Twitter is thrilled to announce that we’ve entered into an agreement with Atebits (aka Loren Brichter) to acquire Tweetie, a leading iPhone Twitter client. Tweetie will be renamed Twitter for iPhone and made free (currently $2.99) in the iTunes AppStore in the coming weeks. Loren will become a key member of our mobile team that is already having huge impact with device makers and service providers around the world. Loren’s work won the 2009 Apple Design Award and we will eventually launch Twitter for iPad with his help.
People are looking for an app from Twitter, and they’re not finding one. So, they get confused and give up. It’s important that we optimize for user benefit and create an awesome experience.
The whole Article Orginally from http://blog.twitter.com/2010/04/twitter-for-iphone.html
Businesses jumping into social media often see Twitter as a “simple” part of the plan: set up an account and start tweeting. Sadly some even get stuck right after the set up part. Here are 10 mistakes business newbies on Twitter should avoid:
1. Doing Little or Nothing
With an estimated 25 to 30 percent of Twitter accounts either empty or “one tweet and done” is it surprising that these accounts generate little interest from others on Twitter? Your inactive or virtually inactive account sends a clear message that you’ve given up on Twitter.
2. Desperately Following
If you’re following hundreds of people and only a few dozen are following back doesn’t that send a message that you desperately want followers but aren’t getting them? Why not be patient and never let your Following count get more than 10 percent higher than your Followers account?
3. Tweeting Too Much
If you’re guilty of this you will annoy your followers and water down your message… which likely means you’ll lose followers faster than you get them. How much is too much? Start slowly and only tweet useful stuff two or three times a day. As you slowly increase this over several months pay attention to what, if anything, gets a response (it’s retweeted or commented on) … and when this happens. Let this be your guide.
4. Mostly Self-Promotional
Too much “me, me, me” talk will mark you as boring … or worse. Add value for others on Twitter and more followers will come. Mention your business or services only when you’ve been asked or in direct response to a stated need. If you consistently give, you’re followers will do the same and your good behavior will be well rewarded.
5. Failure to Connect
It can be tempting for businesses to give a Twitter monologue instead of engaging in a dialogue. If you get to know your followers by asking and answering questions, for example, you’ll show that you’re interested in them. They in turn will learn about you. This also means responding to any “@” messages promptly (within a day at most).
6. Not Helping Others
Acting as a connector or problem-solver will earn you loyal followers. Sometimes the simple act of retweeting a piece of great content will be seen as being helpful. Twitter truly is a place of getting more than you give, but you have to give first.
7. Mixing Business and Pleasure
Sending a mix of business and personal tweets can work when you’re well-established, but a better practice for a business new to Twitter is to keep it all professional. Otherwise you’re sending the message: We don’t know enough to keep our personal lives out of our business.
8. Impersonal avatars
Yes your business name or logo is important, but Twitter (and all social media) is about people. Use an avatar image that reflects your people not your brand name.
9. Wasting background space
Twitter gives you a lot of real estate around your Twitter-stream … don’t waste it. Use it to let people know what you do and why you do it. Put your people and the business personality on display. It’s also OK here to list a few other contact points such as email address, phone numbers and other social media URLs.
10. Not Checking In Regularly
Maintaining a Twitter account needs to become part of your routine. Once a day or twice a day or more, but it does need to become a regular thing to have any chance of helping your business.
So what am I missing? I’d love to hear other things businesses who are new on Twitter should do to improve their chances of social media success.
Twitter Ad Plan: Copy Google
by Peter Kafka
Posted on February 26, 2010 at 9:04 AM PT
What will Twitter long-awaited ad platform look like? Something like Googles.
That the general description of Twitters plan, according to people who have been briefed by the company.
Here are the very broad strokes:
Ads will be tied to Twitter searches, in the same way that Google (GOOG) original ads were. So a search for, say, laptop,may generate an ad for Dell (DELL). The ads will only show up in search results, which means users who dont search for something wont see them in their regular Twitterstreams.
The ads will use the Twitter format or fewer characters and will be distributed via the third-party software and services that use Twitters API. The services will have the option of displaying the ads, and Twitter will share revenue with those that do.
