Posts tagged twitter

The Problems With Social

As everyone is hopping on the social bandwagon, there are now a few are disembarking (even though I don’t believe him), and although I’m not one, I figured it was time to put together a list of problems that I see with social media:

  • I’ve said this for years, starting with the death of Michael Jackson, but for better or worse, Twitter seems to be the new obituary service.
  • Using location-based services without good forethought is a “welcome” sign for all sorts of potential problems for those who aren’t reputable.
  • Purportedly, something like 40% of divorces in this country now involve Facebook, uh yeah, really.
  • Social Media is the place to bitch and moan – I was speaking with an acquaintance recently who mentioned they primarily used their Twitter account to complain. Personally, I’ve made a concerted effort to try to cut down on my online complaints, but, it’s a bit hard when social is the only way to get any response in terms of customer service.
  • SPAM – it’s amazing how SPAM and even just badly played marketing efforts are now all over the various social networks. Even brand page walls on Facebook that allow others to comment have to be very alert to other companies’ posting their own marketing on their pages.
  • Privacy is not something that many people seem to be too concerned about these days, but in this post in the NY Times Bit Blog, there are some exceedingly valid points raised about privacy online (in general but in particular on social networks) and quotes a Microsoft researcher as saying,
A conversation in the hallway is private by default, public by effort. Online, our interactions become public by default, private by effort.
  • White noise is creating so much blah that people will gravitate away from open social networks to closed ones like Path, and perhaps ones just for 2, like Pair.
Is the heyday of social past? Who knows, did anyone predict MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest? I don’t think so. But, will users become more and more adept at filtering, tuning out and using only those channels which are fitting for them at that moment – I think so. And the true wild card – what happens when national and local regulators start to really stir the social pot? It seems the FTC’s endorsement guide which seemed to be such a big deal just a few years ago really weren’t all that much, but I doubt that will be the case for the next round, when it comes…
What do you think, is it just time to bitch and moan about social media, or has its time come?
Photo credit: Flickr user Bruce Clay, Inc

Interesting Things From #Mrktchat Participants #1

I’ve been tossing this idea around a bit and have decided to kick it off this week. It’s a listing of topics, links, items, etc that have been posted by #Mrktchat participants over the prior week or so. I don’t think I’ll have this as a weekly update, more like somewhere between a weekly to maybe monthly series. So without further ado, here’s the first list:

Please feel free to add any good “#Mrkchat Interesting Things” that I may have missed in the comments below.

Sochi Mascot option

Olympic Mascots

It’s that painful time of the Winter Olympics cycle – no, it’s not time to watch Ice Dancing, which I admit I totally and completely don’t understand – it’s the first phase of the choosing of the mascot’s for the upcoming 2014 Games in Sochi. Of course I had to pick the mascot option that they call the “Bullfinch” as my preferred choice. Not because others are already pushing hard for the Snow Leopard – yep Russian President Vladimir Putin is politicking hard for that one. But, because I bet most reader of this blog would have thought that this post was about Twitter, because the Bullfinch does seem to has a pretty close family resemblance to the Twitter mascot…what do you think? And what do you think about coming up with a new set of mascots for each Olympic Games? Is it a way for the culture and creativity of each host area to come through, or is it a marketing attempt to artificially create a set of icons to create additional revenue streams to hopefully help pay for the Games?

If you’re really into mascots, Socia has setup a great microsite to show off all of the finalist in the mascot design competition which will be open to voting by Russians until the end of the month. Actually I’m kind of hoping that “Zaya the Dore Hare” is one of the two winners because my daughter loves bunnies and this could be just the thing to get her to watch the Sochi Games…

Good Tweeting Knuffle Bunny

I recently attended an event in which I listened to a speaker spend some time talking how to best use social networks to your advantage. Truthfully, it made me envious to hear about free shoes, trips and the like, knowing that I know that I’ll never see anything like that by virtue of my dabbling in the social space. However, one day after said event, I had a very successful social media experience that I’d like to share as an example of a company doing a great job on Twitter.

