Monthly Archives: March 2012

Three Key Changes to Facebook’s Brand Timeline Pages

In February, Facebook launched its updated Brand Timeline pages, which include better opportunities for customizing a brand page, among other features. Wildfire Interactive CEO Victoria Ransom has detailed six things marketers must know about the new Pages. Today is the March 30th deadline are you ready?

Here are three changes to note:

Improved look and feel. Now, as with Timeline for personal profiles, a cover photo can be uploaded to the top of a brand page. The page is also separated into two main columns by a line that chronologically tracks all updates. You can use the latter to track corporate milestones (including store openings and product launches), constructing a living narrative.

“Our analyses of Page engagement have continually shown that brands posting content that depicts behind-the-scenes activities, exclusive updates, or promotions encourages user interactions and promotes higher engagement … Read More


We had a problem. We had just moved to Mountain View, but our girlfriends were still in Canada. We tried using text message, and Facebook to stay in touch, but we really felt like there should be a better way to stay in touch with our partners. We realized that we were sending over 90% of our messages to a single person using tools that were designed to send messages to everyone you know. There didn’t seem to be a better way. So we made one 🙂

Pair is a brand new messaging app that we like to refer to as Super SMS. Our goal is to make Pair the first thing that pops into your mind when you want to share something with your partner. These days, it’s not only text messages that you want to share, but also photos, video, your location, and even things like sketches. Instead of treating these other types of messages like second class citizens, we treat them the same as text messages. This creates a very fun and intimate timeline between you and your partner, and helps you feel close even when you’re apart.

Our other goal with Pair was to provide some real-time features so that you know your partner is looking at the same thing as you are, at the very same time. ThumbKiss is a feature that lets you see where your partner’s finger is on the screen, and when your thumb meets theirs, both of your iPhones will vibrate. It’s the next best thing to a real kiss! We also included a fun feature called Live Sketch, where you and your partner can sketch together in real-time. Our users love this for things like playing Tic-tac-toe.

We also have some great utility features as well. Using Pair, you can send your location to your partner with the push of a button. This works great for meeting up with your partner at a new place, or just letting them know you got home safe. We’ve also added a great feature called Shared Tasks. This is a todo list that you both share so that you can remind your partner to pick up some milk on the way home!

We’ve have a few more feature that couples will love, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so I’ll let you discover those yourself 🙂

We’d love to hear your feedback, so send any comments/suggestions/complaints to

Pair is free, and available in the iPhone App Store today!

50 Reasons to Unfollow Someone On Twitter

unfollow someone on twitter

Originally posted by 

We all love those who love us, especially our devoted Twitter followers, but any social media enthusiast has unfollowed a few people in there time. It can be for any number of reasons, but we wanted to provide you with a list of 100 reasons to unfollow someone on Twitter.

For some, Twitter is a hobby and a fun social networking experiment. For others, it is their livelihood. Regardless of which category you fall under, here are 50 things to avoid that someone may unfollow you:


