Posts Tagged Twitter

Top 5 tips on how to get more Twitter followers

Sorry.

Sorry.

Sorry…for the all-too-obvious SEO- and Huffington Post-inspired headline.  This post has little to do with getting more followers on Twitter. Could be worse.  I could’ve named it: “Is Twitter more important than the Wall Street Journal?”

The first lady can Double Dutch

Social media, especially Twitter, is a global 24/7 session of Double Dutch.  Only it’s with 500 million+ jump ropes none of which will slow down to let you in even though you just laced on a shiny new pair of Nikes and are carrying a swanky-fun handle.

Like Double Dutch you don’t run into the fray with your mouth open unless you want a 20-gauge rubber rope behind your bicuspids. You wait. You find the rhythm of the conversation then jump in prepared to be part of it.

Based on using Twitter in corporate communications and on building a company on the Twitter API, I’ve learned two things:

  1. Before you start tweeting: Shut up and listen!
  2. Never build a company on the Twitter API.  (Another story for different day.)

By listening for a bit you’ll get a sense what the language and conversation is on Twitter and you’ll see what gets the most interest in whatever topic you’re keen on. No matter what subject, I think you’ll see that people who have a constructive point of view get the most engagement on Twitter.  So when you do want to start opening your mouth, think back to the way back days of TechCrunch (circa when we thought Friendster was the big ticket).  Michael Arrington made that blog more influential than mainstream papers by having a point of view.

So, if you get stuck on finding a voice for your next tweet or post, ask yourself – what would  @arrington do?

Then when you’re jusssst about to hit send on your 11th tweet stop, drop and roll. Take a look at the first ten tweets and count how many of those are about: A) broad topic of conversation that we all care about, B) dialogue with other tweeps, and C) how wonderful you are.

If more than two are focused on category C, put the mirror down and remember this guiding principle:

As @louhoffman reminded me last week no one you first meet at a cocktail party wants to hear a commercial about how wonderful you are.  They want to engage with you about new and common areas of interest. And, they’ll stay for a full cocktail or maybe two if you’re a smidge entertaining.

New rule is the old rule:  50/30/20

Spend 50% of your time talking about broader subjects on Twitter.  Then, 30% actively engaged with other people. And, just a wee 20% woofing about your parents’ progeny.

I lied. I’m giving you some tips. The last one is: Who you are on Twitter is somewhat reflective of who you are following. Follow wisely.

If you want to be seen and served up in the Twitter “Who to follow” engine as a global leader in M&A but are following 1,500 skateboarders . . . then odds are Twitter thinks you’re more like Tony Hawke than Larry Ellison.

– Jose Mallabo

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You’re soooo good lookin’!

Discover Mosaic

 

 

 

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What if Twitter accounts = active users?

I left LinkedIn about 18 months ago and remember marveling at the insane growth Twitter was experiencing at the time. They hit 50 million tweets per day so quickly and had driven so much activity within LinkedIn. That figure is now 340 million tweets per day driven by 140 million active members.

About a year ago Twitter reported that close to 500,000 new accounts were being opened each day. That’s about 180 million accounts on an annual basis, right? Or about 500 million registered users today.

Hmm.

The lesson here is that accounts do not equal people.  A lot of those accounts are machines but a lot of those accounts also are dormant users who don’t do much once they create an account — because the pace on Twitter is impossible to follow and there are few tools built for consumers to help manage and consume it.

The reality is that a small fraction of people actually create content on Twitter.  But people say that like it’s a bad thing. A lot has been written about how these above vanity numbers are just that — hype.  The comparison to Facebook’s staggering growth and engagement rates are natural and daunting and only feeds the sentiment that no one is really using Twitter.

Not so fast you Nancy Naysayers!

Mass media — namely that little ol’ thing we media researchers like to call the ‘most influential medium in the history of mankind’ or simply ‘television’ — lends a great example of how Twitter content is used by the masses. People watch and consume content, not necessarily create it.

Think about it. If you’re old enough to rent a car in the U.S. odds are you averaged somewhere between 3 to 5 hours a day of TV consumption for a good chunk of your life.  How many times did you create TV programming or call or write NBC, HBO, Cinemax or any other programmer to comment on their content? Answer:  Zero times in the last (pick any number) years.

What if there was a tool to consume Tweets the way people consume TV programming? What would you call those ‘dormant’ Twitter accounts?

I’d call it an opportunity. Here I come.

– Jose Mallabo

 

 

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An e-commerce company going social

Since moving back to Philadelphia, I’ve only eaten one cheese steak.  Hard to believe.  But the day is young and Geno’s is always open.  I’ve been more focused on working to get my company’s social media strategy up and running.  And, yes, Hillary it does take a village.  Thankfully my village at GSI is full of talented people willing to take my lead on it — especially our own Web dev guy we like to call Kevin.  Holla.

