Need help managing your Twitter Karma?

So, I finally let the cat out of the bag a few minutes ago and announced Twitter Karma publically.

Twitter Karma screenshot from 2007-12-19

So, what is it? The other day, @StephAgresta said, “Twitter desperately needs page navigation on followers / following list. Also sort functionality by type (reciprocated or not) is a must.” I suggested a simple mashup that implements this and started hacking on it. Three days later, it has enough functionality that Stephanie said she thinks I should release it publically.

Basically, it’s a Flash application that fetches your friends and followers from Twitter when you click the “Whack!” button, then displays them for you, letting you quickly paginate through them. By default, the list contains all your friends and followers and is sorted by last update, showing those who most recently updated first. You can sort the list alphabetically either ascending or descending by Twitter ID. You can filter the list in several ways: only friends or only followers, all friends or all followers, and mutual friends.

It’s not meant to be a full Twitter client–there’s plenty of those already and that’s not a particularly interesting or challenging problem to solve, anyway. I’ll be adding a few more features to Twitter Karma soon, though. If you think you have a must-have feature idea, go ahead and let me know about it in the comments.

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  1. I have one suggestion. Make it “Following” not “Friends”. As Twittter itself realized, this is a “following” / “followers” meme. Either follower or followed may be a friend – or they may just be people you enjoy reading (or who enjoy reading you).


  2. When I hear karma, I think of a something that shows your “state” in a system. I also think of an attempt at balance. Some ways you could represent that:

    A sliding scale that shows if you are more of a follower or followee? If you are in balance, the scale is right in the middle.

    More in-depth karma could include how much you @ others , and how often they @ you (both total @s and unique individuals) … again representing some sort of balance.

    Some sort of “duh” meter if you are @ing folks that aren’t following you.

    You’d only need to look at recent tweets, if the API supports that.

  3. Vicky: I used “friends” instead of “following” because that was what Twitter originally used. I forgot that Twitter changed it sometime along the way, but I updated Twitter Karma accordingly. Thanks!

    Mason: I guess I could show a count of “one way” and “mutual” relationships, like [x, y, z] where x is the number of people you follow who don’t follow you back, y being the number of mutual relationships, and z being those who follow you but who you don’t follow back. That would be a good “at a glance” indication. Let me add that. Thanks!

  4. Loved it. Helped me weed out many one-way green arrow connections! btw, a short note about the security of the Twitter password would help, I wasn’t sure about what happens, so I changed my password after testing out Twitter Karma!

    All success

  5. Dr. Mani: The good news is that my application never gets your Twitter ID or password–it’s all handled directly through the browser’s HTTP authentication mechanism (thus the pop-up). Of course, it’s not obvious that this is the case, but even a short note probably won’t soothe the seriously paranoid.

    Ideally, the Twitter folks should extend the Twitter API to generate “API keys” so that you could generate one at the site and give _that_ to an application that needs to use the Twitter API, which you can then manage and revoke without giving out complete access to the Twitter account itself.

  6. Thats looking nice !
    Thumbs up – digg it – and thanks for this :)

  7. I really like it!

    I am looking forward to other features you might put on it including sorting by reciprocation and also a tracking feature over time would be nice as to who comes and goes :) But it is REALLY COOL how it is! thank you thank you!

  8. Great idea but I also think it should be Follower/Following for consistency.

  9. Sam: Can you elaborate more on what you mean by “sorting by reciprocation”? There’s already several different filters (see the “show:” drop-down entries), but I’m not sure how you’d sort “by reciprocation” … please explain.

  10. DJ: The most current Twitter Karma version uses the “follower” and “following” nomenclature. Maybe I should post an updated screenshot …

  11. Yeah, like I’m gonna give you guys my twitter login and password…

  12. Hi Dossy,

    Thanks for this Karma app! FYI, I’m pleading to Twitter :-)

  13. Loving Twitter Karma. Hoping it will be a standalone app soon.

  14. Love your tool. We’ve desperately needed this service so thanks for creating.

    Just a quick though. If you want to encourage more people to follow your karma_news persona on Twitter, you may want to start following some of the folks following you (I noticed that you’re currently not following anyone back.)