  1. Foul language
  2. They spam you constantly.
  3. They are really a bot.
  4. You don’t know who they are and added them like a year ago.
  5. They lied about who they are.
  6. They post pictures every hour of their cat.
  7. They steal your content.
  8. They are active but have no avatar.
  9. Too much marketing, lacking the relational aspect.
  10. “Being an idiot” – James Cooper
  11. Inactive
  12. Too talkative
  13. Give terrible advice.
  14. Cyberbully
  15. “Interaction is a one way street.” – Jay Caruso
  16. They take, take, take, but offer nothing in return
  17. Use too many hashtags
  18. No differentiation from Facebook or Google+
  19. Send you the “Did you see what this person is saying about you?” DM
  20. Use autoresponders
  21. Narcassistic
  22. “Following thousands, followed by a few.” – Eric Dye
  23. Tweets have little value to them.
  24. Tweet too often about their lunch.
  25. This account is a clone for another account.
  26. Simply talk about things you do not care about.
  27. They only retweet others.
  28. They follow you only so you will follow them.
  29. They unfollow you and they are not a priority.
  30. They ask you to retweet something too frequently.
  31. They are sexist or racist.
  32. On #FollowFriday, you mention 50 people in multiple texts.
  33. You quote someone who had retweeted you to show people you were retweeted.
  34. You are always negative.
  35. Drunk tweets?
  36. Your tweets do not make sense. (Butt tweets?)
  37. Only tweet links.
  38. Seem cold-hearted (not personal enough)
  39. You are boring.
  40. They offer unsolicated advise more than a couple of times.
  41. They do not respond to any @replies or DMs.
  42. Your avatar is offensive.
  43. People who overuse foursquare
  44. They constantly have to use multiple tweets because they cannot keep within the 140 character limit.
  45. Talk about the same thing ad nauseum
  46. Misspelled to much words and, there grammar is badly. (Did that sentence make anyone die a little inside?)
  47. Send out the same tweet, just with different hashtags.
  48. Post photos of iPhone screenshots of the weather in their area.
  49. Over solicit.
  50. Support causes or organizations you do not believe in.

What reason would you add to this list?

Chill: Is Pinterest For Video

Pinterest has been blowing up all over the Internet. Pinterest is focused on images, although you can pin videos too. Chill however is a video-only pinboard site, which is its differentiation.

Based in Los Angeles, the site launched in its current iteration one month ago. It has received more than 500,000 unique visitors in the first month. Every day, users share 4,000 videos on the site. But should Chill really be called “the Pinterest of video”?

“It’s not an unfair comparison given we both utilize the masonry user interface and emphasize the sharing of interesting content,” says Founder Brian Norgard. It’s true: A picture (on Pinterest) may be worth 1,000 words. But in a video, you’ll be able to hear and understand all 1,000 words.

These videos will look awesome on you new iPad3—check out this collection of videos showing the insane possibilities!

Employers ask job seekers for Facebook passwords

When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.

In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person’s social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

“It’s akin to requiring someone’s house keys,” said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it “an egregious privacy violation.”

Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks.

Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks.

Companies that don’t ask for passwords have taken other steps — such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign non-disparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.

Asking for a candidate’s password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers.

Read more via SFGate>>>

Google+ updates photo album organization

Suffice it to say, if you’re still using Google+ you’ve probably noticed that it hasn’t exactly had an expansive feature set for organizing photo albums. According to Isaac Sparrow, a self-described “engineer on the Google+ Photos team,” a great number of folks have expressed the desire for better functionality in this area. Thankfully, in response, he also announced some a quartet of features that have just been set live on the site to help you keep your candids in check. Within the Options menus of your albums you’ll now find an Organize tab which’ll let you select and delete a multiple images, move and copy them to other albums and resort them by date or any order you choose. Sure, it’s far from the likes of Facebook’s Timeline, but we’d imagine anyone with backlog of photos on the site will surely appreciate the new digs. You know the drill — hit the links below for all the details.

Making the Real World Easier to Use: Foursquare

I wanted to post Dennis Crowley’s keynote from SXSW.  As usual his thoughts are interesting.

#sxsw #EasyWorld

 The term “social media” is quickly becoming obsolete. The social graph is moving from our computers into the real world, and soon everything we experience will be overlaid with the thoughts and feelings of our friends. Early adopters are already starting to experience this phenomenon. For instance, foursquare alerts you when you’re near places that your friends like, and provides you with suggestions from your friends on what to experience at those places. Other companies are attempting to create this type of engagement with television shows (“10 of your friends are watching!”) and music. In this session, Dennis Crowley, Co-founder and CEO of foursquare, will have a conversation about how mobile technology is accelerating the social graph’s move into the offline world, and how services like foursquare are taking this kind of augmented real-world exploration mainstream.
Dennis Crowley CEO/Co-founderFoursquare

Facebook Interest Lists

Facebook introduced a new tool Thursday that allows you to organize your newsfeed into a personalized newspaper.

