Big Changes for Twitter Before 2012

December 9, 2011 by · Comments Off on Big Changes for Twitter Before 2012 

Earlier today, Twitter invited the press to its still-under-construction new digs on San Francisco’s busy Market Street to announce some big news: a site redesign is going live before January. The updates are meant to make Twitter even more engaging and interactive. The overriding principle for the adjustments seems to have been making the site more accessible and easy to use, for both ordinary people and for advertisers. As it could only have been expected, a hashtag has been created for the new Twitter design: #LetsFly.

Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, was quoted as saying: We are going to offer simplicity in a world of complexity.” Those who attended the conference did not miss the fact that many of the redesign’s aspects harked back to the Jobs-ian/Ive-ian minimalist aesthetic. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and current executive chairman, has called Steve Jobs his “mentor from afar.”

Because the company is looking to court advertisers, it needs to demonstrate Twitter’s potential for attracting and retaining readers. With the new design, embedding and watching videos in tweets will be much simpler and pages for brands will have more space for content. As of now, the company has no plans to charge for this additional space, but it’s only open to Disney, Pepsi, American Express, and Dell. Twitter said brand pages would be available other users later on.

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Photographer Chris Floyd Takes Twitter Avatar to Next Level

December 5, 2011 by · Comments Off on Photographer Chris Floyd Takes Twitter Avatar to Next Level 

Chris Floyd, a popular photographer from the U.K., decided he wanted to meet his Twitter followers and take their mug while he was at it. The result is an exhibition that showed at the Foto8 Gallery in London last month. Tallied up, there are 140 subjects and the exhibit’s aptly titled “One Hundred and Forty Characters.”

Among these it’s possible to find some high-profile personages, including Lily Allen and Harry Potter’s Tom Felton. The portraits are in black and white. Stark, blank white is the only backdrop to Floyd’s Twitter followers, who were shot dressed in everyday clothes — simple dresses, slacks, and wrinkly button-downs or form-fitting tees. There are many group portraits and most individuals come out looking relaxed and goofy.

While chatting with the Daily Beast’s Tom Sykes, the London-based shutterbug gave his take on the marvelous, and the not-so-marvelous, of social media: the ability to crowdsource, banter, form friendships, and keep-up appearances, for better or worse. Nevertheless, the photographer has massive love for Twitter. He likens it to a “huge, massive, endless free-flowing conversation with lots of interesting, witty people,” and asks, “What’s not to like?”

The photograph shown is part of the exhibit, and in it one can see: @sarahdrinkwater, @isabelleOC, and @carolineno (hidden).

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Twitter: Turning a Penny With Self-Service Advertising

December 2, 2011 by · Comments Off on Twitter: Turning a Penny With Self-Service Advertising 

Twitter is making its way to big-time advertising, and the company is already demonstrating that it’s capable of turning a pretty penny. Jack Dorsey’s jaunty whale of a baby recently launched self-service advertising on a small scale, but it’s prepping the groundwork for a larger, well-executed, and calibrated lineup.

News of the ad service came from the lips of Adam Bain, Twitter’s Chief Revenue Officer. Bain said that for now, only a small group of businesses were being offered the service. Self-service advertising is a huge deal because that’s one of the avenues Google used to reach its gigantic proportions. According to reports by eMarketer, three-fifths of Facebook’s $3.8 billion grand total of advertising revenue in 2011 came from self-service ads.

Back at Twitter, Bain himself gave out two interesting numbers: Less than a year and a half ago, Twitter had six advertisers; today, it has 2,400. To tackle the added golden bulk, Twitter hired around 100 new staff. By eMarketer’s estimates, Twitter should be pulling in around $399.5 million in ad profits by 2013; that’s up from 2010’s $45 million showing.

That Twitter is stepping out thoughtfully bodes well for its future capacity to deal with spam and ad fraud. Above, Adam Bain grins for the camera.

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Kansas Teen’s Tweet of Dissent Goes Viral

November 28, 2011 by · Comments Off on Kansas Teen’s Tweet of Dissent Goes Viral 

Most people know that one’s social media presence must be well managed, lest potential employers, college admissions officers, or would-be beaux got the wrong idea. But what if your state governor was the one who got the wrong idea about you? That’s just the question Emma Sullivan, an eighteen-year-old high school senior from Kansas, had to grapple with last week.

Shortly before Thanksgiving break, Sullivan went to the Kansas state Capitol for a Youth in Government program. While there, she tweeted “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.” The “he” in the tweet’s hashtag refers to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who’s a conservative Republican.

