Tag Archives: hashtag

Stop Doing Follow Friday Wrong

Only two hours into the day on the East coast, the #FF Tweets are already flowing through my stream. I tend to not pay much attention to these, as they seem to be the same every single week. It’s not that I don’t want to find new people to talk to – I do! But you’re doing it all wrong, guys. Those boring demands could end up making me unfollow you, instead.

Fun fact! Follow Friday was originally started by Gnomedex speaker Micah Baldwin.

Don’t send out a message telling me to #FF as many names as you can fit within the 140 character constraint. When you do this, you aren’t adding a single bit of value. Why should I follow Kimmie or Ron or Mary or Blake? What is it about these people that make them so spectacular? Choose instead only one person to promote. Give me their name, and explain to me why I absolutely need to pay attention to what they are saying.

Asking people to send out a #FF with your name attached is even more wrong than spamming me is. Hello? Have you ever paid attention to a single thing any social media expert has ever said? Being this self-serving is going to cause your numbers to drop faster than almost anything else I can think of. The Internet is not all about you, no matter how good or deserving you think you are. If someone out there feels that you have something to say that others need to hear, they will automatically tell their followers – without you begging them to do so.

Along those same lines, what’s up with RT’ing every #FF post which has your name in it? The people who will see this are already following you. They don’t need to be told to do so again. I had hoped the purpose of this was to get your followers to also follow the others mentioned in the same Tweet. Sadly, I asked a bunch of users for clarification. Each and EVERY one of them said they did it to show that someone felt they were worthy of following. In other words, they were showing off. *facepalm*

Lastly and most importantly, remember something my Community Manager Kat once said: “Community isn’t about connecting people to you… it’s about connecting them to each other.” THAT is the sole purpose of Follow Friday: connecting people to each other. This, in turn, creates more conversation in your own neck of the woods. Use your powers to connect users to each other instead of trying to gain more followers for yourself. You’ll be amazed at the results.

I promise.

Will tweetbeat Put an End to Twitter Hashtags?

During TechCrunch Disrupt today, tweetbeat announced they are finally ready to go live. Kosmix calls TweetBeat “the end of hashtags”. With their service, there would no longer be a need to take up valuable tweet space with those annoying #words. I know that they are used to help track events, people and places. You have to admit, though, that it’s frustrating enough trying to say what you need to say in less than 140 characters. It’s even more frustrating when you have to also fit in that almighty hashtag.

tweetbeat scans more than 90 million tweets every day in order to identify the hottest topics and trends. It only shows you the best tweets about those topics. This is done by figuring out who the influencers are for any given topic, such as when Gnomedex happened. tweetbeat scans each tweet for semantic data. They also look at signals such as how much a given tweet has been replied to or retweeted.

tweetbeat lets you follow the most interesting things in real-time. You’ll discover what is being said about any event right as it is happening. You can even push a virtual pause button, taking you back to a specific moment in time. There’s a little slider tool which lets you track down the exact second a topic burst into the limelight. If you connect your own Twitter account to the service, you can quickly retweet (or reply to) anything seen on the service.

For example, over the past few days there have been almost 64,000 tweets about Disrupt from over 11,000 people — but only a small percentage have used the “#tcdisrupt” tag. TweetBeat found the tweets anyway.

If this service works half as well as it appears, we may just be able to finally put an end to hashtags. I’m still playing around and testing it out. Keep an eye open in coming days for more information and insights.

World Cup 2010 Country Flag List

I happened to find this nifty little trick a few moments ago on Twitter. My eye caught a few tweets that went floating by on my screen that dealt with the World Cup. The tweets were in support of completely different countries and teams, but they had one important thing in common: they all carried a tiny little country flag embedded right in the tweet. I went on a quick search around the web to find out what was up, and then tried it out for myself.

Already today, there were reports of millions of tweets being sent out that had to do with the World Cup. People on Twitter want to discuss it and show their support. Twitter has decided to respond in kind with some fun support of their own. If you send out a message with one of the short country code hashtags in it (or even the official #worldcup hashtag), a little country flag will show up next to that hashtag once your tweet hits the web.