The feature, which will be rolled out to users in the coming weeks, lets you create and subscribe to topical feeds such as “Recipes” or “Fashion.” Under a list for “Sports,” for instance, you could add the public Facebook pages of all of your favorite teams, athletes, publications and pundits.

It functions much like Twitter lists, which allows you to create and follow lists of users who tweet about the same topics, and Google Reader, which lets you subscribe to folders containing different sources about a single subject.

Your lists will appear on the left-hand side of your newsfeed. Top stories from each interest will occasionally appear in your primary newsfeed.

Interest lists made a brief apperance when Facebook introduced Timeline for brand pages last week. Facebook declined to furnish any details about the feature before Thursday.

Another shot:

Image courtesy of iStockphotoakinbostanci

You Heard It on Gripevine…

The tale of Dave Carroll, the Canadian songwriter whose 2009 YouTube video “United Breaks Guitars” went viral, is well known among social media watchers. If they hadn’t already gotten the message, everybody should have learned from the clever video and its popularity that, when used effectively, social media resources can deliver a damaging blow to a company’s global reputation faster than a CEO can say, “Explain to me. How did this happen?”

Social media amplify the voice of the customer, as Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, told community editor Shawn Hessinger in a recent post.

“Identifying expectations and problems in social media conversations is the easy part. The hard part is listening to what those customers are really telling the company,” Hessinger wrote.

Carroll, who’s become a bit of a cult hero, aims to help make the listening part easier — and, no, he’s not pulling out his guitar and leading a mass singalong.

Last week, Carroll and his cohorts launched Gripevine, a complaint resolution site for consumers and businesses. At Gripevine — what a great name — consumers can share their stories of customer service woe with the assurance that they’re not going to fall on deaf ears.

As described on the Gripevine site, the company uses automated response technology to notify a company about a posted complaint and issue an invitation to review the gripe. Should the company fail to respond promptly, the complainer can then ask social network friends and followers to up the ante by clicking a “support member” link on the gripe. “The more times your gripe is viewed and the more people you share it with, the more the company will be motivated to work with you to resolve your issue,” Gripevine reasons.

A company response opens the opportunity for public discussion, via either the comment thread on a gripe or a private messaging system available through a Gripevine dashboard. Members also can rate the quality of the resulting customer service and earn credibility points for positive actions, the company says. In other words, the site is about the fruitful pursuit of resolution, not simply lashing out at a company.

That’s all interesting. But what really stands out for me is Gripevine for business, a platform companies can use to receive “legitimate consumer complaints in a drama-free, finely categorized, highly organized, easy to assign and manage format.”

We’ve talked a lot here at about the difficulty companies face in assessing the value of customer voices among the social media chatter about themselves and their brands. Monitoring the social sites is one challenge. Analyzing the sentiments expressed is another, and discerning which comments have merit and which don’t is a third. Another challenge is knowing when and how to engage customers as they voice discontent on social sites.

Gripevine founders say they have the answer for all of this:

Gripevine offers a civilized environment where your company can proactively engage with your customers in public without fear of being sullied by brand-damaging profanities or obscenities. We encourage customers to seek resolution through proper gripe etiquette.

The key is transparency, the company says in a video explaining how Gripevine for business works — transparency increases trust, which fosters loyalty, which ratchets up lifetime customer profitability. As they resolve customer problems through the platform, companies can improve their customer satisfaction index.

A real-time dashboard helps manage complaints, even at volume, the company says.

The goal behind Gripevine, now in beta, is to give meaningful, valuable, and actionable data to companies on their customers, competitors, and markets. And that, of course, is the goal of social media monitoring and analysis in general.

I think Gripevine has a lot of promise. How about you?

The video that started it all!

Super Social Tuesday?


SAN FRANCISCO – Contenders for the Republican presidential nomination will put social media to the test Tuesday.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are key battlegrounds for the campaigns of Mitt RomneyNewt GingrichRick Santorum and Ron Paul. As people interact with campaigns on these popular Web destinations, the pile of social data on voters and candidates grows.

