Hey Twitter, What’s Happening?

…most [people] didn’t know or simply misunderstood what Twitter was for – many thought of Twitter primarily as a social network, a place to find and connect with friends and family members. Second, they thought if they wanted to use Twitter, they were “supposed to Tweet every day” and didn’t think they would have that much to say. We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do!

Twitter has problems. Growth has stalled, even shrinking. People who haven’t used it aren’t sure what it is. New users find it confusing and difficult to get started. Executives are jumping ship. And the Trolls keep popping up.

In the past year, the company has tried to handle these problems in a substantive way, introducing a raft of improvements, including better integration and display of videos, less restrictive character limits on tweets, an easier way for new users to find and connect with people,  longer and easier direct messaging, and a new timeline algorithm that shows you the top tweets that you missed when you were signed off. And in the past few weeks, it has added a raft of deals to live stream MLB and NHL games.

Now, the company is ready to reintroduce itself to the world – with a new video ad campaign headed up by the tag line, “What’s Happening.” The campaign emphasizes video of recognizable events, highlighting Twitter as a place not just to talk about what is happening, but to actually see what is happening.

I use Twitter constantly as a news feed. News about what my friends think is important. News about what is happening in the world.

I can’t imagine a world without Twitter. So, as an avid user. I wish them well. And hopefully, the last line in their blog post announcing the campaign will in fact prove to be true: “This is just the beginning!”

Fingers crossed for Twitter.

 

Source: See Whats Happening | Twitter Blogs

Post Ghost’s battle with Twitter raises issues that just won’t go away

Post Ghost logoPost Ghost, a service that preserved deleted tweets, was told to cease doing this by Twitter. Post Ghost complied and shut down its service. But it did not go quietly. They published an Open Letter to Twitter, arguing that the deleted tweets of people with very large followings could have as much impact on public issues as the tweets of politicians. Citing deleted tweets about the Brexit vote by British celebrities with large followings, they say, “the ability to reach millions of followers instantly and leave no trace is a massive and growing power, and one that is currently completely unchecked and undocumented.”

The Post Ghost letter raises important issues that have been debated before and will continue to be debated. And that’s just what Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley do on this week’s Inside PR podcast.

You can listen to the entire episode on the Inside PR blog.

Announcing an Application Process for Verified Accounts

There goes the neighbourhood. Now we all can be sure that we are who we think we are. Twitter will verify it. 🙂

Verified accounts on Twitter allow people to identify key individuals and organizations on Twitter as authentic, and are denoted by a blue badge icon. An account may be verified if it is determined to be of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by public figures and organizations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.

Source: Announcing an Application Process for Verified Accounts

The Canadian Cabinet’s first day on Twitter

Tweets by the new Canadian Cabinet that resonated most strongly

Tweets by the new Canadian Cabinet that resonated most strongly

Will Canada’s new Cabinet use social media to engage with Canadians?

Canada’s new government was sworn in yesterday. The new Cabinet is dramatically different from its predecessor, with a marked decrease in age, the achievement of gender parity in its composition, and greater diversity of representation.

As I watched the swearing in of the new Cabinet, I wondered whether the new Cabinet will use social media more or differently than their predecessors. And I thought it would be an interesting research project to track their use of it over time.

So, today, I’m launching the first what I intend to be a series of posts looking at how the Trudeau Cabinet is using social media. Today’s post looks at the use of Twitter on the day that Cabinet was sworn in.

How did I go about developing this perspective?

Shortly after the Cabinet was announced, Twitter Canada posted a list of the Twitter IDs of each of the 30 of the 31 incoming Cabinet Ministers. (One Minister, Dominic LeBlanc is not on Twitter.)

I created a watchlist of these IDs in 76insights, the tool we have developed to track which social objects resonate with people. Resonance is the flip side of engagement. Something resonates when it drives people to take action. And on Twitter, this means that people actively shared the post with their friends or added it to their favourites list.

So, what did I see?