I have a number of keyword searches setup in Seesmic Desktop, my current Twitter app of choice,  one of which is a search for “Park City” that I’ve refined with a number of qualifiers – mainly to keep the auto-post real estate tweets out of it. Today this tweet caught my eye:

Q: Where is Knuffle Bunny? A: Most likely in the van traveling to Park City, UT. En route to CALIFORNIA!

My 3 1/2 year old daughter is a bunny fanatic and is a huge fan of Knuffle Bunny books (Amazon affiliate link), so having seen that Knuffle Bunny is actually  travelling to “Park City, UT” I had to ask:

@KCTYAonTour Are you performing in Park City? My daughter loves Knuffle Bunny!
Eric Hoffman

The answer wasn’t quite what I was hoping…

@eric_hoffman Sadly not this time around. We will be in Provo, UT Nov 22-23 though! Not too far!

But, I just need a little more info,

@KCTYAonTour Nope, not too far at all - tix options?
Eric Hoffman

Which promptly got me,

@eric_hoffman KB will be performing at the Covey Center for the Arts Tix are avail through their website. Enjoy the show!

I double-checked with my wife and then snagged three of the best seats in the theater for next months show. Now bad return on investment for a few tweets that were all triggered by me seeing a random tweet. Plus, I get super bonus point with my daughter for bringing her to her first bunny musical! Well tweeted Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour. Oh, and yes, I paid full price for the tickets and didn’t even flinch because I’m sure the experience will be more than worth it.

NEW Twitter screen capture

The “New” Twitter

I’m so accustomed to using Seesmic Desktop and the Twitter Android app to access Twitter, that I only just realized that I got access to the “New” Twitter via Twitter’s web interface….and I think that it’s pretty cool. I like the ability to see media directly in the page, as well as all the additional information that makes it easier to view the conversations that you are having. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d lose out on notifications, I might switch to the new Twitter as my main Twitter interface. However, I still like Seesmic Desktop and will most likely stick with it as my client of choice for now. In the meantime, I’ll keep playing with the new Twitter and at least ensuring that I know how it works and looks – and on that topic here’s my one tip and that is to tighten up the left column on your Twitter background because due to the larger body container (1040px) the left column is now down to a visible width of (potentially, depending upon screen and browser width) under 190px, I’ve set my updated background text area at 185px in width!

Here’s a screen cap of my impressions:

NEW Twitter screen capture

Click image to enlarge.

Interesting “Job” Postings

It seems like just yesterday that the social media world was all aflutter over Tourism Queenslands “Best Job in the World” campaign (including me, check out my post about it from January 2009). I’ve since seen campaigns offering dream jobs ranging from “working” for a vineyard to “tweeting” for MTV and even traveling to Colorado to see snow for the first time (interestingly the page has been completely removed already). In a fit of inspiration I thought I’d do a quick survey of how the winners are doing by using a few Twitter ratings (I’m using the accounts promoted by the companies including the Murphy Goode account in which the “job” is already over):

Name Company/Promotion Followers Tweetlevel Compensation
Ben Southall Tourism Queensland/Best Job in the World 4,033 55 $150k AUD/6 months

($133,800 US)

Gabi Gregg MTV/MTV TJ 13,760 74 $100k/yr
Hardy Wallace Murphy Goode/A Really Goode Job 2,563 44 $60k plus costs/6 months

I know that these people are doing a lot more that Tweeting, but I find it interesting to see, at least on one social network, a rudimentary gauge of reach (followers) and a self-described gauge of influence (Tweetlevel). Only in the case of MTV does it seem as though the person is really making inroads, at least on Twitter.

This fairly meager success hasn’t slowed companies from trying to leverage social mediaites by offering “jobs” or opportunities to be a “blogger”. Here’s a quick rundown of a few options:

Company Promotion Requirement Compensation Be a Powderhound blogger 1-2 blog posts/wk over the 2010-11 winter season A SkiUtah! Silver Passport, $,2400 value
Vail Resorts Snow Squad Share the “Stoke” Epic Pass, smart phone and approx. $3k in gear
Canyons how do you mountain 3-4 blog posts/wk over 4 months $40k + lodging at Waldorf Astoria*, F&B allowance, spa treatments, pass and more
*I did a quick check on a suite at the WA and at $500/nt that’s over $60k just in lodging!

