DirJournal: Search and Social Blog » Twitter 5 Reasons to Follow Someone on Twitter How NOT to Tweet for Your Business Should You Post (or Buy) Ads on Twitter? Be Careful What You RT: Mashable Spreads Amazon’s Hype via Twitter Sheep Why Must I Tweet? A Primer For Reluctant Twitter Users http://www.dirjournal.com/articles Thu, 12 Jul 2012 18:08:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.1 http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/5-reasons-to-follow-someone-on-twitter/ http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/5-reasons-to-follow-someone-on-twitter/#comments Wed, 03 Aug 2011 14:48:13 +0000 J. Mattern http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/?p=2176 Credit: Fotolia.com How do you choose people or businesses to follow on Twitter ? Do you submerge yourself in a comfortable echo chamber, only conversing with likeminded individuals? Do you look for lively debates? Do you simply want to follow someone to see what they say next, or do you choose to follow people who will engage in real conversations with you? There are many different reasons you might choose to follow someone on Twitter. Let’s take a look at five examples that might help you find new interesting people to connect with. Get news headlines on Twitter to make life easier. – Credit: Fotolia.com They keep you informed. — You might follow someone in your niche or industry because they effectively curate information. Or you might follow a company on Twitter (or a specific employee of a company) because they keep you informed about what’s going on there. They entertain you. — You also might follow someone on Twitter because they make you smile or laugh on a regular basis. Maybe you follow your favorite comedian for their wisecracking tweets. Or you might follow the creator of a Web comic you love so you always get the latest links. They make things easier on you. — Sometimes it’s worth following someone in social media outlets because their content makes your life a little bit easier. This might go back to that person who curates industry information for example. By following them you don’t have to piece together what’s going on from as many sources on your own. You also might follow your favorite news outlet so you get easy access to headlines rather than having to search their site or wait for your television news program. They are already an active member of your network. — Another reason you might follow someone on Twitter is to connect in a new way to existing members of your network. While I don’t suggest nagging everyone you know to join every social media site you decide to play with, if they’re already there it doesn’t hurt to connect. For example, I follow colleagues that I email frequently and I follow readers who regularly engage with me on my blogs. They are someone you’d like to get to know. — You could also follow someone you know very little about in an attempt to get to know them better. For example, a colleague might recommend someone you’ve never heard about. You check them out and they seem interesting. Following them on Twitter and striking up short conversations there can be an effective way to introduce yourself and get a better feel for how the person thinks — what they care about enough to talk about for example. Why do you follow the people you follow on Twitter? How do you decide who to connect with on this or other social media sites? Leave a comment below with your own suggestions, and tell us how you’ve met some interesting people through social media sites. ]]> http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/5-reasons-to-follow-someone-on-twitter/feed/ 4 http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/how-not-to-tweet-for-your-business/ http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/how-not-to-tweet-for-your-business/#comments Wed, 12 Jan 2011 21:02:35 +0000 Chris http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/?p=1940 Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last few years, you know Twitter is blowing up. And not only is it being used for entertainment, but i’ts proving to be a great marketing tool for all types of businesses. That said, how should you use it? Well, I think the more important question here would be, how should you NOT use it ? The following examples will show you exactly what you shouldn’t do when you’re Tweeting for your business. Get personal— When you’re Tweeting, it’s tempting to get too comfortable with what you say. The platform connects you on friendly terms with lots of people. However, remember you’re representing your business first. Don’t Tweet anything that you wouldn’t want your customers to read. Because they will. And I assure you they don’t want to know about your night last night. Only Tweet about you— Just like you don’t want web copy that reads “me, me, me,” neither do you want Tweets all about yourself. If all you Tweet is your own promotions and links, eventually people will peg you as a selfish Tweeter. Then they’ll unfollow you. No one likes a guy who is only out for himself. You need to add something valuable to the table. Tweet a million times a day— Tweet quality, not quantity. I frequently unfollow people who Tweet enormous amounts a day. Why? Because it ends up feeling like spam. Give me less Tweets that are more interesting. If you overwhelm me, I probably won’t read any of them. It’s too hard to distinguish between the good, the mediocre, and the bad. Tweet inconsistently— As in all aspects of your business, consistency is a must. If you just pop up every few weeks with a Tweet, who is