Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

When Fast Company, a publication that I have read and respected for years, published a story based on faulty data, I had to call them out. The story is titled Twitter Crushing Facebook’s Click Through Rate, and is based on research from Social Twist. I think I threw up in my mouth a little when seeing these numbers.

First of all – enough with the click through rate already. It has always been a bad KPI that is not indicative of performance. But more importantly here, CTR is not even the actual metric they are reporting on, and the real value or insight in the data is sort of lost, albeit the lesson of consumers sharing in social platforms like Facebook and Twitter is not much of an insight. File under “DUH!”

Really a CTR rate of 1904% and 287%? This is what happens when you can’t track the denominator (reach/exposure) of your calculation. What they are actually calculating is the volume of responses to shared content and not a CTR, it is actually a more valuable metric and they should try to better define it.

I think that Social Twist’s Tell-a-Friend sharing widget is a great addition for many marketers, but guys, releasing misleading and incorrect stats like this removes some of the credibility and thought leadership from your quest. Research and stats are a great way to get press coverage. Kudos for pulling the wool over the eyes of Fast Company (and surely a number of others), but the industry doesn’t need more fuzzy math market research confusing marketers.

This is just one example, there are so many questionable stats floating around – even from credible companies who are in the business of producing research.

We all love stats and research. Good research does help refine our decision making. But it is no secret that market research is often self serving and misleading. Next time you get blown away by some market research or stats, take a moment to question the research methodologies, determine if there are actually insights provided, and even analyze the motive of the research.You might be surprised how often you  find the data useless, misleading or self serving.


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Micro-bloggingJust when you thought it was safe to go back into the “real world”…micro blogging is here to take up even more of your “free time”, and it has become all the rage. Well, for some it has. Anyone spending time trying to hone a social media marketing strategy these days, is tackling an ever growing palette of pre-requisite involvement including micro-blogging, [regular ol’] blogging, developing and nurturing a presence within social networks, video posting, and social bookmarking. This evolving mix of fragmented opportunity is quite challenging for marketers, content creators and even consumers to wrap their hands and minds around.

While Twitter is by far the most popular service (follow me on Twitter: JasonDPG), in reality it is rather plain vanilla compared to the aggregation services provided by some of the others. Plain and simple was nice and it actually took a while before most folks adopted Twitter – in fact a good portion of you reading this right now are saying to yourself “yeah, so what the hell does Twitter really offer me and where does it fit into my life or more importantly my marketing or PR plans?” – only you can answer that. It certainly depends on many factors. I use Twitter to share punditry and random musings with a select group of thought leaders and colleagues, and I am expanding my Twitter objective to disseminating further [quick] real-time thoughts about marketing (and random other things) to those in the industry who wish to follow my thoughts during the day. These are one liners, technically 140 character or less thoughts (Twitter’s limit) that are not as fleshed out as a full post for this blog. The wonder of micro-blogging is that I can update from anywhere – my mobile device or online, or via the plethora of third party plug-ins for Outlook, IM and other methods. But hey, NASA is using Twitter to disseminate info from the Mars Phoenix expedition to interested parties, and as of this post 19,368 people are following the Mars orbiter’s progress via Twitter. So beyond Twitter officially being applied to rocket science by this example (well at least the marketing of it), there are many objectives to how you would use it, and like all social media, there are “power users” and casual users of the service. As consumers and business continue to embrace micro blogging, opportunities will emerge.

We are however, starting to see an influx of other services – some with engaging features that may offer users a seemingly better experience than Twitter, albeit without the momentum and adoption yet. Most focus on aggregating YOUR content from your other blogs and sites that offer your content via RSS (including photos from Flickr and videos from YouTube). Can they “out Twitter” Twitter? Only time will tell.

Plurk offers an interesting timeline interface, but essentially provides a similar feature set to Twitter. Not compelling enough to switch, but engaging enough to asway new users to using the service.

Jaiku provides a micro-blogging service plus the aggregation service, however I’m not a fan of how they lay these out. Then again, I just signed up and haven’t had enough time to test it out. Jaiku is now owned by Google, which means that they may stand a chance of rolling with the punches over time. Then again, look at their success levels with Orkut – nuff said, could go either way.

SecondBrain, FriendFeed, Pownce, Tumblr, HelloTxt are all vying for this market in some shape or form, again a lot of Twitter’s competition focuses on the aggregation of your content from other services.

