Archive for the 'Twitter' Category



Twitter starts to tweak its tweet stream, to better compete with Facebook

Monday 1 September 2014 @ 9:30 am
Twitter starts to tweak its tweet stream, to better compete with Facebook

From the addition of video into the newsfeed to sponsored tweets, Twitter has recently been making changes to what its 271 million users see on their stream. Now the social media platform is doing its best to ramp up its advertising revenue — and to tweak what tweets its users see, in order to compete more effectively with Facebook.

By and large, the company’s efforts are working. Last year, Twitter demonstrated how promoted tweets can help to boost offline sales by 29 percent. In July, VentureBeat reported that Twitter had doubled its ad revenue in the previous quarter. And earlier this month, we learned how Twitter’s new video cards are changing how consumers and brands can interact with and embed video content into the Twitter stream.

Beyond these examples, Twitter has also rolled out sponsored profiles, which allow any user to pay to have her profile promoted, as well as  recommended tweets, which can appear in your stream when someone you follow has favorited that particular tweet.

So far, these adjustments to the tweet stream are relatively minor: Adding a few tweets here and there, not filtering the stream as a whole.

This is a markedly different strategy from Facebook, which heavily filters its feed using EdgeRank, an algorithm that determines what is displayed and how high it appears in a user’s newsfeed. By contrast, Twitter’s news feed is almost entirely unfiltered.

But these additions are definitely a change in the way the Twitter newsfeed is presented.

Much of this is experimental, as you might expect. You might get the impression that Twitter is on a path toward deviating from its ever-updating, stream-of-consciousness style stream. In fact, the notion that people can’t mute promoted tweets sounds a lot of alarm bells in the “This is just like Facebook” department.

So how far will Twitter go?

“The thing that makes Twitter unique is its live feed,” says Danny Wong, growth hacker for Shareaholic, the creator of popular social sharing buttons that appear on many websites. He believes that Twitter’s current experiments with how it presents its newsfeed are “doomed to fail.”

“Soon enough, [Twitter] will realize that copying Facebook won’t work because it simply isn’t Facebook.”

Twitter could be seen as scrambling a bit.

“Surely it’s concerned with the fact that it drives less referrals to sites than Facebook,” says Wong, noting that Facebook accounts for 23 percent of Shareaholic’s referrals, while Twitter has just 1 percent, according to a July report.

But Twitter also must be concerned with how overwhelmed people get simply trying to keep up with the ever-moving stream of their feeds.

“Many tweets go unread and aren’t resurfaced the same way Facebook does it,” Wong says.

Twitter & EdgeRank: An “exception to the rule”

Whenever two platforms are going head to head to increase their user bases, there’s usually a rule in play: When one introduces a new feature, the other(s) will follow suit.

“I think the exception to the rule for this is EdgeRank,” says Stacey Miller, keynote speaker and the senior social media community manager for the Vocus Marketing Suite business line. She doesn’t believe Twitter wants to become more like Facebook when it comes to that algorithmic aspect. “Twitter is such a powerful micro-content network. … Filtering news feeds based on an algorithm rather than the preference of viewing the firehose would probably be a turnoff for power users,” she says.

She’s also quick to note that you can easily create lists of people you want to pay particular attention to on Twitter. If you want a narrower focus, you can access that already — you just have to create a list or subscribe to someone else’s list.

“There is so much outrage around the Facebook algorithm, both from consumers as well as brands,” Miller says, “I’m not sure Twitter will take such a risk to filter relevant content.”

Feed filtering algorithms just aren’t very Twitter to start with. It goes against everything Twitter promotes itself to be — your up-to-the-minute view of the world. It’s all about real-time updates and interaction, not algorithmically calculated lists of what the systems thinks you’d be most interested in. No, that’s Facebook’s realm, and most experts across all areas of social media agree that Twitter would be foolish to dip its toes in EdgeRank-like waters.

However, there is some argument in favor of an EdgeRank for Twitter.

“There is a lot of noise on Twitter, and at some point there is going to need to be a way to filter that noise out,” says Tom Spano, former head of global event marketing for Twitter. While he’s certain the company is already working on a system similar to Facebook’s to filter out relevant content, he notes that there are many things users can do right now to filter the noise. “For example, you can choose which languages you want to see your Tweets in, and you can mute or block users to keep them off your feed,” he says.

What’s next for the Twitter newsfeed?

To sum it up? A combination of more of the same and more targeted, custom-tailored content. At least, that’s according to the social media experts we talked with.