Ironically, guess what social platform is most used by our clients and employees? Nope. It’s not Facebook. Not Twitter. @GSICommerce we are big time LinkedIn.

Soon we’ll be able to thread our blog through our company pages and other channels.

Blogs are dead. Long live the blog.

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Sudden hotness: Social + E-commerce = Social Commerce

Amazing how hot the juncture between e-commerce and social networking has gotten. It’s simple, really. E-commerce is eating into the overall retail segment. And, marketers go where the crowds are. Right now those crowds are not on AOL or WPIX (except for this page about Victoria’s Secret). They’re on Facebook and Twitter.

I remember having some very heated dialogue over using ‘social commerce’ as a thought leadership position within the corporate PR program at eBay about 3+ years ago.  I don’t recall what side of the argument I was on, but needless to say, despite the PR agency’s best efforts (you know who you are) to make it real, it took a Joe Pesci pen to the neck (Nicky in Casino) and never saw the light of day.

Until now.

Sudden hotness has arrived in that kink of a place where social and commerce are meeting.

After CyberMonday all the rumors were about Google to buy Groupon for $2.5 billion (Kara Swisher reports the offer is $5.3 billion). A colleague of mine asked if they’d call it Goopon? Heck, for that mountain of money, they can sponsor the TSA and rename it Gropeon. Today, Payvment announced a $6 million round of venture financing. In recent weeks Facebook has launched Deals to sit on top of its Places product. And, all you need to do is do a Twitter search for #CyberMonday to see how much traction commerce gets on Twitter.

So, while TechCrunch ponders if Amazon missed the boat on social commerce the reality is we all did. Or we would’ve called Nicky and his pen off back in 2007, created a Moto RAZR app for surfing the Urban Outfitters page on Facebook and retired on Black Friday 2009 on the speculation that Google was going to buy it.

Lesson of the day: A lot of the time the PR firm is right.

Update 1:  Dec. 2: Groupon: In the days since Mashable posted the Google buys Groupon rumor, most of the banter has been about how sexy the deal is. Rumors about M&A are dead sexy and dramatic. But we all know that most deals don’t work. And the honeymoon usually ends quickly once the hot company gets ingested.  I’m just happy someone is giving some sound analysis to this deal before it gets done.  Thanks, Sucharita.

Update 2: Dec. 3: Milo.com: Having worked with eBay Classifieds Group before and while classifieds was being integrated into the eBay.com marketplace, I find this $75 million deal to buy Milo.com…fascinating. I have to figure it out in light of all the above, eBay’s constant refrain about mobile as well as it’s M&A history. More later.

-Jose Mallabo

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Update: “Social Networking is a Stupid Fad”

Brian Womack at Bloomberg just pointed out what everyone in the Valley and technology have known for some time: Social networks are more valuable than many of the Web 1.0 companies that have come to be household names over the past decade.

Facebook valuation hits $41 billion. Say it a couple of times and let that sink in. Combined with secondary market valuations of Twitter and LinkedIn, the Big 3 social networks are worth more than $46 billion — that’s some serious coin considering all of these companies are about 10 years newer than the watch I’m wearing right now. (Note to self: buy new watch.)

Greenspan made his infamous irrational exuberance speech just after I launched a start up .com. Thanks for that.

To my post from the other day: “so what, who cares?” remains the refrain from many people around the world who stand on the sidelines and scoff at such lofty valuations and the utility of being social. Rational or irrational. Call Alan Greenspan because the exuberance is there. And when that kind of exuberance exists from the capital markets, things change. Big things. Think the Bull Market of the late 90s. The U.S. housing market from the same period. Justin Bieber right now.

Nevermind what Facebook has done in terms of surpassing eBay or Yahoo! valuation.  Look at it compared to iconic brands that have been around for generations. Its worth three times more than Xerox. Forty times more than Kodak. And, if you look at Facebook purely as a medium through which to reach consumers (like a newspaper) it absolutely humbles what is the greatest institution in journalism: the Wall Street Journal — which Rupert Murdoch bought for a skim-milk price of $5.6 billion in 2007.

Maybe social networking is the alternate reality. But, what if it’s not?

– Jose Mallabo

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“Social Networking is a Stupid Fad!”

I hear that sentiment a lot since leaving Silicon Valley.

It’s a refrain that reminds me of the woman on the bus in New York who scolded me with her eyes for answering my Motorola StarTAC — a decade ago. She’s probably tuning her TV with bunny ears now. I get it — not everyone will get on the bandwagon.  Cable TV in the US still doesn’t have 100% penetration.  But —

Note the price: $1,000 in 1996.

— at some point quantity does become quality. Breadth and depth of use changes the nature or quality of something — and in this case it’s social networking and everything it touches.