Twitter will work with ad agencies and buyers to seed the program, but plans on moving to a self-serve model like Googles, down the road.
The caveats: Everyone Ive talked to cautions that the plans are evolving and that there are plenty of details to work out. Including a launch date, though it seems as if the first half of this year is a very safe bet.
But at first blush, this seems like a relatively straightforward way for Twitter to get into advertising, without upsetting its growing user base: You wont see the ads unless you use Twitter to search for something, and Twitters advertisers will have at least a vague idea of what youre interested in.
There are lots of gritty details that Twitter either hasnt worked out or hasnt disclosed to the people Ive talked to. For instance:
How will advertisers buy and price the ads? Will they use a Google-like cost-per-click model or something else?
Twitter searches are popular, but very crude. Can Twitter refine them to make them more useful to users?
Google%u2019s ads work because Google has reasonably good idea of both users intent and identity. Twitter knows much less about its users. How can it gather enough data to make its targeting more meaningful?
Twitter has been careful not to position its ad plan as the core of its business. And the company has made a point of stressing that its initial ad rollout, like other initiatives its launching this year, are merely tests
That one of the of ideas behind the $100 million funding roundTwitter closed last summert gives the company the time to play around with different business models. But this one seems to have plenty of potential.
Peter Kafka has been covering media and technology since 1997, when he joined the staff of Forbes magazine. Most recently, he has been the managing editor of the tech and media Web site, Silicon Alley Insider. Read more
Here is a statement of my ethics and coverage policies. It is more than most of you want to know, but, in the age of suspicion of the media, I am laying it all out.
All Things Digital
AllThingsD.com is a Web site devoted to news, analysis and opinion on technology, the Internet and media. But it is different from other sites in this space. It is a fusion of different media styles, different topics, different formats and different sources.
A nice milestone for Twitter: It has now passed 50 million tweets per day, up from about 2.5 million per day at the beginning of last year.
This is one of Twitter’s most important metrics, so it’s a good thing that it’s still growing rapidly. Because Twitter is a distributed service all over the Web, on desktop clients, mobile apps, etc., “unique visitors” to Twitter.com has always been a somewhat flawed growth metric. (Though it’s obviously important for Twitter’s user base to continue growing, too.)
Here’s Twitter’s blog post on the achievement, posted by analytics staffer Kevin Weil:
As a member of the Twitter analytics team, part of my job is to measure and understand growth. The graph above tells a story of how we’ve grown over the past three years in terms of number of tweets created per day. Please note that tweets from accounts identified as spam have been removed so the counts in this chart do not include spam.
Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007. By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day. Tweets grew 1,400% last year to 35 million per day. Today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day%u2014that’s an average of 600 tweets per second. (Yes, we have TPS reports.)
Tweet deliveries are a much higher number because once created, tweets must be delivered to multiple followers. Then there’s search and so many other ways to measure and understand growth across this information network. Tweets per day is just one number to think about. We’ll make time to share more information so please stay tuned.
It sounds like there is another Twitter hack making its way around today. If you think your account has been hacked for example, you see unexpected Tweets from your account then this is what you should do
- Change your password (if you can).
Log in, change your password from the password tab under account settings. If you can remember your password, use the password reset feature. Once you are. implement a strong (upper and lower case, numbers, special characters; more than 8 characters) password that you have NOT used before.
- Revoke connections from third party applications
After you reset your password, Twitter recommends that you review third party applications authorized to post to your account and revoke permission for any that you dont recognize.
- Update password in third party applications
Because you have changed your password, none of your third party applications (TweetDeck, TwitterFeed, etc.) will be able to access your account. You need to change your account password in those applications.
- Tell Twitter. Tell your friends that you were hacked but that you%u2019ve locked out the hacker. Tell Twitter via a DM to @spam
That was best case scenario. But what if you cant log in and password reset does not work? Then the first thing you should do is contact Twitter support from the email you used to create your account. Be sure to include the following information in your request:
- Your username
- Any email addresses you think might be associated with your account
- The last date you had access to your account
- The phone number associated with the account (if you verified your phone)
Next step: create a new Twitter account as a temporary home.
- Send a tweet to key followers; tell them that you have been hacked (and locked out) and ask them to RT.
