Tag Archives: twitter

“Safety in Numbers: How to Fight Brand Hijacking on Twitter”

Last week a reporter asked my opinion on the state of brands on Twitter after the Exxon Twitter-jacking debacle.

“As more companies move on to Twitter, how are we to know who is real and who is a fake?” she asked.  “How can a reporter or a consumer know that this person can be a trusted source?”

With Exxon, someone named Janet had claimed to be the Exxon Mobil community manager.  Forrester Research’s Jeremiah Owyang got excited that Exxon was getting involved with Twitter–3 days later, it turned out Janet was a fake.  She hadn’t said anything negative about Exxon, and actually did a great job of addressing people’s questions…but she’d hijacked the brand.  Other big companies might not be so lucky.

Back in the old 1.0 days of the Internet, you could be pretty much anyone–a 40 year old man pretending to be a 13 year old girl–and no one would know otherwise.  In the Web 2.0 world, however, our identities are built on and confirmed by our relationships.

Using Facebook as an example, my identity is more-or-less confirmed by my friends.  Not that it can’t be forged, but by checking my profile, my friends, my work network, etc., you’d be able to make a fairly good guess as to whether I was real or not.

Nope, Twitter doesn’t confirm your identity–but you can still use the network to validate someone.  Jeremiah could have easily searched on Twellow for other Exxon employees on Twitter.  Had their been any Exxon employees (there aren’t), he would have been able to ask them about Janet.  Did they know her? Exxon is a big company, so maybe not…but I bet they have a directory in Outlook.

Companies like Dell, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft all have tons o’ employees on Twitter, making it easy to find a spokesperson. (Click links for Twellow searches).

A couple of steps any company can take to ensure their brand is protected:

  • Don’t just create a XYZCo generic Twitter account, get as many employees on Twitter as possible
  • Add any official Twitter names to the company’s main contact page
  • Encourage employees to mention company name in Twitter profile
  • Create a directory of employees in the company on Twitter and distribute internally
  • Encourage employees to add each other.  Even if they may not work together, Twitter can help strengthen the camaraderie within a company
  • Encourage employees to respond to any Tweets about the company they see — bonus if they search for the company’s name or industry keywords

There you go. Now whenever a reporter, blogger or consumer is looking for a company rep, they can find many to whom they can turn!  Oh, and it might not hurt to claim your company’s name–if it isn’t already taken!

What systems does your company have in place to validate Twitter screen names?  Do you have just a generic name? Do you let employees actively Tweet?

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[The above photo, “Kids at zebra crossing” by fiskfisk on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Community Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Social Networking

“Reporters on Twitter? Say Twellow to My Leetle Friend”

So you’re on Twitter, sharing posts and chatting with your colleagues. You’re also looking out for your clients by monitoring for conversations using Summize (now owned by Twitter). But how do you tap into the power of Twitter and learn more about your target reporters? Don’t fret social media heroes and heroines. The lovely folks at WebProNews have created Twellow, a great Twitter people search and directory to help you find reporters and bloggers galore!

Check it (click to enlarge):

Yeah, I know. It looks a little one dot oh, but trust me. Don’t let that keep you from giving it a go. All those categories can help you drill down into the industries or interests of the Twitter community.

Here’s what the News Category looks like (click to enlarge):

Note that the list is ranked by number of followers. Here is the list for Bloggers (click to enlarge):

Each list is composed of mini-profiles. Here’s mine:

It shows a recent Tweet, my actual Twitter profile and the categories my profile falls under. These are either computer-defined based on search terms in the profile or user-defined. Yup, anyone listed on Twellow can “claim” their profile by logging into Twellow with a Twitter password.

It’s in Alpha, which means they are still testing, developing and working out the bugs. We look forward to seeing it improve over the upcoming months.

Areas Needing Improvement:

  • Name search engine is a little weak. Searching with “Christopher” doesn’t get picked up as being the formal name for “Chris”
  • Why is PR in the advertising category? Marketing would be a better fit [UPDATE: Twellow moved Public Relations to the Marketing category! I’m impressed! See their Tweet here.]
  • The friend count on some profiles doesn’t match the numbers listed on the Twitter profile
  • Twellow hasn’t mapped everyone on Twitter just yet. We look forward to seeing it’s directory grow

Still a Great Resource:

  • By clicking around the directories, we were able to find and add several top tier bloggers and reporters we didn’t know were on Twitter
  • With the people search, we also found several other reporters and bloggers who had not been categorized
  • Most fascinating was the number of local reporters from all across the country, including a large number from Ohio and Oklahoma!
  • Since it’s organized by categories, you can also find key audiences or other peeps who share your interests

Test drive Twellow and tell us what you think. Did you find it useful? What are some other ways you find reporters on Twitter? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter 🙂

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Filed under Best Practices, How To, Product Review, Public Relations 2.0

“You Are Doing Your Clients a Horrible Disservice”

…if you don’t monitor for them on Twitter.