The easy integration with other blogging and micro-blogging feeds seems to be something that Twitter has not embraced…yet. As the micro-blogging leader of the pack, they will most likely have to do so soon because it is actually a very useful feature. Most Twitter users pull in our blog feeds for example through an OpenID third party like TwitterFeed. Because of the open API platform, third parties have developed many Twitter related services such as Summize, which searches Twitter, and TweetBeep that provides keyword triggered alerts (Twitter itself offers some level of these services, but not as reliably at the moment). Twitter is no doubt the player to beat. To that end, their competitors all essentially provide an ability to port over your current and/or old Twitter content (affectionately referred to as Tweets) directly into the competitive services.

Let’s not forget that Facebook offers a micro blogging service too with their “status updates”, which can also be edited both online and via mobile, but while it’s nice to have this service integrated into a bigger picture, Facebook’s status update is a very different non-comprehensive beast. But maybe that’s what the average consumer wants in a micro blogging service – simplicity – just a way to answer that burning question all your friends and colleagues want to know (half sarcastic here) “what are you doing right now?”.

As marketers and agencies embarking into this brave new world, we need to understand these new media environments. Even if these environments become platforms for marketing or PR versus advertising, the lines between media, marketing and technology are blurry ones, and it is our responsibility to understand how consumers are using these channels and what it may mean for us and our clients.

Note: I will be reporting back continued findings, thoughts and applications of micro-blogging right here on The Digital Blur. I just added a micro-blogging category , so stay tuned!

I’m headed off to Indonesia once again. The internet access in the remote area where I am traveling is incredibly painful and acts as a reminder of how dependent we are on high speed access. I finally figured out how to get Twitter to work while abroad (they have an international # to use versus a US based shortcode), so I’m going to try and Tweet updates daily if I indeed have mobile access.

You can follow me on Twitter and keep tabs on my adventure and generally on my ongoing Twitterisms on digital media, traveling and life.

See you on the flipside!

Ok, I’m back after taking a few weeks off the blog. Hated to do that, but my crazy schedule made it necessary. It’sTexting sometimes hard to live a busy and successful life and still find time to blog about what’s going on…I do what I can!

I also wish I was kicking back in with something that I’m less jaded about, but here it goes…

What’s with all the hoopla over Sarah Lacy’s interview of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival? Big deal, she did a bad job…um, hello…how many conferences can you say that all the panelists, moderators or featured speakers did a great job these days? I am bored out of my wits at most conferences.

The “Twittersphere” was on fire you say? Ok so SxSW Twitterites united and got the word out to the 10 people that read each of their Twitter postings…(insert sarcastic tone) well that’s damaging. The use of Twitter at conferences is nothing new, nor will it change the marketing or content worlds.

According to many reports, journalists, and bloggers, this “phenomenon” equates to the integration of real time social media merging with conference activities, thus changing conferences forever?  Give me a break! First of all, I can’t see the average conference attendee using Twitter. Besides – anyone with a blog or Facebook profile can update it from their mobile device or their wireless connected laptop (god bless the wireless card). My jaded comments about Twitter aside, I do use Twitter…although I haven’t quite figured out why yet. It’s almost fun, and definitely not quite useful yet. If you want to follow my Tweets, I’m JasonDPG on Twitter.

So again, what’s all the fanfare about? A boring conference is a boring conference, and a bad moderator is a bad moderator, period. We don’t need Twitter to help us out of that bind. Thank god for smart phones! I spend more time reading and sending emails from my phone, and walking in and out of conferences to make phone calls, than actually listening to most of the mundane, overly simplified, self serving or otherwise useless content at most conferences.

Note to conference organizers, moderators and panelists — Stop catering to the lowest common denominator and cater to the upper echelon of thinkers and you’ll automatically have a good conference. Let the masses catch up, because the innovators won’t dumb down!

Ok so maybe conference content and activities do hit the social fabric of the web with a level of immediacy never seen before – but what doesn’t?  Social media immediately captures and reflects the going-ons within society and fragmented pop culture, and of course Twitter happens to be sitting on the edge of that immediacy curve.

I don;t want to perpetuate the hype around this issue, but in reading a few Tweets, I discovered this BitStrips piece about the Zuckerbeg interview at SxSW that was pretty funny. Bitstrips is a new service that has an interesting potential future ( so I figured I’d share…if you got one thing out of this entire Lacy/Zuckerberg media circus, maybe this is it – enjoy.