Saturday, September 27, 2008

Election 2008 Debate: And the winner is....

Twitter's election site was fantastic last night.  Tweets were flying by, positive and negative, Obama and McCain. Twitter handled it flawlessly.  In fact, things moved so quickly, sometimes it was hard to keep up.  Here's a few samples of what you said:
Buddy Brewer said it best, congrats to the Twitter team!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Reminder about tonight's debate

Earlier this week, I posted about Friday's debate and Jeremiah's debate scoring game.  As a reminder, the post is listed below.  But alot has changed in the fast moving world of Twitter since then.

. Personally, I agree with many of the writers above. I think the election site is a great way to tap into the audience's appetite for all things electoral.  It is most definitely a test of more group-oriented experiential feeds and quite possibly how Twitter will generate revenue, either via ads, sponsored groups, or something else.  And one more thing, before I forget, don't forget to tune in tonight and keep one eye on the TV and one eye on Twitter.
The first of 4 Presidential debates will be held on Friday, September 26, 2008 at 9PM Eastern. with domestic policy focus from the campus of The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS.

You may recall last February's Super Bowl when Jeremiah Owyang organized a fun side-game where we all rated the commercials on Twitter. Well, Jeremiah has a great idea to utilize Twitter to rate the debates in a similar fashion.  Be the Armchair political analyst and use Twitter to Score the Debate has all of the details and scoring examples.  It should make the debates even more enjoyable and meaningful.  Let's hope that Twitter is up to the task and the Fail Whale does not appear.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Microsoft Student Partners Summit Blogging Panel

This morning I was fortunate to participate on a panel with esteemed Microsoft bloggers Lawrence Liu, Jeff Sandquist, Larry Hyrb moderated by Frank Arrigo at the Microsoft Student Partners panel. The goal of the panel was to answer questions from these brilliant students on the importance of blogging.  Andrew Parsons tweeted the event using hashtag #studentdaze and Funny Wallpaper wrote his blog post about it as well. We spent a lot of time talking about Twitter, its value, and how to integrate it into a blogging strategy.  I found it interesting that all but a couple of students used Twitter. Here are a couple of the notes that Andrew Parsons took.

Photos are courtesy of Frank Arrigo and Andrew Parsons.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Twitter Search Trends

Biz has been analyzing the popular trends on Twitter in the Twitter blog based on the "Summize" results.

For example, in the blog, today's most popular keywords (with Biz' analysis) have been:
  •  Clay Aiken---his official coming out has people Twittering in ironic shock.
  • Matt Millen---is stepping down from his role as vice president of the Detroit Lions causing many virtual high-fives in the form of tweets.
  • Peta---is getting attention as folks react strongly to the suggestion that Ben and Jerry's make ice cream from human breast milk.
  • #picnic08---was topping the trends earlier but has fallen off as attendees of this conference in Amsterdam settle in for the evening.
  • And of course, John McCain jumped to the number one trend after news that he's canceling the first presidential debate. 
 McCain also inspired another trend today, causing people to use the hash tag #suspending meme as reported on the Silicon Alley Insider. The trend analysis from Biz is interesting, but it would be great if we could see the trends over a period longer than a day. Speaking of the meme, I am #suspending the rest of this post so I can watch the Mets choke another one.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friday's Debate

The first of 4 Presidential debates will be held on Friday, September 26, 2008 at 9PM Eastern. with domestic policy focus from the campus of The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS.

You may recall last February's Super Bowl when Jeremiah Owyang organized a fun side-game where we all rated the commercials on Twitter. Well, Jeremiah has a great idea to utilize Twitter to rate the debates in a similar fashion.  Be the Armchair political analyst and use Twitter to Score the Debate has all of the details and scoring examples.  It should make the debates even more enjoyable and meaningful.  Let's hope that Twitter is up to the task and the Fail Whale does not appear.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Seattle Tweet-ups

Over the last 24 hours, I've attended two excellent local tweet-ups.  Unlike the usual social events, these tweet-ups were more than social, they were cause-oriented.  Last night I attended The Pitch, an awesome meeting devoted to Thoughts on the future of publishing organized by Jason Preston. About 20 people debated the viability of the newspaper in today's wired world.  Kathy Gill pointed out the importance of newspapers to community and the fact that technologies like electronic ink will make newspapers viable for a long time. As Kathy said, "newspapers are going to stick around longer than the early adopter geeks think."  Journalist Monica Guzman stated "the internet is doing wonderful things for journalism. We'd be busting out the party hats if we could afford them". She felt that it may not be worth the effort to find a business model that supports a daily.  At the end of the night, we voted 13-4 that print daily newspapers would not exist 25 years from now. You can read the rest of the tweets here.