  15. @Paranoid: The HTTP authentication dialogue is actually between your own browser and the servers–my code never sees your username or password, actually. I’m just as paranoid as you are and designed things this way because I’d never give out my auth. credentials to some random third-party service, either.

    @Jim: Standalone app.? Maybe I’ll rip one out with Tcl/Tk. Stay tuned. :-)

    @Aaron: Hmm, good point–I should follow everyone back. Thanks for pointing that out.

  16. great trick, original tool

  17. One additional thought as an offshoot of your site (which is very nice). It would be interesting to pick some of the people I follow (or all) and find who they follow in common. So I pick three friends and it turns out that there are 4 people that all three of them follow. It is a way to see patterns and potentially find new people to follow.

  18. As I think, “karma” doesn’t match a service meaning. But it’s catchy, like at, there is a “karma” rating too.

  19. Chris: I’m definitely keen to leverage OAuth with Twitter, but my concerns are:

    1) How reliable is Twitter’s implementation? I really don’t want to build against it now if it’s still not ready for serious use. The words “beta” and “will be finalized” seem like warning signs, to me.

    2) Who is working to educate end-users about OAuth? How will they know they can trust an OAuth exchange? There’s a large segment of users who freely give out their username/password to third-party services already, but the rest of them are overly paranoid about this stuff. I’m sure it won’t be long before someone implements an OAuth-based phishing attack.


  20. Hi Dossy – I love the app, thank you. One think I noticed – “bulk follow” defaults with notification on for new friends. A feature request to be able to set that at the time you execute the bulk follow.
    Thanks again!

  21. I haven’t gotten Twitter Karma to work for me yet after many tries over the last several days. “Rate limit exceeded or other error accessing Twitter API. Please try again in an hour.” Am I doing something wrong?

  22. I dont think your app is working right. I see several people I know I follow as I get thier updates in my friends stream but your app shows me not following them.

  23. Adam: I’ll try to work that into the UI, probably by adding another checkbox for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Stephen: The Twitter API rate limit can be frustrating at times. If you use any other Twitter application that also uses the API, keep in mind that all API usage is limited per Twitter account, not per application.

    Mike: Indeed, you may be correct. Twitter Karma is at the mercy of the correctness of the Twitter API responses. I’ve found, periodically, that the data returned isn’t always correct. This doesn’t seem to be a consistent, reproducible problem though. If it gets worse, I’ll try to troubleshoot and file a bug with the Twitter folks.

  24. Dossy, I’m appreciative you created this tool. Thanks for taking the time and sharing it with the world! I was looking for a way to find out who I’m following but doesn’t follow me, and this helped.

    Alas, that rate limit is frustrating, because I’ve tried to bulk unfollow and it hasn’t reliably gone through: it appears after it does so, the page reloads but still shows all the names I tried to unfollow. Perhaps I should try with smaller chunks at a time, but it does limit the usefulness of utilities like yours.

  25. Torley: I wish there were something I could do about the rate limit, but alas – that’s out of my hands.

    I pushed out a significant change to the Twitter Karma code last night. Perhaps it’ll work better for you now.

  26. Would be great if there were a bulk “block” option. That way I could more easily block twitter spammers.

  27. willf: I’m thinking of adding the ability to block from within Twitter Karma, but once someone is blocked, they won’t show up … so unblocking them will need to be done outside of Twitter Karma. If nobody thinks this is a problem …

  28. Hey there Dossy – been following you on Twitter for a while now – no wonder you’ve been busy.

    This is fantastic stuff – a great mashup :)

  29. Shane: Thanks for the positive feedback! Yes, I definitely find ways to stay busy. :-)

    willf: I’ve gone and added blocking to the bulk options. Be careful!

  30. The reply’s appreciated, Dossy! Last time I tried after you replied, tho, I tried to bulk unfollow 4 people, and after that went through and the page refreshed, I didn’t see a visible change.

  31. Torley: After bulk operations, you need to (unfortunately) reload the Twitter Karma page and re-whack to fetch the data from Twitter again to see any changes.

