Posts Tagged "twitter"

A Different Conference Experience

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in conference, opinion

Today I attended an “emarketng” conference hosted by the city’s major college – by their business school actually – which I suppose would be the nearest local competitor to where I work. 

I’ve never felt so alone! So helpless! The opening keynote by Mitch Joel was fantastic, bang-on and inspiring.  It home when he described his job as the type where his wife had to ask him every few months what he did again and how they paid for their house when he spent some much time on Facebook? I’m not sure anyone in my family or social networks knows quite what I do for a living, or how I keep dog food in the bowl. 

One or two times a year, I pop on a plane to somewhere random in the United States and within a few hours I’m sharing apps and drinks with a group of people who know what I do.  For a collective 6 to 8 days a year, I’m surrounded by the warm hug of people who know what Twitter is and are passionate about the size & content of the display picture used on a Facebook Page. 

These semi-annual occasions are conferences for web professionals and marketers in higher education.  Today, I attended a conference for professionals on the topic of e-Marketing in my hometown.  That warm sense of co-nerdiness was missing.  Although the keynote was fantastic, it was in a room without wifi or cell service – in fact, there was no wifi all day! When I was able to get reception, I tweeted to the world – hello, is anyone here? – and got no response.  This was a far cry from last October’s HighEdWeb conference, where the session rooms were bursting with silent online conversation. 

It was a very different experience.  I’m glad I went – it is important to support the web and social media community of business people here so that hopefully it will take off running.  I have no idea why the community of local social media professionals and gurus were not in attendance.  Last year at Podcamp London, we actually were able to trend the conference on Twitter! But today, in the same city, the feeds were quiet.

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Google Buzz: #FAIL or Fab?

Posted by on Feb 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

For me, Google is the new LinkedIn.

I have a Google account linked to about 20 of Google’s various services. Analytics, YouTube, Reader, Alerts, AdWords, Docs, Maps, FeedBurner, Notebook … and these are all great services that have a huge impact on what I’m able to do via the Internet – as a consumer of information, as a “webmaster” …

The one thing that is absent from my experience with all of these services (for me) is “social.”

I have a gmail account with zero contacts, because it exists only to log me into my other services. I use Google Reader to share what I’m reading – but I do this by running my Reader RSS feed through into Twitter. I have subscribers on my FeedBurner account, but I have no idea who they are.

YouTube is social – but I don’t happen to be one of those users that has subscribers or makes comments.

Really, it’s the professional tools that have had me adding connections. Our web team is all on Google Analytics. We use Docs to manage our incoming work requests. And now, I’ve dipped my toe (very shallowly) into Wave to collaborate on a conference.

The thing about professional services … is that these are the people that i want to put up walls with. Not because they aren’t fantastic – I spend more time with them than most of my friends (thanks 9 – 5), but it’s just plain smart to separate personal from private.

So it looks like I’ll be treating Google Buzz (and all Google products) as a professional network. I’ll run my twitter feed through it – because I use Twitter to publish things that I am comfortable with having completely public. Almost 0% of my “personal” social network uses twitter.

There are things that are only of value/interest to my “professional” world, and others that are only of interest/appropriate for my “personal” world. Then there are things that might appeal to either or – especially as both services continue to mainstream and the lines blur.

So what does Google Buzz mean to me? Another service that I will pump my Twitter, Blog and “what I’ve been reading” list through. I’m almost hesitant to even set up a profile – it’s informal/fun fields (super power?) set a tone for glib content that I might live to regret three years down the line when I stumble back across it and realize that my funny-at-the-time answers have been floating online all this time in the background on a network I forgot about because there was no motivation for me ever to come back after filling out the profile back in February 2010.