Early this morning, I attended a different kind of tweet-up organized by likemind. Likemind is an organization which plans meetups all around the world on the same day.  The topics may differ, but the date is always the same.  likemind Seattle is organized by Jason Gingold, an online advertising strategist. This morning was a light crowd, but it turns out that each of us had worked in the account planning/strategy world and had a NY background. Small world, go figure. Given the composition of the audience, then it should be no surprise that we talked about the social webs and energizing community for politics.  And the always witty, Tim Frommer kept us laughing and thinking.  likemind Seattle will put together a survey for the discussion topic of the next meeting, so follow him to learn about it in advance.

Is the new Twitter design like the new Facebook?

We've had about 24 hours now to get accustomed to the new Twitter interface design. As many have described, the new design seems mostly cosmetic.  It doesn't appear that the refresh was designed for usability, but aesthetics.  It takes a little time to find how the archive tab was replaced (click on your thumbnail) and hover over an update to find the stat and swoosh.  Personally, I think it's fine, although I have had problems with the page refreshing after I've added new followers.  I asked my followers what they thought of the refresh and here is what you said:

Overwhelmingly positive and nothing really major!

As you can see, it's pretty benign. Unlike Facebook, not many negatives. The 1,000,000 against the New Facebook layout group on Facebook now has over 2M members, by the way.  Now if we can get past the cosmetics and integrate search, things would be rocking.  How has everyone else found it?

Monday, September 15, 2008

I've been trying out Dwigger and think it's great!

I found this fascinating quote today:

It was only a matter of time before somebody came up with a way to rank Twitter posts just like Digg ranks other web content. Dwigger was released on Saturday and it’s already getting some good reviews.Janet Fouts, Sep 2008

You should read the whole article.

And of course, I'd love a dwigg (?), on my post.  Thanks!

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Internet Marketing Conference Vancouver

Friday I spoke at the Internet Marketing Conference presented by Lars Johannson and Lennart Svanberg on a fantastic social media panel with several high-powered social media experts from the US and Canada. Patrick Schwerdtfeger of Tactical Execution moderated the panel that also included, William Azaroff of Vancity, Jacqueline Voci of SoyaMarketing, Julie Wisdom of Babcock and Jenkins.  A full house sat in on a great lively workshop.  We discussed a variety of social media topics, from community, to PR, video, blogging, and of course, Twitter. I think my passion for Twitter even recruited a few new members to the Twitter community.  If you were at the workshop, please leave a comment.   It was a great workshop that I think everyone got a lot out of.

There were many people who live-blogged the conference, including Raquel Hirsch of WiderFunnel, Rebecca Bollwit of Miss604, and Monique Trottier of BoxcarMarketing, but one thing that surprised me was the lack of Twittering.  In fact, I think that I was the only one. That's a situation that I have never been in at a conference. Although I learned a lot at the conference, especially from Zaaz Chief Analytics and Optimization Officer, Jason Burby's presentation, the lack of the Twitter back channel and interaction with other attendees really was missed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Week in Review

The big stories on Twitter from last week:

Hurricane Gustav- Luckily the storm did not have the impact that we all feared. However, Twitter showed its value as a community and tool for fast distribution of news.  Andy Carvin put together the Hurricane Information Center, a social network devoted to the storm.But most of the communication was via Twitter. CNN's Rick Sanchez put Twitter on the network as they responded to the Twitterverse's questions, news and comments prior, during and after the storm on air. And New Orleans' own Mark Mayhew posted tweets and photos throughout the drama.

RNC08- The Republican National Convention was popular on Twitter all week, even spawning a "brandjacked" character, NotSarahPalin, with a somewhat humorous or painful perspective depending on your true color. There were also some pretty cool tools developed to report on the Twitter activities like one from CSPAN, Govtweets,  and Politweets.

