Sunday, April 26, 2009

MORE Twitter Spam - From ME & U!

I recently posted about a *NEW* type of Twitter spam that will be a problem going forward (see my previous post) .  This post is about an altogether DIFFERENT type of Twitter spam, and one you, me and especially Brands need to be aware of.

If you know my background, I am all about making products, and campaigns viral.  But there is a proper way to do this, and a SPAMMY way.  The devil is all about the details.

If you are part of the Twitterverse, than you already are likely familiar with needing to share your Twitter credentials with third party applications in order for them to function.  Most of the time, this is safe.  Some of these third party applications, in an attempt for them to become more viral are Tweeting on your behalf.  One example is  WeFollow is a simple directory of people who Tweet, that you can add yourself to.  After adding yourself to WeFollow they REQUIRE that you Tweet to your followers that you have added yourself.  I would prefer that they allow you to Opt-out from this, however at least they make it clear that you will be tweeting a message.  So it is my (your) choice in the end, if you want to stop the process in order not to send out their viral Tweet.

A few days ago, I had the misfortune of entering a contest for a Hyatt Hotel in Chicago.  They had hired a third party application to run their contest, "".  Twitter-Contest did NOT make it clear to me that they were going to Tweet on my behalf.  WORSE, and this makes me furious, They continued to Tweet their message to MY follows, using MY credentials every two hours, non-stop.  To stop this, I was forced to change my Twitter  password, so their spam app. could no longer Tweet their spam using my Twitter ID.

Spam apps. like RUIN it for the apps. (majority) that do NOT abuse using your Twitter credentials.  As more and more third party Twitter developers make an attempt to be viral, be VERY careful about this *new Twitter spam*.

You can follow and discuss this with me on Twitter, I am @A_F

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Twitter SPAM - It's coming

First you need to know, I am not picking on Twitter - nor am I singling them out. If you have distribution - email,IM,Social Network - ANYWHERE there is a mass audience you can be certain the spammers will get there. Now I have been threatening to do a post on how Twitter is all about the "Soft Sell" , and this STILL is not that. But this is how they will spam you, and why it is a threat to Twitter.

As an experiment, to prove a point - I threw out a bunch of random Tweets, with Keywords that I thought might be bait for opportunists.

[NOTE I had intended to upload a Photo to post HERE showing my random Tweets - but got a message from Google that I had exceeded my limit <---guess Google is doing belt tightening]

Bingo! Within 5 minutes of my Tweets I was followed by no less than 5 new follows - all having bios and links to websites that pertained to my different keywords.

While this is not a big deal now, Twitter WILL, no MUST address this and cut it off before it hits. We know that within the next few months, the same coders who sold spam it yourself programs in the 90's - will write programs that automate the process of spam-following. Then expect to see HUNDREDS of new follows a day - all trying to sell you something.

How do you think Twitter should address this? Agree? Disagree, have ideas? Please let me know - I am @A_F on Twitter

SMALL BIZ - U have the MOST to gain from Twitter

I am certain I wasn't the 1st to discover Twitter, but if you do a search on this blog for "Twitter" I certainly think I was one of the 1st to highlight how it would/could be used. What does surprise me though is that small biz has thus far been so slow to adopt.

Small business - Twitter offers you a tremendous opportunity. Here is how I recommend you use it (everyone can use it differently, the following is only ONE suggestion...I realize not everyone shares my views).

1) If you are a brand (ie a restaurant or retailer), I personally believe (like) your logo to be your avatar (not a picture of you personally).

2) For your Twitter name (not to be confused with Twitter ID), I like it when it is a 'human' name, but perhaps associated with a brand. Examples are Phil from Cisco. If you are a restaurant, perhaps your name might be John the Chef.

3) I personally do not like when a brand uses Twitter to only broadcast their specials, and news. It is not only OK for some of your Tweets to be conversing about things NOT at all related to your business. Want to tell me you walked your dog this morning? That's not only ok, it is recommended.

4) If you're a local business, there are ways to build a local following. When I recently moved to Phoenix, from New York, I used lots of great tools/websites to discover and follow people local to me.

5) Have fun in your tweets! People love to see your human side. If you're able to poke fun at yourself once in a while, that's a bonus. No one makes more fun of me, then me!

