There has been quite a storm brewing over the last couple of days about an app released that provided a Twitter user with their Twifficiency score. I mean no big deal right? There have been all kinds of apps released since Twitter came along that scores your Twitter account.
Admit it – everyone has done those things because it feeds our egos.
Well when 17 year old Scottish programmer Jason Cunningham released Twifficiency to the web it was intended to just go out to a few friends and he never thought it would go very far based on his past experiences.
That is when the ego kicked in from the handful of tweets that hit the Twitter Counciousness containing Twifficiency scores and then it went viral for many reasons.
Since then Jason has seen his server traffic spike, been called a password stealer, scam artist, spammer and knowing the Internet a few other choice names.
So why all the controversy? Well Jason initially set up his app to tweet the results of your score and the app did this without permission. Even I was taken back when I saw my Twifficiency score get tweeted out because I did not expect it. I even commented on it via my Twitter account.
Going back to look at the page there was a warning in the same color and type of font as the rest of the page so it was not obvious. Should I have looked closer – yes I should have. As much as I warn people about just clicking on stuff I should have taken my own advice. However, the app used OAuth so I knew my password was not being passed to Twifficiency anyway so I felt comfortable forging forward.
Not long after that Jason changed the warnings font color to red to warn everyone that the results would be tweeted and as of this morning there is a Opt In box right below the Calculate my Twifficiency button on the apps main page.
So call it a mistake or what you want but Jason made the right steps to correct the faux pas of auto tweeting without permission.
Here is my question about this entire sequence of events. Would the reaction be different, i.e. not contain all the negative feedback, name calling, etc., if he had provided the Opt In choice for tweeting the results from the beginning instead of adding it later when things had gotten out of hand.
I think it would have been.
I think his app would have gone viral even with the Opt In box right in the middle of the page because this type of app that scores your Twitter account feeds the ego.
Jason’s intent was not malicious in any way whatsoever. It was a simple mistake that he has learned from. His technical skills are obvious as he created an app that works and easily became popular.
He has also learned valuable life skills from this experience. He has had to deal with more negative stuff in the last couple of days than anyone typically ever deals with. If you follow his Twitter account he has done so with a great attitude and not turning negative towards others.
In my book that is the biggest benefit he will take away from this experience – improved life skills. Well done Jason.