The governor’s sharp-eyed social media sleuths spotted the tweet and, rather quickly, the administrators at Emma Sullivan’s high school, Shawnee Mission East, issued a request that Sullivan address a letter of apology to the governor. The plucky teenager refused and her plight garnered mass media attention. A big spectacle was created and today the governor himself released a letter of apology to Sullivan, declaring: “My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.”

Sullivan currently has 12,436 Twitter followers. For anyone who’s wondering, the governor has 3,285 followers.

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Demi Moore Makes Public Her Intention to Divorce Ashton Kutcher; He Confirms News Via Twitter

November 18, 2011 by · Comments Off on Demi Moore Makes Public Her Intention to Divorce Ashton Kutcher; He Confirms News Via Twitter 

Ashton Kutcher, who last week handed over the management of his Twitter account to an editorial team, reacted via that same account to the public statements made by Demi Moore, his wife, concerning her decision to file for divorce. On Ashton’s Twitter feed appeared the following message:

I will forever cherish the time I spent with Demi. Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and unfortunately sometimes they fail. Love and Light, AK

As it’s been extensively reported here and elsewhere, Kutcher, a TV and film actor, has been a very visible proponent of social media; he was the first person to reach a million followers on Twitter. The couple’s individual Twitter feeds were enormously popular. Kutcher and Moore said their marriage vows in September 2005. Demi Moore, who was previously married to Bruce Willis for almost 13 years, made her statements through the Associated Press.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have decided to end my six-year marriage to Ashton. As a woman, a mother and a wife there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life. This is a trying time for me and my family, and so I would ask for the same compassion and privacy that you would give to anyone going through a similar situation,” were Demi’s words.

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Questlove Goes on a “Midnight Ride,” Tweets First Warning of Police Raid on Zuccotti Park’s OWS Encampment

November 16, 2011 by · Comments Off on Questlove Goes on a “Midnight Ride,” Tweets First Warning of Police Raid on Zuccotti Park’s OWS Encampment 

Today, Questlove from The Roots is being hailed as the Occupy Wall Street movement’s Paul Revere. Approximately twenty minutes before midnight, Questlove, who’s also known as Ahmir Khalib Thompson, wrote in his Twitter feed that he saw a thousand police officers, geared up and ready for action, near the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park. In shortened verse that even Longfellow would approve of, Questlove tweeted: “Omg, drivin down south st near #ows. Somethin bout to go down yo, swear I counted 1000 riot gear cops bout to pull sneak attack #carefulyall.” The timestamp on that first tweet read 11:39 p.m. EST.  

The “Midnight Ride” he took was pure chance, but his resolve to warn the protestors via Twitter was not. Nevertheless, OWS leadership was not sure what to make of the warning, and there was a prolonged online debate about whether the excess police was due to a “shift change” or Christian Bale filming his “The Dark Knight Rises” scenes with many extras in tow. Less than ninety minutes later — throughout which Questlove continued to confirm his eyewitness account to Twitter readers — the police force arrived and began clearing out the park. OWS is regrouping and the episode confirms Twitter’s privileged status among popular, democratic movements around the world.


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Ashton Kutcher Hands Over His Twitter Account

November 10, 2011 by · Comments Off on Ashton Kutcher Hands Over His Twitter Account 

Ashton Kutcher has just declared himself overwhelmed with the responsibility of managing his popular Twitter account. Today, the actor published a blog post acknowledging that the size of his following — 8 million and counting — demanded greater editorial supervision lest he became the unwitting source of misinformation. In his own words:

Up until today, I have posted virtually every one of my tweets on my own, but clearly the platform has become too big to be managed by a single individual.

He continued:

It seems that today that twitter has grown into a mass publishing platform, where ones tweets quickly become news that is broadcast around the world and misinformation becomes volatile fodder for critics.

The words came a day after releasing this jewel of a tweet: “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” Kutcher got that 84-year-old Joe Paterno had been fired from his stint as Penn State’s football coach, but he didn’t catch the reason why. In 2002, Paterno did not inform the police about an eyewitness account he received concerning the possible sexual abuse of a minor at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, a perennial assistant coach for the University. Sandusky was arrested November 5th and charged with a long list of sexual crimes against minors.

Ashton is “going to turn the management of the feed over to [his] team at Katalyst as a secondary editorial measure, to ensure the quality of its content.” The actor’s mortification and subsequent action — stepping away from Twitter — makes sense if one recalls his outspoken engagement in the battle against human trafficking.

