You are on your favorite social site and you search for something. The results come back and guess what? The top result has nothing to do with your search term nor does it even contain your search term.
In this scenario I searched for “IBM” on Twitter and it gave the “Top people” which was good, it was two IBM accounts. But then look at the first entry in the “Top Tweets” section. It’s a CISCO promoted tweet from two months ago and IBM is not even a word in the tweet or the content! I don’t know about you but this is very annoying to me. I know Twitter has to make money and CISCO and IBM are technology companies but really? What is even more interesting is if I search IBM many times I see totally different CISCO promotions.
So then I got thinking, maybe Twitter is using some kind of analytic engine to actually associate a CISCO tweet with IBM? Clearly it can’t be completely random, right? Is there no IBM partner or promoted IBM content that would surely show on Twitter before a CISCO tweet? Did CISCO purchase the promoted rights to the search term “IBM”?
There is a stigma in the social world where one regurgitates information. These are the people who re-tweet things carelessly and often not even reading the content of the Tweet. This specifically addresses Tweets with URL’s. Too often I see a great Tweet, open the URL and the content has nothing to do with the Tweet text. This is a form of phishing or spamming to get a click-through view. Here are some basic tips I try to follow:
- Stick to your Twitter ID persona. If your account is for sports as an example then only re-tweet sports information. Forwarding tweets for other topics may lose you some followers. My own ID is somewhat general but I “usually” stick to technology related material and throw in a bit of my personality now and then.
- Read the content! If there is a URL in the Tweet take some time to read the entire article before you re-tweet. Many people use “shock text” in tweets or article titles only to find out the actual content may be the opposite position or something entirely different that the title.
- Be social – don’t just re-tweet, engage. If there is an article then even post a comment on the article. Don’t just re-tweet, reply to the tweet with an observation or a simply “thanks for sharing” if you found it useful.
- Kids – be careful who you follow and what you say online. You never know what future employers or schools may dig that information up down the line.
- Follow your company guidelines! Be on the safe side if you are employed, state in your profile Tweets are my own and be careful about re-tweeting content that puts your company in a bad light. Re-tweeting and tweeting yourself are the same thing.
One of the features I love about the Twitter application for iPad and iPhone is the use of the hash tag. I follow a particular hash tag during events like #debates, #ibm, #survivor, etc. The applications on the iPhone and iPad under the Discover area allow you to follow the activity for that particular hash tag and quickly use that hash tag in your own posts. When you click the write icon you get the hash tag placed in the entry field automatically for you and highlighted. This is a big time saver and removes error, especially for large search terms or hash tags. Check out the screen shots below where I follow the hash tag #ibm and then click the write button.
Twitter help about Hashtags – link here.
Article – 5 Ways Your Business Should Use Twitter HashTags.
Here are my top five Twitter tips for the professional and casual Twitterer:
- Hash tags
Use at least one or two hash tags. Many sources on the net will say the most powerful aspect of Twitter is the hash tag and search. I have also read that readership starts to fall after two hash tags, so you can use three but I would not recommend going to four or more hash tags.
Whether you do it professionally or just for fun, be somewhat consistent with what you Tweet. If you need to have multiple Twitter Id’s then so be it. Be consistent with each account and you will attract like minded followers.
- Block Spammers
While having a lot of followers is good, make sure they are real followers. Many companies check to see who you follow and who follow you. If you have a lot of “let’s meet at a hotel” type of followers it does reflect on you. So I don’t have a ton of followers but I can say I block as many spam accounts as I can recognize.
- Be Social
Don’t just push information out to others, start a dialog, get involved, retweet things you really like and if you truly like it then favorite it. This will get you on Twitter lists – another way to get recognized in forums.
- Publicly thank!
Everyone likes a mention, make sure you thank people who re-tweet you or mention you. It’s part of being social in this online forum. If you get a new follower then you should seriously consider following them and thank them publicly!
Do you have a favorite tip of your own that you want to share?
I know that blog title will attract some attention and it even sounds like something you would see on The Onion but I had to write this.
I joined Google+ well over a year ago and I still see little activity on it. I post “most” everything I post on Facebook and Twitter to Google+, not everything, but pretty close. Guy Kawasaki might be right stating Google+ is the Mac of Social:
“From my perspective, Google+ is to Facebook and Twitter what Macintosh is to Windows: better, but fewer people use it, and the pundits prophesy that it will fail,” – Guy Kawasaki
From my Klout score(see below) you can see I have very little interaction from Google+, actually …none. I do love Google+ and think it is way better than Facebook but not as clean and simple as Twitter. I have over 1000 followers on Twitter, over 500 Friends on Facebook and about 330 people in my circles. I don’t really even use the Circles feature because most of my stuff is the same for all of them.
