Twitter activity stream

Back in August we heard about the upcoming real time twitter activity streams but, since then, not many of us have seen them.

Today, I was lucky to observe this functionality in  one of the twitter accounts I admin.

See how the mentions tab has changed? It is not just Mentions anymore. It is “mentions and more” and the more refers to in-stream notifications of who and how-many followed you.

Also, twitter turns more visual, if you look at the adjacent Activity tab.

This is a much more ‘facebookish’ view, isn’t it? It is actually more visual than the respective ticker in Facebook, which displays similar stuff: favs, follows, RTs etc

I wonder if the delay in the roll out has to do with exactly this perception: that twitter is becoming more ‘lite’ this way.

A great filter at last: Facebook Pages Custom Sharing

It’s a little bit over two years since when I wrote about the desirability of a language filter for social media news ‘streams’. But while Facebook has given the world one, probably because I missed its initial introduction, I  made the connection only now : In Facebook Pages, one can select who will see a certain status update by selecting a country and a language.

Quite rightly, language is not enough on its own to make targeting work. Neither country. The combination can work wonders though.

Just think the various pages that brands open on a country basis. There is no need to anymore. With the country status targeting, one page can be used to serve all countries. In theory, at least. It will require lots of admins, true. But this is better than a lot of pages repeating similar things over and over.

Also, I can help segment messaging in countries with more than one languages, keeping follower annoyance at a minimum.


But why only Pages?

The same need exists (to a lesser extend) for Personal Profiles and Groups.

And why is it so difficult for other social platforms to come up with solutions like this?

Is anyone listening in Twitter?

Why do we retweet?

What are the primary motivations for retweeting? There are countless of quasi answers out there but very little substantial research. Unfortunately I do not bring you one.

I run a little experiment the other day. I said I was running a “Retweet” experiment and asked my followers to RT!

I was not sure what to expect, but it turned out that about 13 people did actually retweet within the first hour.

Now, two days later, the picture is like this:

New Retweets

Please Retweet








Old Retweets

Please RT













If there is an immediate conclusion to be drawn, is that far more people use the new RT method (the one provided by twitter).

As to why people RT, the answer remains open to speculation. It seems though that what Dan Zarrella has found/suggested (that ‘Please RT’ is a strong factor to get retweeted) is valid and valuable.

Hootsuite can post to a blog

Hootsuite can post to a blog.

I am really impressed by this feature. And the reason I am writing this post is to explore the capabilities.
Does the twitter character limit apply?
Can I upload pictures and videos?

Update 1: The character limit does not apply as you can testify from this post

Groupon: it’s not sales, it’s marketing

“it’s a great marketing tool. just not great with making profit.”.

The quote above is from an unnamed business owner and I found it in a recent study by Utpal M. Dholakia, an associate professor of marketing at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University.

The study, an interesting read, states that only  66% of all deals accounted were profitable and that there is a correlation to the deal profitability and high % in findings regarding the following key areas:

  • buying more than Groupon value (50%)
  • repurchasing a second time (31%)
  • running another Groupon promotion in the future (82%)

The major problem to deal profitability was found to be the employee satisfaction factor, which might sound strange but is all too understandable if we bring in mind that most of the Groupon deals are service deals and the way the employees perform determines the service outcome, both in monetary and non monetary terms.

So, what do we learn from this?

If you are to engage in Groupon like deals, do it with a long term view in mind. Quick cashing is risky and maybe not material, after all.

Groupon deals should be part of a marketing strategy for small business owners. They should use them to make known or reinforce their brand, give people a sample of their services and entice them to more, expand their reach etc

This means that these deals should not be offered in isolation. They should be combined with other marketing and promotional tools to yield a better result.

Even the offering itself has to be scrutinized upfont:

  • What kind of signal does it represent? Heavy discounting can easily be taken as a signal of trouble. It has to be applied in a context where the image of the company will remain untarnished.
  • How it can be combined with extra, more lucrative, promotions when the customer redeems the coupon?
  • Profitability is not a prerequisite if one knows upfront what to aim for. The anticipated losses can be budgeted and treated as marketing cost, provided that the deal can create new loyal normal paying customers.
  • Can the social embassies (if any) of the company benefit from the sudden and brief burst of publicity that the deal will bring? How should they be linked and related to the deal promotion?
  • Can some of the Groupon newsletter subscribers become subscribers of company’s newsletter? How?