really going to pay attention? You’ll go unnoticed. Marketing should be a daily thing. Make Tweeting part of your daily regimen. Maybe you just want Don’t respond— Twitter is a two way street. It’s not all about you talking. It’s about your customers talking back. And you can’t hold a conversation if you don’t respond. And trust me when I say, if you continually fail to respond, your customers will eventually figure out that they aren’t your number one priority. And they’ll probably be right. What are some other ways you’ve seen people use Twitter incorrectly for their businesses? Talk about them in the comments section! ]]> http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/how-not-to-tweet-for-your-business/feed/ 4 http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/should-you-post-or-buy-ads-on-twitter/ http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/should-you-post-or-buy-ads-on-twitter/#comments Thu, 12 Aug 2010 13:23:47 +0000 J. Mattern http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/?p=1723 Credit: BigStockPhoto.com I’m going to be up front with you. I’m not a fan of advertising on Twitter. I’m even less of a fan of posting ads to my own Twitter account. So I clearly have some bias. Twitter advertising can be a hot button issue for some though, causing followers to flee or advertisers to come a-calling. Some love it because it’s a way to monetize something they do anyway, or reach a new targeted market. Some hate it because it causes unsolicited clutter and “invades” real relationships. I fall squarely into the latter group. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-advertising in general. And I’m not saying that advertising has no place in social media. But Twitter is an exception for me. Here’s why: It’s Not What I Signed on For Twitter is primarily a networking tool. It’s a place for conversations, no matter how abbreviated. For most Twitter is not a tool for simply broadcasting commercial messages. Now I’m not one to say that everyone should or has to use a social media tool in the same way. That would be both ignorant and self-centered. But I will say that everyone has a responsibility to their followers. Are you conversing or just broadcasting? – Credit: BigStockPhoto.com Twitter can be used in an editorial or conversational way. And yes, it can be used for advertising. But unless you were already regularly advertising via your Twitter account when I agreed to follow you, those ads are 100% unsolicited. If you were already advertising, I could see that up front, and I knew it when I chose to follow you, that’s another story entirely. But in my network on Twitter, that’s rare. No matter where you’re interacting with your audience, you have a responsibility to respect them and provide what’s reasonably expected to some degree. Behaving in one way to get followers, and then in another way once you have them is misleading at best. I consider Twitter advertising to often show a lack of respect. In my particular network, it’s not the norm. And to litter my stream with ads for (often irrelevant) products and services is a matter of wasting my time. As if there isn’t enough noise on Twitter already. I’d “forgive” the occasional Twitter ad in general if the person usually shares great tweets or stays personally involved. But I have my limits, as do most. And those limits are fairly low. I won’t hesitate to point out and criticize behaviors that waste my time or show no forethought. I have very little respect for the companies buying these ads knowing they’re intruding on a largely conversational medium of people who have some level of trust for each other (we aren’t talking about blogs here where there are sidebars and headers to tuck ads into separate from the content, or where we have plenty of room for full disclosure). And quite honestly I have less respect for the colleagues who advertise for third parties using their tweets (although I have no objection to them promoting their own books, albums, or sites within reason given that my network is based on primarily professional connections — in a more personal network, that might be a bit different). The Lame “Just Unfollow” Argument I know what some of you are thinking — “If Twitter ads bother you so much, just unfollow the person.” I’ve heard that argument a lot. And do you know what? It’s a completely bullshit argument. Are your Twitter followers HAPPY followers? – Credit: BigStockPhoto.com Unfollowing someone should not be the primary recourse for having unsolicited ads thrown in my face. And I shouldn’t have to eliminate someone from my professional network just because they make occasional poor decisions about what they choose to advertise or how often. As I already mentioned, it’s about respect. And everyone using Twitter or any social media tool has the responsibility to know their audience well enough to know when what they’re doing could be deemed disrespectful. Remember, just because people aren’t moving in droves to unfollow you, it doesn’t mean they’re okay with your new Twitter ad posting behavior. It just means they like the other things you say enough to stick around (or your ads are buried quickly within other Twitter noise, and they just haven’t seen it yet). But that says nothing about the potential damage you’ve done to your reputation in their eyes. Still subscribing to what you say doesn’t mean they care as much about your opinions. So think about where your “real” money comes from before deciding to make a few bucks on Twitter, and ask yourself whether those income streams could take a hit to your