The popular micro-blogging site has also set up an official Twitter page to help you follow all of the World Cup action. The page will help keep you updated on the events and activities and provide you with links to other important sites around the web. “Using live widgets, real-time search, and Top Tweets (updates that are currently catching the attention of many Twitter users) we’ve put together a special site to capture the spirit of the World Cup and it’s already pulsing with activity. Fans have a unique opportunity to connect with players, teams, and brands using Twitter to join the matches in a new way. We also are providing a list of suggested accounts to follow during the tournament and a World Cup theme for your profile page.”

What country are you supporting during the World Cup?

Disclosure and Compliance Made Easy

On December 1, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission began requiring bloggers and social media gurus to make full disclosure statements. This was done to “protect consumers from potentially misleading information.” Many of us in the blogosphere had been doing this for quite some time, as we believe in transparency. I know that I personally have always tried to be as up-front as possible when it comes to my sponsors and products I have received as review units. The same holds true for many of the people in my “circle” – as well as those whose blogs I follow.

It was pretty shocking to read all of the headlines surrounding this mandate. For those of us who were already practicing full disclosure, it was as though we were being slapped in the face. It almost seemed as though people who follow us were suddenly wondering if each of us has been getting something for nothing, or trying to “dupe” our communities. Bloggers who have worked hard for years were suddenly being scrutinized. Social Media mavens had their every tweet examined by people looking to point fingers. It was an intense time in the communities I belong to.

Even though much of the finger-pointing and name-calling has died down, we still have the FTC standard to uphold. Even though we may have already been following the guidelines, we still catch ourselves wondering if we’re doing it right. Did I put the proper wording in that last post? Did my tweet include all of the hashtags it should have? Am I being 100% transparent and open in the eyes of the government?

*Photo art courtesy of Jeannine Schafer*

If you’re one of those people who are unsure and want to have your confidence bolstered in this area, I highly suggest you check out CMP.ly. This company in no way sponsored this post – or anything else, for that matter. I met the company CEO at SXSW in March via my friend Jenn, and he graciously agreed to a video interview. However, due to some technical difficulty with Ustream, the recording didn’t save out properly. The service is such a potential godsend for some people that I wanted to spread the word however I could.

CMP.ly helps you comply with the FTC guidelines by making it simple to disclose things. There are solutions for bloggers, brands, agencies and even affiliate marketers. The company has “created a set of easily identifiable disclosures and codes that can be used to identify any material connections in your blog posts, tweets or other communications. These disclosures give you flexible options and provide you with both short codes and full text disclosures that can be included in your posts.”

Not only does the service make it easier for you to manage your disclosure, it also works across nearly all mediums you might need. Use them on posts, in tweets or via SMS messages. One cool highlight is that your disclosures will stay intact when in RSS syndication or when spread via a re-tweet. This makes it easier to keep track of than a hashtag on Twitter – or via a keyword in your blog.

There are seven levels of disclosure listed on the CMP.ly site. Each of the levels is clearly defined so that you can figure out where your post or message may fit in.

  • CMP.ly/0 – No Connection, Unpaid, Your Own Opinions – This level indicates that you have not received any compensation for writing a piece of content and you have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned therein.
  • CMP.ly/1 – Based Upon a Review Copy – You have a material connection because you received a review copy (book, CD, software, etc.), or an item of nominal value that you can keep for consideration in preparing to write your content.
  • CMP.ly/2 – Given a Sample – You have a material connection because you received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write your content. You were/are not expected to return this item or gift after the review period.
  • CMP.ly/3 – Paid Post – You have a material connection because you received a cash payment, gift or item of nominal value from a company affiliated with a brand, topic and/or product that is mentioned therein.
  • CMP.ly/4 – Employee/Shareholder/Business Relationship – You have a direct relationship with a brand, topic or product that is mentioned therein. Details of this material connection or relationship are outlined in the custom disclosure fields.
  • CMP.ly/5 – Affiliate Marketing Links – You have a marketing connection to a brand, topic or product. Through the use of affiliate links contained in your material, you may collect fees from purchases made.
  • CMP.ly/6 – Custom Disclosure – You have a direct relationship with a brand, topic or product that is mentioned in your writing. Details of this material connection or relationship are outlined in the custom disclosure fields.

Whether you agree with what the FTC wants us to do or not, the fact remains that you honestly don’t have much of a choice. Personally, I don’t understand why someone would not want to be transparent and honest with their audience. Then again, I’m not inside of their mind or conscience. At the end of every day (and every post I write), I know that I have done my best to CMP.ly.

Have you?