Tag Archives: Twitter

Google+ hits a wall?

According to this article, Google+ traffic is falling.

No surprise here.  Personally, I’ve found it to be rather boring. Perhaps its because many of my friends aren’t yet on there, or maybe because the few people who are aren’t particularly active, but whatever the reason, I’ve found it to be much less engaging than Facebook or Twitter, despite the fact that it’s sort of a hybrid between the two.

Will it pick up? Probably, Google basically runs the internet. Then again, maybe not, who knows?

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Twitter and Amateur Scouts

According to ESPN.com:

“Yeovil Town manager Terry Skiverton has asked the club’s fans to act as scouts by suggesting potential signings on Twitter. “ (link)

Apparently the football (soccer to us Yanks) club, located in Yeovil Town in Somerset, southwest England, can’t afford a scouting program, so manager Terry Skiverton has asked the club’s supporters to take over that role.

With so many youths dying to be discovered, this could be a great opportunity for Yeovil Town to scoop up some diamonds in the rough. Of course the nature of the English leagues means they won’t be able to afford to keep them, but at least they could potentially get a nice transfer fee out of it.

Tweet at Your Own Peril

In the course of my daily meanderings in cyberspace, I came across this article from MediaBistro. Apparently NBA referee Bill Spooner is suing AP reporter Jon Krawczynski over a tweet from the January 24 game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets.

The backstory:

In the second quarter,  Spooner called a sketchy foul on the Wolves’ Anthony Tolliver, which upset coach Kurt Rambis, who asked Spooner how he was going to get those points back.

Krawczynski then tweeted “Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he’d “get it back” after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That’s NBA officiating folks.”

The Fallout:

The NBA investigated the call and decided the matter was closed. Spooner, however, decided to file suit, asking for $75,000 for “defamation per se to his professional and business reputation, a declaratory judgment that the Twitter publication constitutes defamation and an injunction requiring the removal of defamatory statements from the Defendants’ Internet postings.”

My take:

As a former journalist, this is absurd to me. Journalists, especially those who write opinion pieces, have the right, nay, the duty, to say any damn thing they want (within limits established by their publication’s editorial board).  If Spooner’s lawsuit, by some freak occurrence is upheld, it will strike a major blow against journalistic freedom and integrity in this country. I know Twitter isn’t exactly the same thing as an op-ed piece, but at the same time, freedom of speech and the press is a fundamental part of this country. Taking it away because someone is offended (by an accurate observation at that) would be a travesty. I hope the judge throws this out, but I guess we’ll see

Crime fighting goes digital

In a sign that everyone is finally joining the social media revolution, even the police are using social media tools. Police in Wichita, Kansas have launched their very own social media network that includes a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Youtube channel. Featuring public safety information, as well as information about crimes, the Wichita police department is using social media to help cut down on crime.

While Wichita isn’t the first city in the country to create a program like this (Boston, for example, has been doing this for some time), it is leading the charge in the Midwest, a surprising turn considering the conservative, reluctant-to-change attitudes that prevail in this part of the country. (And yes, I write that from experience.)

According to an Associated Press article on the subject, the Wichita police department realized that younger people are spending less time with traditional media such as television or newspapers, and instead are increasingly turning to online media to gather information. By acknowledging and utilizing this information, the department is able to reach out to an otherwise ignored section of the population.

Another Twitter casualty

There have been a rash of negative repercussions from the use of social media here in the Kansas City area in the last few months. First it was the Kansas Jayhawks football vs basketball scuffles, with a blow-by-blow narration from sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor. Then it was the Larry Johnson fiasco.

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Johnson, best known as a middle-of-the-pack talent who benefited from a Chiefs offensive line studded with All-Pro talent, finally let his mouth write a check his modest talents couldn’t cash. After several Tweets in which he lambasted Chiefs coaches, with a few gay slurs thrown in for good measure, he received a two-week suspension. While he only missed one game due to a bye week for the Chiefs, his continued unpopularity led to a 32,000+ signature petition demanding he not be allowed to become the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher, a mark he was within 75 yards of reaching. This morning, the Chiefs announced his release.

Personally, I think he should have been given his walking papers following the second incident, but that was under a different coaching and management staff. Rookie head coach Todd Haley no doubt had to assert his authority in this matter.