That treasure trove of information has helped campaigns target their messages to voters and allowed technology companies to analyze social-media trends and make some predictions about Super Tuesday’s winners.

“When you have big data in real time that streams, it gives you the ability to predict this,” says IDC analyst Mike Fauscette.

Super Tuesday is election day for 10 states — Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Voters casting ballots in those GOP primaries could determine the Republican presidential nominee.

But forecasting election results based on Twitter, Facebook or other social-media sources is still in its infancy, and skeptics abound.

If they come close “I would argue it’s coincidental,” says Forrester analyst Zach Hofer-Shall. “There are a number of problems with it.”

“It’s a fascinating area of research, but it’s not yet mature,” says Noah Smith, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science.

Attensity, Netvibes, Lithium and others provide software that allows customers to do market research based on online data. Much of this work is based on text analysis that taps into decades of linguistics research.

Using such analytics, AT&T could measure whether customers were venting on Twitter about bad service, for example, and act to reduce customer defections. Political campaigns can be analyzed in similar fashion.

Romney will be the top vote-getter in seven states — Massachusetts, Virginia, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota — on Super Tuesday, according to an analysis of Twitter that Attensity conducted for USA TODAY. Georgia will go to Gingrich, Alaska to Ron Paul and Vermont to Santorum, according to the analytics firm. “Whether or not this is true remains to be seen,” says Rebecca MacDonald, Attensity’s vice president of marketing. “This is what Twitter is telling us.”

The research drew from more than 800,000 tweets on Twitter from the past week. The social analysis measured positive sentiment and the share of voice for each candidate.

To be sure, forecasting from social media raises doubts. All the Twitter buzz around Paul, for example, could easily be misinterpreted as a winning outcome. Twitter is “not perfectly projectable to the whole overall population,” says Hofer-Shall.

Also, Twitter is something of a marketer’s paradise, with influence easily gamed. “You can hire people to tweet for you and you can have it (Twitter) robo-tweet,” says Bernardo Huberman, director of the social computing lab at Hewlett-Packard.

Gallup reported that Romney has a 16-point lead in the national race. Social-media analysis “is a very interesting area,” says Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport. “We’re exploring it ourselves.”

Social strategies

The campaigns of Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul have all embraced social networking. The reasons are simple: Facebook is where people hang out; YouTube is where they watch videos; and Twitter is the spot for water-cooler banter.

“From an advertising perspective, Facebook is the flavor of the day for every political strategist,” says John Durham, professor of advertising and marketing at the University of San Francisco. “They realize people are no longer in a passive media source such as television.”

Romney has the edge at Facebook. His Facebook page has nearly 1.5 million “likes,” and he scores well on another measure: “people talking about this,” which refers to unique page views over a seven-day period.

The former Massachusetts governor racked up more than 80,000 “talking about this” points. It’s a key barometer of user engagement and is closely watched, says Jan Rezab, CEO of website Socialbakers.

Socialbakers analyzes how marketers can reach targeted consumers on Facebook and Twitter, and interact with them. It has measured the engagement of followers of President Obama and the Republican candidates.

“The targeting capabilities that Facebook provides are really phenomenal,” says online-ad adviser Rich LeFurgy, formerly chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau. “If you don’t have a campaign around social, you’re really going to be hurt.”

Zac Moffatt, digital director of the Romney campaign, says they are using every advertising option available from Facebook. The social network’s self-serve advertising platform makes it easy for campaigns to build Facebook ads that target a specific gender, age group, city and interests, such as political parties. Once the specific categories are selected, the service spits back a “cost per click” for every time somebody clicks on that advertisement.

“Facebook helps you find your most engaged members of the community,” says Moffatt.

That’s even been the case outside of the U.S. Ciarán McMahon, a psychology lecturer at the Dublin Business School, conducted a study last year that found candidates’ Facebook popularity had an influence on Ireland’s elections.

