Posts Tagged Social network

New Twitter… pretty cool

Today was the first day that I’ve been able to access the “New Twitter” layout and I am really liking it. There is much fanfare out there with people believing this move has been solely driven by Twitter’s need to generate an income from their much loved service.

For me, although it is a massive improvement on the old interface, I find it hard to see people moving away from using third party software such as Tweet Deck and Twhirl as a means of interacting with Twitter. The problem with using Twitter through a browser is that you’d need to keep an instant eye on it. Facebook didn’t have this problem as from the start it was a very image orientated social network.

Not every has been given access to the new Twitter just yet – but it’s definitely coming your way soon!

Here’s a screenshot of my Twitter Timeline:

New Twitter Timeline Screenshot
New Twitter Image

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Should we all start to Flattr?

No it’s not a typo, Flattr is a new online business set up by some of the people behind the infamous Pirate Bay. The idea is that people will offer a micro donation to the content publisher by clicking on the Flattr icon on the content they have shared. For example, if I was to have a Flattr button on this page, you could click it, just like you would the “Like” option in Facebook and I would receive a share of a donation you are happy to part with on a monthly basis. So for example, let’s say you set your monthly “means” as €2 per month and you clicked one “Flattr” icon, that content ownwer received €2. If you clicked 2 links, your €2 would be shared evenly between the two parties, each receiving €1.

There is where I see the major flaw in this system. At the moment, I have absolutely no intention of giving money to the content providers of the blogs, news sites or whatever that I regularly visit. Now possibly, if made easy to do (which Flattr in fairness is trying to do), I would be happy to donate a small amount of money when an article is really worthwhile to me. If in that rare that something really adds value, I would like to donate my money. But not having the option as to how much to donate would pretty much annoy me. I would much prefer the ability to set a donation amount for each item I click. Rather than wasting €2 a month on possibly one article, I would be in complete control of the money I am spending and where it goes.

So far there have been a few content providers who have made a few hundred euros from this system which is still pretty much in beta mode. Here is one guys story – http://tim.geekheim.de/2010/07/02/flattr-zweiter-streich/

Flattr is an innovative idea and a nice way of helping content creators make money from their content – but with their current model, I find hard to see the masses jumping on board and offering money for nothing! I look forward to seeing how well this does in the future.

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The Twitter Distraction

A pie chart created in Excel 2007 showing the ...
Image via Wikipedia

It’s been just over a year now since I’ve been using Twitter as part of my daily routine. For the initial few months I was regularly updating Twitter with some interesting and some not so interesting tweets.I would set aside at least 15 mins a day to network with people on Twitter or at least post about an article I’ve found or written.

Now however, things have changed quite drastically. I can’t remember the last time I posted a decent tweet or one at all! I know it was sometime last week and it was more of a demonstration to a client as to the power of posting a link on Twitter. Although I want to tweet, I’m increasingly finding it hard to find the time or the will to post something on Twitter. It’s not that I don’t believe in the hype surrounding Twitter, it’s more that I don’t have the time to work at networking through this medium. Sometimes it’s just easier to ring someone and ask them to go for a coffee rather than spend time looking for an opportunity to network with people you know, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.

Clearly, I’m not the only one feeling this way. In October 2009, the Irish Twitter community was devasted when it appeared that the much loved (and hated) Damien Mulley was no longer using Twitter. How could this be? they asked… One of the most respected online marketing experts in the country had simply given up on Twitter and disappeared into oblivion. It didn’t help of course when he didn’t post on his blog for weeks either. But the reality was, that this wasn’t really the case as he explains on his blog (read here). Damien brings up other things such as privacy in his post which opens up another a whole new can of worms. It’s sad to think that someone can’t just disappear for a couple of says because of their popularity on Twitter!

I read James Forbairts blog today, who too has decided to take a look at the time he spends on Twitter. He takes a more frightening reality on how much time he has “wasted” on Twitter over the past couple of years (read here). To see the amount of time he has spent on Twitter really begs the question as to how worthwhile it really is.

The biggest problem with Twitter is, like every other form of networking, it’s extremely difficult to quantify the value of the work you put into it. One thing is for definite, you will get some sort of return. The problem is you just don’t know how much of it was worth it.