- Begin following your old account followers (at least key ones).
- Periodically announce that this is your new Twitter home.
- Track your old account.
- Wait for Twitter to advise you on what it will do about your old account.
Twitter the microblogging tool has become a macro-tool for events since event planners need to be up to date with trends, audience needs and feedback, buzz and much more. So here we go with a list of twitter tools planners may use pre, during and post events.
To Manage accounts
- tweetdeck TweetDeck is your personal browser for staying in touch with what’s happening now, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook and more.
- twhirl Connects you to different accounts such as twitter, friendfeed; it has a cross-post function to Facebook and LinkedIn.
- HootSuite It’s a complete and excellent tool to manage different twitter accounts, track statistics, brand monitoring, schedule tweets and more.
- Socialoomph Used to be tweetlater.com now with a new name and much more services.
- Seesmic A desktop client to manage your lifestream from Facebook & multiple Twitter accounts.
- Twitter hawk Is a real time targeting marketing engine that will find people talking on twitter now by your chosen topic and location.
- Micro.vois.com Are you looking for freelance services like web developers, graphics, writers, etc. to help you with your event? This can help.
- Xobni twitter in outlook saves you time finding e-mails, conversations, contact info & attachments. It also has e-mail analytics and soon you’ll be able to use it in your mobile.
- TwitterCal This is the Twitter tool that enables users to add events to their Google calendar directly from Twitter.
- Taweet Love this tool, it’s a beta and a free Twitter application and social calendar that allows people and businesses to streamline promotional scheduling for events, product launches, life casting and more!
- Polls.tw The easiest way to make polls for twitter, need any feedback from your audience?
- TweetTeleVision (TTV) Are you really busy doing some stuff for your event away from the computer, but reachable to watch and don’t want to miss a thing? Just clap!
- Amap.to Show a map and give directions to your events with a link.
- tweetmypc Lets you shutdown, restart, Log off and do lots more on your windows PC. All remotely via Twitter!
- tweetmymac Lets you get screenshots, iSight snapshots, and your IP address from your Mac just by sending a direct message to your specially setup Mac controlling account. You can start torrents remotely, shutdown your Mac and more.
- tweet.IM Are all your e-mail accounts in Gmail? This tool enables you to use micro-blogging platforms like Twitter from Google talk or Jabber.
- Schmap.it Is a platform to share events on Twitter.
- It’s on Spread the word about your event or find events.
- Tweet Scenes Is a Twitter tool that creates customized backgrounds for your company/brand (not free).
- TwitMesh Features different tools like Twitter Groups, Twitter Invitations, Twitter IM and Twitter Search.
- Tweetvite Makes it easy to create invitations for events you’re hosting or to find local Tweetups.
- TweetMeUp The easiest way to organize Tweetups!
- Twtvite Is an event management tool that helps you organize Tweetups and make meaningful connections through social media.
- Twibbon Is the easiest way to promote awareness about your cause through Twitter.
- TwitCause Helps nonprofits to get discovered on Twitter and enables passionate people to support causes they care about.
- TwitComings Provides you with real-time information about your favorite events: Concerts & Live Music, Conferences, Festivals, Technology and more.
- Twaller To share ideas and tips while traveling.
- TwitDone Personal twitter space for getting things done.
- twtTRIP Are you having an event out of town, want to share your travel plans and meet other travelers? This can make your travel an adventure.
- Xpenser Expense tracking and management for any device. Send a tweet so you don’t miss a bill.
Photo by Kengo via flickr.
- tweetbeep Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates! You can even keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL.
- Tweet Scan Get an email when your keywords are mentioned on Twitter.
- Convo Monitor Convo Monitor is a dashboard view that allows you to track your brand on Twitter. You also can track Twitter conversations about any topic, word, phrase, idea, or person.
- TidyTwwet TidyTweet helps keep your Twitter feed free from inappropriate language, users and content.
During/After the Event
- twebevent An excellent collaborative tool for your event. Live streaming and twitter chat.
- TwitterGram Send your Flickr pix to Twitter and show people what you’re up to.
- Wiffiti It is a media application designed to show content streams online either lean back or lean forward. It creates interactive displays during events.
- TwitCam Live streaming on twitter.
