Posts Tagged Twitter

Book Review: Things A Little Bird Told Me

Posted by on Saturday, 10 May, 2014
  • Things-A-Little-Bird-Told-MeMemoir, not a business book
  • Other founders tell it differently
  • Why the philosophical chapter at the end?
  • Biz and I are very similar

Sometimes I can jump straight into a review. Other times I collate my notes and seek an angle. For Things a Little Bird Told Me by Twitter cofounder, Biz Stone, you get both. Those four points are my abridged notes.

This is a needed account of this time. It’s a memoir. What other point in history will have the right conditions to build a website that lets you broadcast your lunch (or as Evanna Lynch put it, pooping) in under 140 characters and make the company worth billions? Or as Biz and team were told, it’s the Seinfeld of the internet. For that, we need this book.

From looking at the GoodReads reviews, many will ask why we need Biz Stone’s view. This version of events has been disputed, but it’s a memoir. Communication theory shows that giving two people an identical message will have two outcomes. I’d love to read Hatching Twitter, but just remember these are Biz Stone’s experiences.

To be honest, there’s nothing special about this book. A telling of experiences with the stock standard “meaning of life” chapter at the end. This is the only chapter that starts to feel business booky, and one that, to me, screams “I’m a terrible person, but I’ve done these great things”. They are great things, and excellent charities to support, but the chapter comes across insecure and inconsistent with the boy who declared a no homework policy in school and broke into the dance.

Hmm, the last point. Biz Stone and I are very similar. We are. We both do things because we can. We take chances. We end up with huge credit card debts. I think that’s why I enjoyed Things A Little Bird Told Me so much. I can relate to Biz and his struggles. Also, I lived in San Francisco early 2010, so some of his life is my life too.

Who Is Things a Little Bird Told Me for?

Everyone really. Biz has written an enjoyable, easy read of his early career. There are things to learn, but it’s learning from Biz’s experiences, not from his instruction.

Check it out and let me know if you agree.

Book courtesy of NetGalley. They don’t ask to control my reviews and know they can’t.

How to Live Tweet Events and Conferences

Posted by on Sunday, 28 July, 2013

Live Tweet EventsA new, but essential part of any event communications plan is Twitter. Not just in the lead-up, but during the event.

But how do you live tweet events?

It takes time and planning. These tips should help.

Before the event

  • Allocate team members

I recommend having at least one dedicated person per session. Two if it’s a panel discussion or important keynote. Panels are tricky because the conversation isn’t linear and it can be hard to work out who said what. Also, keeping attention on the speakers and the concurrent conversation is exhausting. Don’t under-estimate it and allocate the person multiple tasks. Believe me, I’ve tried.

  • Equipment

This is where people have differing opinions. I prefer using a laptop, but there are pros and cons for each option. A laptop allows me to jump between screens and applications easily. Its keyboard is also easiest to type fast on. However, if there’s no wifi, I can’t switch to mobile data.

Tablets and smart phones have the advantages of data and being compact. I’ll often use these when I’m tweeting as an audience member. They just aren’t as nimble and it’s more difficult to access any notes etc that you’ve pre-written. More on those below.

No matter which way you go, don’t forget to fully charge it AND bring any power cables with you.

  • Software

This is another area where you have a myriad of choices: HootSuite, Sprout SocialTwitter.com, TweetDeck (for desktop), and more. I’ve found HootSuite and TweetDeck best for live tweeting for their layout. Multiple, customizable streams on one screen makes it easy to see what’s going on and plan your tweets. TweetDeck uses bit.ly for links, so stats record into Sprout Social, which I use the rest of the time. It also have a new live update feature; it’s good to get the information quickly, but a bit dizzying.

  • Notes

Preparing notes before the event will make your day so much easier. In a word doc note down all the speaker names, bios, Twitter handles etc. If you can get their presentations, do it! You can pre-write tweets and include any links the speaker may reference during their presentation. It’ll save you time and make your tweets more shareable. Doing all this in Word means you can copy and paste quickly. Others will be tweeting too. To get the best result, you need to be first and accurate.

  • Data versus WiFi

WiFi is more reliable and faster, but not always accessible. Make sure you ask for passwords and test the connection beforehand.

  • Choose a hashtag

Decide on the hashtag before the event and publicize it. The hashtag should be unique and descriptive – don’t forget people outside the event will see it and may join in. Search the hashtag to ensure no-one else is using it.

During the Event

  • Introduction Tweets

Don’t forget to start off by introducing the event, announcing the hashtag and thanking any sponsors. Letting your followers know that you’ll be tweeting about the event will minimize their annoyance if they’re not attending.

  • Quotes and Sound Bites

Only tweet quotes that your followers will find interesting. This will maximize retweets and engagement. Attribute quotes, where possible, using the person’s Twitter handle. That’s where the notes come in. Think like a journalist when choosing quotes. If it would make a great headline, it’ll make a great tweet.

  • ReTweets

If an attendee tweets a quote that you missed, retweet it. You won’t catch everything, so they can fill the gaps. Also, they’ll get a kick from you giving them kudos.

  • Engagement

If you can, interact with the audience. There’s a lot going on, so ask questions during the speaker change overs or during meal breaks. Favorite takeaway tip and best speaker are good things to ask.

  • Panel Discussions

There is no amount of preparation to make this easy. Even having the questions beforehand won’t work. The conversation will be wibbly-wobbly, people will speak over each other, and you’ll be listening for the next sound bite while you’re tweeting the last so attribution is tricky. Mistakes will happen. Don’t stress about them at the time, and sent corrections and apologies immediately after the event or discussion.

Post Event

  • Closing Off

At the end of the event, tweet thank yous to speakers, attendees, participants and sponsors. Invite everyone to keep the conversation going via the hashtag.