What does this mean? I’m not sure, perhaps these sorts of contests are really successful and more companies are following suit because of the success? Or are companies not completely sure of what direction they should take in the social space and these sorts of promotions are relatively easy to create and manage? Or, is it a something else? If you have an opinion please share it in the comments section below – I look forward to hearing your ideas!

AP Tweeting

What can Ski Resorts Learn from Professional Sports about Social Media?

AP TweetingA year ago I wrote a post talking about how my favorite NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings, was then using social media. A year later, I would argue that every major and most minor sports teams are fully immersed in social media and are enjoying the benefits (and hazards) of engaging their fan base directly online. While teams can manage the engagement on their own sites and social connections, they don’t have as much control over the athletes on their teams and are looking at ways to ensure that their players are also engaging in social media with appropriate care. As the football season starts to wind up, it seems that a few football players are already posting some, uh “questionable” things, and organizations are scrambling to react – there’s a very nice description of this in an article on titled, “Football tweeters in midseason form” which sets forth the following advice:

As Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis, whose grandmother is one of his Twitter followers, told the Sun-Sentinel: “I’m not going to put anything on there that my grandmother won’t want to see.”

This certainly is just another reason for ski resorts to ensure that they’re putting together appropriate guidelines and resources for their employees, because this winter will only see more people posting to social media from their workplace on the mountain, whether it’s playing in powder, people dangling from lifts, getting caught up on them or nearly getting blown off of them.

8/18/10 edit – Just wanted to note that I wrote this post last weekend, well before the recent Brett Favre “un-retirement”.
Photo credit: Flickr user xoque and modified via CC2.0 Attribution
Mobile updates

How to set up a “free” snow report text message service (using Twitter)

I’ve been kicking around the idea of using Twitter’s SMS option to push snow reports to consumers ever since I first got my “real” introduction to Twitter over two years ago. I haven’t had the chance to implement it myself, but I do recall seeing Aspen Ski Co with an option to do so on their site last year – I’m not sure how well it worked as it isn’t listed as an option on their site currently. However, a recent post on Alex Kaufman’s blog about Twitter’s new “fast follow” option really got me thinking about this concept again.

The key to this concept is that Twitter was built as a service that was to be updated as well as to send updates to users via text. Now the cool part about this is that Twitter doesn’t charge users to have their updates sent via text to those users who sign up for them. This has always been possible, all someone would have to do is to go to that particular Twitter users’ page and then click on the Mobile updatesicon to start receiving texts whenever that user updates – just remember that some people tweet a lot so beware of what accounts you follow in this manner. Speaking of text, there are a bunch of commands that you can send via text to Twitter including:

Turning Mobile Twitter Updates Off and On

  • ON: turns ALL your authorized Twitter updates and notifications on.
  • OFF: turns off all updates except direct messages. Send STOP again to turn off direct messages too.
  • STOP, QUIT, End, Cancel, Arret or Unsubscribe: turns ALL phone notifications off.
  • ON username: turns on notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: ON alissa
  • OFF username: turns off notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: OFF blaine
  • FOLLOW username: this command allows you to start following a specific user, as well as receive SMS notifications. Example: FOLLOW jerry
  • LEAVE username: this command allows you to stop receiving SMS notifications for a specific user. Example: LEAVE benfu

Fun Stuff: friends, favorites, and stats!

Use the commands below to send private messages, favorite Tweets, and more.
  • @username + message
  • Reply: shows your Tweet as a reply directed at another person, and causes your twitter to save in their “replies” tab.
    Example: @meangrape I love that song too!

  • D username + message
  • Direct Message: sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive.
    Example: d krissy want to pick a Jamba Juice for me while you’re there?