Interestingly enough,though,  it wasn’t the problem of him attacking women that finally led to his release, it was his reckless use of social media, demonstrating yet again the real power of these platforms. Johnson clearly didn’t understand the ramifications of his tweets, and as a result he now finds himself unemployed (albeit still incredibly wealthy).

Where social media and conventional marketing meet

I’ve seen a lot of posts out there on the Web discussing the marketing implications of social media and how companies can utilize tools like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to their advantage. The general consensus seems to be that while social media and marketing strategies can at times overlap, there is a line dividing the two.

According to Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents:
“Marketing is a discipline with lots of emphasis on channel thinking, on campaigns, on message shaping, on control and covering all the bases. Social media is a set of tools that permit regular people access to potential audiences of shared interest.”

Both of these are important part of a company’s public image strategy, and each plays an important role. Brogan stresses that marketing is used primarily to influence consumers, whereas social media provides a forum for consumers to give and receive feedback.

But what about that middle area where the two overlap? While it’s easy to define some things as either social media or conventional marketing, there seems to be a gray area as well. With that said, what is acceptable marketing for social media platforms?

Much like social media provides a platform for people to find one another, it also provides a platform for marketers to find consumers. Of course, most people don’t join Twitter to be sold to, but if company’s social media specialists are effective, they understand this. It has been demonstrated that people will follow corporations if it proves to be beneficial. That is, if the company provides significant value, whether it be through improved customer service or online only specials, people will pay attention.

A good example is @pizzahut. Utilizing Twitter to their full advantage, Pizza Hut uses its corporate account to inform more than 21,000 followers of specials and promotions, as well as directly address customer dissatisfaction. Business sense says that a redressing of grievances is good for placating unhappy customers. Plus letting followers know about specials is an effective nudge towards some of them opting for pizza tonight.

Another good example is Chipotle. With a Facebook following of more than 500,000 followers, the burrito chain has mastered the art of marketing using social channels. They allow fans to post to their wall, start discussions and share their experiences. While it’s not marketing in the conventional sense, I dare you to read that page and not crave a Chipotle burrito.  It’s extremely subtle, yet incredibly effective. Constantly updated, with rapid feedback from the company, this is how other companies should approach social media.

In summation, all marketing is a conversation. Whereas traditional marketing is a one-way conversation, social media is a round-table discussion with potentially millions of participants. As such, it’s oftentimes necessary to completely rethink marketing strategies when utilizing these platforms. On the other hand, there is definitely something to be said for conventional strategies. Each has their place, but that’s not to say they can’t overlap. The best strategy: keep an open mind. Keep an eye on what other companies are doing, and note their successes and failures.  And above all, don’t be afraid to experiment. This entire approach to marketing is so new, not even the so-called experts know how things will shape up. All any of us can do is offer our best guess.

Collective local exploration

Are you familiar with Foursquare? If you’re following the social media explosion you should be.  A sort of local Twitter, Foursquare is a locally-based social network that allows people in the same city to connect and share experiences both online, and through mobile devices.

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Utilizing a real-time stream of tweets (for lack of a better word), users roam the city, racking up points for checking in from new locations, offering tips to other users and exploring different parts of the city. These points, in turn, change your ranking on the site’s leaderboard for that city. And to give noobs a chance, all stats reset at midnight on Sunday night. Thus, users are playing a weekly game against not just their social circle, but also against every user in the city.

Additionally, the app allows you to save a “to-do” list, earn badges, become the “mayor” of a favorite haunt and share your location, when desired. While its not available everywhere (currently 17 US  and 3 international cities), it’s growing popularity no doubt capitalizes on the Twitter generation’s love of sharing their experiences with as broad an audience as possible.

Even cooler, in certain cities, Foursquare has partnered up with 8coupons to promote specials at local eateries, bars, etc. According to a Mashable article, Foursquare users within a three-block radius are sent automatic notifications of deals. This allows users to discover new places, finding the best that their city has to offer, while allowing merchants a new channel to market their products and services.

By cross utilizing social networking with location-based marketing, the partnership between Foursquare and 8coupons offer a glimpse of the seemingly limitless future of new media and social marketing.