Archive for Tweets & Twitter

Resounding Flop

Oh, well.  Last week’s free Netflix offer went exactly the opposite of what I expected. I’m not quite sure where it went wrong.

When I offered to send a coupon for a free month of Netflix to everyone who subscribed to Skylarking by email last week, I expected to be swamped with subscribers. Well, maybe not swamped, but I expected I would be quite busy emailing coupons out at some point over the weekend. Specially when I saw my offer being retweeted on Twitter on two separate days.

Sadly, I ended up not having to send out a single coupon.

In some cases people subscribed, but never confirmed their subscription when the validation email from Feedburner arrived. I emailed these people directly, and had some of the emails I sent out bounce back with a “user unknown” failure.

Overall, I was looking to get maybe 50 to 100 new subscribers to Skylarking. I figured some of those subscribers would cancel their subscription after they received the coupon, and I was okay with that, but I received less than 30 new subscribers who either never validated, or the address they submitted was “user unknown” by their email service.

Fortunately, my subscriber drive was not a complete flop. I did pick up a handful of new subscribers by RSS feed, and I did note an increase in clicks on the feed, too. I am thankful for that.

Anyhoo (not a typo), I will try again.




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Can Anybody Find Me Somebody To Follow?

Twitter web site

Twitter web site

Okay, so you joined Twitter, and you just “didn’t get it”. So you stopped using it. Join the club.

Maybe you’ll go back after you read this whole article about WeFollow.com with a bonus paragraph about GeoFollow.com.

Lots of people hear about Twitter, they try it out, and they stop using it after a month or less because they “don’t get it”. (Read Twitter Quitters Just Don’t Get It) A Nielsen study shows that 60% of new Tweeters do just that: quit.

Why? Maybe you weren’t following the right people? Did you follow anyone? Did they have anything interesting to say?

WeFollow.com

WeFollow.com

That’s the key to Twitter: Finding somebody interesting to follow, and maybe even follow you back. And this is where WeFollow.com comes in. WeFollow.com bills itself as “A User Powered Twitter Directory”. At WeFollow.com, Twitter users can categorize themselve with up to three “tags”, and then other users can browse or search through tags to find people to follow. Be aware, getting listed is a manual process, Twitter users must add themselves, it isn’t done for you automatically.

Getting Listed On WeFollow.com: The Easy Way

There are two ways to get listed on WeFollow.com. The easiest way is through your Twitter account. Login to your Twitter account and send the following update message:

@wefollow #tag1 #tag2 #tag3

…and replace the tags with one word tags that describe you. For myself, I sent the following update:

@wefollow #blogger #webdesign #longisland

I chose these three because I am a blogger (or I like to think so), a web designer (a developer, actually), and a Long Islander (all true).

Regardless, the update goes out into the Twitter public timeline (a wild and crazy place that will drive you mad) where it is picked up by WeFollow.com and their system adds you to the WeFollow directory.

There’s a second way to get listed which I will discuss later in this article. Actually, I used the second method. It’s more calculating. (Evil maniacal laughter rises).

Find Me Someone To Follow

Now, if you’re looking for someone to follow — someone interesting, funny, witty, informative, what have you — you can go to WeFollow.com. Once there you can browse through the popular tags shown, or you can search for tags of your own choosing.

The home page prominently displays the top 5 Twitter users listed on WeFollow.com in the  top 6 most popular tags. The top 5 Twitterers are determined by the number of followers they have. The most popular tags are determined by the number of Twitterers who chose that tag as one of their three tags. The most popular tags are currently #celebrity, #socialmedia, #news, #entrepreneur, #tv, and #music.

celebrities-wefollowThe sidebar shows the top 20 most popular tags and the top ten Twitter users (those with the most followers).

You can click your way through the tags, and when you find somebody to follow, you can click their user name to be directed to their Twitter profile page. Using the example from WeFollow.com shown at right, I can see that Ellen Degeneres show has a Twitter user name of “TheEllenShow”, and her Twitter account has 1.26 million followers, and the excerpt from her Twitter bio says, “Find Ellen’s monologue, celebrity photos and videos, games, giveaways, ho…” (Twitter apparently does some fact checking from time to time for the big name users. Fake or unconfirmable accounts are frequently disabled.)

Getting Listed On WeFollow.com: The Calculated Method

As mentioned earlier, there is a second more calculated method for tagging yourself on WeFollow.com. Using this method you can find out how popular a tag is before you choose it. Then you can decide if you want to be a fish in the ocean, a fish in the pond, or a fish in the fishbowl. Or maybe you want to be the fish on the plate. You decide.

