Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Upcoming Events

Ah, spring is in the air. The birds are singing, the crocuses are blooming and Seattle is warming up to 43 degrees. And the big birds of Alaska Airlines are getting ready to take me out of town. With the arrival of spring, I am taking it on the road.

Next week I will be attending the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. The conference will be great and I am especially looking forward to the session that Peter Kim, Charlene Li, and Jeremiah Owyang are having, Why Social Media Marketing Fails - and How to Fix It. It will be great to see the 3 Superstar analysts together - a must see! If you are attending the conference, please leave a comment and let's meet up.

The following week, I will be presenting a follow-up webinar to last month's Become a Twitter Ninja for the Society for Word of Mouth. On April 8th, we will go talk about what some companies are doing in Become a Twitter Grandmaster. Please feel free to leave your advanced twitter tips in the comments. Last month's session was a lot of fun and I am sure this one will be as well. Sign up on the SWOM site.

At the end of April, I will be back in San Francisco for Chris Brogan's Inbound Marketing Summit and the Society for New Communications Research New Comm Forum from the 27th - 29th. It will be great to catch up with many good friends like Zena Weist and Aaron Strout and make new ones as well.

In May, a long trip to Florida for WOMMA's WOMM-U on May 13 - 14th in South Beach. I don’t think you can travel much further than Seattle – Miami!  There I will be speaking about Twitter. Last year, I spoke on social media and I found this event to be one of the better events of the year as there was so much hands-on, face to face interaction with the roundtable breakouts. I am sure that this year's conference will be even better.

Finally May concludes with the first conference dedicated to Twitter, 140, The Twitter Conference, back to the bay area in Mountain View on May 26th and 27th. You don’t think I would miss that!

I hope to see you at one of these events. Please let me know where you will be so that we can connect.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who’s your BFF?

I learned about an amazing Twitter visualization tool on Read Write Web called Mailana developed by Pete Warden. There are many tools that will provide a visualization of your Twitter graph, but where Mailana soars is that it determines your top relationships based on reciprocal tweets. Mailana bases its analysis on the entire available Twitter stream and explores the conversations. In addition to providing your top 20 friends, Mailana will display the number of reciprocal conversations and it also provides a tag cloud of what you’ve spoken about with that person. Pretty cool and insightful. But the application goes even further, offering:

  • Suggested new follower recommendations
  • Your town’s social network
  • People who talk about a specific subject

FireShot capture #13 - 'Map of warrenss's relationships' - twitter_mailana_com_profile_php_person=warrenss&

Pretty cool and pretty surprising in the top BFF’s both in terms of the actual rankings as well as the omissions. As an example, in my case, Adam Cohen is my #1 BFF in that I have sent Adam 90 tweets and he has sent me 104 back. And here is what we talked about:


Pretty cool. Of course, we all realize that our Twitter conversations are public and accessible to anyone. However, with a tool like Mailana, they become even more visible. Good thing or maybe not?

Run your own Mailana search. Who’s your BFF and are you surprised?

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Socialmedia Soiree

One of the great things about Twitter is the ability to find so many people that have similar interests. As a result, I have been able to indulge in all of my hobbies and interests and expand all of my networks. In fact, when I realized this, Twitter just took off for me. I followed Social Media people, local Seattle people, Boston (and Red Sox) people, and Food & Wine people. And a tool like Tweetdeck enables me to keep everything straight. One of my first foodie Twitter friends was Deb Puchalla or as she was known then, EverydayFoodDeb. Deb was the Executive Editor of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine. We had a lot of fun tweeting about cooking, restaurants, chefs and even social media. Deb even gave me some inside tips on making a successful Thanksgiving dinner. Deb has recently left Martha Stewart Living to join Scripps in a leadership role in digital media.

In honor of Deb's big move, Kay Ballard and Rebecca Regnier have organized a Virtual Tweet-up and Webcast Sunday night, March 22nd at 9pm EDT. It promises to put the ”social” into social media as new media mavens attend what’s being billed as the first Social Media Soiree in honor of former Martha Stewart editor Deb Puchalla. The bash will use both Twitter and Webinar. It’s called The Social Media Soiree and it is poised to be a virtual event to remember because the entire Twitterverse is invited. Twitter has always inspired innovative programs like the Twebinar and I am sure the Social Media Soiree will join it as another memorable event.

“Nothing’s better than getting together with the coolest people on the net from the privacy of your own laptop,—and you don’t even need a designated driver,” adds party co-creator Rebecca Regnier.

