Monthly Archives: August 2011

Twitter Adds Realtime Activity Streams

For a network that relies enormously on the interaction between its users, you would think Twitter would have integrated a way to easily follow these social exchanges by now.

There is an overwhelming amount of conversations happening on the platform with absolutely no easy way to track them. Sure, you can hashtag everything you say and hope your followers are smart enough to keep the tag in their @replies, but let’s face it: not everyone on Twitter is a social media genius or wants to waste their time with hacks or ugly hash tags. And unfortunately, other than searching for replies directly via Twitter search or clicking time stamps and conversation bubbles in attempt to track yourself back through the thread, you’re SOL when it comes to discovering who else is actually jumping into the conversation.  

For example, say The Next Web were to send out this tweet: “Hey guys! We’re looking for the best Apps on iPhone. Reply with your favs & why!” TNW would obviously be able to see every mention and reply, but what about everyone else interested in what’s going on? There is currently no way to view the replies of every person who has responded to a particular tweet, which obviously makes me wonder: Why on earth not?

From those I’ve reached out to, the general opinion is that Twitter should have integrated this feature ages ago. Being able to directly upload pictures or track the Activity of those we follow is all well and good (thanks for the updates, Twitter!), but actually being able to view full conversations happening on the platform is a key element that this network seems to be missing. Unless you are directly involved in the conversation, every related tweet appears as confusing and out-of-context blurbs.

The Competition

This is one area where Google+ & Facebook succeed, but Twitter fails. On deeper networks like these, comments and replies are collected in forum-like posts where anyone can view what is being said in response to a particular update. In this way, further interaction is encouraged and users are more effectively able to add value to the discussion (provided they are actually interested in reading through it).

Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. I’m happy with the service and I regularly use it from both desktop clients and mobile devices. As a social media manager, I am constantly relying on Twitter to source information and encourage discussion on a wide range of topics, but again, being able to view an entire discussion about a single topic between multiple users would be so beneficial to what I do.

Attempts

There are a few third party tools that try to meet this need, but ultimately fail in terms of full conversation viewing. Bettween, for example, only shows conversations that occur between a maximum of two users. Twitoastersuccessfully threads conversations, but has since been shut down. Tweetree andThreadedTweets are two services that “improve” the Twitter experience by adding more interesting features, but are also dated and go relatively unused.

Twitter itself seems to try and track conversations for you. Viewing a tweet directly from its web App, for example, will load a few replies, but you can only view the most recent tweets (a max of 8 responses). What if you wanted to track a larger conversation? 8 tweets replying to a post that may or may not be related to the topic aren’t going to help you.

Most Requested Features

The option to easily track full conversations on Twitter seems like a no-brainer, but that’s not all Twitter users are after. When reaching out to our followers, many of them quickly shot in their suggestions for various Twitter features. Some of my favorites are: Spam filters (needless to say), a way to track who your most “loyal” followers are, multiple account login (without having to use tools like TweetDeckor HootSuite), group DMs, tweet editing (within a certain time frame of the tweet being sent out), and Analytics.


Stephen King gets Klout!

Klout perks keep getting better and better. The latest offer is Stephen King’s new book Mile 81.

Klout is really trying to find a perk that appeals to each and every user. Below is the press release from Klout.

We’re excited to share that Stephen King’s new eBook, Mile 81, will be available first to Klout influencers through Klout Perks! Not only will it feature King’s new short story, Mile 81, but also a sneak peak of his latest novel11/22/63. This is an exciting development in publishing and we expect many authors to choose to give sneak peaks of their newest works through Klout Perks. Stay tuned and read more below!

Official press release:
STEPHEN KING’S EBOOK ORIGINAL MILE 81 TO GET KLOUT
New York, August 25, 2011—On September 1, 2011 Scribner will publish an eBook-only edition of Stephen King’s new short story Mile 81 (Scribner, $2.99/eBook; 80 pages). Available at all eBook retailers, Mile 81 is the chilling story of an insatiable car and a heroic kid whose worlds collide at an abandoned rest stop on the Maine Turnpike. Mile 81 also features a free excerpt from Stephen King’s next highly anticipated novel 11/22/63 (Scribner, on-sale: November 8, 2011).