- Tvider Share your pictures, videos and audio on twitter
- Tweetmojo Allows you to share your videos, photos, and documents on Twitter easily.
- twitCharts Is a simple web wizard for Google graph charts that let’s you share charts to your Twitter stream.
- Camtweet Lets you share live video on Twitter.
- Twitpic Let you share photos in twitter.
- Julius Solaris at the Event Manager Blog show us “5 ways to visualize twitter at events“and how twitter entered presentations through Keynotetweet.
I guess you heard about most of these applications and used some of them already, if I am missing something you think it’s relevant feel free to add it in our comments.
I thought I would share my results from a quick experiment written up in A-level style science experiment. I did in my own home with the help of a normal Dell computer, a regular mother and some internet.
Note: This is a long post ~2k words and is intended for anyone who is involved with designing webapps and or is interested about how badly they are designed for normal people. In this case it’s about Twitter which is unique in that there are some conceptual barriers that people must first grasp before they are able to properly make use of the service.
Why did I do it?
-I was asked to design the user flow for a web-app for normal people, i.e. anyone off the street who has some digital experience. Maybe even an iphone (more on this point later).
-This article on user flows which explains how a hotel pre-empted all of the actions a guest might take before, during and after a shower
-Listening to this interview about a twitter consultant who has and still does spend a long time explaining Twitter to people and also founded oneforty.com
-I wrote out all of the steps involved (below) in joining twitter and found that I had some questions as to a users expectations of what would happen next and wanted to understand if they had all of the context required to take the decisions necessary to use twitter.
-Discovery of a new twitter client mixero and the realisation that Tweetdeck and most clients are great for people who know but not for those who don’t
-A common knowledge that people who are not in tech land or over the age of 18 find it hard or that it takes time for them to ‘get’ twitter and similar services like Dailybooth
That my user would not have sufficient context, explanation or experience in order to take the right decisions to get themselves up and running properly.
-Primary school teacher
-Educates children weekly on how to use computers, i.e. login, browse and access learning materials
-User and evangelist of interactive whiteboards at school of 3k+ students
-Uses Google, Gmail, Facebook, Outlook, MsOffice, Chrome (tabbed browsing) and apps she buys online or on a CD
-Has heard of Twitter through the Radio (Terry Wogan) the TV and my sister (@kirstymalcolm)
I asked the user to sign-up to Twitter, my goal was to prompt as little as possible and only intervene when the user is at a dead end and close to giving up. The user without prompting also spoke what they were thinking almost as if it were subconscious which helped enormously with the results
The Twitter sign up process & some questions
- User visits site
- Context: User is interested in the service/value in the site and clicks register/sign-up
- User clicks register
- Question: Does user now expect to have to fill in some details?
- User fills in fname, sname, displayname, email, password
- Question 1: What does user expect when they click register?
- User gets directed to an initiation process with three clearly laid out steps
- Step 1: User gets directed to suggested user list & selects people to follow
- Step 2: User is prompted/offered to find friends through uploading contact lists & selects people to follow
- Step 3: User is prompted/offered to find friends through search & selects people to follow & clicks finish
- Context: What does user expect when they click finish?
- User is presented with feed and main page
First visit to the site
- User arrives on site, reads information and realises that they are being prompted to search something, sees the suggested terms in the bottom row and asks ‘What do I want to know about?’
-At this stage the user does not realise twitter is something they join or how they might contribute to it
User types in a google style question
-The user has had no instructions on how to search on twitter or how it is different to a regular contextual search engine
Gets search results Clicks on a user icon Expects an article not updates
-User is still in search engine mode
‘Don’t want updates’ – Question: What did you expect: ‘Not what I expected to see’ User doesn’t understand, goes back to the beginning and decides the question was too complex User searches ‘Andy Murray’ Clicks a bit.ly link, gets taken offsite to a spamy page, now offsite & confused
-User does not realise that they are off page or that they have accidentally taken a dead-end route
I prompt user to close the offsite tab and return to original search results tab
-User expected ‘chatter’ and still doesn’t understand that the search results are the chatter
Searches my name & doesn’t find anything
-User is beginning to give up
The signup process
After this initial experience I prompted the user not to give up hope but they should sign up for an account. They hadn’t thought to do this in the first instance but went on to the sign-up process by clicking the Sign-up link in the header.
