Saturday, January 31, 2009
As you can see, there are tags for Twitter, Twitterbrands, Twitter101, tools, Politicaltweets, performance/technical, monetization, retweets, search, stats, twitter for social good, celebrities on twitter, and twitter in the news. It's a pretty rich catalog, but I'm sure there are other categories that could be helpful. What else should be tracked?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
As you may have seen this weekend on Techcrunch, or Read Write Web, Twitter is preparing to raise another round of capital, probably at least $20M. Based on the funding, its valuation is now $250M. Not too shabby in a weak economy! Techcrunch is reporting that the new investor is Institutional Venture Partners. Jeremiah Owyang performed a quick analysis and determined that each active Twitter user is valued at $73.52. As Lidija Davis states on Read Write Web, the only way VCs would fund Twitter in our current economic climate would be if they could see a clear and detailed business plan that solidifies its revenue model. Hopefully, we will get to see that revenue model pretty soon! Louis Gray even has competing posts, Twitter is worth a lot more than $250M and There is no Way Twitter is worth $250M. Talk about playing both sides!
Rather than speculating on the revenue model, I’d rather recommend some missing functions and other investments that Twitter desperately needs. My fantasy baseball friend, Don Reisinger, wrote last week in his CNET column, 5 Twitter Improvements we’re still waiting for:
- Groups – allow likeminded communities to form on Twitter
- Tweet Filter – Block specific types of tweets like those from Blip.fm
- Unfollow Notice – Daily Qwitter type stats
- Profile Stats- Data around your Twitter page
- 200 characters – Why limit ourselves to the SMS limitations
- Page Views - raw page view numbers for my profile
- Inbound Links - who is linking to my profile and how many are there
- Referrals - followers acquired from other users’ tweets
- Bounce Rate - how many people get to my profile and leave, and how long did they stick around
- GeoTargeting - where are people viewing my profile from
- Click Tracking - how many people click on links I share? (TweetBurner)
- Re-Tweet Tracking - how many retweets am I getting and who is doing it
- Search Traffic - how many people arrive to my profile via Twitter Search or Google Search and from what keywords
- Reports - Example: bounce rate vs new follower ratio
- Trending Followers - like twittercounter, only baked in
- Unfollowers – qwitter
Louis Gray has called for Twitter to implement OAuth, the open protocol that allows for secure API authorization, as a way to mitigate some of the recent security issues in the ecosystem due to users having to enter their password on third party sites.
Personally, I think they are all great ideas. Who can’t agree with improving security and making it more difficult for spammers? If I had to suggest a few other things it would be:
- Integration of real search into Twitter instead of the current Find people
- An address book so I could readily and easily find my Twitter friends, especially when travelling so I know who to ask about a local tweet-up.
- A functional Suggested Users so I could see who we follow in common (kind of like Facebook’s People you may know).
- Ability to have Plurk like threaded conversations.
How do you think Twitter should spend the new investment? What features would you like to see Twitter add? Which deficiencies must be fixed for you? What new features would really enhance the overall experience?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Andy Nulman is pretty creative. President of Airborne Mobile and founder of Montreal’s fantastic Just for Laughs International Comedy festival (okay, Camille Laurin and the language cops, Juste pour rire), is known for using surprise as a powerful component of any marketing campaign. His current campaign to build awareness of his new book is a perfect example. Andy is giving away 200 free copies of POW! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise, to any blogger that writes a post and asks for it. I learned about the offer from my friend and amazing marketer himself, Saul Colt on his inspiring marketing blog.
Andy seems like another Andy that I’m friendly with, Andy Sernovitz, who always recommends doing memorable, surprising actions as part of your word of mouth marketing strategy. Seem like two peas (or Andy’s) in a pod, don’t they? As a fellow McGill grad, I certainly want to see Andy Nulman do well. That’s why I have some advice for the surprise guru, from the Twittermaven.
Great campaign, but where’s Twitter? Ok, there was one tweet, but a great campaign like this deserves better treatment on Twitter. Let’s spread the word and get some retweet’s going!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Many of you have not only been following the news of my job search on Twitter, but have also been extremely helpful in providing job leads and support. And I am very grateful for that. I’ve shared the blog posts that several friends have written about my situation before, I’ve got great friends and Thank you for your support. Well, the fruits of everyone’s labors has paid off! In record time, too!
On Monday, I will be joining Radian6 as Director of Content Marketing. Radian6 is the leading Social Media Monitoring firm, helping companies and agencies listen, measure and engage with what’s being said about them on the web. Radian6 is an innovative social marketer, as the developer of the Twebinar.
In my previous role as a strategist at a large agency, I used the product with much success and it quickly became my favorite social media tool. I also had the opportunity to meet and speak with VP of Marketing and Community, David Alston and CEO, Marcel LeBrun many times at various conferences. I have always come away from the conversations, impressed and with a lot of respect for them and the amazing company that they have built.
I am sure that you have seen the recent news about the company’s other new hire, Amber Naslund as Director of Community. Amber is an amazing social marketer and community builder and I am so excited to be working with her as part of a great team. In just a week, she has already made a fantastic impact, engaging with customers and helping out. Did you see Geoff Livingston’s recent post, 2009 – Hot or Not, naming Radian6 the hottest Social Media Tool and Amber the hottest Marketing Blogger? What an awesome team!