“We wanted to host a cocktail party so that Deb’s Twitter friends could celebrate her achievements, but we live all over the country—and all over the world. Since we met on Twitter, it soon became obvious that we could use Twitter, the social network that brought us together in the first place to connect for a party,” said Ballard.

But the Social Media Soiree is not just about Twitter—It is about Deb who moved from a terrific job in print publishing as Executive Editor at Martha Stewart Living to an even more amazing job in digital media.

“We think her insights are valuable since so many of her friends and Twitter followers are also working to move forward in their own careers. This lets them listen in to a party conversation between Deb and other rising stars in new media. Just put up your feet, flip open your laptop and have some fun with us,” added Regnier.

I hope you'll join me and several other fabulous guests: Celebrity Garden Blogger, Margaret Roach, Social Media Strategist, Laura Fitton, and Wendy Piersall the Founder & CEO of Sparkplugging will all be on hand for the live Webinar. Some additional Twitter Stars will be popping in with toasts for Deb Puchalla as she begins her new endeavor.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Social media and the NBA

MILWAUKEE - FEBRUARY 10:  Charlie Villanueva #...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

There was some great Twitter discussion in response to yesterday's post about Charlie Villanueva tweeting from the locker room during a game. Many fans thought it was cool and the traditionalists among us were somewhat annoyed by another spoiled player tweeting in the middle of a game. However, I had a very interesting conversation with Glenn White, a former co-worker. who had a different perspective.

Much of the conversation was regarding the difference between the NBA's controlled messages and sponsored dialogue such as mandated halftime player network interviews contrasted to a player's freeform opinion. In other words, a traditional command and control marketing organization (the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA) trying to control/ mandate the brand content over consumer generated (player) media. The player was not allowed to share his content and tweet from the locker room, but instead players must make themselves available to the TV network for quick interviews during that same time. Now I am certain that Bucks coach Scott Skiles was not reprimanding his player, Charlie Villanueva, over brand control guidelines. But does the player have the right to share his content/interpretation of the brand on his own terms or does the benefit/ value to the company supercede that? An interesting parallel to social media, don't you think?


Isn't the NBA being close-minded about technology?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Halftime tweet

We've gotten pretty blase lately about all of the actors, athletes, politicians and comedians on Twitter. After all who wants to be the 24,315th follower of a person who only follows his 23 friends and doesn't respond. Of course, there are exceptions like Shaquille O'Neal who not only became a Twitter evangelist, but actually seems to enjoy tweeting with his fans.

Charlie Villanueva seems to have learned from the Big Diesel as well. Like Shaq, he can't seem to get enough of Twitter and loves to tweet with his fans. As an example, here he responds to Red Sox blogger and big UCONN fan Tim Daloisio after Syracuse beat UCONN in the epic 6 Overtime Big East playoff game.

Villanueva is so addicted to Twitter, that it recently got him into some hot water with this tweet.

At halftime of a game between Villanueva's Bucks and the World Champion Celtics, he couldn't wait to tweet. Unfortunately, Coach Scott Skiles was not amused. "We made a point to Charlie and the team that it's nothing we ever want to happen again," Skiles said after practice Tuesday."You know, [we] don't want to blow it out of proportion. But anything that gives the impression that we're not serious and focused at all times is not the correct way we want to go about our business."

As you can see, CV31 has had to face the heat.

Villanueva’s teammate Andrew Bogut has even gotten into the act.

Too bad, Alvin Gentry is the coach of the Suns, not the Bucks. He would probably be more tweet-amenable. Do you think it's cool that players are so "addicted" to Twitter that they are tweeting during games or is it just another distraction that shows that players are not as serious and dedicated as they should be. For me, I wish more athletes and other entertainers were like Villanueva and embraced Twitter as a two-way conversation with their fans.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Convergence: Mark Zuckerberg is on Twitter

While reading my blog feeds over coffee this morning, I read on VentureBeat that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, created a public account on Twitter.

After reading the article, I checked out his account and followed him.  Within minutes, he followed me and several hundred people back.

Picture 2

You may have seen the recent Charlie Rose interview with Eric Schmidt, Google CEO where he said that Twitter was a “poor man’s email system” and they are unlikely to buy Twitter soon. Well, Eric Schmidt has a Twitter account (although it’s validity is questionable) as does the fast growing corporate Google account (83,000 followers).