- Enter name, easy
-User is unaware of privacy issues and as they are a teach I suggest that they just use their first name rather than putting a full name
Username, very hard ~3 minutes
-The user was completely stuck as to what they should name themselves. They understood that this would be a public name and wanted something that related to them/they could relate to, that wasn’t silly and that was sufficiently anonymous. After a few minutes I suggested firstname followed by an initial would be both them but also anonymous. This was taken, after a quick thought and no suggestion from twitter, they then added two initials in reverse order.
Email, password & catchpa easy and without prompting they would have left the newsletter radiobox ticked
-At this stage just before they clicked the submit button I asked question 1: ‘What do you expect to see next’. Their response was a screen that says ‘Welcome to Twitter’ and that they would be in the application. From the next stage I think that they were in form filling and instruction following mode.
-The user acually got a fail whale here, when they re-logged in they didn’t get the usual process users get to find people and also more importantly didn’t know that they had missed it. I had to kill their account and re-create it to get them to the next step.
User starts to browse categories and understands that they are there to find people and follow them without prompting
-Later on I discovered that they wondered if the people minded if they were being followed, clearly here there was no context for them to understand that everyone knows that their data is public (perhaps they don’t know either?).
‘Where do I search for people?’ – User expects to have to scroll through all of the results to find who they want and knows that this could take some time, also ‘They’re all American’
-At no point is it explained to the user that they will go through a 3 stage discovery process nor is it indicated in the guidance above that they will have the opportunity to search for people. They also wanted localised context for the users they wanted to follow and didn’t want to follow any of the us tennis stars, comedians or politicians. I prompt them to try clicking next as they are running out of steam they want some results.
User gets the find people you know window and says ‘I don’t want to find people I know’
-As there is no ‘I don’t want to do this’ button the user assumes that they have to. Again prompt to try next button
User misses the search box and clicks next and lands on their Twitter page
-At this stage I thought back to when they were looking at the categories and were trying to find Terry Wogan but couldn’t. I suggested that they click back and try to find him.
User sees the search box (was too small and they missed it first time) searches for Terry, finds him and clicks on their profile image rather than on follow
-The profile image and links shouldn’t really be active here as it adds confusion to the whole thing, they want to follow so why have all the rest active, there is an argument that they might want to go and see if it’s the right person but that’s countered by the fact that they will be greated by a screen/view they don’t understand anyway.
User follows Terry and clicks next. They remark that they can only see Stephen Fry posts
-There’s no guide as to what an ideal minimum of people someone should follow in the sign-up process. Currently if there was they probably wouldn’t be able to find enough relevant tweeps anyway. I suggested that the user search for me and my sister.
User searches for my name in the twitter search box on the right and doesn’t gets some non-relevant tweets
-The user assumes that they can find people by searching in a search box which is normal, perhaps having a button which says Find People next to it would clear up the confusion or this might be isolated.
The user went on to find my sisters profile and follow them. Overall they now seem to understand that a user page has all of the things a user has said and that their page shows people they are following.
-They are not aware of how best to discover people
-They don’t know what a @reply is or a RT
-They are not aware that there are apps that they can use on twitter
There are an alarming number of things that my user found hard to use in this sign-up process. The service is not dis-similar to alot of others out on the web but they seemed to lack guidance and context at a couple of main junctions and on occasion were given too many or not enough options to choose from.
Contexts/Missing links/User assumptions/Problems
Searching – They didn’t understand that they were searching for keywords in what people were saying
Tweets – They didn’t know that the tweets were tweets or that they are limited to 140 characters
Post Signup User discover – The process was not spelt out to them and that lead to confusion on the first page when looking for people
First user discovery page – The users first conclusion was that it was poorly designed and that they would have to browse through lots of results to find the one people that they had thought of which they started to do.
Not enough options – Some parts the user wanted to skip and may have pulled out there is obviously a balance between driving behaviour and dropout and I don’t know enough about Twitters to know which is the most beneficial to them
Too many options – The user got confused when they thought they were following people and ended up opening peoples twitter pages.
