How smart are your tweets?


In a mere four hours of development, Johnny Lin turned an idea that was scribbled on his notepad into a web app that went viral almost instantly.

Beak is a new app that lets you rate how smart (or “un-smart”) your Tweets are using an algorithm based on the SMOG readability index. The app popped up last month and was quickly showcased by Product Hunt.

The app itself may be fun to play around with, but what’s interesting is Johnny’s post on Medium about how Beak’s success unraveled.

It’s July 4th and I just bought a 24 pack of Coronas with my roommates, and the three of us are hanging out in the living room. Two beers in, Rahul says, “let’s have a hackathon.” The thought of competition spikes my adrenaline. Let’s do it.

He goes on to ask his friend for “something bird related,” which is where the name Beak came from. While working on a prototype, Johnny evades his friends’ curiosity by not telling them what the app does until they drink “five more beers.” (If you’re not aware, that’s pretty much how hackathons work, except there’s usually a pizza or two involved.)

This is a fascinating story that will take you from idea to viral web app in just four hours. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re a web developer.

Social sharing buttons are ineffective

I have often talked about why plastering social sharing buttons all over your website is completely ineffective. This morning, Smashing Magazine all but confirmed my theory.

In today’s Smashing Newsletter, they wrote:

Are social sharing buttons really that effective to be placed in the most visible areas of websites, sometimes even as “sticky” notes on the left or on the right side of the page? Are there any case studies which provide proof that these social icons are actually effective? Or are they indeed ineffective, barely used and really just annoying?

While their stance isn’t conclusive, the fact that they even raised the question says quite a bit. Are people are finally becoming desensitized to all the Facebook and Twitter logos everywhere? Maybe now that social media is commonplace, we can all get back to writing better content instead of designing trendy new share widgets.