Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Meet Screenr

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Screenr is a cool app that is married to Twitter but also lets you connect to other parts of the web. What it does is let you record your screen movements in a resizable window and then upload it as a video. It pretty much begs you to Tweet it through its tight integration with Twitter, but you can upload from the admin to YouTube, or you can embed it in your blog, as I do below.

I made this screenr for a presentation at SLOSTC — Hope I get a chance to use it! — so there’s no sound on it because I’ll talking over it (I won’t have good speakers at the event, but online it would work well with voice).

Social Media Promo

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Erik Qualman wanted to get help promoting his new book, Socialnomics, so he made this video viral-bait (can I say that?).  It’s been kicked around the Internet so much I’ll be surprised if you haven’t seen it.  But if you are one of the few, this is a pushy, catchy, in your face statement that Social Media Marketing is HERE and NOW.

Has Twitter Had It?

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Amazing how fast this meme has spread:  did you hear?  Twitter’s visitors fell in October! The party is over!

Or maybe not. The information that is generating all this buzz is in the new data that shows Twitter unique visitors declined 8% in October, to a bit under 20 million.  The chart I’m importing here is from Mashable’s article, which uses data from Compete.

Mashable: Compete Data Shows Twitter Flatlining

Mashable: Compete Data Shows Twitter Flatlining

Not to be outdone, TechCrunch published a trouble with twitters article using similar data, this time from ComScore.  Their chart looks pretty much like the one above.

Can it be true?  I’m betting it’s not.  The unique visitors counts certainly don’t include all the mobile use, and do they include users who never actually go to Twitter to post their tweets, using Tweetdeck or Seesmic or something (someone out there knows the answer to this question — please let me know).

In addition, Twitter just signed big search deals with Bing and Google that are barely off the ground. These deals cannot manufacture Twitter visitors overnight, but they certainly can help Twitter keep operating while they build out their platform — and who knows what we’ll see.  I for one am going to be more inclined to use Twitter now simply because I can post updates to LinkedIn simply by adding #in to the tweet, an upgrade just about a week old.

Twitter is a professional’s tool, a business tool.  So it’s not going to get a lot of purely social users and that limits its growth.  But not its value.  I’m more interested in seeing how intensely people use it to share and communicate with peers, or between company and customer. Building out from the Lists function to give companies private networks has often been mentioned as one direction Twitter can go.  There will be other uses.

I think it still has legs.

Tweets to LinkedIn

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Yet another deal for Twitter, this time to connect tweets to update feature in LinkedIn. This is more confirmation that Twitter is in for the long haul – who needs advertising when you can cut deals like this?

I think it also confirms Twitter’s status as a professional’s tool.  It’s a good place to follow and talk with people in your industry, or to search for conversions about your business. You can use it, like LinkedIn, to market yourself.

And, finally, one more time:  open networks beat walled gardens on the Internet.  People are starting to speculate whether Facebook is at its peak or even starting to decline, while Twitter continues to grow.  The very public nature of Twitter is what makes it go.

Follow Search on Twitter

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Lots of search engine deals with Twitter this past week, first Bing, then Google.  I like Adam Ostrow’s comment at Mashable about how these deals validate Twitter’s model:  With a fresh $100 million in the bank and both Google and Microsoft implementing tweets in search, it looks like Twitter is in it for the long haul.

First, there’s Bing.  Bing Twitter is Microsoft’s take on the up to the second data stream of tweets.  It would simply be another Twitter search, except Bing has analyzed the data stream to eliminate a lot of redundant tweets, and you can select a ‘best match’ option rather than the default ‘latest’ post option to try to boost relevancy. Bing also gives you two sets of results, first the most recent tweets themselves in chrono order, and then the most popular links within tweets.

Bing says they evaluate the authority of tweets by looking at the number of followers of the post plus the retweet pattern.  This is a beta release, so it isn’t always right on target, but it’s an interesting addition to the ever-growing world of search.

I think it helps a lot with some of the kinds of searches I might do, like reputation management for a customer.  For a really thorough and typically good treatment of this, see Danny Sullivan’s post at Search Engine Land.

Then Google makes a splashy announcement almost within a day that it has reached an agreement with Twitter to use its data in real time search results.  Google hasn’t yet rolled out how it will integrate that data into search results — might be a separate index, like Microsoft — but I think it will  have some kind of user option built into it, probably in the ‘show options’ like you have for blogs, video and so forth.  Then again, that’s probably way too easy for Google.  What will they think of next?

On that note, there’s Danny Sullivan again, this time gushing about Google Social SearchI don’t see a lot of things that make me go “wow,” that’s useful. This did.

Google has yet another beta product here (and I do not know where in the world they get the ideas for all the stuff they roll out, but they are busy!).  The basic idea of Google Social Search is to extend the personalization of your search results by linking them to your networks of friends.

To make it work, you need a Profile set up on your Google account.  On that profile, if you list your social network accounts (especially Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — aka the big 3), Google will recognize them and — to the extent they are visible — filter your search results through your friends.  Somehow.  I haven’t seen it done yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

Shakeout in Social Media

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Facebook is kicking sand in MySpace face.  And walking away with the prizes, too. Twitter has leveled off heading into fall — a lull?  or a ceiling?

Hitwise recent research shows some huge changes in the social media world over the past year. Facebook’s surge seems to be continuing as it climbs toward 400 million subscribers worldwide. First, here’s the numbers as reported in Online Media Daily:


The fall of MySpace must make Rupert Murdock’s teeth ache.  It still has lots of loyalty (a class-leading time on site nearly 30 minutes), but the numbers are hard to look at from an ad network’s point of view.  Nothing here about the demographics on MySpace, but my guess is it stills skews very young which makes it a good target for lots of products aiming at the college kids and younger.

