Lessons from Twitter #1: Don’t use TwitPic

TwitPic is a sort of add-on for Twitter. You can upload an image via their website, a 3rd party twitter client from your mobile or send them an email/MMS with the picture. They then tweet on your behalf with a link to the picture.
The problem is that sometimes the picture they link to isn’t your picture. Below is an example of what happened to Philip Schofield during the Brits last month.

Schofe Schofe 19:38
http://twitpic.com/1k1ya – Nearly showtime!
Schofe Schofe 20:08
http://twitpic.com/1k2l3 – Oh my God!
Schofe Schofe 20:23
http://twitpic.com/1k2vr – Nearly took a pic of Girls Aloud! Name that TV exec?
Schofe Schofe 20:24
http://twitpic.com/1k2wj – Nearly took a pic of Girls Aloud! Name that TV exec?
Schofe Schofe 20:37
http://twitpic.com/1k36f – Coldplay!
Schofe Schofe 21:10
http://twitpic.com/1k3wr – Take That proper show biz!

As you can see unless Take That had gone abroad to do their piece, the picture wasn’t the one which Philip Schofield wanted. The give away to the picture being wrong is the grey “bars” at the bottom of the image.
From my guess it would seem that an image got stop part way through a process to resize and then attached to the wrong users tweet. You know that no one has hacked Phil’s account as the words follow from the previous messages.

So far not really a problem, Phil noticed the issue and applogised for the lack of Take That. However this wasn’t the case for BBC Tech corospendant Rory Cellan Jones.
He spent quite a large amount of time at the BBC News studios covering the YouTube / PRS story, and showing of Twitter to the journalists took some pictures.

ruskin147 ruskin147 18:18
Tellng George Alagiah about YouTube and music. http://twitpic.com/1yki0
ruskin147 ruskin147 18:38
Now BBC World with the lovely Tanya Beckett. http://twitpic.com/1yl1w
ruskin147 ruskin147 19:32
And now Joanna Gosling and Ben Brown on the News Channel. Ben has just joined Facebook. Not so keen to tweet.. http://twitpic.com/1ymo3

Now two images have been removed (from TwitPic, so the links go to an error page). The one of Tanya Beckett was quite a nice shot of her. However the picture of Joanna Gosling and Ben Brown clearly wasn’t them. Nor was it safe to view whilst at work.

Rory followed up with these tweets:
19:37 oh my god i’ve been hacked – really really sorry.
19:46 Very very shaken by that Twitpic hack. Has that happened to anyone else? The tweet was genuine – but not the picture
20:01 Not sure how keen I am ever to use Twitpic again. Is there another way to link pix?
20:51 To clarify for those who missed my Twitpic horror earlier I uploaded a pic of BBC studio – instead something very post watershed appeared
21:59 Twitpic tell me I wasn’t hacked – it was “a random bug that we are working on..”. Oh, fine! About to go live on 10 – hope no random bug

So the simple lesson is AVOID TwitPic.

3 thoughts on “Lessons from Twitter #1: Don’t use TwitPic

  1. I agree – Twitpic is handy, as most mobile clients seem to have it integrated, but its flakiness and tendency to fall over whenever anything popular happens means I’ve switched. Yfrog is nicely integrated with Tweetie for uploading and viewing. Mobypicture is OK but not as pretty on iPhone for viewing plus has a longer URL.

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