  32. I think one of the causes for worries when signing in is that the message says its your site that requires the login. Could you maybe whip up some kind of privacy policy that at least explains what’s going on?

    I really, really really like what you’ve done here though, and I’d love to see it flourish. This IS a much-needed app, and I thank you for your efforts!!

  33. Hi, thanks for this app….so I have question, I have community for twitterlovers, and follow all users of twitter from my country..I need to show a list of followers of a twitter account from the page….Im using WordPress, can u help me?

  34. Qrystal: I probably should put up a privacy policy. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Francisco: Since I don’t store anyone’s Twitter data, I really can’t “help” you directly. You can always use the Twitter API to pull the list of people you follow and publish that into your WordPress, if you wanted though.

  35. Hey Dossy, the last few times I’ve tried to use Twitter Karma it just stopped at the “Loading…” page and didn’t load any flash. I’m on Mac 10.4 / Firefox / Flash 9. Any ideas? (It worked for me when I tried it a little over a month ago.)

  36. sarahdopp: First, I’ve eliminated all Flash from Twitter Karma. There’s reasons that I won’t go into right now for doing it.

    Second: Twitter lowered the rate limit from 70 req/hour down to 30 req/hour. That has seriously crippled Twitter Karma for pretty much everyone. Wish I could do something about that, but … if more folks complained to Twitter, maybe they’d care more? Who knows.

  37. Ah, okay that makes sense. And i got it to work today, too! Yay! Thank you!

  38. Twitter Karma is not showing the people I follow. It does shows the people who follow me.

  39. Robin: It seems the Twitter instability issues directly impact Twitter Karma. I’ve tried to detect when the API fails to return valid data, but I guess I got it wrong somewhere.

    All I can say is to try again, especially when Twitter is a bit more stable.

    Sorry. :-(

  40. I tried to bulk Unfollow (twice) but when I go back to Twitter, I have the same count of Following. It’s a little frustrating to scroll through all of those names, selecting people to unfollow and then not have it work.

  41. Hello.

    Great site. Can it be used to bulk load follow(s). So, if I create an account and want to follow 150 others and I have their twitter account name–can I upload all 150 somehow? This would be a big time saver. And I can still troll around and find people to follow the onesy twosy way as well.

    Please let me know. Thank you.



  42. Greg: While yes, it could be possible to implement such a bulk follow feature, it is too easily abused by Twitter spammers and so I will not be providing such a feature. Sorry.

  43. Great tool! Thanks for creating it. I just shared it with my followers & hope you’ll get some more visibility. ;D

    Couple of nits to pick:
    1) That is not you. I remembered your tool’s name, but then when I went there it wasn’t you. Had to do a search all over again to find ya. Would be great if you had a domain of your own, even if you have to change the name. Perhaps something with the word “reciprocity” in it? hehe

    2) That I could only log into one account. I understand you’ve implemented it to the browser talks directly with Twitter. I appreciate that as a security feature. However, is there any way to log OUT & log in with a different account? I haven’t found it. I manage multiple Twitter accounts, so having this ability would be really useful!

    Thanks again & Cheers!

  44. This is an AWESOME TOOL! Since Twitter limits us to 2000 followers, and I’m already at 2000, I need to start eliminating the people who aren’t following me back. Now I can do it really easily! Thanks!

  45. What do i do about this???

    * Issue #54: Friends/followers API methods do not always return 100 records at a time
    * Issue #55: Friends/followers API methods do not always include last tweet

  46. Rob:

    Unfortunately, the only answer is “sit tight and wait for the Twitter team to fix these problems.” For the most part, Twitter Karma is still usable – in theory, what it shows should still be correct, just sometimes you may get old/stale data. This is a problem that the Twitter team is constantly trying to fix …

  47. OK. I believe you that I can still use it, but I can’t figure out how to find it. I get the same “issue” message and can’t find how to download it so I can use it. Please advise.

  48. Maia Berens: You don’t download anything to use Twitter Karma – it’s a web-based service. Underneath the “issue” message should be your friends and followers.

  49. Dossy,

    I see the two error messages and then get no listing of followers or following at all beneath that.

    I think the problem has increased.