Are they just random URLs to blogs and stuff? Check out the Google social graph API. It will give you the corresponding Twitter URL/handle in many cases.
For some reason the Quora team seems to think the pre-existing social networks people have add more value to their use of Quora. I disagree; I personally am more interested in Antone, pmarca, Keith Rabois, Yishan, etc.'s answers on startups than any of my fb friends who are likely to use Quora; I'm more interested in Eunji's answers to NYC, fashion, girl, etc. questions than fb friends; etc.
Also, it offloads antispam/abuse to someone else, which is nice — a fb account with >n friends over a certain age is close to an "is a person" unique credential. Twitter accounts much less so, but even then, creating a bunch of separate twitter accounts to spam the hell out of Quora is more work than abusing the Quora login system by creating lots of Quora accounts.
Overall, I don't think fb connect or twitter have been particularly key to date, since everyone using Quora now would have been perfectly willing to go with an instapaper-style "you visit the site, you have an account" procedure, with late-registration of email/password once they got some value out of the site. It is possible that in the future, fb connect/twitter oauth/google account/openid will add some value.
Also, once quora gets big enough for multiple internally-connected clusters to exist, having your fb friends, language preferences, etc. involved might be worthwhile.
I think Quora should have done twitter + fbconnect + local-account from day 1, and then throttled local-account if it became a problem.
The red color came from the earliest drafts of the design and is intended to make it feel like the site is run by an institution (versus feeling web 2.0, which would be terrible) so that people feel good about investing in the site and crafting their reputation. We also hope to communicate trust, permanence, authority, etc.
However, given the general lack of attention paid to branding at this point, it's entirely likely the logo and all other colors on the site could change drastically over the next few months.
The short answer: anything but ads.
Conan O'Brein isn't a top 10 celebrity (last I checked), but he is a Twitter success story. He gave a talk at Google which gives a real hint toward one way Twitter can be monetized: http://joeybaker.tumblr.com/post…
Here's the deal: you can't look at any social media as a monetization channel, unless you control the channel. Twitter's recent move to eliminate in-stream ads proves as much. http://www.readwriteweb.com/arch…
Social media is nothing more than the socialization humans have been doing for 100,000 years made efficient by the Internet. The ways of extracting value out of that, as far as I can see come in two forms:
- Earned Media: That's what Conan was able to leverage, and how most folks are using Twitter now. Establish yourself as an expert in your niche, and people will trust you for advice. If you can't figure out how to monetize that it's because you're not selling anything.
- Datamining: This is the route that I've seen very few people take, and the one that Twitter seems to be encouraging with their ban on in-stream ads http://twitter.com/joeybaker/sta….
The true power of twitter isn't displaying individual tweets as Google does when you do a search for the "latest" information http://www.google.com/search?q=f… – the real power is in finding what everyone has to say on a particular topic. Bit.ly is just scratching the surface by presenting data on how many times users click. Infographics like showing when the world wakes up, or when flights land hint at the power of Twitter. http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/…
To sum up: don't attempt to "monetize your audience" – that's like proposing to monetize people on the street corner. Unless you own the street, you have to offer a service if you want to make any money.
Right now Twitter has just over 110 employees, and I would say around 55%—65% of that are engineers.
Doug Bowman, Dustin Diaz and I.
Twitter, who had been using managed hosting services from NTT America, announced in a July 2010 engineering blog post (http://engineering.twitter.com/2…), that they would be moving to their own datacenters:
Later this year, Twitter is moving our technical operations infrastructure into a new, custom-built data center in the Salt Lake City area.
We will continue to work with NTT America to operate our current footprint, and plan to bring additional Twitter managed data centers online over the next 24 months.
In March 2011, they announced in a new engineering blog post (http://engineering.twitter.com/2…) that the migration to multiple datacenters was complete:
First, our engineers extended many of Twitter’s core systems to replicate Tweets to multiple data centers. Simultaneously, our operations engineers divided into new teams and built new processes and software to allow us to qualify, burn-in, deploy, tear-down and monitor the thousands of servers, routers, and switches that are required to build out and operate Twitter. With hardware at a second data center in place, we moved some of our non-runtime systems there – giving us headroom to stay ahead of tweet growth. This second data center also served as a staging laboratory for our replication and migration strategies. Simultaneously, we prepped a third larger data center as our final nesting ground.
Though the exact number of servers was not publicly disclosed, it is estimated that Twitter had between 2,000 and 4,000 servers at that time.
In September 2011, Data Center Knowledge reported (http://www.datacenterknowledge.c…) that Twitter would be adding a data center in Atlanta, in a facility operated by QTS.
I find that when people flirt for a while and then disappear is when you should think that something is going on as they move the discussion to DM. Openly flirtatious comments are innocent; the hidden messages and insinuations between the lines are the ones that are indicative of an ongoing relationship. More often than not, you can detect two lovebirds when they tweet during a fight or an argument or after breakup. It's both entertaining and funny when it's not heartbreaking.
The own brand / DIY website market is hotting up with a lot of money going into it.
For twitter it would make more sense to grow the profile area of a user's account (similar to a top page) however as we can all see, video is becoming hot in the social media market so Twitter is best focused on this along with other media options in my opinion.
I'd agree with what Justin says; startups around software are typically badly structured. However, in the ones that I've been involved in (both as a developer, and as the lead technical role) there has been some formal structure – although unlikely to be on paper!
Typically there was:
The lead developer was responsible for a lot of the technical design work that went into the project, as well as crafting the original code, conducting reviews, ensuring it was compliant with any policies (always have a coding standard in place even on startups!) etc
Usually one, junior, developer to start, with but grew as needed.
Testing usually fell down to the developers, or another stakeholder – i.e. anyone available. I've never seen startups have the funding for a nice clearly defined testing role, or even a support role until after public launch of a product!
Only one startup that I have been involved in had a UX person on board, and that was well after initial prototypes, demos and funding rounds were completed; before that, it was all guess work and a little outsourced.