“The Facebook fans are going to be a reasonably good predictor on Super Tuesday,” McMahon says. “I would be happier to be in Romney’s place in those numbers.”

Republican candidates are using everything from live streams and photos to status updates to engage voters and draw them into their campaigns. The end game: find supporters who contribute money and recruit others to the cause.

Debate winners usually push ahead of the pack in social media. The engagement, and buzz factor, for candidates surges after wins and debates, says Rezab.

After Santorum picked up three wins in one night in February, his Facebook page gained 9,000 fans. Gingrich’s numbers climbed after his win in South Carolina in January. Romney gained traction among users after his debate performance in Florida. The opposite occurs, too, when candidates underperform.

Although Romney has about five times more “likes” than Gingrich, they are relatively close on “people talking about this,” Rezab says. “The other category measures how people share data with others and evangelize.”

Social interaction on Facebook is valuable to campaigns in two ways, says Katie Harbath, who works with the GOP on behalf of Facebook. It gives consumers a peek into a candidate’s personality, but it also drives traffic to the candidate’s website and other online properties containing donation information and volunteer sign-ups.

Gingrich uses an online phone-bank tool on his new site,, to encourage donations and redirect users to the Facebook page of the former speaker of the House.

Santorum’s campaign has used Facebook to mobilize the former senator’s following. “It’s been great for activating them and getting them to events and grass-roots initiatives,” says digital strategist Becky Mancuso of political advertising agency BrabenderCox, which handles Santorum’s social campaign.

Twitter polling

Social media is just the latest technology that presidential candidates have embraced to spin their message and build support.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt mastered radio. President John F. Kennedy andPresident Richard Nixon used television. President Obama brought social media to the spotlight in his 2008 presidential victory, establishing Facebook’s and Twitter’s status in politics.

Twitter provides real-time feedback on debates that’s much faster than traditional polling. Campaigns are paying close attention. That’s because such chatter can gauge how a candidate’s message is being received or even warn of a popularity dive.

Campaigns that closely monitor the Twittersphere have a better feel of voter sentiment. That allows candidates to fine-tune their message for a particular state. “You could play to your audience,” says IDC’s Fauscette.

Twitter’s promoted-tweets advertising has also become an important tool. “Most of the candidates that are running ads on Twitter are bidding on key words around the debates,” says Adam Sharp, who manages government and politics for Twitter.

Jennifer Steen, an assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University, says today’s digital strategies mirror age-old tactics. Gathering data and targeting Internet ads is “analogous to the way direct marketers used to send political mailers,” she says.

A new level of data

The rich trail of information people leave on the Internet, however, is a “level of data we didn’t have before,” Steen says.

Marketers can also gather a trail of information to track somebody’s interest on one website and then advertise to them on another in what’s known as behavioral-based “remarketing.”

“With remarketing, somebody has already expressed interest but then is able to be reached elsewhere,” says Rob Saliterman, a Washington-based Google account executive.

YouTube is a good place to target voters seeking information, he says. “We’re seeing a lot of campaigns use paid advertising in YouTube.”

But mathematicians and data junkies are striving to go beyond behaviorally targeting ads to voters. They’d like to earn bragging rights by forecasting election results.

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in 2010 reported a study that found Twitter tweets reflect voter preferences and come close to traditional election polls.

But social-analytics experts say applying complex algorithms to Twitter data, blogs, news sites and other media isn’t yet perfect for predicting politics. “Algorithms are research in progress,” says Michael Wu, principal scientist of analytics for Lithium. “Sarcasm … there’s no way to actually detect that.”

Still, Twitter has played a role in intelligence gathering on uprisings around the world, showing accuracy at gauging political sentiment.

IDC’s Fauscette thinks that social analytics applied to politics potentially has an edge over traditional polling.

“The law of big numbers says the greater the sample size, the greater the chance of statistical significance,” he says.


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