How would your clients take it if you didn’t respond to a negative article in a smaller daily, say the Oakland Tribune? You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to respond to a potentially harmful blog post, so why miss a Tweet?

Use Summize. It finds all Tweets about your client or from your customers–even deleted ones! When Twitter’s “reply” function is working, it can also track conversation around said Tweet! And now, it’s embedded in my favorite Twitter Client, Twhirl.

Our clients love it when we send them a Tweet to which they should respond. We’ve been using it for several months now.

Check out this search for Yoono.

When a person firsts install Yoono, it sends a Tweet to their Twitterstream saying “I’m testing Yoono.”

(Click to Enlarge)

Yoono also has someone manning a Twitter account. They catch the negative comments and respond. Note the elegance of Summize’s inline conversation tracking!

(Click to Enlarge)

(Click to Enlarge)

But it also looks as though they didn’t see all the negative comments. Maybe they should use Summize 😉 (UPDATE: They do! See the comments below!)

How do you track your client and customer conversations effectively? Leave us tips in the comments!

BTW: Stay tuned for Marie’s comprehensive review of Yoono next week!

[UPDATE: On July 15, 2008, Twitter buys Summize.]

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Filed under Best Practices, How To, Marketing, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Our Modern Lives: Tune In or Turn Off?”

Today’s post was written by contributing writer Marie Williams.

With Blackberries and iPhones keeping us constantly connected to an online IV stream, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to disconnect. As of late, discussion around the problems of our “always on” lifestyles seem to be popping up everywhere. Last month, the Churchill Club held a panel on the issue of information overload. And, even more alarming, The New York Times recently chronicled the health problems–and two deaths–resulting from the demands of round-the-clock blogging. While not as severe as those tragic cases, I recently came face-to-face with my own info-addiction.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited my sister for a week holiday in Seattle. The whole time I was there, I was either checking my Google reader or Twitter on my phone. I was so plugged in that I somehow managed to catch some major coverage of a client before my team even had a chance to see it. Yeah, I know: I was supposed to be on vacay. Don’t judge me!

The topic came up again a few nights ago when Chris and I met up with Twitter friends Paull Young and Christi Eubanks. After discussing some geeky, social media PR theory, the topic turned to being always plugged in. Neither Paull nor I could ever imagine completely unplugging from the Internet; Paull said (and I agree) that there are just too many important relationships that would be lost in the disconnect.

Chris and Christi weren’t as game to the idea, both affirming that they could see themselves easily wanting to escape their online life. Then, Chris asked a very interesting question: What if the Internet no longer existed? What if some major event happened and the Internet went kaput as a result? It’s almost a little too scary to think about.

No blogs? No Twitter? No Facebook? No way to always know any and all details about your friends? Is such an existence possible?! It must be; we’d all led an Internet-free life before, right?

What would I do if the internet no longer existed? I guess I’d probably just spend time doing more of the offline activities I already love, like reading books, hiking, sharing more one-on-one time with friends, and reconnecting with the earth (yes, I know it’s hokey, but its true). In fact, some of my most memorable times include patches with no phone reception or lack of access to a computer. Go figure.

This past Monday, Stacey Higginbotham over at GigaOm wrote a great post talking about her over-connected life. After discussing the stresses of being continually plugged in, she pointedly says: “I’m choosing to turn off my computer now.”

It’s a difficult balance, but I think Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read/Write Web says it best in a post discussing RSS feeds last week: “I don’t know why people feel obligated to read every item in every feed they’ve subscribed to. Get over that and you’ll already be a far happier person.” The same can be applied to our online existences. We shouldn’t feel obligated to be in the know all the time about everything that’s going on in the cyberworld. Maybe if we just dip in every now and then and we’ll be happier! I know it works for me. 🙂

What about you? Could you or do you ever completely disconnect? How do you prevent information overload?

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[The above photo, “Streeter Seidell, Comedian” by Zach Klein on flickr, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Future of Media, Social Media, Social Networking

“Punk’s Not Dead: Rethinking SXSW Criticism”

Whether Twitter, blogs, or the Main Stream Media, the topic this week has been the SXSW festival. Many in attendance feel the Conference and its presenters just don’t get it. Is it the promoters’ fault, or the audience’s? Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

In this corner, the Returning Heavy Weight Champion: The Organizers

I grew up in Texas and have attended my fair share of SXSWs. As an indie/alterna-kid In junior high and high school, I always followed SXSW. After graduating high school, I moved to Austin for college.

Originally, SXSW started out as something that was a celebration of independence and musical innovation. As it increased in size, it seemed, to me, to lose its edge. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great place to see some of your favorite bands, but if they play there, they’ve probably already made it big in the underground. The real music is out on the streets, in garages and in hole in the wall bars.

