and detrimental way.

Twitter’s certified bullshit

Twitter has launched its Certified Products program, which “helps businesses find some of the best products and services to thrive on Twitter.” Just as it makes things so difficult for 3rd- party developers. Developers whose apps and solutions affected Twitter’s growth and success in a real and significant way. It gets worse:

“We certify leading solutions from the Twitter ecosystem for the needs of publishers, brands, and partners. We continually work with program members in the following verticals to take full advantage of the Twitter platform and innovate to solve business needs.”

#jargon #buzzword #business