Aaron Strout, a digital social strategist, believes that location, via self-reported and geo-tagged tweets, “will play an increasingly greater role in how tweets get targeted and delivered to end users.” People would have the ability to opt-in or opt-out of this feature — but, he says, “the onus [would] be on brands making their content that much more relevant.”

Spano thinks one of the biggest issues with the current Twitter newsfeed is feeling that you always have to be on it “for fear of missing out.” Hashtags help remedy some of this, he says, but there needs to be another way to “elevate” the most relevant content for specific users.

“Rather than creating user lists of important follows, which may be too technical for many users, these tweets will instantly rise to the top of my feed when I log in based on my choosing,” Spano says.

Twitter’s role in customer service can’t be discounted either, says Spano. In the near future, “[w]e’ll see a lot of companies heaving up on their inbound community managers to handle the influx of demand from customers wanting real-time, instant satisfaction regarding issues,” he says, noting that “the days of calling in and waiting on hold are over.”

Of course, much of this is just speculation. But one thing remains certain: Twitter can’t just use an EdgeRank knock-off to build relevancy in its newsfeed. A different, more subtle approach is required. One that maintains the spirit of Twitter but moves the social network forward, too.

A tough balance, to be sure. It’ll be interesting to see what stays, what goes, and what’s on the horizon.


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Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »











Gillmor Gang: Summertime Blues

Saturday 30 August 2014 @ 9:02 am
Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Dan Farber, Robert Scoble, John Taschek, Kevin Marks, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor. This one seems more like an AA meeting for Apple addiction, as the Gang stumbles around pretending to be interested in Twitter tinkering with the Favorites model while just killing time until September 9. The reason we’re in reasonable humor is that we know we’re in for… Read More



11 TechCrunch Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week

Friday 29 August 2014 @ 3:10 pm
TC-weekly-roundup1 Before we take off for the long weekend, check out the best stories from the past week (8/23-8/29). After months of rumors suggesting that Google was prepped to snatch up Twitch, Amazon ended up dropping the money to make this deal happen. Alex Wilhelm originally reported the news for TechCrunch, but Kyle Russell offered some critical analysis about how Amazon’s acquisition is too big… Read More



Twitter rolls out analytics tools for everyone

Wednesday 27 August 2014 @ 11:52 am
Twitter rolls out analytics tools for everyone
Image Credit: hank Mitchell

Twitter says analytics are for everyone — not just advertisers and verified users.

Twitter engineer Ian Chan today announced that Twitter’s activity dashboard, a tool which gives select Twitter users insight into their feeds and followers, is rolling out to all users now.

The newly available dashboard gives users access to tons of stats about tweet impressions, engagement, retweets, and replies.

More to follow.


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Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »











Social Media Is Silencing Personal Opinion – Even In The Offline World

Tuesday 26 August 2014 @ 8:05 am
facebook-sign-89 Social media is not living up to its promise of being an online outlet for discussion that mirrors our communications and conversations that take place in the offline world. In fact, people are less willing to discuss important issues on social media, than they are in real life, a new report from Pew Research Center has found. It may seem like an obvious conclusion: of course, people are… Read More



Gillmor Gang: WineQuake

Sunday 24 August 2014 @ 3:11 pm
Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, Keith Teare, Kevin Marks, Dan Farber, and Steve Gillmor — woke up and fell out of bed in what was the most dramatic quake for most of us since ’89 and in my case LA in the ’70s. For the wine industry, this will have major impact, coming as it does as the Napa Valley goes to harvest what is called 25% of the US market. The major… Read More



4 alternatives to increasingly expensive Facebook ads

Friday 22 August 2014 @ 1:30 am

GUEST POST

4 alternatives to increasingly expensive Facebook ads
Image Credit: Assets via Shutterstock & Facebook, illustration by Eric Blattberg / VentureBeat

The news that the average cost of a Facebook ad had jumped 123 percent compared to a year ago was disheartening for small businesses.

Until recently, growing businesses and startups had found the social media site an affordable place to post ads. But competition for Facebook’s limited ad space had become fierce, prompting the company to look for ways to offer more effective ads for a premium price.

Since many small businesses have limited ad budgets, blowing an entire month’s advertising budget on one Facebook ad is likely not an option. Because Facebook advertisers pay for each click, the extra expense snuck up on many of them, appearing on their monthly statement gradually over the past few months.

What’s more, brands haven’t exactly been enthusiastic about the results they get when advertising through the site, claiming little ROI.

If your small business is looking for an alternative to Facebook, here are a few options to explore.