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Facebook & LinkedIn show better results over time for sharing links

Posted by on Feb 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Our redesigned alumni newsletter was emailed out this past Tuesday evening. On Wednesday morning, we created 3 separate links and used each on a different social network when promoting the online newsletter.
We posted status updates with the links on Twitter and Facebook, and started a discussion including the link on our LinkedIn alumni group.
Twitter started showing clicks immediately, and LinkedIn showed almost no reaction at first. Facebook was somewhere in the middle. After a few hours, Twitter stopped showing activity, Facebook continued to plod along and LinkedIn started showing activity.
In the end, Facebook brought us the highest number of clicks (9 of a total 22). LinkedIn came in second over Twitter (7 of 22), and Twitter brought in 6 (of 22)
Here is a little table:

Population Clicks % that clicked
LinkedIn 2405 7 0.3%
Facebook 638 9 1.4%
Twitter 263 6 2.3%


  • Twitter responded the quickest, but had little impact after the first burst
  • Facebook and LinkedIn provided results over time: content on these networks has a longer lifespan
  • Facebook yielded the best return for us but Twitter users were the most engaged
  • The LinkedIn post would have been emailed to the 2,000+ members of the group whereas neither of the other networks would have had this type of support

Overall, I’m glad that there are services such as Seesmic/ and TweetDeck that streamline this for us – because 22 clicks is not a huge yield out of an overall audience of 3,306 (0.6%). LinkedIn is the service that I haven’t been able to streamline yet, which means that I have to post once to Twitter+Facebook, and then post a second time to LinkedIn – and it’s also the service that had the lower return.

Note: I could probably update all 3 in a single go via, so I should look at this with our next announcement (though lately we’ve been trying to do individual posts on each network as much as possible, rather than carbon copies across all three). #hashtags seem to throw off some Facebook users, also Facebook has a higher character count as does LinkedIn, etc.

Learn More & TweetDeck beat Seesmic at new RT format (aka “fun with @karlynm”) 0 & TweetDeck beat Seesmic at new RT format (aka “fun with @karlynm”)

Posted by on Dec 2, 2009 in socialmedia

I used to have a private twitter account, and I also used to (and continue to) heavily recommend new users start with a private twitter account.  During #eduweb09 I “unprotected” my tweets as I usually do during conferences (meeting new people! sharing!), and never ended up re-protecting.  (I also turned off auto-direct-messages to new followers – it’s just gotten tacky in my context, whether or not it’s still OK for brands etc is something I’d argue/discuss).

“Protecting” your tweets almost gives you a sense of false security.  Anyone that has access to your tweets can easily retweet your content, even if you are protected.  They just copy your words and paste them into a new tweet with RT @your-username.  There just hasn’t been any way of stopping this! (And still there still isn’t).  My favourite example of just how weak privacy is on Twitter is when @bradjward announced my new leg tattoo to the audience of his workshop at #eduweb08 – good thing I’m in marketing & not accounting?

Karlyn Morissette (marketing strategist, higher ed web geek, speaker, consultant; also known as @karlynm) recently tweeted about the topic of twitter protected accounts and we ended up running a little experiment to test out the new retweet format.

The Results: removes the “retweet” button on protected tweets!


Click for larger image

Tweetdeck (Adobe Air/Desktop) warns you when you are about to retweet a protected tweet!


Seesmic just lets you keep going as usual.


Anyone with access to a protected user’s tweets can still blab/repeat those tweets all over the internet (similar to how they can bring them up in conversation, text a friend, mention in an email or wall post). BUT now to do so, users have to get manual instead of the nice easy retweet button – which means they will have to intentionally work around the person’s privacy, and tweetdeck users are getting hit with a note about the privacy line they are about to cross. Big picture result: heightened awareness of a previously low-profile privacy glitch & hopefully fewer retweets of protected content.

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Tweetdeck vs Seesmic (Why I Use Seesmic, for now).

Posted by on Aug 5, 2009 in marketing, opinion, socialmedia

Tweetdeck is touted as the go-to Twitter desktop application, and now with an apparently fantastic iPhone app to match, it will probably become even more widespread.

That said, I only use TweetDeck on my backup computer.  Day to day I use Seesmic, and keep TweetDeck on backup so that I keep on top of any updates to the program as they are released.