Bottom line, Facebook has penetrated the youth, students, professionals, and the retired generations. Facebook seems to actually be losing teenagers to more basic things like Twitter and Texting on their phones, but not to Google+. My teenagers have all heard of Google+, none of them use it.
Until there is a massive incentive to go to Google+ or leave Facebook even, Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate and Google+ will be popular among the tech elite, college students, and Google employees.
According to this article and a report from Buddy Media, marketing managers are not effectively using Twitter.
Some key guidelines are also in the article:
- Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement of those without, yet only 24% of tweets during the time of the study used them.
- Using one or even two hashtags in a tweet is fine, but if you add a third, you’ll begin to see an average 17% dropoff in engagement.
- Posts with images have double the engagement of those without even though users can’t see them until they click on them.
- If you ask followers to “RT,” you’ll get a 12X higher retweet rate than if you don’t. But if you spell out the word “retweet,” that figure jumps to 23X.
Once again the power of Twitter and social software is helping in the area of law enforcement. This excellent article explains the series of events in great detail. A 15 year run of an activist spammer named “Mabus” has ended. Mabus sent out thousands of death threats through his reign of spamming has now been arrested.
Today the Montreal Police announced that an arrest has been made (in French here) in the Mabus case. It wouldnt have happened but for Twitter. This post explains how.
I find it amazing as more and more areas in the world are using Twitter to drive something. My latest observations have been around Jeff Probst and the American show “Survivor”. You can follow Jeff on Twitter and Facebook and you can also go to his blog. If you are in the technical world, this is really not anything new. What you can see is how Jeff promotes his brand (namely himself) and his product (the show Survivor) on as many social sites as possible. Jeff is spending a lot of time on his blog, facebook, and twitter. I find him writing snippets here and there and many posts on his blog that make the show that much more interesting. I have been a long time Survivor fan since day ne and the value these social tools adds is incredible. It is like you get to connect with the real deal and not just show up on Wednesday nights to be entertained for an hour. This is exactly how a business or brand can take advantage of social software and use it to drive interest and ultimately sales. I also noticed he uses Google Ads on his site – I wonder how much he makes from them…
I realized something very cool tonight after following Jeff Probst on Twitter. Survivor is filmed and Jeff and the survivors are all seeing the show for the first time. Watching these reactions on Twitter live adds a lot of value to the show because they are seeing for the first time all of the background conversations and back stabbing.
“I’m dealing with a bunch of bitches.” — Russell Hantz
It also made me think of the last post I made about the social tool not cutting it. So the occasional interesting post I see when I randomly go on Twitter is somewhat annoying but what is great is when an event is happening and then you monitor Twitter. It’s like being in a bar during a Syracuse game – everyone pitches in and gives an opinion or two.
It is also a lot like the Sametime chat window during an eMeeting. Those chats are invaluable to the meeting and end up being an excellent reference after. So maybe the key is, Twitter and the other social tools are more valuable at different times and for different reasons. I don’t know, I need to keep thinking about it.
So I have dove into the whole social network stuff pretty heavily, like most anyone related to technology. I now find myself following many people on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The information for the most part is interesting at best but to be honest about it, most of the information simple stinks. The “rivers” of information are just that, uncontrollable rivers that have no structure or guidance. Someone you follow posts great stuff then all of the sudden has a flurry of useless posts and information, only making the river harder to navigate. When you wake up in the morning and there are over 200 tweets or 300 plus new facebook events that is pretty hard to consume and navigate.
So yes, there are filters, search tags, and a couple of other ways to limit the feed but the reality is the information is inconsistent and not reliable. Twitter is even more of a nightmare to follow for long conversations between people. I spend most of my time in Facebook deleting messages and stop following posts by people or applications than actually reading anything fun, funny or business related.
Then you throw in LinkedIn. I am actually beginning to favor LinkedIn over all of the rest because of one simple element – the professional groups. I can easily navigate to a group and see “what’s going on” in that particular space. Almost like a news section of a newspaper. I also enjoy seeing the job changes, profile updates, etc of the people I follow because usually that information is interesting.
Lastly, there is PlanetLotus and PlanetEclipse. I think there is something here with controlled aggregations. I can go to a centralized place to read things related to a given product or technology or at least be guaranteed the content is somewhat related to the community.
So yes, this is a rant as I sit here tonight and find these social networks more frustrating than useful. Maybe I will feel different tomorrow when I wake up and see 800 things I have to ignore.