Dan Wood: The Eponymous Weblog (Archives)

Dan Wood Dan Wood is co-owner of Karelia Software, creating programs for the Macintosh computer. He is the father of two kids, lives in the Bay Area of California USA, and prefers bicycles to cars. This site is his older weblog, which mostly covers geeky topics like Macs and Mac Programming. Go visit the current blog here.

Useful Tidbits and Egotistical Musings from Dan Wood

Categories: Business · Mac OS X · Cocoa Programming · General · All Categories

Fri, 08 May 2009

Using Twitter to get references for somebody you don't know

OK, I haven't been blogging much here. If you read this with NetNewsWire, my feed has probably been a deep shade of brown. Truth is, I tend to post pithy comments on Twitter most of the time rather than blog here.

But occasionally I have something interesting to share that goes beyond the 140 character limit. So here I am!

Ironically, this blog post is about Twitter. Specifically, how to use it as a tool to get references for somebody you don't know.

I posted a question a few days ago asking if anybody knew somebody who could help us with some system administration stuff. And I got a response, from somebody who was interested in helping us out.

Trouble is, I didn't know that person. Of course when hiring somebody you can ask you for references. But I thought I'd try something different — I figured out some references on my own.

I did this manually, but then fellow twitterer and Mac/iPhone developer Chuck Soper (@ChuckSoper) pointed me to a cool web service TweepDiff.

There are a number of options here, but the operation which will help with this particular case is to compare your friends with the other guy's followers. In other words, find out what people whom you follow also follow the other guy. Hopefully, anybody that follows this other person knows him or at least finds him interesting enough to follow.

With that list (after filtering out any institutional twitter accounts who auto-follow), I was able to contact some of my colleagues and ask what they think of him. And, lo and behold, I learned some useful stuff! In this case, it was positive....