  1. First go to http://twitter.com and login to your Twitter account.
  2. Then go to http://wefollow.com/add next.
  3. First you have to “Verify your identity on Twitter” by clicking “Authorize WeFollow!”
  4. Since we logged into Twitter first, all we need do at this point is click “Allow” to allow WeFollow access.
  5. Now we can add the three tags in the boxes (fields) provided.
  6. Last we click “Send! – Add me to WeFollow”, and that’s it.

Now at step 5 is where the calculating comes into play. As you enter your tag a list will appear under the field and will show the top 5 most similar tags along with the number of Twitter users on WeFollow.com who are using that tag. So, in my case, I was going to use the tag webdeveloper but found that less than 350 people were using that tag, while over 2,600 people were using webdesign. So I chose the latter so that more people would be likely to find my Twitter profile.

Similarly, while I am a techblogger, no one was using the tag techblog, and only 4 people were calling themselves a techblogger, but over 21,000 people were using the blogger tag. (Blogger is the 11th most popular tag.  Oooo, almost made the top ten there!) So, I chose to be a fish in the ocean there, and went with blogger.

Bonus: GeoFollow.com

GeoFollow.com

GeoFollow.com

A similar service to WeFollow is GeoFollow.com.  They use the three tag system, but since it is a separate site from WeFollow, you can use three different tags if you wish. From your Twitter account you can send the following update:

@geofollow Your City, Your state ZipCode #tag1 #tag2 #tag3

5 to 10 minutes later you will also be listed on GeoFollow.com. As you can see GeoFollow also allows you to list yourself by geographic location, so that people from your area can find you, too, and vice-versa.

So go out there and find yourself somebody to follow, and get back to Twitter. You could always follow me.

Flutter and other Twitter Humor

Some time ago I found this bit of humor from Slate magazine and SlateV.com on YouTube. The description read, “As Twitter-mania reaches new levels, Slate V presents a mockumentary about a company that wants to take microblogging to the next level.”

If you’re not familiar with Twitter, then check out my last post.

Here’s some other bits of Twitter related humor from around the web:

Got any Twitter humor of your own? Please share with a comment below. Links welcome.




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What is Twitter all about?

tour_1

A few weeks ago, someone asked, “Twitter. I don’t get it. How does it work? And what’s the point?”

I’m not going to pretend to be any sort of expert here but here’s what I had to tell them at the time. Perhaps I’ll elaborate more later, but I’d be happy if those of you who use Twitter would post your thoughts and answers to this question in the comments area below.

Anyhow, on to my answer.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck

There are many ways to use Twitter. One great thing is it is free to use. You can use it to keep in touch with friends or you can use it as a simple business communication tool. You can SEND and RECEIVE short messages either with your cell phone (SMS Text), from the Twitter web site, or from stand alone tools such as TweetDeck.

Twidroid

Twidroid

The mobile phone option is great if you’re on the go and can’t get to a computer. Some people worry that they’ll get too many text messages, but Twitter allows you to control who can contact you, what sort of messages get through, what time of day they are sent, and what’s the most messages you want in a day. Personally, I find SMS aspect to be too slow, so I use the Twidroid app for Android on my T-Mobile G1 smartphone. On the iPhone, Twitterific is a popular choice.

Twitterrific

Twitterrific

Plus Twitter allows you to receive messages through an email account in addition to or as an alternative to your cell phone.

Another advantage is there’s no address book to manage with Twitter and no need to update addresses. Twitter coordinates the connections between you and your followers for you. And people can opt in or out whenever they like. And your contact info is private.

Services like TweetLater.com allow you to have a summary of your daily messages and replies emailed to you.

Using the friends and cell phone option, let’s imagines you’ve registered your cell phone with your Twitter account. Then your friends could choose to “follow” your Twitter account. So let’s say you’re meeting a group of friends one day, and you have a change of plans, you could send one text message to your Twitter account, and then Twitter would forward a copy of that message to all your friends.

Or let’s say you’re producing a play, and you want to create some “buzz” about your latest production. You could tell people to “follow” your Twitter account to receive updates about the show on their cell phone or by email. So let’s say 300 people are following your Twitter account, you send out one message to Twitter and it forwards it to all 300 people. And if all goes well some of them will forward or “Retweet” to their friends and followers.