76insights resonance graph Trudeau Cabinet November 4 2015

Cabinet Tweets on November 4

The thirty Cabinet Ministers collectively published 86 tweets on their first day in office.  Looking at the total day, we can see that the Cabinet members were more or less silent prior to the 10AM swearing in ceremony. The first to break the silence was Patty Hajdu, who tweeted her excitement at 9:18AM.

The real action began with a tweet from @justintrudeau’s account displaying a Periscope of the swearing in ceremony inside Government House.

Once the ice was broken, the tweets came hard and heavy until mid-afternoon, when there was a relative quiet time. Clearly, Trudeau’s Cabinet realized that tweeting from inside the Cabinet meeting room is a no-no. The first to break the Cabinet meeting silence was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s account, which tweeted the dates of the return of Parliament and the Throne Speech.

Following Trudeau’s post, tweets by his Ministers recommenced at a strong pace. There was a two hour silent period from about 7PM until 9PM, which I assume corresponded to a dinner for the new Cabinet Ministers. But once that was over, the tweets pick up again at 9PM continued until midnight. Who can blame the new Cabinet Ministers for celebrating late into the night what may well have been the best days of their life?

All tweets are not created equal

Collectively, the new Cabinet Ministers 86 tweets were shared or favourited over 24,900 times, for an average resonance score of 289.

Anyone who is on Twitter knows that only some of the things we post will actually resonate with other people. In fact, most tweets go unremarked and trigger zero reaction.

The same was true of these tweets. Some of the Cabinet Ministers’ tweets failed to move anyone to active engagement. On the other hand, some were passed around and favourited thousands of times.

Which tweets resonated most?

When it comes to making a mark, this was clearly Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s day. Two of his tweets resonated most strongly. The most shared and favourited tweet of the day, with a resonance score of 8.36K, was this tweet marking the Justin Trudeau’s swearing in as Prime Minister.

The second most resonant tweet, with a resonance score of 3.33K, was the PM’s early evening open letter to Canadians.

But Trudeau isn’t the only member of his government whose tweets resonated with a large number of people. Several of his Ministers posted tweets that struck a chord.

Canada’s new Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan’s tweet earned a resonance score of 1.78K.

A tweet by Canada’s new Minister of Justice & Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, followed close behind, with a resonance score of 1.1K.

A tweet by Navdeep Bains, the new Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, earned a racked up a resonance score of 826.

Late in the evening, a 10:59PM tweet by new Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna elicited a strong reaction, earning a resonance score of 627.

Finally, Kent Hehr, the new Minister for Veterans Affairs, chalked up a resonance score of 593 with his tweet.

Will they make the most of their potential to engage directly with Canadians?

Obviously, the tweets posted yesterday were more celebratory and thankful than substantive.

However, several of the members of the new Cabinet demonstrated the potential to move large numbers of others to share their messages on twitter. It will be interesting to watch whether they make the most of this potential.

Social networks: What are they good for?

You and I probably share something in common. We probably use more than one social network. And if we do, we’re probably always considering what we get out of each network and wondering whether the time we invest in each is worthwhile.

I use four social networks on a regular basis: Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each seems to be do different things better than the others.

Twitter is my real time news flow. I follow people who care about, think about and speak about the things I also care about. So, if I’m likely to hear first about something important to me on Twitter (Sorry mainstream news sites. You no longer are a destination for me.)

Google+ gives me the best conversations with the smartest people. There’s no apparent limit on post or comment length. And people routinely go back and forth and discuss topics in depth. It’s really a satisfying discussion.

Facebook is where the most people are. And it’s hard to ignore a place where most of my friends hang out. Still, it seems like the cotton candy of social networks. All show. But empty calories. There’s really nothing of substance happening there.

LinkedIn is the “business network”. I get the least out of LinkedIn. It seems to be a place for people to make useful business connections. And it feels a bit tawdry, a place for users and people who want to be used.

So, that’s the way that I see my social networks.

What about you? Do you agree with my assessments of the different networks? Which do you use? What do you think each one is best for?

 

What matters to you: Volume of followers or Community of interest?

How many followers on social media are enough? Do you watch your numbers and constantly search for new ways to gain a new friend or an extra follower?

Do you see a herd or a community of interest?