So what does the Director of Content Marketing do?
I will be responsible for leading and executing the Company’s inbound digital marketing strategies which includes:
- a focus on building relationships by providing valued content for use in various channels from Twebinars, website, events and online publications.
- creation and sharing of engaging new information that educates our customers and helps them succeed.
Shortly thereafter, David Alston and I shared dms. We spoke the next day, along with Marcel, took a break for the holidays and then the rest is history!
Much has been said about the power of networking in these tough economic times and we’ve all seen numerous examples of the strength of the Twitter community.
Thanks to David and Marcel for the great opportunity, and thanks to each of you for being a part of my community and helping me. I am so glad that my tenure as one of the unemployed is over in record time. I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2009!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
A lot of great things have already been written by many people like about the exciting fundraising that the Twitter community experienced Tuesday night when David Armano asked his friends and community for a favor.
Many great posts have been written about that night, the impact of social capital and how Twitter’s community changed. I found Kate Niederhoffer’s post Re-tweeting Altruism: also altruistic and Scott Drummond’s How is your relationship balance sheet, especially insightful. I will leave the community insights to those experts. Instead as the true analytic that I am, I will focus on some of the numbers that helped to drive those impressive results. So let’s start with the big picture: 512 contributors donated $16,020, an average of $31 per donation. The Armano’s exceeded their modest goal in less than 2 hours!
Let’s take a look at the work behind that.
- The tweet above was retweeted 226 times.
- Traffic to Armano’s Logic + Emotion blog increased almost 10X
- The blog post received 141 comments, about 10X more than usual.
- The blog post received 224 diggs, received 25 comments there and made it to the front page.
- The tweet asking to help digg the post was retweeted 42 times.
- The link to the digg page was clicked 410 times.
- Some of us created our own blog posts about Daniela. Mine received 110 clicks from Twitter.
- Armano’s post came out of nowhere to be the 8th most popular Daniela page on Google out of 42M.
All of these activities resulted in this.
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A lot of great discussions around retweets on Twitter, so I'd like to share a few of them (and some other posts) that you may have missed.
- Connie Bensen shows off some innovative features on her blog, Tweetbacks and Most Tweeted.
- David Armano discusses the value of the Re-Tweet on Logic and Emotion.
- Retweet guru, Dan Zarrella, continues to move the bar on extending Twitter with blogs as he introduces the Tweetback This button.
- Joel Postman offers a counterpoint to retweets in his post, Excessive RTs can be tiring.
- A new tool is introduced, Re.Twitd, which tracks the most popular retweets at different intervals.
- And another similar tool, Retweetradar which shows a tag cloud of the most retweeted items on Twitter as well as top users and links.
How do you use the retweet? Do you find it an important development in your Twitter usage? Is it a positive direction?
And separate from the retweet discussion,
- Rick Liebling has a great story about how Burger King is integrating Twitter into its new campaign on Eyecube.
- Mashable has a list of 5 good ways to discover Twitter apps.
- Kevin Dixie posits, why Twitter can kill Facebook.
- Brian Oberkirch endorses Firefox plug-in, PowerTwitter.
- Texas Tech Advertising Professor Sam Bradley wrote great advice for his students, but really for anyone new to Twitter, A College Student’s Guide to Twitter.
There you have it, some of the more interesting recent stories about Twitter. Were there other ones that you found unique and interesting? I’d love to learn about them.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
You may have seen this on David Armano’s blog, Logic + Emotion. If you donated to help Daniela already, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider it. Even though, we may have achieved David’s original goal, kindness has no limits.
I’d like to address another component to this great story of a community working together. Many of us have spoken, tweeted, and blogged about the value of participating on Twitter for companies. We’ve also pointed out some of those companies that get Twitter and do it well. I think it’s only appropriate for the brands that participate as part of the Twitter community to give back and help Daniela’s family. So Wholefoods, Comcastcares, Popeyeschicken, Starbucks, Zappos, Delloutlet and all the others, what do you say?
I've been at this blog for nearly 3 years now and have never asked for something like this—I hope I've earned enough trust to be able to ask something back from you. Above is a picture of Daniela and her family. Brandon, age 6, Daniela, age 9 and little Evelyn age 4. Daniela recently divorced her husband after years of abuse. In recent years her mortgage went unpaid and she's lost her house.
As of this moment, Daniela's family is staying at our house and we are trying to help her find a one bedroom apartment for her family to live in. With Evelyn, her youngest having Down's Syndrome and Daniela herself being a Romanian immigrant with very little family support she literally has no one to turn to. Except us (all of us).
Daniela cleans houses when she can leave her family. I'm not even going to tell you what she gets paid—it's obscene. Right now her options are pretty limited, aside from an apartment, there is only a group shelter. Not very pretty.