  • Save the Tweets

Tweets have a short lifespan, so export them immediately. Your Twitter app should have an export function. An Excel file makes it easier to search and analyse them.

  • Statistics and Analysis

Your Twitter app may be able to do this, or you can manually analyse the tweets in Excel. If you’re using Excel, the sort and filter functions are brilliant. Pivot tables will be tricky because you’re only counting snippets within the tweets, not the entire cell.

Useful things to count are the number of total tweets, number of tweets by you, number of tweets by audience members, number of retweets, number of mentions, number of times the hashtag was used, number of likes, and the number of unique users participating. You could take it further and add number of clicks or sentiment, but all of this takes time and some analyses take more time than you get benefit.

  • Tactics Review and Lessons Learned

Think over what you did and how you would change it for next time. It could be to have a back-up person to cover breaks or to have a second person help during a panel discussion. Chat to your colleagues and trusted audiences members for their thoughts.

Would you add anything else? Please share in the comments.

Photo Credit: IABC/Seattle

The Impossible Post – Trying to categorize social media platforms

Posted by on Monday, 3 June, 2013

Social Media Audiences Research TableThis post could just as easily been called, “A blog post that takes three minutes to read takes three hours to write.”

This is about yesterday’s post. In summary, it tells how you can’t match social media platforms directly to audiences. If you haven’t read it, check it out.

I started researching and writing that post in March and spent lots of hours on it before posting. It changed focus three times and most of the research was discarded.

I tried matching each platform with a typical user profile. Something like, 30-40 year old mother, college educated, middle income = Pinterest. That one is reasonably accurate, but can’t be done for the other platforms. The platforms are all too general, and different people use them for different purposes.

Lots of stats were collated in the process and it would be a shame not to share. So here’s the base table.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Instagram Google+ LinkedIn
Active Members / Total Members > 1 billion / not disclosed 140 million / 500 million Unknown 108 million blogs Unknown / 80 million+ Unknown / 400 million Unknown / 200 million
Age 18-24 (33%) 25-34 (23%) 23-34 (30%) Under 25 Unknown Unknown 35-44 (26%)
Gender Female (57%) Female (55%) Female (80%) Unknown Unknown Male (68%) – 2011 data Male (65%)
Life Stage Unknown Has kids (55%) Settled, family (50% have kids), buying house late teens/ young adult Unknown Single (42% versus 27% married); Student (20%) Unknown
Education Unknown No college (49%) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown College (50%)

Lots of the gaps come from generalized data not being released by the companies (ahem, facebook), or the data available being out-of-date or inconclusive. The Pew Research Center does some great work polling users to see their usage. Their research is limited by how they conduct the polls (via telephone), the rules governing polling minors (they decided not to, which skews away from Tumblr), and the size of their sample. For an international study, I don’t feel it can be statistically significant.

Other stats may be out there, but after several fruitless hours I gave up.

References used include:
Wikipedia: Tumblr
The Huffington Post: 100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures from 2012
facebook: Media Room – Key Facts
Linked In Facts and Figures (Infographic)
Pinteresting Enough: Who Uses Pinterest (Infographic)

Thank you to Matt Forsyth, Nicole Gary and Neil Parekh  for your help choosing which platforms and how to position the research.

PS, sorry for the silly-looking table. The site redesign is close and will make it look better.

The impossible question: Which social media platforms should I use?

Posted by on Monday, 3 June, 2013

Social Media apps

When you’re a kid, the big question is, “When’s Christmas?”. As a teen it’s “how can I get <insert name here> to like me?”. As a digital marketer it’s “which social media platforms should I be using?”

The only one with an easy answer is “when’s Christmas?”. But, as a five year old; I know I wasn’t happy with the answer: “in 20 sleeps”.

Choosing which social media platforms isn’t a straight forward process. Sorry. However, it can be done.

Start by looking at your target audience. Who are they? What do they do? Where do they play: facebook, Twitter, instagram, Tumblr? Standard segmenting questions. Ask them directly, if you want. They’ll appreciate the attention and you’ll be getting direct data.

Then play on those platforms. Yes, it’s really that simple.

The days of sell sheets with user base profiles are over. Social media gives us the ultimate personalization. One platform can reach many different demographic and psychographic groups. Each user will make it their own.

Does that mean you need to have a presence on all platforms? No. Find the critical mass for your target and play there. Make it cost and time effective. Remember, you’ll be researching their behavior, crafting content, curating third-party content and conversing directly with your audience. That takes time. It’s not worth all the work customizing all this to different platforms if not enough of your audience play there. That said, test things out. Just be prepared to drop it if it fails. It will and you’ll learn from it.

That’s enough from me. Go profile your audience and get playing. Now!

Super Bowl 2013: the good, the bad and the Oreo

Posted by on Wednesday, 6 February, 2013

My plan for this post was to look at the best and worst three ads from Super Bowl 2013. Then four minutes into the power outage, Oreo tweeted this:

Oreo Dunk in the Dark

Oreo Dunk in the Dark

At that point I, along with thousands of others, were distracted. In only four minutes the Oreo team had produced a classy, on-brand, topical piece. ONLY FOUR MINUTES. Naturally, it was retweeted instantly. Actually, more than 10,000 times in the first hour. The next morning I discovered that it was the work of agency, 360i. They had a team of 15 and the right people for approvals in the same room ready to act on any opportunity, and that they did.

So, that killed my post idea and proved that maybe a $3.5 million TVC spot isn’t always the best way to get people talking about you. Wired has a complete report of how they did it.

If you’re curious, I still haven’t watched all this year’s ads, but Bud Light’s Journey was the first to make me smile.