Layout once signed up/first sign-in – Little or no guidance as to what to click on, or what steps to take next.
This has been a very interesting experiment and experience and will definitely shape how I define user sign up, flows and first touch experiences. I will be looking to make them so that no only the technically savy can use apps but also those who are new or who never will be pin-sharp. I hope you find it useful and will pass it on to other people who might also find it useful.
I leave you with this: Having been to a recent meetup in Belgium about Facebook a new iphone user asked ‘Can I get the facebook app on my iphone’. They didn’t realise despite having bought (and here you have to buy @ €430/piece) that they could download apps and didn’t know how to. So just because someone is an ‘iphone user’ does not mean they know how to use their iphone.
Since I published this last night I’ve had a few additional thoughts around the usability and priming users with enough context to follow the intended behaviour pattern. The information below is less structured but is focussed on the solution rather than the conclusion.
A key overlooked point from the first post
-When my user followed her daughter she did not realise that the user would probably get an email saying that she was following her, this led them to feeling as if they were stalking and made them feel uncomfortable as they perceive this as spying. At no point were they primed to know that this would happen
-Another user who I was talking to who was using the service only realised a month after they had signed up that if they follow people legitimately that there was an increased chance that the person they followed would follow them back
-My user thought that they were using/on twitter when they were searching and it was not indicated that they should use keywords vs keyphrases/questions
Typical questions that from social network users considering twitter
Q: What are the benefits to me?
A: Twitter is different things to different people. Having read the post from Both sides of the Table this morning we can safely say that the geeks and techies know how to use it for what they need which is sharing information and contacting people within their social circles. Normal people associate online publishing with celebrities and people they want to hear more about probably on a National (Country based celebrities e.g. Terry Wogan), Local celebrities i.e. Boris Johnson and super local i.e. local councillor, PTA rep and so on.
Q: Why would I want to have random people hear what I say?
A: You probably don’t but once you realise that you can add to the conversation by replying to people you may want to contribute and join the conversation.
Q: Why would I want to listen to random people?
A: This is a question I asked myself while writing this, my user actually had an idea. They wanted to follow celebrities. People know about twitter from others who are on it talking about it.
Q: Who would I listen to and follow?
A: People I know but don’t have access to i.e. celebrities
There are also some considerations for Twitter
-They want users to publish as this increases content and drives interaction/growth
-They want users to follow and discover people as this also drives interaction/growth
-Twitter is an easy to maintain personal blogging space that as a result of its limit on characters requires very little effort to maintain and thus doesn’t have the expectation which people associate with writing a normal blog.
-Most people are now beginning to understand the idea that they can have blogs and if they have a good enough reason such as sharing their world travelling that a blog would be a good way to share this information.
-Microblogging: Most people don’t understand this term.
-People are curious about twitter
Before throwing a user into a twitter feed they need some additional priming and context that is currently not being achieved. Web design is trying to override the needed guidance through design and ‘usability’. This clearly works with things like door handles which we are taught to use and interact with from a very young age, email which is similar to sending a letter and even Facebook which mimics real life relationships and bonds.
While twitter does mimic real life relationships the relationship behaviour is not shown or understood by all and the benefits are certainly not communicated. I would liken it most to relationships between children; easily made, broken and repaired. Users might find it easier if they were simply told:
-When you post a tweet it is public like newspapers
-People you follow are notified by email & might follow you back
-You can reply to someone by adding an @ before their display name and it will appear in their feed
-Follow people who you know or want to know about
-You can use other applications to access twitter
Further points that are not essential at entry but useful to know
-People don’t get an email when you unfollow and won’t care (much)
-You can protect your tweets
While these final points of information are not conclusive and require the user to do further research they are breadcrumbs which are needed to get tweeting. The same principles apply to any applications which are introducing new concepts to a normal audience.
Soren Gordhamer is the organizer of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, which brings together staff from tech companies with neuroscientists, Zen teachers, and others to explore living wisely in our modern age. Mashable readers can use code ‘Mashable‘ for a discount when registering.
Tweeting is easy. Tweeting and using social media with balance and effectiveness — not so easy. Zen teachings have much to offer those of us who wish to make our time on social networks more rewarding and productive.