Here's what we are asking. Right now, Belinda and I are opening our home, but it's tight as we have no basement. We've committed to giving as much as we can spare, diverting funds from other places. I'm asking if you could think about doing the same. Or at the very least, helping get the word out about this. We are looking to raise 5k for Daniela and her family. Enough so that she doesn't have to worry about a deposit or rent for a while.
I know this is the worst possible time to ask for anything. But would you consider the following:
1. Giving whatever you can ("Chip in" uses Pay Pal and it's very easy to donate and it's secure)
2. Spread the word. Please, please blog this, tweet this, re-tweet this.
3. Help find a donor (maybe a generous company or individual)
I don't have anything to offer back. Not an ego list or top donators directory. I can only hope that this thing we call "community" puts its money or heart where its mouth is. Please do whatever you can.
Respectfully, David and family
PS, if you don't feel comfortable using Pay Pal, please e-mail us here and we'll figure it out. And thank you.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
My friend, Eric Weaver was asked to help out for a good and novel cause. I followed Weave’s advice, signed up for the conference email and now am republishing his request.
Originally published on Branddialogue, which I encourage you to read, by the way.
Ahh, dear readers. I really dig connecting with you here and hope to god I’m not spamming you to death with updates and notes and links and STUFF. Our lives are full of “stuff,” aren’t they? Things clamoring for our attention and time. As you know from my 2009 resolutions, I’m trying to use my time more meaningfully and have fewer things of better quality in my life.
I’ve been approached by Lee Dryburgh, who organizes the eComm Emerging Community Conference. This conference covers primarily mobile technologies, with topics like Open Handsets, Mobile Social Networking, social media, etc. Lee’s facing a similar conundrum to other conference organizers: how do I generate awareness of my event? Normally one would pay for an email database and blast away hoping to snag some subscribers. Lee had another idea: rather than buying names, he’s reaching out to social media types to ask for their promotional help. For every person who joins his mailing list, he will donate 50 cents to the Shelter Network.
If you’re a frequent conference goer and you dig the mobile space, that’s a bonus. For those of you with too much stuff in your life, the conference, or an unwanted email, may not be very interesting.
Here’s the thing: you could say to yourself, “Self, I don’t need any more email. I’ll just donate 50 cents to a cause.” Realistically, if you’re like me at least, that won’t happen, not really. So I’m going to ask that you visit this URL and sign up for the conference email. It’ll take a second or two, you’ll learn a bit about this conference (one of the more progressive ones in the mobile space) and you’ll help homeless kids through the Shelter Network without it costing you anything but a moment of time. All you will have done is signed up for an email. If you find it completely uninteresting, you can always unsubscribe.
The problem seems overwhelming. But it’s not.
There are a million good causes out there. A million issues nagging for our attention. When things get rough, we tend to retreat - and that’s exactly the time when kids like these need us the most. Just click here and sign up for the email. Even if you don’t read it or you unsubscribe, you will have helped a child with that simple action.
Homelessness is a growing problem that can easily be solved, if we just faced it. And no one likes being asked for money. So here’s one way we can help others without touching our pocketbooks. I hope you’ll take a moment and sign up.
I promise I’ll always be sensitive to your time and attention.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Does the minutiae of Twitter have any real meaning? What if you could learn from your “I’m having a ham sandwich” Twitter moments by plotting your snap judgments and feelings on a graph?
One of the things we love about Twitter is the ability to lifestream our personal digital history and share it with our friends and followers. Although we are creating lasting digital moments by passively documenting our lives, we feel that this history of our minutiae is pretty much noise. However, is that really the case? A new application, Plodt, was created to help make sense of our personal history. According to Plodt, the little things actually are interesting and by ranking these moments on a timeline, one can find insights in our daily activities.
Plodt was founded by Mike, Demetrie, and Amanda of Seawinkle who created Plodt because they don't think of Tweets as so much noise or ephemera, but rather as valuable details about your life. Developers Mike and Demetrie are former interns from the Microsoft Research lab who met at NYU’s School for the Arts. You may recognize the third founder, Amanda Hesser. Former food writer and food editor of the Sunday Magazine for the NY Times, Amanda has been lifestreaming and documenting her life for several years in print, for example, via the Food Diary columns that she wrote from 2000-2002 and her best seller, Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's Courtship, with Recipes.
By adding a category and a number to the end of your tweet, Plodt is able to graph your history and help you get more value out of your daily tweets. In the sample Plodt chart below, you can see that Amanda has had a pretty enjoyable food (purple) period with the exception of a mediocre croissant on 12/19 (3) and what must have been awful french fries and beer on 12/30 (.3).
Based on Amanda’s background, it should be no surprise that there is a strong food element to Plodt. Each week, fans of Bravo’s Top Chef share their impressions of the contestants with Twitter and Plodt. It reminds of the commercials rating game that Jeremiah Owyang organized during last year’s Super Bowl. Just think how much easier it would have been if we could have graphed the commercials with Plodt.
Twitter is the closest social media ever gets to a stream of consciousness whereby we document what we think, what’s in our mind at the time, what we think about our daily life. Now with a tool like Plodt, we can make some sense out of it all. So the challenge is what would you like to learn from your Twitter stream, what would you want to measure and if it could be measured, would you tweet any differently?