The traditional conference model was, at one time, a great way for professionals to get together and talk about what’s going on. The SXSW organizers have assembled a good line-up of industry relevant speakers, but the way people exchange ideas has changed. Social media tools like blogging, Twitter, YouTube and streaming video have changed the way people communicate. That’s why, for me, looking to SXSW for innovation is like reading news from 2006; it’s great if you want to track progress, but it’s not going to tell you what’s on the cutting edge.

For interactive media, the truly innovative strategies and tools are being discussed in the blogosphere and, more rapidly, on Twitter. You don’t need to pay money to go to a conference; you can suck it all up here for free. But for the people who don’t have time to scan feeds or follow 500 Twitter friends, the traditional conference model still works.

And in this corner, we have the Underdog: The Audience

In the music realm, the majority of the attendees are usually suits and big wigs who want to get wasted and feel like they are a part of the underground again; anyone truly punk or indie can’t afford the price tag or goes to the unofficial events. The majority of attendees want to find out the next big thing to market and consume. And you’ll never be able to please anyone that wants instant enlightenment but doesn’t want to fall in the mud. Because they’ve built up this event and these speakers as having all the answers, when the audience sees the man behind the curtain is human, they throw tomatoes in revolt. In terms of social media, they want the tools and secrets, without taking the time required to learn and process the philosophy.

If you are a regular reader of this blog–or follow me or Marie on Twitter–you are probably more like one of the indie-kids. Remember: You don’t go to SXSW to see cutting edge, you go to see bands that have already had hits in the alterna-scene. Be realistic with the event, and you’ll have fun.

Aren’t happy with the conference? Next year plan your own rebel panel. Punk kids organize unofficial shows to protest the commercialism SXSW has become. Also, part of being indie is supporting your local scene. When was the last time you attended or organized a tweet-up, social media breakfast or event? Do you blog, share good links, tweet your ideas?

Who’s to blame? Let us know in the comments. Also, what suggestions do you have for organizers to help them embrace the hard-core fans? What can you do to increase understanding of social media?

add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: seed the vine :: :: TailRank

[The above photos, “rock ‘n roll face” by BohPhoto and “Mons Punk” by To Tof on Flickr are used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under New Media, Review, Social Media

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Matt Mullenweg, WordPress”

It’s Thursday afternoon, and…yup, that’s “3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Minhittin you on your iPhone. You can go ahead and answer.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

Today, socialTNT chats with Matt Mullenweg, Founding Developer of WordPress and Founder of Automattic. Besides this humble blog, WordPress also powers the New York Times, Fox News, CNN, All Things D, GigaOM, TechCrunch, and many others. In this week’s episode, Matt suggests big media is whole-heartedly embracing the new media, and shares his tips on how best to control brand image.

Just barely 24, Matt Mullenweg is revered by both the blogger and open source communities. That’s because WordPress, one of the top blogging platforms on the Internet, empowers millions of people to create daily. It’s also completely open, so anyone can develop plug-ins or integrate it without licensing fees. Whether WordPress.com for consumers or WordPress.org for Enterprise, I don’t think there is a better selection for blogging.

It’s a busy time for Matt and the Automattic team. In January, they released Prologue, a micro-blogging WordPress theme that enables Twitterstyle communications to increase collaboration within companies or work teams. On the day of the interview, Matt had just announced the hire of Andy Peatling. Since Andy had developed plug-ins to create a social network, Chickspeak, built on the WordPress Multiuser platform, speculation ran rampant through the blogosphere of a WordPress move into the social networking space. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, WordPress is releasing a major update, WordPress 2.5, in the next couple of weeks.

Matt loves MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn. He doesn’t think there will be one SocNet that rules them all. Instead, Matt sees a diverse online world with as many social networks as there are hobbies, interests or personalities. WordPress, however, doesn’t want to be a social network; Automattic’s vision is to provide smooth running machinery that works behind the scenes to make it easier for people to communicate and express themselves.

In his blog post discussing the new hire, Matt says, “Someday, perhaps, the world will have a truly Free and Open Source alternative to the walled gardens and open-only-in-API platforms that currently dominate our social landscape.”

With the upcoming release of WordPress 2.5, bloggers can expect several major upgrades. The Editor has been completely renovated with a more streamlined look, fullscreen writing mode, and increased ease of media integration. Flickr fans watch out: WordPress 2.5 allows bulk uploading of photos. Photos can also be tagged and commented on. Video and audio are also easier to embed within posts.

Fun Facts about Matt:

  • He’s originally from Houston
  • Plays Alto Saxophone
  • Automattic is funded by True Ventures, the VCs who also back GigaOM
  • No surprise that GigaOM is his favorite tech blog, but have you looked at another fave: the comedic musings on Stuff White People Like
  • Avid photographer, has a photo blog, PhotoMatt
  • Sorry ladies Matt’s got a GF

Wondering what the Blogmeister thinks about branding? Check out the video below. He also gives tips on how to track communication for global teams, and cheers on Fox News.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Is proper hiring and training the solution to ensure your brand image is maintained? What social media tools do you use for increased internal collaboration? Is big-media really embracing social media? Let us know in the comments!