In this week’s Inside PR, Gini Dietrich expresses her annoyance at discovering that some people seem to be using the #FF (Follow Friday) hashtag primarily as a means to get the attention of others on Twitter who have high follower counts. Ginny observed that some people she is following seem to point only to others who already have high follower counts. Ginny wonders whether those recommendations are sincere endorsements of content or instead, attempts to get those high follower people to reply, putting the original person’s ID in their Twitter stream and attracting more interest to themselves. Thinly veiled spam? An extension of the old-style interruption broadcast advertising psychology?

I monitor the number of followers, subscribers, mentions and comments on my blog and other social media as part of my calculation of return on investment. Given that my greatest cost of creating and sharing content is my time (and I always have other things that I could be doing with my time), I make a calculation of whether I am talking to myself or whether I am part of a community that shares my interests and is actively engaged with me. While I don’t put a dollar amount on that calculation, I do make a calculation of my relative return on the investment  of my time.

So, having admitted that I do track my numbers, why don’t I spend more time trying to dramatically increase my numbers of followers? The answer is simple: I am interested in engagement with the community that cares about my content, not in raw reach. What counts for me is a genuine connection with a community of interest, not simply growing the size of my audience.

How does that compare with your approach to social media?

Do you focus on finding and engaging with a clearly defined community of interest that corresponds with your personal interests or the interest of your organization? Or do you pursue ever larger numbers of subscribers, followers and friends?

Inside PR 225: A new Inside PR Podcast Facebook Group

This week in Inside PR, Martin Waxman and I talk about the changing media landscape. This follows on recent changes to both the digital and traditional paper versions of the New York Times, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

We also have an audio comment on the power of Twitter to connect communities of interest from Jody Koehler, founder of Coopr PR in the Netherlands.

Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video of Jeff Jarvis‘ presentation in Frankfurt about creating publics. There’s a lot to think about in what Jeff is suggesting.

You can listen to the complete podcast by clicking on the player here.

What do you think?

Finally, please remember that we produce this podcast as a way of connecting with out community of interest. You can reach us many ways – through a comment on this post or on the Inside PR blog, by leaving a video comment on our new Inside PR Podcast Facebook Group or by tweeting to @Inside_PR. We’d love to hear from you.

Twitter on screen at conferences: Good or Bad?

Do you think that having the Twitter stream on a screen at conferences adds to the experience or participants and speakers or detracts from it?

The Advanced Learning Institute have asked my advice about whether they should have a second screen at all sessions of their upcoming Social Media for Government Conference to display the twitter stream throughout the conference. (Disclosure: I’ll be chairing the conference and presenting a workshop.)

I’ve seen this work well at tech conferences. At some conferences, a large number of participants are heavily engaged in twittering their conference experience – sharing points they think are important and then engaging in active discussion with other conference attendees as well as people joining in from outside the conference. For these people, the conference experience is greatly enriched. They can ask questions, consider alternatives and dig deeper through discussion with others. All in real time while the ideas are being discussed by the speaker.

Twitter stream from Third Tuesday

How about the speaker, you ask? In my experience, a growing number of speakers embrace conference Twittering. Some follow the Twitter stream for questions. Others actually participate in it (This works especially well for panels.) After the conference, the speaker can gain valuable feedback on their presentation by reviewing the conference hashtag in the Twitter stream. And they don’t need to stop there. Savvy speakers can continue the conversation with conference tweeters after the conference.

However, I don’t think that Twitter is right for most conferences – yet. I think that may be overkill if your mix of attendees is not technically savvy. And that seems to be most attendees at standard business conferences. Just as important, some speakers are likely to object to it.

But that doesn’t mean that I’d leave Twitter out of a conference. In fact, having the Twitter stream on screen for select sessions demonstrates its potential to everyone. Having it up all the time may irritate those who are not on Twitter.

So, for the time being, I think that conference organizers should introduce Twitter at key points in the conference, but not have it present all the time.

What do you think?

Do you think that having the Twitter stream on a screen at conferences adds to the experience or participants and speakers or detracts from it? Am I underestimating the average conference attendee?