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Capitol Police Eyes React to Ludic Onion Tweets

September 29, 2011 by · Comments Off on Capitol Police Eyes React to Ludic Onion Tweets 

The Onion’s Twitter stream suffered from an expected spate of unpopularity today, which was unexpected even considering its eponymous etiology. The cause of the stink? The strong-arming of Washington, D.C. police into investigating successive “Breaking News” tweets made by the satirical newspaper. The tweets, hashtagged #CongressHostage, asserted that members of Congress were demanding $12 trillion in exchange for the return to safety of 12 schoolchildren they had taken hostage. Many found the satire to be lacking good literary form and, more generally, thought the joke to be unfunny.

People wondered if The Onion’s Twitter account had been hacked and some living in the District of Columbia even called the police to inquire about the tweeting commotion. The men (and women) in blue issued a formal statement to reassure the public that the tweeted assertions were false and that an investigation into the postings had been started.

The gem that started the ruckus was: “BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building.” “BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen #CongressHostage,” quickly followed it.

The reaction of @MrMcLeez was quoted in The Washington Post: “I work at the Capitol and I just yelled at my coworkers that there was gunfire… you scared the [expletive] out of me #fakenewsscares.”

Commentators cut the folks in the District much slack for their humorless reactions given that that the less aggressively satirical news outlets had been reporting about the apprehension of man suspected of planning an attack on the Pentagon and Capitol with explosives-carrying remote-controlled airplanes.

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Twitter’s Coattails Extend With Arrival of Paid Political Ads

September 22, 2011 by · Comments Off on Twitter’s Coattails Extend With Arrival of Paid Political Ads 

Everybody knows that despite this year’s Weiner scandal, Twitter is still really big with politicians as it is with all the usual talking heads — apparently 80 percent of Congress tweets. Twitter honchos have undoubtedly known as much for a while, and that’s why it makes so much sense for them to open up their platform to purchased political advertising. Politicians’ ads are relevant to the Twitter readership and the company needs the cash. The first paid-for political ad on Twitter appeared this week: a “promoted tweet” for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign that ran on Wednesday, September 21st.

Contrary to what would be expected, there seems to be no need to summon any bracing fortitude in preparation for an overwhelming campaign onslaught on your Twitter stream, at least not yet. Leadership at Twitter seems to be intent on introducing advertising in as an intrusive a way as possible. Adam Bain, the company’s president of global revenue was quoted in Politico, where the takeaway of his comments was found to be that Twitter did not wanting to look like it was “cash[ing] in on its massive popularity and cultural cachet,” on account to the advertising. Bonus points for that. Political ads on Twitter will be marked with a purple checkmark and hovering over them will produce a political disclosure.

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How not to get banned by Twitter

September 21, 2011 by · Comments Off on How not to get banned by Twitter 

Ever think back to that time you had finally settled on a winning first tweet for your long-before opened Twitter account but when you tried to log in to post you realized that your account had been suspended? What was that? you asked then, before briskly deciding on another sparkling and witty Twitter handle. Having chosen to proceed with the posting of your long-brooded-over tweet, perhaps at the time you didn’t feel especially put upon by that first brush with a Twitter suspension. However, with a flourishing Twitter marketing account, you might not like to think that some unsuspecting and careless mistake might bring forth another account closure. Here’s what to do so the next time you go to tweet you don’t find out that your account, or a smarty-pants nom de net, that’s been snatched away.

First off, do everything you can to adhere to the rules and regulations established by the DMCA, which is no rap group, but 1998’s very seriously minded Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And, yes, it’s quite the tallish pile of papers to read, but it’ll keep you in the clear of many unpleasantries related to copyright violations. Eeek!

Next piece of advice: there are a number of marketing methods and practices that can be easily mistaken for spamming, which, being the big no-no that it is, should be avoided at all costs. If Twitter suspects your account of spamming it will close it down, there’s no doubt about that, so stay away from promoting methodologies that produce outcomes with too-strong a semblance to spam.

The third recommendation is to keep prudence in mind when you meddle with another attribute of your Twitter account that is being monitored: your rate of Following and Unfollowing. Circumspection is recommended because any actions in the matter that are too blatantly sudden, like unfollowing thousands of users with a few hours, or days, may lead to your account being shut down. It is a heavy(ish) open-hand that Twitter wields so take care it does not strike down on you or your projects.

Finally, the updates you make should not consist solely of links. Bald links are never good. If you want to post many links, you can do so, but make sure to personalize them with tidbits that characterize them as belonging to, or at least originating from, a real person and not a robot.

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