We all have days when we engage social media with a focus and sense of direction that enriches our work and life. We find useful content and have good communication with friends, while also attending to other tasks we need to accomplish. We have other days, however, when we lose focus, and get overwhelmed and lost on social media, and find ourselves at the end of the day usually with more stress, and wondering what we actually accomplished.
Below are the top four Zen lessons to help you get the most positivity and productivity out of your social media experience.
“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s, there are few.” – Zen Master Suzuki Roshi
It seems that more and more people are claiming to be experts of one kind or another, and many of them are using social media. In fact, recent reports suggest that there are now over 15,700 people claiming to be social media experts on Twitter.
There is nothing wrong with experts. I am sure many who claim to be are quite skilled and knowledgeable. However, the question is not only how much we know, but how much are we willing to learn from our time on social media?
The person who thinks he “knows” or is an “expert” is often less open to new learning. In the age of social media, things change so fast that what we knew about a subject yesterday may not apply to today. What matters is less about what we knew in the past, and much more about how open we are to learning today. This applies especially to social media.
Lesson: Rather than focus on what you know when engaging in social media, focus on what you can learn.
Zen student asks, “I am very discouraged. What should I do?”” Zen teacher responds, “encourage others.”
There are countless ways that social media can help us with everything from our business to our social life. However, while there is much to gain from social media, we could also say there is much to give to social media too. From a Zen perspective, it is important to give what we wish to receive. Want to find more customers for your business on Twitter (
) or Facebook (
)? Help others find customers for their business. Feel like you deserve more praise online? Praise others more. Want more people responding to your tweets? Respond to their tweets more. Tired of reading meaningless tweets? Make the effort to post meaningful ones yourself.
If we approach social media focused exclusively on what we can gain or what we think we should get, we set up a division in our relationships, one that often ends up preventing us from receiving the very thing we seek. When we give what we want to receive, it changes the dynamic such that, ironically, we are more likely to get what we seek.
Lesson: Focus not only what you can gain but also what you can give.
“Do not speak unless you can improve on silence.” — Zen saying
The tools of social media give us countless ways to share content with people across the world. They do very little, however, to ensure that content is useful or purposeful. There is often the belief that to be active and effective on social media one has to post consistently, letting people know throughout the day what we are doing and thinking.
However, just as great music is in part the relationship between sound and silence, we could say that for Twitter and Facebook updates, what matters is not just the content of our posts, but also the amount of space between them. I am sure we all likely follow people on Twitter who may not tweet everyday, but when they do, we are excited to read what they post. It is the quality of their tweets that matters more than the quantity of them.
Lesson: Post not to fill empty space, but to add value.
“Look out from the frameless window of a long pause. Let the images come to you rather than chasing outward after them…. If you want to see differently, you’ll have to look differently.” — Ji Aoi Isshi
A key element to Zen is to focus not only what exists in the external world, but to also be attentive to the internal lens from which we view it. If a cup is filled half way with water, one person could see it as half empty, another as half full. The cup, however, is what it is.
In the same way, we can have a million followers on Twitter, then look at Ashton Kutcher who has over 4 million, and think, “I am way behind” and approach the service with the desire to “catch up.” Or we can have 20 followers, and think, “Cool, twenty people want to read my tweets,” and engage with Twitter from a positive state of mind. The number of followers we have often has little to do with the positive or negative attitude with which we approach the service. What matters is less about our number of followers, and much more about how we “see” or “look” — the mental approach we take.
Lesson: Focus more on the mental approach you take, and less on comparing yourself with others.
Of course we are going to use social media, but the real challenge is doing so effectively. There is an old Zen story about a man riding a horse that is galloping very quickly. Seeing him, a woman asks, “Where are you going in such a hurry?” To which the man replies, “I have no idea. Ask the horse!” There are likely days that if someone asked us what we were doing, we might reply, “I have no idea. Ask Twitter and Facebook!”
When we let the horse, or social media, direct us, we get overwhelmed and unfocused, and our time is not spent well.
Twitter and Facebook are incredible tools, but making the most of our time on them requires paying attention to the mental approach we take. When we engage them with a beginner’s mind, a desire to give, a focus on adding useful content, and a positive state of mind, we will likely have more days guiding the horse than the opposite.