reputation. If they can, by all means, post away. There’s nothing wrong with diversifying your income streams. I don’t begrudge anyone an income from what they do. Just don’t forget to have some tact. At least a little…. ]]> http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/should-you-post-or-buy-ads-on-twitter/feed/ 14 http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/be-careful-what-you-rt-mashable-spreads-amazons-hype-via-twitter-sheep/ http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/be-careful-what-you-rt-mashable-spreads-amazons-hype-via-twitter-sheep/#comments Thu, 22 Jul 2010 15:50:13 +0000 J. Mattern http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/?p=1756 Credit: DanieVDM (via Flickr ) It seems that whenever I log onto Twitter now I find people retweeting a post from Mashable . The post is about Amazon.com and their claim that e-books are apparently getting uber-popular because (*gasp*) they’re outselling hardcover books. This pisses me off. Not the fact that e-books are doing well, but the fact that Mashable (yet again) decided to post a stats-centric article with no semblance of critical thought before kicking it out to the RTing masses. This isn’t the first time I’ve called Mashable out on posting faulty stats that mislead readers and help to create non-news more than reporting actual news. And while I hope it’s the last, I somehow doubt it. Now look. I’m not a regular Mashable reader, but I’m also not someone with an axe to grind. I read them periodically, retweet their stuff when it’s not nonsensical, and can certainly appreciate their writers’ talents for crafting linkbait-worthy headlines. I just have little tolerance for people with influence in the blogosphere who choose to use that influence irresponsibly. And I’d consider passing along half-assed info without asking legitimate questions to be precisely that. Let’s explore some of the claims from the post (meaning the stats from Amazon that Mashable chose to pass along to readers without any further worthwhile context), and what the potential problems are. We’ll look at some of the questions they should have asked before contributing to the current Amazon hype-storm all willy-nilly. And then I’ll point you to some better sources — the ones that did . Amazon Kindle E-book Sales: The Good, the Bad, and the Really Really Ugly I love e-books. So don’t get me wrong. In no way am I saying that e-book sales aren’t growing or that they shouldn’t be growing. I’m an e-book reader. I’m an e-book author. They have a time and a place, and I adore them for what they are. But they’re far from print book killers as Amazon’s latest news would have it sound. The basic claim is this — Amazon announced that their Kindle e-book sales exceeded their hardcover book sales by 80% in the last month. E-book sales are on the increase. Good for them! Really. I’m happy that more people have more access to more titles (even if I don’t agree with Amazon trying to strong arm publishers which in turn puts my author pals in a potentially tighter spot down the road — but the consumer misinformation about pricing is another topic altogether). That’s the good side of the “news.” The bad side is how much information Amazon left out — the information that should have provoked questions from folks with sites like Mashable. The ugliest bit of all though is the fact that this was little more than intentional spin and twisted, hyped up stats from Amazon as they tried to generate buzz around their Kindle in the wake of growing competition in their market from products like the iPad and Nook. And they played quite a few tech-related sites like their little bitches to do just that. And that’s sad. Very sad. Ignorance Conquers Critical Thinking: What Should Have Been Asked Has social media made us stats-obsessed? – Credit: BigStockPhoto I think I’m a fairly reasonable person. I don’t expect Mashable’s contributors to go out and find the answers to all of the looming questions. But when they know they have a large audience, many of whom seem to retweet just about anything they post without giving it another thought, I at least expect them to ask . Put the questions out there so readers can contemplate them themselves (at a bare minimum). The moment I read the stats in their post my nose started twitching. I get very uncomfortable when I see directly self-promotional stats that are clearly tweaked and twisted to a make a point, regardless of its actual validity. Given that the statistics squarely rested on Amazon’s own Kindle versus hardcover sales records, the first things that came to mind were: And how are e-books for the Kindle faring against paperbacks (which sell at a much higher rate than hardcovers)? What price points were included in the e-books (cheap will always sell, and isn’t directly comparable to hardcover books, nor does it equal popularity of the medium)? How much of the sales increase had to do with a growing interest in e-books versus just a burst of interest because of the recently lowered price of the Kindle itself? What actual books are they comparing (again it’s not directly comparable as far as preferences and trends go unless you compare different versions of the same titles — not just things like self-published books only available on the Kindle)? Did hardcover book sales decrease in any way or did they both grow (after all, if they’re both growing, the newer fad would clearly grow faster because there was less of a market share to begin with — and that’s not even to mention the fact that one targets a very different market than the other)? Is Amazon’s