Here is my point for point breakdown of these two solutions, as a (higher ed) marketer:

What they both offer …

Both offer a nice little text area where you can type your proposed tweet and then submit.  Both offer character count downs, both have a visual cue for when the tweet has gone past the available 140 characters.

Both have columns for Friends’ Timeline, Replies and Direct Messages.

Both allow one-click re-tweeting directly from the timeline.

Both support short URL services (i.e. and photo services (i.e. twitpic).

Both let you add your Facebook account & view your Facebook friends’ updates within the dashboard.

Look & Feel

Both applications look great.  My personal preference runs to Seesmic’s aesthetic, however TweetDeck actually gives you the option of customizing your interface colours to taste – which is nice.

Verdict: TweetDeck (more flexible)


Both offer one-click follow/unfollow options straight from the avatar of another user.  Seesmic seems to connect the new follow to whatever account found it.  For example, if a mention from @username gets pulled into the dashboard by account1 (i.e. @username tweeted something that included @account2) and I click to follow this user who apparently talks about me, Seesmic adds @username as a followee of @account1.  If I have more than one account, I may want to follow @username from more than one of my accounts – or I may want to follow it from @account2 because I tend to use @account2 more often. Another example would be if i have @corporateaccount and @anonymousaccount, there are certain people that I would probably prefer to follow from @anonymous account versus the official corporate one.

Tweetdeck, on the other hand, pops up a lightbox asking which account(s) youwould like to follow from. (Yes, I said account(s)! You can follow from multiple accounts in the same number of steps it would take to follow from just one account – no do overs).

Verdict:  Tweetdeck

Interacting with Other Users

Anytime you type “@” or “d “, Tweetdeck pops up a lightbox user list for you to select from.  For example, if I want to reply to a tweet that I have just read, all I have to do is click reply (on both Tweetdeck and Seesmic).  If I want to direct a tweet to someone off the top of my head, Tweetdeck gives me a list of users to pick from whereas Seesmic requires me to remember character for character what their username is.  And the Tweetdeck user list filters down if you begin to type characters of the person’s username – similar to Facebook’s search boxes.

Verdict: Tweetdeck

Managing Your Community

Both Tweetdeck and Seesmic let you lump the people you follow into groups, so you can choose to just view local friend tweets, colleague tweets or tweets by those who share your fanatic love of knitting.

Creating a group in Tweetdeck:

Click to create, type name, check off the users you would like to include from a check list of all users you follow.

Creating a group in Seesmic:

Click to create, type the name, and then one by one you go through your Friends’ timeline and click their menu/options and then Add to Userlist, then select the desired userlist from a dropdown list.  If you want to add them to more than one userlist, you have to repeat the process.

Sub-Verdict: Tweetdeck

Managing a group on Tweetdeck:

Can’t remember if @summerbff is in  a particular list? Open that group and scroll through the list of every user you follow (alphabetically) and see if there is a checkmark beside @summerbff.

Is it getting close to June and time to add @summerbff back into your favourite group? Open that group, scroll through the list of every user you follow (alphabetically) and check the box beside @summerbff. If you have more than one person that you want to add to a user group, it is easy to scroll through the list and add checks beside multiple users.

Managing a group on Seesmic:

Can’t remember if @summerbff is in a particular list? Select that list from your handy side column and then click the edit icon to see who is included in the group.  You can also change the group name from this screen.  There is also a nice little delete icon beside each user in the group, to enable one click exile if anyone has gotten filed in the wrong group (or has crossed a line such as accusing you of liking @summerbff more than @winterbff and is now in your bad book).

Time to add @summerbff to a group in Seesmic? Click the menu for that user, select Add to Userlist, and then pick the userlist from the drop down menu. If you have more than one person you want to add to a user group, you need to repeat the entire process.

Verdict: Seesmic (I like adding people in a single click, versus scrolling through giant lists every time, I also like being able to delete multiple users from the group edit screen, and being able to change the group name).

