Twitter’s sneaky new follow links

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I’m going to roll right past the fact that it’s been forever since my last blog post, and certain promises have been violated by several months. Except to say that I’ve actually had most of the top albums post series written for a while now, and I just need to pull some top tracks together and polish off a couple of the albums. Expect them mid-June, when school is out and I have time.

I’m sure others have noticed this already, but with all the talk about Twitter rolling out professional tools for upper-tier users, I thought that an observation I just made was pretty amusing:

It used to be that Twitter would send you plaintext emails when someone follows you, with a plaintext url to their Twitter profile page which would be auto-linked by most email clients. Around the very beginning of this month, Twitter switched to fancy HTML-based emails with chrome framing pretty much the exact same text. It turns out that the motive behind this wasn’t actually polish.

Check out the new URL that Twitter gives you to go to your new follower’s profile:

http://twitter.com/[username]?utm_source=follow&utm_campaign=twitter[timestamp]&utm_medium=email

With this tracking data, Twitter can tell their commercial users just how much that annoying followspam is helping them. I’m surprised that the avatar they embed isn’t itself a beacon tracker so they can get click-through statistics (Dear Twitter: that’ll be a $5k consulting fee, please— kthxbye).

I’m curious to see what other tools come with the professional package.

Speaking of Twitter, expect a “A year with Twitter” post soon. There are things about it that I want to say to naysayers.

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