So why are all these “suitors” on Twitter?  Are they kicking the tires or has Twitter become a very necessary utility for all? Perhaps we are seeing this convergence where these social utilities are all being recognized as useful by each other (regardless of what they say publicly) and the networks are thus, symbiotic?  And if that’s the case, will you soon be able to log in to Twitter with Facebook Connect or your Google ID?  Aside from the ability to post your status to multiple places, what would be other benefits of integration?

And if the convergence is truly happening, where are Steve Ballmer, Reid Hoffman, Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe? What does it say about their companies, if they are not active on Twitter?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Future is Search for Twitter

You may have noticed that Twitter is rolling out its integrated search and trends into the web platform tonight. They had been testing it with select users, and the test must have worked because it is being installed everywhere. Although Twitter purchased Summize last summer, it has been keeping search and trends separate from the messaging platform until now. You can learn more about the integrated search rollout on ReadWriteWeb and Mashable. Although many experienced users depend on desktop clients like Tweetdeck and Twhirl, newcomers are focused exclusively on the web. And all of Twitter’s recent efforts have been focused on newcomers.

FireShot capture #9 - 'Twitter _ Home' - twitter_com_home

Ok, it’s about time, but what’s the big deal? I think Twitter is getting very close to announcing their monetization plans and they are focused on search. Here’s what’s been happening over the last few months:

FireShot capture #10 - 'from_ev to_tonyhawk - Twitter Search' - search_twitter_com_search_q= from%3Aev to%3Atonyhawk

FireShot capture #11 - 'from_ev to_mrskutcher - Twitter Search' - search_twitter_com_search_q= from%3Aev to%3Amrskutcher

  • Integrated search has been dumbed down and made easier to use. No advance features. You still must go to Search to use those.

Even though Twitter is one of the largest social networks and grew 813% last year as reported by Compete, it is still fairly niche. Twitter is now ready to go mainstream and all of these efforts are in support of that. Mainstream users are joining because Twitter is hot and the attraction to see celebrity’s inner most and even mundane thoughts is huge. The goal of these efforts is to build Twitter’s user base and volume.

I believe that once the number of users hits a certain threshold, we will see Twitter start to monetize search. Twitter’s real time conversational search data is hot and companies will be willing to pay for it. How they go to market, I’m not quite sure, but the plan is imminent.

Final thoughts and questions

Do you think search is the holy grail for Twitter? Are they finally ready to roll out the revenue plan? What do you think a revenue plan around search will look like? Subscription based API/ fire hose access? Monthly fees to use Search.twitter.com? Something else?

These popular blogs also talk about the impact of search on Twitter’s revenue model:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Twitter: To DM or not to DM

You might think that the reasons for using a direct message (DM) on Twitter are pretty obvious, right? After all, we use it to send private, email like messages. But why go private in the open, transparent fish bowl of Twitter?

My good friend and social media expert (there, I used the term, but she really does know her stuff), Zena Weist, gave some great insights about the importance of DM’s. She uses DM’s to improve the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) of her twitter stream by pulling out conversations that are primarily one to one. Thus, the SNR for her other followers isn't impacted. Pretty interesting, and very respectful of one’s Twitter followers, don’t you think? Following up on the conversation, via DM, of course, we crowdsourced the question and here are some examples of what you said:

FireShot capture #1 - 'Twitter _ Andrea Meyer_ @warrenss I use DMs when i ___' - twitter_com_AndreaMeyer_statuses_1260812257

FireShot capture #2 - 'Twitter _ unhatched_ @warrenss I'm more lax wit ___' - twitter_com_unhatched_statuses_1260577524

FireShot capture #3 - 'Twitter _ Kari Rippetoe_ @warrenss I DM when I want ___' - twitter_com_KariRippetoe_statuses_1260424078

FireShot capture #4 - 'Twitter _ Roger Courville_ @warrenss great question, ___' - twitter_com_1080Group_statuses_1260551655

FireShot capture #5 - 'Twitter _ Laurie_ @warrenss Don't DM much, b ___' - twitter_com_MobileMommy_statuses_1260578584

David Hoang DM’d with a great analogy, “I use @ replies like the Wall on FB... public broadcast to a specific person. DMs are for my/person's eyes only :)”

Based on everyone’s feedback, a poll was set up on Twtpoll to determine the primary reason for a DM.

No surprise that 49% of you agreed with the original premise, to have a private conversation. But I was surprised to see that Zena’s insight about keeping the Signal to Noise Ratio down for her follower’s was second with 31%. How about you? Any surprises in the answers? Any other reasons to use a DM?

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