Facebook Integration

Both are equally limited in that neither allows you to add multiple Facebook accounts, and neither allows you to add Facebook Pages.

Both pull in your Facebook friends’ status updates.

Seesmic lets you “like”, “comment” and add to your seesmic user groups.

Tweetdeck lets you either retweet or email (through your default email client) a friend’s status.  It also shows you whether the user is online and allows you to activate a Facebook chat with the person in a new window – neat!

Neither pulls over your Facebook friend groups.

Verdict: Seesmic (because who wants to email a Facebook status to someone?)


Seesmic won me over with constant upgrades.  The application isn’t perfect, but fixes and new features get added almost weekly.  Plus, Seesmic emails me when new upgrades are ready and makes me feel special as part of their supporters team. Plus, when I tweet about Seesmic (pros or cons), one of their many corporate accounts usually replies to me within the day and offers help.  Plus, their communications constantly reference user requested features or user reported bugs, which reinforces the impression that they are truly developing according to the community’s needs.

Tweetdeck doesn’t so much update.  Correct me if I am wrong, but since January 2009 I believe there have been 3 or less (I can only remember 1 for sure) update to Tweetdeck. Once, a new version of Seesmic started crashing on me everytime I used it, but at least a new version came out within days! If Tweetdeck doesn’t suit my needs, I don’t have a lot of hope that things will change in as quick a fashion.  And I have never received any communication, mass or otherwise, from Tweetdeck. Ever. I hear about it on and when I bother opening the program and get an upgrade prompt.

Verdict: Seesmic

Managing Multiple Accounts

This is a big one for anyone using Twitter professionally.  Both applications allow you to add multiple accounts, and to view replies, directs and friend timelines from each.  Seesmic does this great thing where it puts all my friends tweets (regardless of account) into a single column.  It puts all my replies/mentions (regardless of account) into another column.  And, it puts all my direct messages (regardless of account) into yet another column.  In order to make sure my organization is up to date on any outstanding replies or direct messages, I have to read two columns (replies and directs).

On Tweetdeck, I can pick and choose which accounts’ friends, replies and directs are shown but the huge disadvantage is that each accounts’ replies are pushed into their own column.  This is the same with direct messages, and with friend timelines.  For example, if I want to check for new replies/directs from four accounts, Seesmic makes me read 2 columns and Tweetdeck makes me read 8.

If I want to read new tweets from users that I follow, Seesmic aggregates them into a single column for me (I can choose to filter by account if I want to) and Tweetdeck makes me read a column for every account I own.

Verdict – Seesmic (hands down)

Usability & Conclusion

For day to day use, Tweetdeck really takes the prize in every department except for managing user groups and multiple accounts.  It is easier to address messages to other users in Tweetdeck; it’s easier to address tweets to other users without having to remember their usernames; it’s easier to create a list and populate it with multiple users.  I also find it easier to select which account(s) to tweet from much smoother and intuitive on Tweetdeck.

That said, as a marketer, I follow a lot of users from a lot of different walks of life.  Being able to easily swap them in and out of user groups wins over being able to easily create a group in the first place.

Also, between 9 and 5, I am there to get a job done. Being able to scan two columns and return to my task at hand confident that I haven’t missed anything beats carefully reading 8 columns any day of the week.  8 columns that next week will be 10 columns, and then 20 columns – whereas the Seesmic approach will always be just 2.

Another workplace downside to Tweetdeck is the lack of notification options. Turn them on, or turn them off. Seesmic’s are a little more flexible – I’ve been able to tone them down to a workable level whereas Tweetdeck’s full force or nada approach is too intrusive for my workday.

Tweetdeck has some forward thinking features – such as Facebook chat integration.  And the ability to create a account and carry your setup from computer to computer (rather than adding all your accounts to every computer you use, creating user groups on every computer you use, setting up your dashboard on every computer you use), is fantastic.  In the end, it doesn’t win over Seesmic’s aggregation of information across accounts – and until it does, Tweetdeck = #FAIL.

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