In order to create a unique social media conversation about both of Stephen King’s forthcoming works, Scribner has teamed with Klout—the emerging standard for measuring online influence—who will offer a select number of Klout influencers the chance to download a free eBook of Mile 81 starting today, one week before it goes on sale nationwide. Through Klout’s Perks program, which offers exclusive products and experiences that are geared toward users’ preferences, the select influencers will be encouraged to discuss Mile 81 with their social media contacts and will also have the opportunity to share the eBook with one other person. The free eBook can be read on desktops and most eReaders.

“Social media contacts and influence are increasingly important,” said Susan Moldow, Executive Vice President and Publisher of Scribner. “Klout has been a pioneer in reaching key online influencers. We are excited to team up with them to promote the publication of this terrific new short story from Stephen King, and to preview 11/22/63 ahead of its November publication.”

Check out other great Klout Perks! Also, to learn more about how we choose people for Perks, see How to get Klout Perks.


Facebook & Instagram

Following a failed attempt to acquire InstagramFacebook will roll out up to a dozen photo filters in a mobile application release, according to a report from The New York Times Bits Blog

Several Instagram-like photo filters are ready for release, two unnamed Facebook engineers cited in the report say, but the release date is unknown at this time.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is pushing engineers and artists “to create more filters before releasing the new product,” Bits reports. “Facebook will also try to introduce new styles of filters with the hopes of drawing users away from other photo apps.”

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Facebook photo filters. TechCrunch reported in June that Facebook was working on a spin-off photo-sharing application for iPhone. Screenshots obtained by the blog indicated the app would have “location elements, likes and comments, multi-picture mode, filters, multi-user albums, face-tagging, and more.”

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom declined to comment on whether Facebook attempted to acquire his startup over the summer. Representatives at Facebook could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


HootSuite Adds Facebook Friendly Features

HootSuite Adds Some Friendly New Features
I got this exiting email today from Ryan Holmes, CEO HootSuite. Looks like HootSuite is expanding.

Can’t wait to start using these awesome new features!

Hello Ryan,

Big news from HootSuite HQ today: The social media dashboard is now equipped with even fuller Facebook functionality which means you can do even more in the dashboard then ever before!

Now you can manage your Facebook Groups and Events – along with your Profiles and Pages – within HootSuite streams. Plus, you can attach and upload photos directly to Facebook, search all public updates for brand mentions and even geo-locate your campaigns.

More Facebook in your HootSuite
Wall in the Stream
Monitor and manage any Facebook newsfeed directly in a HootSuite streams. Customize with columns for photos, videos, news, groups, and events alongside your profiles and pages.

Monitor HootSuite directly in the Streams

Photo Fun
Make an impact by posting photos directly to Facebook Profiles, Pages and Groups – not just a link, this enhanced functionality allows you to choose and upload your file.

Post Photos directly to Facebook with HootSuite

Brand Specific
Improve your monitoring and posting by filtering Facebook streams to view content from selected users. Plus, new Facebook Search capabilities allow you to search all public posts and save as streams for constant monitoring of keywords and terms.

Filter by Facebook users in HootSuite
Profile Party
Managing a bucket of pages? Easily pick your profiles with an updated Profile Picker allowing you to set favorites, select default profiles and enjoy auto-complete functionality for faster selection.
Feature Friendly
We listen carefully to ideas from our users to make the dashboard as useful as possible. Have a suggestion? Submit it via our Feedback Channel, or vote for another to let us know what you want to see next.

With thanks,

Ryan Holmes

Ryan Holmes, CEO

PS: Did you see the new Facebook release video? It features a new song by “Hey Ocean!” – visit their Facebook Page for a special surprise.


Klout DoublesThe Number Of Services It Measures

Klout just doubled the number of services it measures to determine your online influence, adding Blog

Klout Adds Blogger, Flickr, Instagram, Last.fm and Tumblrger, Flickr, Instagram, Last.fm and Tumblr to its scoring system.