increase in e-book sales really indicative of general trends versus print (or even just hardcover) books, or only on their own site where they shamelessly shove the Kindle in visitors’ faces with massive regular front-page promotion? Is this really a case of one medium replacing another, or is the overall pie growing as people have more choices — perhaps still buying hardcovers of the books they’ve been anticipating but also purchasing more indie titles in e-book form? Maybe it’s just me, but those seem like pretty natural questions to ask. They seem like things a writer should pose to their readers to help them make their own informed decisions about supposed news before they casually spread it like a disgusting little virus that gets twisted into cries of the death of “dead-tree books.” Seriously. I do have to give some credit where it’s due though. The last time I called Mashable out on feeding into a stats frenzy without thinking it through, I didn’t see it caught and called out by more than a commenter or two. Fortunately this time it was different. Despite the fact that many of Mashable’s readers still blindly spread the post via Twitter with no regard for getting the whole story (over 2200 retweets at last check), their commenters on-site were indeed flexing their intelligence — asking questions and pointing out obvious flaws. Stats without analysis deserve to be scrapped. – Credit: BigStockPhoto Not only were readers wising up more quickly, but plenty of other sources covering the story did the same. And they asked some of their own questions and pointed their readers to other industry facts that should have been considered. Two examples were NPR’s Monkey See blog and CNET . NPR’s Linda Holmes pointed out the price point issue too, noting that e-book sales include things like 99-cent and slightly higher-priced self-published e-books (which are much easier to sell in basic quantity than pricier hardcover editions of other books). The cheap e-book issue (as in both cheap in price and meaning crap quality) is not a new one. It’s been around as long as e-books have — much longer than Amazon’s acknowledged their existence. That issue is what soured many early e-book readers from buying e-books online in the first place. Will it have the same effect on the more general masses as they purchase these lower quality titles on the cheap? I don’t know. And again, that’s really another issue to watch. But it does make me wonder if the success now might hurt e-book sales on the Kindle later in a similar vein. CNET’s David Carnoy shares his own list of questions and points regarding the Kindle vs hardcover stats. And he brings up some excellent things, such as revenue. Are e-book sales on Amazon bringing in more revenue than hardcovers? Or is it solely a case of selling higher quantities of cheaper goods (which is a much less impressive thing to boast about)? Carnoy also notes that romance novels are doing well in e-book form — a genre that usually does well in paperback, so you couldn’t directly compare those e-book sales with hardcover sales. That alone brought another thought to mind — summer reading. Is the growth of e-book sales in this and similar genres a seasonal thing? Will it continue? Again, I don’t know. But it’s a valid consideration before getting worked up over generic stats. While I can’t tell you exactly what’s going on with Amazon’s own hardcover sales, The New York Times reported an interesting industry-wide stat from the American Publishers Association (by which I assume they meant The Association of American Publishers , although I could be wrong — interesting stats there nonetheless). Apparently hardcover “sales are up 22 percent this year.” That hardly sounds like a death cry to me — except maybe for Amazon’s big “news.” Amazon’s own press release seems to go out of its way to make the information misleading at times. For example they say “This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.” It’s as if they’re looking for a pat on the back for only being slightly sleazy in how they presented the numbers because they didn’t also try to toss freebies in there. More importantly though is how they twisted the first part when it could equally be said that “this includes e-books where there are no hardcover editions available, and if we removed those to make a fair comparison it might make the number even lower.” A “tipping point for growth” my ass. As you can see, there’s far more to the Amazon e-book sales story than Amazon (and sites like Mashable) would have you believe. Maybe I’m foolish or naïve for expecting some level of critical thought to be put behind reporting. But for the time being as least I know what sources to have some faith in, and which ones to sweep under the rug. Now if only their readers would stop spreading the half-truths before they understand there’s a bigger picture in play. Perhaps that’s where the real blame lies. ]]> http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/be-careful-what-you-rt-mashable-spreads-amazons-hype-via-twitter-sheep/feed/ 8 http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/why-must-i-tweet-a-primer-for-reluctant-twitter-users/ http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/why-must-i-tweet-a-primer-for-reluctant-twitter-users/#comments Wed, 09 Jun 2010 17:03:05 +0000 Mary http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/?p=1635 This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers . Five Filters recommends: Incinerating Assange – The Liberal Media Go To Work .
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