6) LISTEN - There are many tools that make it very easy to 'mine' Twitter for a potential new customer. As a real life example, I once Tweeted that I had a meal at Tarbels (a Phoenix restaurant that locals rave about), and did not enjoy it at all. It was not long after that I received a Tweet from the owner of another (competing) restaurant. This other restaurateur did a few things that made me want to visit. First, they defended Tarbels, indicated they knew Tarbels owner personally, and that my bad meal muse have been a fluke. Then they GENTLY (Twitter is all about the soft sell, but that's a future post by itself), suggested I might like their steak Au jus (I forgot the actual meal they recommended).

7) Once you have built your following (you should always be looking to build it continuously), consider having contests. The devil is in the details, but I like one's that add a charitable component. Don't make it to difficult, but suggest a few simple components to qualify;
1) They need to follow you
2) They need to RT a message (i.e Follow @RAYPIZZA RT - I love Rays Pizza - To win free Pizza for a month).

8) Hold Tweetups. This works best for a bar or restaurant, but if you're creative ANY business can do this. A Tweetup is telling people there will be a joining of other local Tweeple at a certain venue, on a future date. Consider offering SOMETHING to those who attend the Tweetup (i.e. 1st 10 people who show up get a free... or ALL who attend will get 25% off ...etc).

Please tell me YOUR story of how you use Twitter in your business. If you do not own a business, please tell me of your experience with a business that you follow.

BTW if You are new to Twitter, or have not yet read - This is a MUST READ:

Twitter Ten Commandments:

You can talk to me here on Twitter.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Twitter - Congratulations on your STARS (Here's Why!)

There is a lot of *noise* on Twitter lately with Ashton Kutcher hitting the 1,000,000 follows. Some people like it, some do not - most don't care.

But when you have the rockstars on Twitter (Kutcher, Oprah , Ellen Degenerous , SnoopDog , John Mayer, etc) and the follower counts are in the six-seven figure ranges you get something else. Stellar demographics from the sociosphere!. As just an example in it's simplest form, let's assume that I am an agency that will be launching an upcoming Rap Star, and his newest single. I will easily be able to data mine the social networks for not only 'mentions' of like artists, and other profiling - but sociographics that also include information like who I follow. I know this is only one more new piece of information, but in it's entirety, we finally have enough to create intelligent algorithms.

As I have alluded to in an earlier post (Facebook - Google's real competition), Social Networks will soon start to realize their true inerrant value. If you look underneath the hood at Twitter and Facebook, there's "Gold in them thar hills!".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dude where's my Twitter?

OK - I have to admit that as someone who has been tweeting for a year, I was not threatened by Ashton Kutchers recent challenge (Calling out CNN that he would be the 1st to achieve 1,000,000 followers on Twitter). After all, I (we) can limit all the 'noise' by simply following who we want... If I want nothing to do with Ashton, I simply don't follow right? WRONG...

I am learning a few things that trouble me. First, I am hearing from MANY Tweeple that once you follow Ashton (as well as CNN), you can NOT unfollow. I am certain that Twitter will blame this on a bug, but come on! Wake up and smell the roses. @EV has a big announcement coming tomorrow... Anyone not yet realize yet that it is their first user to break the 1 million follower - and that this will not be broadcast on OPRAH?

It bothers me that we (The ORIGINAL TWEEPLE) have followed REAL people... yes, even celebs like @the_real_shaq who "@" you back - have a conversation, follow you, and are REAL. Now, all of a sudden with "Twitter goes to Hollywood" we are going to start seeing all these false celebs...many who have hired ghost writers, and the ones who ARE real...simply using Twitter as their tool to spam their fans.

The reason it bothers me, is that I am already experiencing a sea-change in the 'spamminess' of followers lately. EVERYONE has something to sell! I guess it is just the maturation of Twitter, but come on @EV do you have to be in bed with the whole scheme?

You can follow me (if your not a fraud) at Twitter, HERE

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Twitter Sponsor Space confirmed

If you blink - You might miss it:

Acknowledged by @Twitter as a "bug" *WINK* .... But certainly points to a future revenue stream - at least in their thoughts

You can follow me on Twitter here