Twitter

While Twitter still hasn’t passed Facebook in popularity, the site has 271 million monthly active users. The micro blogging site tries to attract SMBs through the Twitter Ads program, which allows businesses to set their own campaign objectives. Once those are in place, businesses pay only for user actions that specifically align with those objectives, helping save money on wasted clicks. The fact that campaigns are based on a business’s overall objectives also ensures each ad placement is as effective as possible.

Reddit

With more than 17 million unique visitors each month, Reddit is a serious contender for small business ad dollars. The company is specifically reaching out to SMBs with ad prices as low as $5 with a CPM of $0.75. The site has Subreddits, where users are divided into categories based on their specific interests, and businesses can take advantage of that by placing ads to users in categories relevant to their products or services.

Pinterest

This scrapbooking-style website has a customer base that enjoys sharing information about unique products with other members. Its business model makes it ideal for small business advertisers who are often interested in introducing new products to consumers. Pinterest allows advertisers to bid on ad units specific to various categories, such as home décor or fashion.

LinkedIn

For B2B brands or companies that target professionals, LinkedIn can be a great resource. The site offers ad prices beginning at $10 per day. With LinkedIn, businesses get to choose which of the site’s members see the ad and where ads are displayed. Advertisers also set a budget for their campaigns, including how much they’re willing to pay for each click. Because ads are targeted to only those members you want to see them, you’ll reduce the amount you pay on wasted clicks from people who wouldn’t be interested in your brand.

The rising costs of advertising on Facebook are sure to send many small businesses in search of alternatives. There are many other similar sites that can offer a better ROI while still allowing you to remain within your advertising budget. Find the demographics that are right for your brand and choose your ad strategies accordingly.


Drew Hendricks is the COO of AudienceBloom, a digital agency. He’s also on the board of advisors for an incubator in San Francisco called Founders Space.


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.


Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »











A map of how the news of Ferguson spread through Twitter

Saturday 16 August 2014 @ 2:07 pm
A map of how the news of Ferguson spread through Twitter
Image Credit: photo credit: id-iom via photopin cc

After a young African-American man was shot in Ferguson, Mo., the news spread through Twitter like wildfire.

Through the #Ferguson hashtag especially, Twitter users spread news updates, asked questions, sought information, and engaged in dialogue around race relations in the U.S., police violence, journalists’ rights, and much more.

Twitter has created an animated map of the U.S. — and the world — of the Twitter activity related to Ferguson, Mo. since the outbreak of the events, using geo-targeted tweets connected to the events into a CartoDB heat map too.

Understandably, much of the activity happened around Missouri, but it’s interesting to see that the news and Twitter activity had noticeable activity in other parts of the world.

Other useful and interesting maps of Twitter data have been made before, such as the earthquake map from Stanford scientists.

(h/t to PBS)


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.


Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »











Gillmor Gang: What’s That Sound

Saturday 16 August 2014 @ 9:00 am
Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, Keith Teare, Kevin Marks, Dan Farber, and Steve Gillmor — struggle with the news and raw emotions of the death of Robin Williams and the Ferguson upheaval. The intersection of social and mainstream media is no longer the big story it once seemed to be. Instead, the speed with which technology, particularly mobile, has transformed not only the… Read More



Anonymous drops the ball in cop murder of unarmed black kid in Missouri

Friday 15 August 2014 @ 10:32 am
Anonymous drops the ball in cop murder of unarmed black kid in Missouri

Anonymous screwed up.

The shadowy collective of hacktivists, a hydra with many tentacles but no clear leader, invested itself into the race-tinged mayhem unleashed by the community of Ferguson, Missouri, where an overzealous cop killed an unarmed black teenager earlier this week.

Anonymous launched a massive DoS attack on Ferguson’s city servers Thursday, which caused them to crash and forced cops to use text messages to communicate. Predictably, it also went after the cops themselves, hacking city servers for personal information about the police chief and his kids, which they posted online, press reports said.

To top it off, the hackers erroneously released the name of the cop who they believed murdered Michael Brown, 18, on Sunday. In fact, the name they released was an innocent local resident who wasn’t involved. The Ferguson police chief named the cop who killed Brown: Darren Wilson.

Interestingly, Anonymous members took to online forums before the DDoS attacks. Some discussed potential targets and methods to be used, all helpful information for federal law enforcement who monitor the chats in order to get a leg up on Anonymous methods and communications.

The dissent between Anonymous members that ensued with the online posting of the wrong guy played itself out on a Twitter account, @TheAnonMessage, which has since been taken down and was used to release the name. A backup account has been established, @TheAnonMessage2.

The murder of a seemingly innocent kid by a cop is odious to say the least. And Anonymous, which wields considerable power and whose aims are oftentimes good, blew a chance here to help affect change and create a dialogue on race.


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