The San Francisco-based startup, which is celebrating its three-year anniversary today, originally only took Twitter activity into consideration. Two years later, Klout addedFacebook.

But in June, it began factoring in LinkedIn. And within the past month, it integrated Foursquare and YouTube to its algorithm.

“The networks we launched today were chosen to give the Klout score a more holistic view of influence,” Klout CEO Joe Fernandez told Mashable. “By adding blogging, photos and music to the interactions that we are already measuring we are moving closer to our goal of providing a complete picture of your influence.”

Klout will calculate your influence on these new networks based on the ways you drive actions among your online friends, followers or subscribers.

“On Last.fm the amount of activity a user or listener generates on their profile will almost certainly be a factor,” Fernandez said. “Tumblr is a great example where reblogs and love are clear signals of influence, and Instagram provides likes and comments.”

Klout also plans to add more services such as Google+: “We are eagerly anticipating them launching their API. As soon as they make the data available we will be ready to add it to the Klout score,” he said.

If you log onto Klout, you’ll notice your dashboard now features grayed-out icons for the five newly-integrated services. Click on the icons to have Klout figure in your activity on those services into your overall Klout score.

“Today is actually the three-year anniversary of Klout and we wanted to show off the power of the platform we have built here,” Fernandez said. “The fact that we have launched eight other services — with five today — in the last three months is a testament to the hard work our team has done building a platform that can easily ingest any signal of influence.”

Aside from adding more services in just a few months, Klout also recently unveiled a +K button that allows you to give other users a +K on topics you think they influence. And brands have started offering perks to people with high Klout scores.

 


Facebook Places Pulled, Foursquare and Gowalla Rejoice

Rest in peace, Facebook Places. At least that’s what all 6% of the people who actually used it might be saying. It looks like Foursquare is going to win the location-based check-in service battle, as Facebook announced yesterday it would be killing the Facebook Places check-in feature within its mobile app.

Facebook’s Places feature, released a year ago, was thought by many to be a viable competitor to other popular check-in apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, given Facebook’s large user base. However, by last October, only about 6% of Facebook users were touching the service.

Facebook did reveal that, while it is killing Places, it will optionally add locations to users’ status updates or pictures. How useful will it be? Only time will tell, but we think not that useful.

Other check-in applications like Foursquare and Gowalla are likely doing the opposite of mourning Facebook Places’ death. Foursquare, which now has over 10  million users and more than half a million businesses offering deals in conjunction with check-ins, has been especially active lately, recently adding the ability for users to check-in to specific events rather than just the venues associated with them. The company has also partnered with several daily deals sites (LivingSocial, Gilt City, Zozi,  AT&T Interactive, and BuyWithMe), providing better deals to customers that check-in.

Marketing Takeaway

Social media platforms come and go every day. While it’s important to keep tabs on what’s new on the scene and how it can impact your marketing campaigns, be mindful that not every shiny new toy will serve a meaningful purpose in your marketing mix. Not every new social network will be as successful and useful as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Similarly, not every successful social media tool will be applicable to every business in every industry.

Pay attention to how people are adopting use of new tools and trends. If they seem to be attracting use from your target audience, consider ways you can take advantage of their popularity in your marketing efforts. That said, don’t overly rely on any one tool. Considering the number of users and the widespread use of Facebook, Facebook Places seemed promising. Now look where it is…


What’s with Foursquare’s Times Square ad?

It’s been a big few days for location-based service Foursquare, which just hit 3 million users and also became the centerpiece of this gigantic advertising ziggurat in Times Square.  It’s unclear what kind of deal made this ad happen, since it seems unlikely Foursquare could afford such a high-profile placement. On his blog, Foursquare’s Tristan Walker thanks the sign’s owner, apparel company American Eagle, but also says the ad was designed by Foursquare’s own designer, Mari Sheibley (aka, the woman who draws the badges). If it’s true, as reported by Mashable, that no money changed hands, this could be a sign of a growing partnership between American Eagle and Foursquare, or that American Eagle sees a lot of value in getting more people checking in (the retailer offers a 15 percent discount for Foursquare users). Either way, it’s a huge publicity boost for a service with competitors ranging from the scrappy Gowalla to Facebook, a site whose users outnumber 167 to 1.