Twitter has just announced Chirp, the first official Twitter developer conference. It will take place at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco, CA, on April 14 and 15.
The conference, which will be keynoted by Twitter’s leadership, including co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, will be a two-day shindig. The first day will go over subjects such as Oauth, geolocation and business strategies, while the second day will be a 24-hour hack-a-thon for building apps and sharing ideas.
There is actually a great deal of information on the quirky but rather elegant website, such as a teaser for the after party, details on the 24-hour Hack Day schedule and my personal favorite, a secret portal for creating your own Origami Chirp Bird. As a master of the ancient art of paper folding, I really appreciate this easter egg.
Demand will certainly outstrip seats at this conference. Only 800 seats will be available (the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, while gorgeous, is not a large venue for a conference).
The first wave of 100 tickets are now out, but require a little programming on your side — you need to use the API to find the username of user id 6253282 in order to register on Eventbrite. It’ll also put you back $469.
If you can’t attend or don’t manage to snatch up one of the 800 tickets, don’t fret too much — we will be there to cover the entire thing.
Today we have a guest post by Sarah Milstein, a Web 2.0 consultant, on five ways to use Twitter in your career or in your business. — MarciPosts from Twitter’s founder, Jack Dorsey
Twitter is a simple messaging service that you’ve either heard about a lot or not at all. Either way, it’s a fun and useful tool, well worth trying if you want to reach potential and existing customers, employees or employers.
Like blogging, Twitter lets you write messages that other people can read. Unlike blogging, Twitter limits your messages to 140 characters. (The previous two sentences absorbed exactly 140 characters.) Readers can choose to receive your Twitter updates (sometimes called “tweets”) on their phones, via IM, RSS or on the Web. The brevity, combined with the variety of delivery systems, make Twitter a powerful medium. Here are five ways to harness it:
1. Share ideas. Twitter is often called “micro-blogging,” and as with regular-size blogging, some people use it primarily to share personal information, while others use it for professional reasons.
If you’re interested in the professional possibilities, ignore the Twitter prompt, “What are you doing?” because frankly, the details of your day are banal to people who don’t know you (Proof: my Twitterstream). Instead, note cool work-related things you’ve discovered — a great article, a new Web site or an intriguing idea. Whenever possible, include a link (if it’s too long, use TinyURL to shorten it with one click).
2. Show respect. Another way to share ideas — and your respect for other people in your field — is to “retweet” something interesting somebody else has Twittered. Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media (for which I’m co-writing a research report on Twitter), does this frequently and to great effect. Simply start your message with “Retweeting@username” and then paste in the original message (the @ symbol is the Twitter convention for responding or referring to other users).
3. Build your brand. Zappos, the online emporium known for outstanding customer service, encourages employees to Twitter and to respond to customers who also use the service — increasing the company’s reputation as a friendly place to shop and work. Notably, the chief executive of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, Twitters frequently. Because the company cultivates an un-corporate image, he’s the rare executive who can effectively post personal updates.
4. Engage customers. Run contests, solicit feedback and thank customers for supportive messages. Jetblue does all three. (By the way, JetBlue doesn’t identify the person or people who Twitter under its account, but best practices suggest you should.)
5. Provide customer service. Wesabe, a personal finance site, has long used Twitter to respond to complaints and to let customers know when it’s fixing problems. Comcast doesn’t post, but it does use Twitter to respond to customers who have complained about the company.
How do Comcast and Wesabe know customers are grousing? Twitter’s excellent search feature lets you learn what people are saying about any term — including you, your competitors or your industry. (Oddly, this search feature is different from the relatively useless one at the top of your own Twitter home page.) You can then respond to individuals — as Comcast and Wesabe do — with the @username trick.
Signing up for a Twitter account takes about 15 seconds. If you first want more detail on how the service works, check out the Wikipedia entry or the “Twitter in Plain English” video. Still on the fence? Chris Brogan has 50 good ideas for using Twitter in business.
Finally, no matter how you use it, remember that messages posted to Twitter — even updates you send by phone or IM — reside on the Web in perpetuity, where prospective employers and customers can find them. While 140 characters may not seem like much, they are enough to look unprofessional.