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Posts Tagged ‘Twittercism’

Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone Joins Huffington Post As Strategic Adviser For Social Impact

Big announcement.

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, is joining The Huffington Post Media Group and AOL as Strategic Impact Adviser. Said Mr. Stone: “The definition of success is changing as we begin to understand the value of helping others. Arianna and Tim share my vision for aligning corporate resources toward meaningful change,” said Biz Stone. “My goal in partnering with AOL and The Huffington Post Media Group is ambitious but vitally important. Together we will rally companies to think about new ways of doing business, share best practices, and strive for positive impact at all levels — from global to local.” Mr. Stone will advise on social impact and cause-based initiatives, develop a platform to facilitate people doing service in their communities, rally other companies to invest in and deploy best corporate practices, and create and develop a video series spotlighting leading companies and executives at the forefront of philanthropy and corporate responsibility.

As far as I can tell this is purely advisory – Stone (@biz) hasn’t left Twitter – but this is still an interesting move, especially on the back of the recent AOL acquisition of The Huffington Post. And for Biz, fingers in lots of pies, and all that. Worth keeping an eye on.

The Social Notwork

Are you using Twitter and Facebook productively, or are you just goofing around?

There is no right or wrong answer – you can use these technologies in any way you choose. That’s kind of the point. So go ahead: waste time.

But that’s only okay if it’s your time. If it’s your boss’s, or your colleague’s, or mine, then we have a problem. And if we have a problem, we need a solution. And fast.

So ask yourself some questions: how can I use Twitter more productively at work? Can I use Twitter more productively at work? What does ‘productive’ even mean? And if I figure all of this out, will my boss be okay with it?

These are problems only you can answer. But let me leave you with this: if you’re minimising or hiding away your social networking activity each and every time your boss gets even a little bit close to your screen, you’re already in trouble. Despite appearances, he or she is not as stupid as they seem. In all likelihood, they’ve already noticed, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re called out. So quit the nonchalance, and do the work.

Or you can just shrug your shoulders and carry on goofing around. Hey, it’s worked for you so far. And after all, they’re only the people who sign off on your paychecks.

What Do Your Customers Think? How To Use Twitter To Measure Emotional Reaction To Your Brand

I’ve written in more detail about Twitter search before but the service has a neat feature that allows you to use emoticons (aka smilies) to filter your results, and I wanted to touch upon that in this article.

Let’s use the recently-launched iPad 2 as an example. At the time of writing, here’s a search for positive mentions of the device.

And here’s a search for negative.

Quite a difference. The item being searched for is identical, but because we used :) in the first search, and :( in the second, Twitter looks at the database with two kinds of eyes, and we end up with very different results.

What’s clever about this emotional search facility is it recognises similar smilies in the results – for example, :) will also return tweets that use :-) and :D . Hence, it’s less that Twitter search is looking for :) specifically, but rather is interpreting and applying that as a kind of sentiment filter.

This is obviously of huge benefit for brands and marketers, especially around new product and service launches. Celebrities and producers could use this service to track reactions to movies, TV shows and pop albums. Politicians could gauge the response to bills and speeches. Restaurants can use variations on this search to keep dibs on their customers… and how well that new (and very expensive) head chef is working out.

The best part? In my experience it’s really underused, so it’s a fantastic (and free) way to grab an important advantage over your competition. And PS: You can track reactions to their products and services, too.

Thinking About Changing Your Twitter Avatar? 5 Quick Tips To Help You Find The Perfect Picture

Your Twitter avatar, that little picture that accompanies every single message you publish on the network, is important. Probably more important than you think – a poll I ran a couple of years ago revealed that only 5% of my readers didn’t care about the avatar of the people they were following.

Here are five quick tips to help you get it right.

1. We Want To See YOU

You should always use a recent photo of your face for your avatar – 58% of my readers prefer and expect that.

And just your face – not a close-up of your eyeball, not a picture of you (at least, we think it’s you) from a mile away, and definitely not a picture of your pet, your baby, your favourite celebrity or all of the above. Just your face, shoulders up, and nothing too staged or iStockphotoesque. A good, but regular picture of you.