 


Facebook’s Privacy Changes: Five Things to Know

Privacy has always been a source of controversy for Facebook as the social network has had to deal with criticism regarding its allegedly shady dealings handling members’ information.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook acknowledged this criticism and said it had made improvements. The company, which

has more than 500 million users worldwide, is making it easier for members to know where their stuff is going. Facebook

Previously, users had to go to a privacy settings page. Now, they can personally privatize everything on their page with a scroll-down option next to everything that’s on the profile or everything posted.

The changes, which will start rolling out in the coming days, will be introduced to users through a guided post. They involve wholesale changes for each member’s profile as well as stuff that is tagged about everyone.

We hope these new tools make it easier to share with exactly who you want, and that the resulting experience is a lot clearer and a lot more fun,” Chris Cox, Facebook’s vice president for products, said in the blog.

 

Here are five things to know about the new Facebook Privacy settings.

    • Personalized Profile Settings:Everything on your profile from your hometown to your latest photo album, will appear next to an icon and a drop-down menu. This menu will let you decide who sees this information: the public, friends or a custom group. Taking a page from Google+’s book, the drop-down will expand over time and include certain groups of friends. If you want to post a place where you’re going and only want a group to see it – you can do that.
    • Settings Page: The previous settings page, which acted as a place where all of your privacy was controlled, will now be reduced. Since everything is going inline, there’s much less of a need for this settings page to have a bunch of controls.
    • Photos: Before, any time someone posted a photo of you or a post with you in it, it went up automatically. If it was a photo of you naked, it went up. Now? You can change your settings to make every photo or post have to get your approval before going up. Also, before you couldn’t tag someone you weren’t friends with on Facebook. Now you can.
    • View Profile As: This tool was hidden on the old privacy settings page and let you see how certain other people could see your profile. It’s now in an obvious place on your profile.
    • Language: Facebook is changing the “everyone” setting to “public.” There’s a difference according to Cox. “Anyone may see it, but not everyone will see it,” he said in the post.

Are You Ready For Some… @ NFL On Social Media?

The National Football League was founded on August 20, 1920 — 91 years ago to the day. But the sport has undergone its most radical transformation at the hands of social media in the past two years.

“Now social media is front and center for all 32 teams, and the league,” Joel Price says. “Every single team thinks it’s important.”

Price, manager of Internet services for the San Diego Chargers, wakes up to his iPad each morning and fervently scours Twitter to take the pulse of every fan, player and journalist contributing to the sometimes-cacophonous, never-ceasing chatter of the realtime web.

He’s not alone. Across the country from dawn till dusk, team social media managers, players, coaches, NFL staffers, analyst and sports journalists keep an ever-present eye and finger on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels.


Twitter Me This


 

 

 

 

What happens on Twitter in relation to the NFL becomes the subject matter on ESPN shows such as Pardon the InterruptionAround the HornNFL Live,Sports Center and others.

Even the “No Fun League” has changed its ways from a league in fear of social media to one that now seeks to use it and understand it — and help teams do so too. Case in point: We hear the NFL recently signed an agreement with brand marketing and management company Buddy Media to give all 32 teams access to better tools for making their Facebook campaigns more successful.

“The NFL is an old-school industry,” former defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans John Thornton says. “Twitter has changed everything.”

Thornton, who retired in 2008 and joined Twitter himself in March of the same year, recalls that NFL players first caught the Twitter wave in early 2009, just as Shaquille O’Neal was becoming the archetype of a Twittering athlete, Ashton Kutcher was racing for 1 million followers and the microblogging phenomenon was becoming more mainstream.