Bye bye Fail Whale - As reported by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the necessary back end repairs to Twitter have been made and they are proud about their reliability improvements. In fact, Twitter had record uptime in August of 99.88%, down for less than an hour compared to May's 21.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ambient Awareness

If you haven't seen it yet, sit down and read Clive Thompson's provocative article in today's NY Times magazine, Brave New World of Digital Intimacy on the social realities of Twitter and Facebook. Thompson focuses on the relationships of loose ties that are now possible with the communities.  He describes how we deal with incessant online contact, using a term that you will hear for awhile, ambient awareness

As you'd expect, the world of Twitter has been abuzz.  For the last two days, the conversation about the article has been robust as it seemed that everyone had something to say about ambient awareness. And of course, there were some great pieces written about the article.  Alan Wolk wrote an amazing piece, Social Media's Defining Moment, identifying the importance of the article "because it's outside the usual geekosphere bubble and has the imprimatur of social science. The placement in the Times means that it should be getting a lot of traction since it's the first place many non-tech journos will go for insight into "that whole Twitter thing."

Laura Fitton also had a great analysis on her beautiful, newly redesigned blog, What's the Value? My comment on Brave New World of Digital Intimacy. As we've come to expect from Pistachio, she provides a personal response, demonstrating how Twitter has changed her life,
"In March 2007 I was a mom of two kids under two rebuilding my consultancy in a new city with no business network to speak of.
Today I wrapped up a business trip to NYC where I met with six c-level media and agency executives, two well-known journalists, my book agent and dozens of respected friends, contacts and colleagues. All of these contacts were made and cultivated via Twitter. Most logistical coordination for the trip was handled via Twitter. And yes, many of us combine the time-saving and reach-extending leverage of networking online with the substance of connecting in person."

The conversation also occurred on other communities like LinkedIn.  On LinkedIn, Melanie Notkin gave an inspiring account of how the ambient awareness of Twitter helped her start her business and become "active awareness". Jackie Huba expressed the reaction that many of us had and felt:

What is your reaction to this important article and description of your Twitter community?

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Thursday, September 4, 2008


As Twitter has become more popular (and stable, btw), we've seen more instances of false identities or brand jacking.  Last month, Jeremiah Owyang uncovered the first situation when ExxonMobil’s spokesperson, “Janet” was exposed as a brand-jacker.  Even though Janet seemed to be espousing the corporate line and supporting all of ExxonMobil’s positions, however uncomfortable, we can all imagine the risk associated with the practice.

Then a few days after it was discovered that @AmericanAir had joined their competitors, SouthwestAir and JetBlue on Twitter, Tim Walker found out that it was an unofficial account - brand-jacked.  Apparently, the ease of use of setting up accounts on Twitter has empowered fans/ customers to pick the identity of their favorite brands.

In the social web era, we demand transparency.  As customers, we need to have conversations with our favorite brand on our social platform of choice and we expect that the brands (or its representatives) that we are talking to, to be transparent in their words and actions as well.  We want to congratulate brands for jumping in to the social media fish bowl, specifically Twitter, and validating our impressions/usage.  As a result, many brands are jumping into social media.  Peter Kim has written an exhaustive, comprehensive list of brands and their social media activities.

But for brands, participating in social media is not as clear cut.  On the one hand, they want to engage in conversations with their customers and help them to spread our news/products and recommend us to their friends.  Put a human face on the brand! As David Armano says, “act as "facilitators" This means that like any good facilitator, they get off center stage, move over to the side and let others do the talking. On the other hand, to have customers speak for the brand may be very uncomfortable, aside from the traditional issues of control and being on message as other customers could get the wrong impression from our “Janet”.  And there may be legal ramifications if fans or other evangelists “speak” for a company.

So what’s a good, transparent, well-meaning brand to do?

Clearly, companies have made major investments in their brands, even though all of the social media dogma suggests that the customers own the brand today. I think we will always see companies protecting their assets and trademarks.  Brands should find ways to protect their identities, yet also empower their influentials and evangelists to support them.  One way to do this could be for Twitter to implement some rules around identity in the account settings.  For example, perhaps you can only create a branded Twitter account if you have a corporate email account. And perhaps the companies will need to register their brand name with Twitter for a fee. There, helping Jack with monetization, too.

Then Janet becomes @janet-fanofExxonMobil.  Is it clear and transparent?  I don’t think anyone would be confused by the practice. We will know who we really are speaking to.  And we wouldn’t diminish anyone’s enthusiasm for the brand.   I’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea.

Up Next, Fan-Jacking ala Mad Men