Facebook, though, is catching on with the older crowd.  Fastest growing group on FB is 55+ — all those jokes about Grandma spying on her grandkids by getting on Facebook have been overtaken by the reality that Grandma’s circle of friends is getting into the game as well.  And Facebook is still about personal networks of friends keeping up with each other efficiently and in a convenient way online.

Facebook (Aardvark?) vs. Twitter

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Yeah, Facebook vs. Twitter.  The second time this week I’m looking at a struggle for survival at the highest levels.  And into this mix, I’m throwing Aardvark — see why below.

Techcrunch has the blogosphere roiling with its publication of internal Twitter docs that somehow just showed up in the inbox one day.  This amazing post is LONG with detailed meeting notes about everything from employee retention (yawn) to deals with Google or Microsoft (hmmm) to the threat from Facebook (this one caught my eye).

As the Twitter folks see it, Facebook can begin to mimic the Tweet by making its status updates public (through user option), displayed via the same kinds of tools as Tweetdeck and the like.  Or maybe literally in Tweetdeck types of tools modified to also show Facebook status.  And so forth — Techcrunch comments that Facebook is already moving toward this in recent changes.

Now I want to add Aardvark into the scramble.  Recently out of beta, Aardvark is a real-time search tool based on matching your complex query (the more complex the better, not like a search engine) with another person who can answer it.  This is done through an algorithm that analyzes your query, matches it to the stated expertise or interests of people in the network, and sends the query to the best probable matches through email or IM.

The information Aardvark analyzes to make the matches between question and answer comes from Facebook.  There should be a pause before that ‘Facebook’ with a drumroll.  Aardvark’s service is not warmed over Twitter — it is different.  But it matches the real-time search features of Twitter very well, only better because it finds people who could not possibly be in your personal network, or the networks of your friends, or of their friends… OK, I’m getting carried away but you get the point.  It is one component of the Twitter functionality, and it depends on Facebook.

Twitter search is different — it would help you find a laptop cable at a trade show, whereas Aardvark would not — and with Twitter you learn things you didn’t even know you wanted to know (what the Twitter folks call ‘discovery’) and that’s important.

But Facebook is evolving, and sharing its users’ personal data with Aardvark (by permission only) is one way to move into Twitter space.  This personal data, btw, is a crucial advantage of Facebook.  It’s going to be interesting to watch these models converge, clash and compete.  Again, this is going to be good for us users.

Twitter Stuff You Wanted to Know

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Do you like graphs and and charts?  This Inside Twitter post from Sysomos has an abundance of information about Twitter use and users.  You know the story but it’s still amazing to see the explosive growth in Twitter.  This chart speaks for itself:

Cumulative Growth in Twitter Users

Cumulative Growth in Twitter Users

The data for users looks pretty poor to me.  Very small proportion were  willing to give their ages, for example, but the report says that Twitter users skew extremely young.  That’s not my experience of it, of course, but I’m skeptical of that finding.  I think lots of older folks (“old” is over 40 in this case) are using it as a search tool, a diversion, a one-to-many communication tool.

As you might guess, Twitter use is highly concentrated.  It’s not just the 80-20 rule –  80% of Tweets are accounted for by 6% of users.  This pattern holds for lots of measures:  almost 2/3 of users have less than 20 followers, but a very small percentage have over 2000.  One interesting tidbit is that among people who identified themselves as marketers, about 15% follow 2000 or more, but of other users this percentage is under 1%.  Part of the marketing buzz about Twitter is self-fulfilling chatter — but on the other hand, these marketing types become a conduit for important messages to spread virally down the chain into the accounts of the folks who follow few people.  A new way for marketers to actually earn their dime:  they become the broadcast medium.

A Twitter Quickie

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Twitter seems to be my favorite subject these days, a little weird since I spend so little time on it.  Anyhow, here’s another two cents worth of thought about what it’s good for, from Dr. Pete at SEOmoz.

Dr Pete thinks Twitter is a way to connect online ‘friends’ with each other in the other ‘real’ world.  He says “The real power of Twitter is in transforming online connections into real-world relationships.”  He goes on to give a few examples of how Twitter helped him meet up with friends and colleagues.

Sure, I’ll buy it.  But I’m sticking to my guns on this:  Twitter is search.  It’s social search, to be sure, but it’s search.  You might want to find a person, thing, website, resource, directions, advice, or business, but you are using the people on Twitter to do it.  Social, real-time search.

Twitter Popularity

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

For all other commentators and I raise expectations of great things from Twitter, it has not yet made the big breakthrough to popularity in numbers.  Not that 20 million subscribers is puny!  But research published today by the Center for Media Research (based on a Harris poll) indicates Twitter is still reaching a small proportion of the audience, even among the 18 – 34 year old early adopters.

While 74% of the 18 – 34 group report having a Facebook or MySpace account, only 8% of them subscribe to Twitter and just 4% use it to send messages.  Twitter use to send messages is actually a bit higher among 35 – 44 year olds, at 5%, but the use of it drops to 1% or less for everyone over 45.

I still think Twitter will prove to be a game changer.  I don’t think it’s primarily a communication tool, however, which is what Facebook is.  It is a news source, and a search tool.  And as it grows (OK, if it grows) it will gather enough volume to allow specialized conversations about narrow topics of intense interest to any number of groups.  General news will spread virally among the groups through their interconnections, and search tools will capture information about queries in almost real time.

At some point, nobody will tweet about what they had for breakfast.  But they will report interesting things to people who care about the same things.