Stop Using Twifficiency, You Bozos


Every few minutes, I see somebody tweet something about their Twifficiency score.  Now, I don’t have a problem with shallow people who want to compare their metrics with others – okay, maybe I do – but let’s take a step back for a second and look at what’s happening when you use that tool.

When you first visit, notice the warning at the bottom of the page:

Twifficiency Warning

Twifficiency Warning

The warning states, “Twifficiency will tweet your score on your behalf. Do not use this app if you do not consent to this.”

They’re not going to give you another warning – they are going to tweet for you.  This will piss off your followers because the rest of us truly don’t care about your Twifficiency score.  We may not even care that much about you, and posting vain metrics is a surefire way to get us to care less about you.

Next up, when you click that “Calculate my Twifficiency” button, read the warning Twitter gives you:

Twitter Warning

Twitter Warning

This gives the right to do things with your account, like post messages, follow people, change your profile, you name it.

Are you really comfortable letting a complete stranger do absolutely anything to your Twitter account just to get a meaningless metric?

Because if so, I’d like you to send me your Twitter login info, and I’ll be happy to give you a really cool random number.

When I see a Twifficiency tweet from someone, my first thought is, “They don’t take their own data seriously – there’s no way I’d hire them and let them touch my company’s data.”

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24 Comments. Leave new

  • So true! I noticed the fine print at the bottom of the first page and wanted nothing more to do with it. Other services I use (like only ask for your user name, as they can figure out your followers and who you’re following based on that. This just seemed shady to me.

  • That warning looks like the standard app warning in Twitter. Are you saying anyone that uses a Twitter app does not care about their data or just those that wondered what the Twifficiency thing was all about?

    • Yep, it’s the standard warning. I don’t have a problem with people using known big Twitter apps, but people who use this (no offense to you, sir, you’re different, sorta, heh) basically just clicked on a site and said, “Sure, I’ll let a stranger do something with my data without telling me what it is, plus tweet on my behalf.”

      • So… how exactly does something become a “big Twitter app”? Presumably, big things start as small things. And if you’re not willing to let small things flourish with the things that they need to do so, they’ll never have the chance to become big things.

        Oh… and it’s Twitter.

      • I am thinking about the awesome Refollow app that we took down their server because they could not handle the volume.

        I get where you are coming from, Twifficiency is no better than Four Square or that WeFollow app that I had to filter out of TweetDeck. I think the post just got a little over the top towards the end with the bit about not taking care of data. Then again I could end up eating those words if Twifficiency starts tweeting spam from everyone’s accounts.

  • Don’t forget that you can revoke access from it if you are a bozo that Brent won’t hire.


  • Want to add foursquare and getglue to the simmadown now?

  • I did not authorize them this morning for the very same reason you are out lining.

    But to be fair* to the the people who were doing it early this morning, there were no warnings at all on the the page, just the standard OAuth warning.

    *Fair in a “half bozo” way. I will forgive the auto tweets early this morning, since the developer himself did not disclose that he was going to tweet out their score. In other apps that use OAuth, the trend as been to ask people for permission, even in convoluted manner, for explicit permission to tweet.

    However, a half-bozo is probably worse than a full bozo in this case, since people still gave the authorization in absence of any disclosure at all.

    I think I’m going to go create an app right now. Bozoness Quotient.

    • Alright, you do make a great point. However, there are many services that will tweet on your behalf. It’s a matter of discretion as to whether or not you trust the source.

      This might be a great example to add into your publication, “The Simple Twitter Book” (which I happened to read last night). Even if a site uses the OAuth function of Twitter, it does not mean that they are regarded as a safe application.

  • I’m sorry. When I saw your post I had to do it. I will remove their app from my twitter settings. Please don’t unfollow me.

    • Chuck – hate to break this to you, but I unfollowed you months ago because you just keep retweeting news from other sources. If I wanted that much news, I wouldn’t follow you to get it. Either be a provider, a consumer, or a curator, but if you’re a curator, only people who like that info are going to keep following you.

      • That’s ok, man. I was only saying that tongue in cheek.

        I never watch the stream of people I follow. I follow people on twitter (if I like their profile) only as a way of saying “thank you” that they’ve followed me.

        I only use lists or searches of topics I want to fix my gaze upon at any given moment.

  • Christian Hasker
    August 18, 2010 12:30 am

    Sounds like it should be ‘Twittphishingcy Scam’

  • Part of the problem I have with oAuth is that it only allows for read & read/write access. Something a little more fine-grained would go a long way to preventing naughty apps.

  • When I see a Twifficiency tweet from someone, my first thought is, “They don’t take their own data seriously – there’s no way I’d hire them and let them touch my company’s data.”

    Wow, that is pretty harsh. First off, if you are hiring or not hiring someone based on their twitter feed I have to question your decision making process. Unfollow me? Fine. Don’t hire me? That’s just nuts. Everyone does or says something on twitter that may not sit well with everyone in the twitterverse. Step back and realize, its Twitter. Just Twitter, not my production database. That’s like saying I we were at a party and I said something that didn’t flow with the conversation so you won’t hire me period. When you say “my data” there isn’t much a twitter app can do via oauth they they couldn’t do just picking up all my tweets via the stream. They can tweet on my behalf, I agree that is a bad thing in general but, they don’t have my social or my phone number. I don’t see how this is much different than all the 4square tweets or any other app that tells me where you are and what you are doing any time of the day or night. That stuff annoys me and I block those tweets via tweetdeck but I don’t generally unfollow that person. I followed them in the first place because they have tweeted other stuff that is useful to me.

    With all that said, I did it because Steve Jones did it and was complaining about his low score, I’ll never do it again. Will you re-follow me now? 🙂

  • Sounds similar to when people agreed to sell their soul –

  • Anyone who has problems with this is a wee munter, Jamie C’s as sound as a pound and anyone who says otherwise will have to go through me, alright?