Exceptions: if you’re a brand with an established, recognisable logo, and/or your Twitter profile is managed by a team (as opposed to one person), then it makes sense to put your ego to one side and use your logo.

Otherwise, no exceptions. Face, face, face.

2. Your Avatar Needs To Be BIG (Not Small)

Upload a large image in as high a resolution as you can manage taken with a decent digital camera – go for a JPG or PNG over a GIF. Twitter allows up to 700KB and will shrink it down for you to 48×48 pixels, but when somebody visits your profile page and clicks on your image it should get bigger, not stay the same size. I’ve requested a close-up – please don’t disappoint.

(I’ve actually seen a few that get smaller – just how low does your self-esteem have to be?)

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On Twitter, Not All PR Is Good PR

The faux pas that saw @chryslerautos tweet out the F-word, alongside a rather dismissive opinion of Detroit, reminds us that while Twitter allows all of us to manage our own PR, if you’re not paying attention at all times – or have the wrong people managing your account – bad things can happen to (otherwise and generally) good people.

While not every brand is in a position to manage their own tweets (and even then anyone can make a mistake), if you take your eyes off of the wheel, even for a second, you can undo months of great work. Twitter is so fast that no matter how rapidly you delete your mistake, somebody always notices, somebody always retweets, and somebody always makes sure that your mistake doesn’t go unpunished and hits the desired amount of eyeballs. And the really unlucky part is you can almost guarantee that your apology won’t reach anywhere near as many people.

Be careful out there, because while Twitter is fantastic for damage control, it’s no slouch at causing damage, either, at a pace (matched only by the reaction) that is scary quick. Even at 140 characters – or less.

Say Tweet Again! I Dare You! I Double Dare You!

I enjoyed this spin on the very popular (and heavily memed) scene from Pulp Fiction.

It’s even family-friendly, as all the profanity has been hidden away, although the brain has this annoying habit of filling in the blanks.

See and enjoy the original Pulp Fiction scene here, but if you’re in the office you might want to consider headphones.

(Hat tips: Photo taken in Central City, New Orleans by Brian Oberkirch, using an iPhone 3GS, and shared by Jason Kottke.)

Tonight On Bloomberg TV's Game Changers: Twitter

Bloomberg’s Game Changers series has profiled everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Steve Jobs to Google.

Now it’s Twitter’s turn, and the network’s co-founders Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone will all feature in a brand-new episode of the show going out tonight on Bloomberg TV in the U.S. (Thursday, 9pm ET).

Here’s the trailer:

If you don’t have access to Bloomberg TV or miss the show you’ll be able to watch it at your leisure on the Bloomberg website here, probably from Friday. Looking forward to it.

(Hat tip: Business Insider.)

Don’t Overuse Old-Style Retweets Unless You’re A Spammer, Says Twitter (Plus 9 More Official Tips)

Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) has been attending his own Search Marketing Expo (SMX) in San Jose, California, and Twitter’s Trust & Safety team lead Del Harvey (@delbius) was the key speaker in a section entitled, Don’t Be A Twitter Spammer.

Sullivan is moderating the piece and has been live-tweeting Harvey’s comments, which are interesting, provocative and, in a few cases, more than a little controversial.

Some of Delbius’s tips are well-known and even obvious, but others are definitely new statements being made by Twitter, and there are items here that require further debate and investigation.

Don’t Be A Twitter Spammer

  1. Twitter doesn’t try to judge content but if it observes a given user being blocked repeatedly, the spam team may step in to investigate further
  2. Avoid using multiple accounts to send the exact same message
  3. Don’t spam hashtags
  4. Don’t use misleading links
  5. Avoid reply spam
  6. Don’t churn – manually or especially through the use of apps
  7. While automated DMs aren’t expressly forbidden, Twitter recommends avoiding them because they’re unpopular and lead to complaints, which results in Twitter stepping in
  8. Sponsored tweets must be disclosed by US law
  9. If you’ve been unfairly tagged as a spammer, ask for help. (“I’m super into forgiveness,” says Delbius, as the medium is so new)
  10. Avoid doing lots of old-style, manual retweets – the main reason Twitter’s internal retweet system was created was because of so many complaints about fake retweets (which, admittedly, are an ongoing problem), and it can appear to be reply spam to Twitter

This final tip is by far and away the most controversial (UPDATED: see below). Like many users, I’m a huge fan of old-style retweets because they allow you to add your own flavour and commentary. I do retweet using the new method from time to time, but only if the content is perfect as-is, which to be honest is pretty rare.