It’s so easy to get distracted by Twitter – I personally use Twhirl to receive all the tweets from people I am following. Most of the time, I completely ignore the pop up messages that appear on my screen each time Twhirl collects the latest tweets for me. But every now and again something does grab my attention and I’m hooked.

Has it been worthwhile for my business – well I guess so, I have got work from it. All of us in business network so people get to know us and hopefully recommend us to someone when they encountered someone looking for our services. The more people you know, the more people are promoting your business and vice versa. Was my conversion ratio high? Not at all, the reality is I’m probably in minus figures at this stage! But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t me in the long run.

Twitter has now become more spammy than email in terms of my inbox. Most spam emails to my account are filtered out before they even reach my inbox, but the new 5 odd followers my account gets a day go straight into my inbox! Out of courtesy I check out these peoples profiles. The majority are spammers.

Does this mean Tom Doyle now thinks Twitter is dead? Not at all – it’s a new medium and I need to understand it more to enable me to get the most out of it. You need to find the right strategy for your business in order to maximise it’s capabilities. There are numerous examples of how Twitter can help a business promote themselves or “engage” with their clients. But on the flip-side – you can see how quickly people will begin to bore with it.

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What’s the Buzz with Google Buzz??

Google have yet again started rolling out a new application with stealth for the last couple of days. Users of Gmail are gradually being presented with a new screen when they login to Gmail. Rather than being brought directly to their inbox, they are shown a page promoting their new “Buzz” service. “No sign up required” the message happily proclaims.

But what is it and why would I want it?

Basically, Google Buzz is Google’s take on a Twitter styled system. I guess you could say it has everything that Twitter doesn’t. Do we really need another system like this? I’d have to say no, but it is a great way to get people engaging online. For example, Facebook brought in a similar system last year and it’s use grew substantially. Twitter still lags way behind Facebook in terms of users, but it’s simple system is appealing to a lot of people. People new to Twitter will probably feel that Google is trying to rip off Facebook, but that is not the case.

So where does this leave Twitter? For months there were rumours that Google was on the verge of buying Twitter – but it never it just never materialised. Most people within the online community expected it as a fact, rather than something that was about to happen. Personally, I can’t see Google buying Twitter now that it has built it’s own system that is very similar (or a complete rip!) with a lot more features.

It will be interesting to see if this has an effect on Twitter if any at all! One things for sure, Twitter will have to start working extra hard at trying to build a revenue model for the site as it doesn’t look like anyone will be interested in buying them now… unless of course Microsoft want a piece of this! :)

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Facebook gets tough on promotions and competitions

Facebook announced changes to their Facebook Promotion Guidelines last week, which are likely to affect a lot of businesses currently using Facebook to promote their brand. If you’re planning on running a Facebook promotional campaign in the near future – make sure you read the new guidelines thoroughly.

The new rules state that you ;

  • Cannot run a competition without prior consent from Facebook
  • Cannot run a competition where entry is based on becoming a fan of the business’s Facebook page
  • Cannot run a competition where entry is based on posting a message on Facebook. whether status update or comment
  • Cannot notify winners of the competition through a Facebook message, chat or posts
  • Cannot request that people sign up for a Facebook account in order to enter a competition
  • Must include the following note (or similar):
    “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to [recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for [disclose any way that you plan to use the user’s information].”

This is just a taste of what the new guidelines include, you can see the full set of guidelines here http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php.

From the list above, you can quite clearly see that running a small competition on Facebook isn’t as simple as it used to be. How many businesses that will adhere to these new rules is yet to be seen, but I’m quite sure a lot will have second thoughts about a campaign. In fact most of the business pages I know of, would quite regularly be in breach of these guidelines. It’s hard to see any of these companies adhering to these guidelines, they’d probably just stop using Facebook for running these competitions entirely.

Looking into the guidelines in detail, it looks as though the Facebook are really only trying to protect themselves rather than stiffle the huge surge in businesses using Facebook to promote their brand. I can only imagine what kind of emails they are getting from Facebook fans who wrongly assume that Facebook themselves are in some way related to the running of these competitions and promotions.

It will be interesting to see how many businesses adhere correctly to these new rules and more interestingly, what will happen those that don’t.

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