Category Archives: Twitter

What Social Media Really Deserves

Shitter Toilet RollHere at GNC, we pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our writing, but for one article only, it’s going to go down the pan….literally.

Much of the Internet is full of crap and Twitter is responsible for its fair share. Put the two together and you get Shitter, toilet paper printed with a Twitter feed of your choice. No, really.

It’s a bit pricey to clean up your number twos at $35 for four bog rolls but imagine the satisfaction you’ll get from wiping your arse with the musings of some Z-list celebrity. Alternatively you could view it as a post-modern critique of the “me” culture.

Perhaps “sheeting” will catch on as the verb of the year – remember you heard it here first!

Twitter – A School Playground

Twitter LogoTwitter has always come in for criticism over the inanity of some messages; people describing what they’re having for breakfast or other mundane activities that are of no interest except to their own ego. However, the Internet and Twitter will always reflect the composition of the real world so it’s irrational to expect every tweet to be worthy of the Poet Laureate.

Despite this, the level of tweet erudition at times fails to rise above the level of the school playground. Take the traditional childhood mantra of last resort – “My dad is bigger than your dad.” Transferring this to Twitter, Piers Morgan and Sir Alan Sugar frequently go back and forth regarding the viewing figures for their respective television shows. It’s as if neither of them have quite grown up. Not only is it childish, it does them a disservice for both have considerable achievements.

At times I wonder if it really is the personalities tweeting or whether it is an extension of their entertainment persona into the on-line world. Regrettably, I have to conclude that they are who they purport to be and there is no redeeming reason for their behaviour. Lest it be taken that I’m singling these two out, I’m not. Any seasoned Twitterer will recognise these behaviours in celebrities and it seems that their carefully managed stage act is left behind once the real person gets hold of a Twitter account.

Perhaps I’m just not a big enough celebrity-watcher. I don’t read Hello or any of these weekly fame-orientated magazines. I follow people, whether famous or otherwise, because we have a shared interest. Whether it’s entrepreneurship, technology, motorsport, music or literature, doesn’t matter; I’m not following you because you are simply a celebrity.

So it is with regret…@Lord_Sugar – unfollow….@piersmorgan – unfollow.

And if anyone wants to follow me, I’m @andrewhpalmer. I guarantee the egocentric tweets will be few and far between.

Contest Post-Tweeting: How People Don’t Read Contest Info


Next week I’ll be headed to San Francisco for TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. Naturally, I added the hashtag #tcdisrupt in my Tweet deck. I went through the posts, and one seems to keep coming up:

TechCrunch Giveaway: White iPad 2 and Nook Color #TCDisrupt {link removed} via @techcrunch

I went to the page in question and they gave away a White iPad2. Yes, I said GAVE AWAY. This was for TechCrunch Disrupt in New York that happened back in June.

This is not the first time I’ve seen this tweet reaction. Someone sees a post saying “Win this, retweet and your entered”. You do so, but you don’t see the link they post. Now you’ve just entered into a contest that has been over for months.

I have held contests from time-to-time. I remember one where I was trying to increase my followers and said to Twitter the link information and hashtag. Weeks after the contest, I was still getting tweets. I even remember one guy who tweeted me “Did you draw a winner yet?” I had to reply “Yes, but that was back in April.”

This seems to be an interesting way to build people, but also is a bit deceptive. Of course, if people don’t read the rules, it’s not your fault, right?

In this case, I would say “wrong”. Why? Because TechCrunch hasn’t updated the page to say in the first line “CONTEST OVER”. Even in the title, they should put that information.

In the meantime, people are thinking they’ve just entered a contest for a white iPad2.Too bad they didn’t win…

Where Do They Find the Time?

Twitter Icon

I am not a Twitter user.  I have a Twitter account but I don’t remember the last time I logged into it.  Even with just a handful of friends, I felt overwhelmed in trying to keep up with it, and as a rather wordy person, typing what I wanted to say in 140 characters is pretty difficult.  For the short time I used Twitter, I found it difficult to keep up with the postings, and generally found very little useful information once it was all said and done.  I guess for me I’m more of a blog reader, or a podcast listener.   I have wondered, for a long time, how people who are big users of Twitter keep up with it all.

An article in my local paper today brought that rumination to the forefront once more.  The story talks about a bit of a Twitter “war” that took place after a comment from a teenager about how much better St. Louis County is than St. Louis City.  We are one of those odd places where there is a core city, operating under its own governing system and considered the “independent city of St. Louis,” and is surrounded by a larger county full of municipalities, 92 in all.  It’s very complicated and I’m not sure why it ended up this way, but there is a bit of friendly rivalry between those that live on the city side, and those that live on the county side.  So the post by the teenager, who was a Miley Cyrus fan, was commented on by the official St. Louis County Twitter account, which the official St. Louis City Twitter account had to counter, and it went back and forth for several hours, devolving into a name-calling flame war.  In the end, there were posted apologies.

Do the officials of my metropolitan area have nothing better to do with their time?  With the government’s time? And really, for most Twitter users, don’t most of them have something better to do with their time?    I may sit in front of a computer all day, and I may keep half an eye on my facebook account throughout the day on a tab in my browser, but I’m far from posting constantly or allowing conversations to devolve in the way this particular Twitter exchange did.   I have paperwork to complete, deliveries to make, students to train, payroll to submit, filing to complete, etc.  I have plenty to do. In fact, I barely have time to go to the bathroom or carve out lunch some days, much less spend a day having a public online argument about nothing!

Is part of the problem the very nature of the Twitter service to begin with?  Tiny comments, without elaboration, don’t give much room for nuance, nor do they give the person reading them a full idea of the true intent of the comment.  The fact that this devolved so quickly into a flame war leads me to believe that too little being said is almost worse than too much being said.