There’s more to it. You can send messages to everyone or to specific people.

But you can only communicate with people who chose to follow you, and whom you permit to follow you.

So if you want to talk to strangers, you can, but all they know about you is your user name and what you say in your messages. Even if you are sending messages from your phone, no one sees your phone number.

Some celebrities use Twitter to let their fans hear what they are up to. Many of them setup their accounts so their fans can receive messages from them, but can’t send messages to them.

So readers and Tweeters, what have you to say on the subject?  Please comment below or send me Tweet. List your Twitter address, if you like.




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14 year old arrested for texting in school

samsung-messager-now-from-cricket-2Several “news” web sites are carrying the story of a 14 year old girl in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin who was arrested at the school on Tuesday, Feb. 17 for texting in class.

Most of the sites report the story as it was originally reported on The Smoking Gun web site, in that they all wonder if it was necessary for school officials to call the police. Apparently, she has frequently texted in class in the past, and had frequently been told by her teachers to put away her phone.

Wauwatosa, WI

Wauwatosa, WI

Some of you may be thinking, “Wauwatosa!?!  What else are you supposed to do in Wauwatosa?” Don’t get carried away on the rustic name. It’s a city in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.

Of course, the details about the police interaction with the student are telling about the students honesty and trustworthiness:

1. The girl repeatedly denied having a phone on her person, but a subsequent frisking of the girl revealed a cell phone hidden in the back of her pants.

2. When asked for her mother’s phone number, the student gave several false numbers, just off by one or two digits before finally offering the correct phone number.

    Regardless of whether or not you feel it was necessary to call the police, it is clear that the student has problems with self-discipline and honesty. Texting in class is just another impediment to getting the most out of your education. Apparently she was texting in her math class, too. Tonight, she can show her parent’s how to deduct $268 from their bank balance for bail on disorderly conduct. It would be interesting to know what her grades are like, in general, and I’ll venture a guess she was texting other students in the building.

    Granted, people will say it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their kids better, but when they fall short of that goal are the rest of us supposed to excuse the child’s actions and say, “It’s not the kid’s fault. Their parents should have done better.” I don’t think so. In this case the crime is minor, and due to her age it will probably be sealed, so details won’t come out later. Perhaps if she learns anything from this incident she’ll turn around and have her record cleared later.

    In the meanwhile she’s been held on $268 bail for disorderly conduct. Hopefully her mother will discipline her appropriately, and, hopefully, the child will learn something valuable from this.

    Of course, she’ll probably enjoy the fact that she’s been barred from the school grounds for a week. Now she’ll be able to text her friends from the comfort of home unless her parent’s choose to take the phone away from her. Barring her from school was probably the most unnecessary punishment for her in this case.  She probably has enough class time to make up for already.

    Those of you who are reading this on your cell phones in class or in the conference room at work probably think I’m nuts.

    ————————————————————–

    For more on the story check out TG Daily, Fox News, and The Smoking Gun. Read the Houston Chronicle’s report on the Etiquette on texting. Got an opinion? Post it as a comment below.




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    Bad, Skylark, bad!

    skylarkOh, no, it’s been 7 days since I lasted posted. Don’t think I haven’t noticed, because I have. I had started writing a post this past weekend about the pending “shutting down” of analog television broadcasts coming up in less than a month on Feb. 17, 2009., but I hadn’t finished writing it on Monday as I had planned.

    I spent most of Monday on client calls out on the east end of Long Island, and had lunch with some colleagues of mine.  Then had to run back home and pick up my daughter from daycare.

    But I digress.

    Here we are on Thursday, and I still have no real new post for you, but rest assured, as soon as I publish the one you are reading right now, I will start writing a real post.

    Next up, the Nokia N97.

    Buy.com Sale is on

    Check out the posts from this past Saturday to see my recommendations. One of the posts was titled “Sneak Peek Sale. 16 GB Flash Drive for $30, and more”. In that post I pointed out a list of items I thought were either exceptional bargains or popular and useful items. The other was “Shoot underwater video for less than $200” in which I discuss the Sanyo camcorder that allows you to shoot 30 minutes of video under 5 feet of water.

    By the way, I received a thank you note from Buy.com on Twitter regarding those posts.  You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robertsaunders. Curious to know more about Twitter, send me a question or post a comment.




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    Happy New Year! Welcome 2009

    I’m wishing everyone out there peace, hope, happiness, health, and prosperity in 2009.