  • RT username
  • Retweet: sends another user’s latest Tweet to your followers. Example: RT Charles

  • SET LOCATION placename
  • Updates the location field in your profile. Example: set location San Francisco

  • WHOIS username
  • Retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter. Example: whois jack

  • GET username
  • Retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person. Example: get goldman

  • FAV username
  • Marks that user’s last Tweet as one of your favorites. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time)

    Example: fav crystal


This command returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and your bio information.

The above information was found in Twitter’s Help Center.

Now, with Twitter’s new Fast Follow option, a user doesn’t even need a Twitter account to use many of these command, and all they have to do to receive, say a snow report from @snowreport (just as an example) is to text “Follow snowreport” to 40404. Then “Off” “Stop” or “Leave” to turn the updates off. Now, only some of the above noted commands will work without a setup account, but it’s certainly a great way for someone to test out Twitter. And the best part is that businesses can really easily take advantage of these features now that users don’t need accounts. All a business needs to do is say “Text ‘Follow’ [whatever account they have] to 40404” and away things go. The last really neat part of this is that there are plenty of services like that will take existing RSS feeds and modify them and post to Twitter so you don’t even need to crack into Twitter’s API to have something like a snow report pushed to Twitter generated SMSs. I don’t see a lot of problems in going this route aside from the fact that Twitter hasn’t ever been 100% dependable in its service, and it seems like the “Fail Whale” still shows up on a regular basis, so I wouldn’t recommend using Twitter for anything that is absolutely mission critical. But other than that, who’s up for snow reports via text using Twitter?!

Ski Resorts Online – Websites, Blogs, Social Networks and More

My Ski Resorts on Twitter post has been up for a bit over a year now and it’s become apparent to me that the list is already falling behind the times (even with regular updates). It’s not just Twitter now, but Facebook, YouTube, blogs and any number of other networks that resorts are using to engage with their customers online.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and I’ve put together a much more robust document, “Ski Resort Online – A Fairly Definitive List” to track as many of the different points of online presence for ski resorts as I could. I created it in Google Docs (let me know if you want to help edit) and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

To view this document in full, visit  Ski Resorts Online – A Fairly Definitive List. And, if you see any resorts or accounts that I’ve missed, please let me know in the comments below – this is definitely a work in progress!

Blogging the Olympic Games?

While browsing through some tweets from the USOC Communications Twitter feed the other day, I came upon the International Olympic Committee’s Blogging Guidelines for the 2010 Vancouver Games and while I give them kudos for coming up with such a document, I have to say that I think this document was produced almost completely with the intention of protecting the Olympic sponsors and media outlets than trying to leverage the power of social media.

Happily, the IOC acknowledges that blogging is “a form of personal expression” and at they do permit (some) blogging by Accredited Persons at the Games. Now, to my understanding, anyone that participates in the Games, and gets any sort of credential, from athletes, to coaches, to volunteers is considered an Accredited Person – this is certainly a number that reaches into the tens of thousands. I’m sure more than a few of these people already have a blog and I know for a fact that there are many of them ‘micro-blogging‘ on Twitter or Facebook. I am sure that there will be more than a few Accredited Person who will post photos of themselves inside the venues and most likely of the events that are taking place in these places…what will the reaction of the IOC and VANOC be?

What gets me is how odd, and in some ways, nonsensical some of the restrictions are. Check this one out, according to the document the words “Olympic”, “Olympics” or similar can’t be used in a domain name (I get that), but could be used in a URL , but “only during the period during which these Guidelines are applicable”. So, go ahead and name your Olympic experience blog – MySitesName/myOlympicExperience but then it has to change after March 3, 2010?! Really, really odd and it doesn’t seem to further any goal, unless the IOC’s sole goal is to completely lock down any SEO for these words, and even they can’t do that completely.

In any case, it’s good to see this as a starting place and I’ve been interested to find the NBC has setup a page on their site where they’re tracking a good number of American Olympians’ tweets.  Twitter itself hasn’t been left behind either as they’ve expanded their Verified account listings to include a special Verified Olympians list. I’m looking forward to a bunch of fun social media coming out of the games over the next few weeks!

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