Other views on Conferences and Twitter

Ira Basen doesn’t like it

I do it

Dr. Shock suggests ways to use Twitter to get more out of lectures

David Berkowitz thinks conference blogging policies need updating

Blogging brought the world together. Twitter is pushing us apart.

istock_000004986387xsmallWhen I first started blogging, I was struck by how quickly and easily I discovered bloggers around the world who shared my interests and from who I could learn. My community of interest spanned the globe, including people like Neville Hobson (in Amsterdam and later the U.K.), Darren Barefoot (at that time on a one year sojourn in Malta, now in Victoria B.C.), Allan Jenkins (Copenhagen), Katie Paine (New England), Josh Hallett (Florida), Shel Israel (California), the other Shel, Shel Holtz (California), Jeremiah Owyang, Lorelle VanFossen (Pacific northwest) and even and Lee Hopkins (Australia). Blogging had enabled me to form a community with others who shared my interests – a community that transcended time zones and geography.

Over the past two years, Twitter has taken up an increasing amount of my intention. Its 140 character micro bursts of ideas, links, emotions and idle musings bring me into instant contact with the people in my community. I drop in and out of the flow several times a day.

But at the same time that Twitter has given me the ability to connect constantly and quickly wiht the people in my community, it also has led to a shrinking of that community. Yes, it transcends geography. I regularly tweet to people in other countries and in Europe. But at the same time, it has restricted my community to people within a band of time when we are all on the network live. In other words, I’ve lost sight of that part of the world in which our business days don’t overlap.

In effect, my world through the lense of Twitter has shrunk to encompass only those people who are online at the same time as me. So, I’ve lost sight of those people whose workdays and online times don’t overlap with mine. They are invisible to me and I too am invisible to them.

So, Twitter is a good news / bad news story for social networking and its ability to expose us to different points of view and draw us closer together. In a way, Twitter has narrowed my horizons while making my experience with the smaller community richer.

Have you experienced this “invisibility effect”, losing track of people you previously experienced regularly? if so, what are you doing about it?

Deciding who to follow on Twitter

TwitterI’ve been using Twitter more and more over the past year. Especially at conferences like those run by the Advanced Learning Institute, Canadian Institute, and OpenDialogue, as well as Third Tuesday Toronto and Third Tuesday Ottawa.

I’ve replaced live blogging with live tweeting. It’s very satisfying – connecting me directly with other attendees and people who care about the same subject.

The more I’ve put into Twitter, the more I’ve received back. At the same time, the number of people following me has increased. And the pace at which new followers are added has increased.

This presents a problem.

I set up my Twitter profile to notify me via Gmail of each new follower. When someone follows me, I visit their Twitter profile to see if they share my interests. I follow people who write about things that interest me or who have blogs in their profiles or stand out in some other way. As I’ve done this review, I’ve found myself following about 1 in 4 of the people who follow me.

Why don’t I follow more people?

Well I don’t use Twitter as a publishing platform.  Instead, I use it as a “town square” – a way to connect with my “community of interest.” And to really connect, I need to keep the number of people I follow in the hundreds, not the thousands. (That’s not a criticism. I admire anyone who can attract more than 60,000 twitter followers. But that’s an audience, not a community.)

Recently, the pace at which my new Twitter followers has been increasing has been greater than my ability to check out everyone’s profile. (I realized this when the number of my pending Gmail emails exceeded 900!) So, I’ve settled on a new way to decide who to follow.

Instead of visiting every follower’s profile (which at the rate of 20 -30 new followers a day takes over an hour), I’ve decided to watch for new people who either retweet one of my tweets or respond to me with an @thornley.

I’m doing this in the belief that these people who actively engage with my content are more interested in me. And these are the people who I should be checking out and probably following.

What do you think? Is this a reasonable strategy for identifying people to follow in Twitter? What approach do you use?

UPDATE: Jay Goldman offered some great advice on how he decides who to follow in Twitter. I missed this in my Google Search. Sorry Jay.

Kelly Rusk also had a post about what she looks for when deciding who to follow on Twitter.