This season, says Thornton, a majority of players will have Twitter accounts, partly for personal branding, but also because teams have changed their policies. Instead of discouraging players from using Twitter, teams now tell their payers to just avoid sharing confidential information, Thornton says. “Coaches have accounts, usually under aliases,” he says,” and teams are following players to keep an eye out on what they’re tweeting.”

And if a team-related story pops on Twitter, the organization feels compelled to address it within five to ten minutes, simply because of how fast information travels, he says.


An All-Access Pass


 

 

 

 

“I’ve been working with the Chargers for 10 seasons. I’ve never seen fans more excited than they are this year,” Price says.

Price speaks of fan engagement with the team — especially via Facebook and Twitter, but also offline as well — as at an all-time high. This year, he says, fans attending the Chargers preseason practices were checking in on Facebook in droves, without being prompted to do so.

Social media, he says, gives fans unprecedented access to players, teams and members of the media.

Thornton concurs. “Social media has taken the place of autographs,” he says. “Before, you wanted players’ autographs, now you want players to say something back to you on Twitter.”

Players too can benefit from this all-access relationship; they now have the opportunity to tell their own stories. “Twitter accounts allow players to have their own personal voices,” sports media consultant Erit Yellen says.

Yellen, who previously advised the likes Shawn Merriman, Ricky Williams and Donté Stallworth, believes that social media has settled into its role. “It’s about the exchange of information,” she says. “[Social media] gives players a chance to communicate with other players in the league who they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to talk to.”

Sports media journalists too, she says, are communicating back-and-forth by way of Twitter from press box to press box, giving fans and players access to their game-day commentary and exchanges.

“More and more rookies are coming in to the NFL with a social presence,” Price adds. “They’re utilizing it to explain what it’s like to be a rookie trying to make a team.”

These first-person narratives provide followers with a different perspective of the NFL — the story of the game, as told by a doe-eyed youngster, minus the panache of an Ochocinco.

Expect even more of it in the years ahead, Price says.


What’s Next?


 

 

 

 

Price, Thornton and Yellen all agree that social media usage in the NFL will only increase with time, and there seems to be a consensus that players are slowly but surely wising up to the implications of their public tweeting. “Players understand that if they put something on Twitter that they could potentially be reported on,” Yellen says. “Mistweets,” she adds, “have gone way down.”

Price predicts even more fan engagement with teams in the year ahead. The Chargers will be pumping up the volume on their already high-volume social media activities. “Our main goal is to do more on game days,” he says.

Price is excited about the potential of Twitter’s photo-sharing and uploading tools. He believes fans are more likely to engage with a photo shared on Twitter if it’s hosted on Twitter and not on some lesser-known third-party site that they have to click to visit.

Price also talks about location-based services as the next social opportunity for teams and the league. He thinks Foursquare’s just-introduced event checkinsare great for the game, but would like to see the NFL use its comprehensive knowledge on venues to better explore the intersection of location, stadiums, games and social media.


New York Giants Football Huddles Up For Social Media

Fans watching the New York Giants play the Jets this weekend on TV will notice something new: their tweets.    

The Giants will integrate live tweets from fans into the broadcast on NBC 4 in New York during Saturday’s preseason game and during the Sept. 1 game against the New England Patriots. The remarks from fans will appear on the lower third of the screen during big plays. TheTwitter feeds will run just during those two final preseason games. But the Twitter integration will also be integrated into MetLife Stadium throughout the season. Game attendees will see the tweets on the stadium’s video boards and other channels.

The team’s Twitter integration will also include a voting system that will let fans pick the player of the game using hashtags. The Giants are working with social curation firm Mass Relevance to tabulate the results in real time and feature them on a dedicated microsite. The player with the most votes will have his merchandise discounted that week in the Giants’ online store. During the season, one player will also be available every home game for a Twitter chat with fans.

A rep for the Giants says the team is the first in the NFL to embrace Twitter to this magnitude. In fact, the NFL has taken a hard line against Twitter in some cases. In 2009, the league banned players from in-game tweeting. That, however, hasn’t stopped players from taking to Twitter when they’re off the field. Many playerstweeted their thoughts after hammering out a new labor contract in late July.


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