A lot of people will never network online, let alone write a blog about it.  Having worked at eBay and LinkedIn and now sitting in an e-commerce company whose clients are pushing hard into social media, it’s easy to say that this is not going anywhere.  It’s becoming the way people and companies communicate with each other. If anything the term “social networking” may be passe.  The breadth of adoption and use cases for it may have blown by the term two or three months ago.

It’s not just about discovering where old friends and colleagues are anymore.  It’s about exchanging ideas, knowledge, working collaboratively and even transacting commerce.

That my technology loathing friends is a marketplaceMarketplaces are the basis of communities, cities and dare I say empires.  Google: “Roman Empire” or “Dutch trading” to prove me right. Remember it was New Amsterdam before the English said otherwise.

The big 3 networks (sound familiar?) are quickly replacing the phone, TV and soon the mall. If you don’t think that possibility is compelling. . . go home and tear the telephone out of the wall, dump the HD-TV in the pool and move to the plains.

I’ll be here in my marketplace.

– Jose Mallabo

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Tweets and tee shirts in America

The tee shirt said, “Mind if I Tweet this?” underneath an AIG logo.

I may have been the only one in the coffee shop today that appreciated the humor and gravitas of it. The kid wearing it was probably more concerned about how to ride his skate board out of the store while drinking his fuzzy little latte and still maintain his street cred.

As one who has been Tweeting (yes, that’s the current parlance for using Twitter to update your followers on your every breath) for a few months now, it was only just then that it occurred to me to ask where the heck this is all going?

Twitter Logo

Ten years ago, I was sitting on a cross town bus in Manhattan thinking I was Internet cool with my messenger bag and Motorola StarTac phone rigged to the shoulder strap. Mind you, most of the world at that point wasn’t slinging around a $400 phone let alone text messaging or Tweeting. When I answered my clamshell phone as we were pulling away from 72nd and 1st, a woman that I swear looked like an actress from M*A*S*H (not Loretta Swit, the other woman) leaned back and flamed me with the look of death. Her scowl made it clear that in her world view the cell phone and all it represented – always on contact with the free world – was the spawn of Satan itself.

I remember thinking to myself “Hey, what if you needed me to call 911 and save your ass with this phone? You wouldn’t hate it then. Now, weren’t you in M*A*S*H?”

None of that escaped my lips because she kind of frightened me. I just kept talking to my business partner about some JavaScripting and XML mumbo jumbo that probably pissed her off even more. This little Asian dude not only is talking on my bus, he’s plotting world domination with XML!

The StarTac has since been replaced as the bad ass mobile accessory by the BlackBerry and iPhone. And as annoying as the ubiquity of cell phones can be, it’s hard to argue against the safety and social benefits they’ve come to provide. It’s been well chronicled how mobiles played a role in helping passengers commandeer the flight headed to the Pentagon on 9/11. And personally, I’ve more than once called emergency services for stranded motorists. I’m an extreme commuter and have the utmost empathy for that guy walking down the shoulder with a gas can in hand. No one wants to be there so that guy gets my help every day of the week and 9 times on Sunday.

So what about Twitter?

This dude’s tee shirt hinted to more than just the joke that is AIG today. But it flirted with the idea of what role Tweeting might play as part of the Fourth Estate. Unlike news papers, Tweeting is hyper-real time. Unlike text messaging, Tweeting is one to many – many of whom can be the news media, government regulators and other influencers. Unlike online media, devices to Tweet from are now in every employee’s pockets in every corporate meeting in America. Someone, dozes off or says something untoward in a meeting, he’s free game in today’s Tweet happy world.

Greed, as it turns out, is not good.

Greed, as it turns out, is not good.

What if iPhone Tweeters were inside AIG? Inside Enron? Could those meltdowns have been averted by whistle Tweeting insiders?

I’m not sure where this is all going. But those are the questions that ran through my head as I was watching this guy skate out of the Peet’s. They’re interesting questions.

I ask because in the past month or so, I’ve seen a shift in the Tweets of the 80 people I follow. Unlike 3-4 months ago when everyone was just pushing out cool articles or links to fun web sites, now I’m starting to see people Tweet what’s going on right in front of them wherever they might be. I’m guilty as charged.

I Tweeted the cigarette smoke-filled Dodge Ram 2500 that cut me off with the “Yes on 8” bumper sticker it. I wasn’t angry so much as in awe of his magnificently un-PC persona in what is easily the most PC place in the world.

Not exactly a social benefit or crisis aversion tack my Tweet, but it happened and the 95 people on my Twitter feed experienced it with me in real time. The best part about Twitter is I can quietly Tweet the ill-matched socks of any has been actor on any bus in America. Because, just like that Dodge driver has the right to smoke cigarettes and vote as he sees fit, I have the right to Tweet his bad driving.

– Jose Mallabo

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