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

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[The above photo, “Matt Mullenweg” by Drew Olanoff, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Future of Media, Internal Public Relations, New Media, Social Networking, Video Interview

“May I Have The Embed Code, Please? Evaluating the Oscars Social Media Strategy”

Can’t get enough Oscar? Neither can we. But, unlike other blogs, we aren’t gonna recap the show or even discuss the stars’ outfits. Stepping out in true geek fashion, today socialTNT looks at the Academy’s social media strategies and offers up tips on how Oscar can stay young.

Best CyberScreen Adaptation

  • Oscar makes his CyberScreen debut in style with his own YouTube channel. We have to admit, we were really impressed! The videos, numbering 69 at time of writing, cover the full gambit of what we have come to expect with video campaigns. The channel includes favorite acceptance speeches and greatest moments in Oscar history.
  • We’re suckers for behind-the-scenes videos, which is probably why our favorites were short video interviews with past winners discussing topics like: What it’s like to be nominated, the voting process, what it’s like to win and how to produce an Oscar montage. Aspiring Future Winners: Avoid the embarrassment of being drowned out by the orchestra, and check out this video on how to prepare an acceptance speech
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ President Sid Ganis did have some videos for a video blog. Check out the last entry chronicling final preparations before the big night.
  • We were a little confused by other cool features like the “Thank You Cam” and Antonio Sabato’s overly produced “Road to The Oscars” journal. They are hosted on the Oscars page, but not found on the YouTube channel. This schizophrenic offshoot requires that you watch a video ad before the clip and it’s not sharable or embeddable. What?!
  • How to make it better? Give nominees webcams and let them video blog the full experience, from nomination to post-awards. Sadly, not everyone can be nominated for the movie world’s top prize, so this could provide a more unfiltered look at the drama and excitement that is the Oscars.
  • Following in the footsteps of the Crunchies, maybe the Oscars could have 10-second video responses filmed by each of the nominees.
  • You know all the technical awards? Well, there are tons of aspiring young make-up artists, sound editors, and costume designers who would love to see behind-the-scenes of the award nominees in action. Those vignettes are shown during the awards presentation, so why not make the full videos available online!

Best Original BlogPlay

  • Yup, the Academy had an official live blogger, Joel Stein.
  • Now, we’re not knocking Joel, but maybe the Academy could have also invited a couple of bloggers from big entertainment or movie blogs to officially live-blog the show from the Kodak theater. Yes, they are probably going to blog it from home, but an official invite is a powerful gesture that could leverage preexisting reader communities’ excitement about the show.
  • Nominees are busy busy, but they could still Twitter 🙂 The academy could also aggregate all discussion on Twitter regarding the academy awards and post it on the home page.
  • What if iJustine could videocast backstage?! HOT!

Best Application in a Social Network

  • You may not have known this, but the Academy has a Facebook widget. According to the Oscar site, the widget has a countdown feature, trivia game, and plays the ad-sponsored videos not found on YouTube.
  • Sadly, Oscar’s widget only has around 1,000 users, with only 32% of them active. This could be due to the oh-so-uninspiring description on the app’s page: “Follow the latest buzz about this year’s Academy Awards! Add the OSCAR Widget today. Click the blue “Add to Page” button in the right column!” *yawn* Also, it looks like it may have just been launched a few weeks ago.
  • Application adoption is really hard to break in to. Some suggestions for Oscar: let users earn points to send virtual gifts, or allow them to create mash-up montages of the nominees or past shows. Also, people love movie-compatibility quizzes.

Next Year’s Nominees?

  • The Academy should try to utilize preexisting communities like Facebook groups to build buzz.
  • Flickr photo stream to compile all the photos tagged with Academy Awards. Also, make the photos already on the site embeddable.
  • Wikis on all the Lifetime Achievement folks we might not know.
  • Tribute pages for the dead Academy members.

All in all, socialTNT was really satisfied with the Academy’s social media efforts. The Academy should be fully applauded for their YouTube efforts. In terms of strategy, our only suggestion would be to start the seeding process a couple weeks–if not months–out. The first videos to be posted were from 5 days before the event. That’s not really enough time to “go viral.”

As Hollywood starts to see online video as a valid and viable revenue stream, and as TV viewership drops, the Oscars will inevitably be faced with doing more CyberScreen adaptation. How did you think the Academy fared? Was there anything you thought could have been added that wasn’t? Tell us in the comments!

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[The above photo, “Oscar” by Alan Light, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Recap, Social Media, Video, Viral video