The future of Groupon’ business model is not yet determined, but group deals as a form of promotion are here to stay. And if this is the case, then we better treat them as part of the marketing arsenal from early on, rather than as an army that can win the war by itself.

Categories of suggested facebook pages reduced

Minutes after I had complained about the assortment of  categories that facebook used to classify the suggested pages (see here), I noticed that they had been significantly reduced.

Retweeting is the best FollowFriday.

The norms of twitter behavior are pretty much user generated. @ Replies, retweets, hashtags to name a few, were all invented by twitter users as a kind of behavior first, and then were turned to application functionality.

Such a kind of social behavior is Follow Friday too: each Friday twitter users tweet to their followers certain people as worth following. Such of tweets are tagged (or hashtagged, to be more precise) with a #followfriday tag (or its shorthand: #ff).

By suggesting people one feels are noteworthy and have something interesting to say and share, one gives the other twitterers the chance to discover new people to follow. If they do actually follow is depended on the trust and influence that a suggester can inspire and exercise.

Yet, I always felt reserved to get into the habit of #ff.


Simple: I follow people either because they are real life friends and acquaintances or because they have something interesting (to me) to say.

For friends and acquaintances, I  have no need of suggestions and  I do not see how could I recognize whether those suggest by #ff as interesting to me.

Over time, the only reliable method that I have come up with in discovering new people to follow, is by observing other twitteres’ retweets: if in the retweets that show up in my stream, I see someone appearing often and I do not follow her/him already, then I have a prospect.

Observing the frequency of appearance of a certain twitterer in retweets  over time, I make sure that I appreciate hers/his style, conduct and  interesting content. This way, I know before I start following, who and how is the one I am to follow.

The method is not infallible, but is far better than #ff.

One might argue, that #ff is not a science or a detective clue, but a form of social reward for those we really appreciate.

This is very true, and it is a generous and welcome gesture in this respect.

But then the same applies for retweets. And while a single retweet does not say much about the person retweeted, a lot of retweets say, well, a lot!

In conlusion: do you want to recommend me for #ff? Retweet this!

A new twitter metric: followers to listed ratio

Say a twitter account is listed x times.

So what, you might ask.

Indeed, the absolute number means little.

But by observing  both numbers as a ratio (followers to lists, F/L for brevity from now on), I think I have found a quite meaningful use of  them.

If  a twitter user is performing some sort of broadcasting of news, offers, weather, traffic, stock prices etc, it might useful to follow. But doing so in the timeline breaks the convesation and de-humanizes the stream.

Following such users/accounts through lists is much more convenient, much more practical. It brings sanity to the timeline.

If my assumption is correct, then such users/accounts would be listed relatively more often, than followed. Hence, the F/L ratio  would be relatively lower.

This metric, if true, can be used for identifying and classifying an unknown (to us) user.

My guess is that if the ratio is less than 10, then this user/account  is probably a broadcasting account of some sort. Or his activity is such (: publishing own blogposts, without engaging in conversations).

I have two personal twitter accounts: one for english and one for greek. The F/L for the first is 16.75.  Surprisingly, the ratio for the other account is approx. the same 16.62!

What is your F/L ratio?

A biz social media account should follow back?

I am not adamant on this but I think it is right: a business account in a social medium, should reciprocate friending/following etc wherever possible (in facebook pages it is impossible) as a courtesy to the people engaging with it.

For account of individuals I have strong contrary views though.

What do you think?

Consumers Trust Their Friends Less

…social networks themselves may be contributing to the decline in trust. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed people to maintain larger circles of casual associates, which may be diluting the credibility of peer-to-peer networks. In short, the more acquaintances a person has, the harder it can be to trust him or her. Mr. Edelman believes the Facebook component has “absolutely” played a role in diluting trust levels.

I subscribe to this