Saturday, April 12, 2008

live-tweeting american idol... from an iphone

Okay, so a day after discovering Twitter, I thought it would be fun to see how well it works with an iPhone... and for LiveBlogging. So I got Twitter set up on my iPhone browser and starting sending out tweets. Not sure my few followers appreciated it (none follow AI, so far as I kow). But this was a social media experiment, so why not?

Here are the results (misspellings and all). The oldest is at the bottom. Feel free to skip ahead and read the iPhone comments if you loathe Idol:

zerocrossing2 Big elimination shocker tonight but not a bad one. Don't google the results. 08:03 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 Bono, Hillary, mccain & barack just plugged idol gives back Gobama! 07:49 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 expected 2 of bottom 3. But expected any combo of 3 girls. We've got 1 guy. 07:42 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 blasted iPhone. GolD album. 07:38 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 Jordin sparks - 2 platinum singles & gol album. More results after the break. 07:37 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 David cook is nervous tonight - with reason. But safe, 07:18 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 monkees - i'm a believer. iPhone corrects wrong words! 07:17 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 I'm so out of it. No idea who most of celebs are in monkeys lip synch - bit know every word of song 07:16 PM April 10, 2008 from web

zerocrossing2 can't believe idol just recapped "shout to the lord" from idol gives back" 07:11 PM April 10, 2008 from web
Immediately after posting that string of comments, I got a follower. But not just any follower. This guy appears to be an iPhone developer. And he's following almost 59k Twitter users. (He's being followed by over 10k). His strategy appears to be working. He got over 2k requests for info on his iPhone app. Anyway, I'm guessing that my mere mention of iPhone in the tweets above got him to follow me. He probably has some automated program that follows anybody on Twitter who even mentions an iPhone, even if it's not all that complimentary... and mine wasn't.

Don't get me wrong. I love the gadget. I got in so early that I received the early adopter rebate... and cashed it in for an 80GB black iPod classic! But the iPhone is not super-effective for LiveBlogging, even in 140 character spurts! If you're LiveTweeting, the spell correction software is both your best friend AND your worst enemy. It's nice having your errors corrected, but you're moving too fast to pay attention to whether or not it's making the correct choices. My iPhone incorrectly "corrected" monkees to monkeys and but to bit, which turned my comment into worse gibberish than it already was! Here's what I was trying to say:

zerocrossing2 I'm so out of it. No idea who most of celebs are in monkees lip synch - but know every word of song 07:16 PM April 10, 2008 from web
It's just hard to move fast enough on an iPhone keyboard and have it come out the way you want it to. In fact, if I'd been working with an easier keyboard, I probably would have said "monkees lip synch video" and given the name of the song. Let's see if the revision fits in 140 characters:

I'm so out of it. No idea who most of celebs are in monkees lip synch video - but know every word of "i'm a believer"!
twhirl—my new Twitter BFF—says that I've got 22 characters to spare. If I'd been on a proper keyboard, I probably could have said what I was really thinking AND been able to check my character limit (one disadvantage of the Twitter iPhone interface, actually - no character check that I can recall).

So I'd say that LiveTweeting an event with an iPhone is out... but at least the Twitter iPhone interface is easy to use, aside from the lack of character reverse-counter. Overall, it's easy to send out tweets on random topics, just so long as you don't have to move fast! Next time I cover something live (and scheduled), I'll use my laptop.

BTW, wanna see my tweetcloud? It looks all scrunched up on my laptop screen. Not sure whether that's because of the screen size or because of how IE is reading it (haven't downloaded Mozilla yet to the new laptop).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

leveraging the value of twitter... and no spam allowed

I just Dugg a post by Dave Fleet, in which he offers his own tips for making the most of your 140 Twitter characters.

I'm new to Twitter. In fact, I just signed up yesterday—because my organization wants me to look into Social Media and how we can leverage it. At first, I couldn't figure out Twitter's value. It just looked like the "Status" updates on Facebook that you show to your friends. Then I looked at the Public Timeline and saw how other organizations were using Twitter—to provide press releases, etc., and I even started following one of the presidential candidates.

The potential value became obvious. And so did the potential for abuse. We don't want to go over to the "dark side" and spam people. But as an organization that offers conferences filled with valuable content for people involved with relationship marketing, customer loyalty and consumer services, we do want to get our message out.

So, I pitched Twitter as a venue to my boss and the President, then drafted a series of 140-character micro- press releases about the offerings at our upcoming conference. At the beginning, I did boilerplate type stuff, speaking in generic terms about the value of the organization. Then, I looked at the text and realized: "That would be spam! That's not offering value to anybody! That's just a plug, like the stuff I get in my inbox!"

So I wondered: how do I get our message out and let people know about content that could interest them—as the the political campaigns or news broadcasters using Twitter do. I started focusing on avoiding all the tactics that I associate with spam. When I put together my Hollywood Ripper website, I learned to use white hat SEO tactics (i.e. to drive search engine rankings by offering valuable content) rather than black hat SEO (i.e. dishonest tactics, such as spamming the index with useless repetition and text that's the same color as the background). All these years later, I still have a #1 ranking in Google for my keywords... even though I haven't updated in a while and have static content. So in drafting my micro-releases, I made sure that each of my 140-character proto-tweets had content that could be of value to people.

Right now, on the account I set up for my organization, I'm not following anybody who did not ask to be followed... well, except for Seth Godin, but why wouldn't we follow him?! (It's on my personal account that I'm following the campaign). And I'm so new to Twitter that it had actually not even occurred to me to follow a lot of people in order to get them to follow me! So Dave Fleet's blog post was of tremendous value on that front. Now, of course, I'll know to steer clear of going down that path. We don't want to look like stalkers or spammers!

Instead, I'll draft a recommendation that we offer Twitter updates to our members on an opt-in basis. Our followers would be opt-in, but our messages to our followers would still go out to the public timeline and possibly catch some prospects. I think that's different than offering spam. Anyway, I would love to hear how other people are using Twitter... especially other people in communications positions.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

by the way...

Here are some of photos that I've stored in Flickr. These are not photoshopped. Click and enjoy...


Smithsonian Bones


Thai Pilin