The cynic in me wonders if this statement has been made less out of truth and actual, bonafide advice, and more because Twitter is frustrated that so many users loathe and (in an awful lot of cases) completely avoid the new-style retweet. And so by introducing an element of risk they might hope to move people over in a shorter period of time. To be safe it might pay to be a little wary, although you’d think if they were really concerned they’d compromise and introduce optional annotation. But that would mean admitting they made a mistake – humility hasn’t been Twitter’s most well-played card.

On the upside, Delbius advises asking questions and retweeting items of interest to your followers, and generally being authentic. These are all plusses in the eyes of Twitter, particularly their spam team.

Also, curiously, Delbius mentioned the Miracle Whip (@miraclewhip) Twitter account as an example of an entity that is doing it right. Which, on an initial inspection, seems a little strange. But at least she didn’t go with the obvious. Or Charlie Sheen.

Lots to learn from here, and in our few interactions I’ve always found Delbius very reliable, but it might be worth taking some of these statements with a pinch of salt until they’re backed up with similar remarks from other members of the Twitter elite.

UPDATE: @Delbius has reached out to me on Twitter and clarified my concerns about the old-style retweets, as follows:


Something about it didn’t sound right, and I’m glad we’ve got that straightened out. The rest of her presentation is definitely worth taking on board. Unless, of course, you are a spammer, in which case you won’t care, and probably won’t be reading this.

(Hat tips: Danny Sullivan, Del Harvey.)

HootSuite Launches Social Analytics, Gets A Lot Faster

Big update from HootSuite this morning – social analytics.

New features include customisable reports (you can add your company logo and details and send them off to clients and prospects), both enhanced and quick analytics, and more.

Get a better view of your social campaigns with new, more powerful analytics tools, more ways to measure, and customizable reports that will give you a more complete and comprehensive picture of your participation in social spaces.

HootSuite Social Analytics closes the loop between your social messaging with real-time views into campaign results.

Seems like HootSuite might be going after Radian6 et al.

All this is great, but the best part? HootSuite is suddenly a ton faster. Refreshes are super-quick and everything feels slicker and a lot speedier. I like the design changes to the dashboard, too. Good stuff.

What Price A Twitter User?

On Monday I wrote about how a recent auction of Twitter stock on the secondary market had raised the valuation of the company to some $7.7 billion.

Prior to this I noted that Twitter had passed the 250 million user mark – 253 million to be precise.

This allows us to quickly work out a per user value for each Twitter profile – 7.7 billion dollars divided by 253 million accounts equals $30.80 per user.

What this means is that if Twitter was sold for that $7.7 billion, they could give every single user a $10 Amazon voucher and still have enough in the kitty to get some new paint for the office. Over five billion, if we’re counting, which should be good for at least two coats. And maybe some curtains.

Not that this is likely to happen. But as a concept, financially rewarding the individuals who make up the network isn’t as hands-across-America as it might initially seem. It’s worth observing that the actual ‘value’ of Twitter is dependent on two important things – one, the users, and two, their tweets. The latter cannot exist without the former, and the former produce all of the latter. Take away either of these vital elements and Twitter instantly loses all of its appeal and subsequently its value. Even if the tweets were preserved, at best you’d have a curious (and rapidly decaying) time capsule. And who would really want to buy that?

I suggest that you keep this in mind whenever anyone tries to tell you that the time you’ve invested on Twitter is wasted time. It’s anything but. This is your Twitter. You’re the critical piece in this valuable ecosystem, and it’s people like you who have built something incredible. Something that has and will change this world. And nobody can put a price on that.

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