But I just gotta wonder…where the heck do people find the time to keep up with something like Twitter?

New Infographic – The Demographics of Social Media

The website Advertising Age released a cool new infographic comparing various social media – namely Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  There are some interesting facts revealed here.  For instance the Social Media space is lead by the 35-54 age group, the leading country for Facebook is the US, but the second is Indonesia, the leading country for LinkedIn is also the US, but it’s followed by India, and females outpace males as Twitter users.

While some of this strikes me as common sense (like Twitter being dominated by the 35-54 age group), some of it amazes me (like there are significantly more female users and visitors to Twitter).  For anyone who runs a web site this is pretty good information to have.  It can provide a lot of aim to your marketing and SEO efforts.  For those who don’t run a site it’s still a bit of pretty interesting information to parse over.

demographics of social media

Like It or Tweet It?

For full disclosure, I am not a user of Twitter.  I have a Twitter account and dabbled in it a year or so ago, but haven’t logged on in months.  I am, however, a daily user of Facebook.

Eventbrite recently concluded a study of Tweets and facebook posts as connected to event sales showed that facebook “likes” resulted in higher sales than Tweet posts.

I’m actually not surprised by this.  Despite the fact that Tweeting is “hot,” the fact is that more people are using facebook than Twitter.  On Twitter, I can follow tweets from friends and public figures and entities.  I can follow those same sorts of people on facebook, for the most part.  But the fact is, most of my contacts on facebook are friends.  There are maybe a handful of contacts on my facebook that I haven’t met in person.  And I take my friends’ recommendations highly.  On Twitter, I can have thousands of “contacts” but those aren’t people I know. I’m also not swayed easily by recommendations from the “stars” or others that I don’t personally know.

I wonder if other companies will research which of their social networking nets the most gains in sales and/or income.  I am inclined to believe that, for the moment, facebook is the overall leader.

Follow The Cycling Season Online

If you are fan of Pro Bike Racing, specifically of the big stage of the European circuit, then there’s a great resource to follow it live with both data and video.  You will want navigate your browser to ProCyclingLive and follow their Twitter feed and also their Live Stream.

What you will get when you follow them?  Follow them on Twitter and you will get a live stream of updates from every major race, updated every few minutes with leaders, time gaps, distance, and lots of other tidbits.  If you have Twitter on your phone then this really becomes indispensable when your are away fro home.

But, even better, if you go to their website and click Live Streams you will find links to video feeds of the major races with multiple links for different languages.  Video can be spotty at times and you may have to try a second link on occasion, but it’s surprisingly solid most of the time.  Video does tend to be somewhat time delayed so if you don’t want a spoiler then don’t check Twitter while watching it.

There are lots of somewhat sketchy sites that carry online video of live sports, but ProCyclingLive is a reliable, above-board site that you can rely on.  Most of these races are not carried on American TV, which makes it a must-visit for US fans of the sport.

Globaltel Media’s Cherple for SMS and Texting Chat

Tom and Todd get texting with Globaltel Media‘s free SMS chat platform, Cherple. Robert Sanchez, President & CEO, takes them through it.

Cherple is a free web-based SMS texting client, which in itself is not unusual – there a plenty of sites which can send SMS messages. But what makes this a little bit different is that the recipient can text the sender back again, even though the sender is at a computer. A whole text chat can then follow, back and forth.

It’s web-based, so can be used from any web browser, but Windows and Mac downloads are on offer, too.

Cherple currently only works for texts to US-based cellphones, but Globaltel are expecting to setup local Cherple sites in ten countries in the coming months.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Lazyscope Review

This is a review of the application Lazyscope which was release as a beta recently. There are a couple of things that I hope they fix or add in the future. The first is they need to add Facebook any more that is a must for any social media application. Something tells me that this is in their future. It is an air application, which makes it a nonstarter for a lot of people and also limit it to the desktop. Finally my biggest complaint so far is that when you close and reopen the application the feeds you added are gone and you have to add them again. This is something they definitely have to fix before going publc. If you are not afraid to try a beta application and don’t mind a few hiccups I would recommend trying this application. Below is some screen captures on how it works.

Lazyscope Overview


This is how LazyScope looks like when you first open it. Your twitter account information on the left hand side, in the middle are the updates and on the right hand side is where the stories open up, when you click on them.

Subscribing to Feed


If you pull up a story from a Web site and you want to follow that Web site rss feed, you simply click on subscribe. Now when that web site updates it will show in your stream along with the incoming tweets. You can also add feeds manually by clicking on the top plus button and just add the url.

Reading Feeds


If you just want to see a particular rss feed update you just click on it. Then you will just see the updates from that feed.

Viewing Content


To open up a story in the right panel just click on the arrow within the update. If you want to close down the right panel just click on the arrow on the far right

Posting Content.


There are two ways to post with Lazyscope, the first is to hit the post button and it will post with no credit to the original poster. The second way is to hit the repost button within the update and that will give credit to the original poster.

Is Twitter all That?

I use Twitter every day, but being I have about a million other things to do, like work! I do not have time to follow the ever updating stream of information. Sure I take a look 3 or 4 times a day but I do not live on Twitter.

Some have made the argument that because of Twitter and Facebook, that RSS and RSS Readers specifically are dead. I find this ridiculous because in the world that I live in, along with the 6000 people we represent, without RSS we would be out of business.

Most of the luminaries saying this are individuals with significant influence in the online space. They are often privy to information before the news even breaks, and have significant online followings. Robert Scoble is one of many that has been on the RSS is dead campaign I like Robert and respect his opinions, one thing for sure he obviously has significant connections in the valley. Could his influence and connections be skewing his perception about how important RSS and RSS Readers still are? Not all of us live in that circle of influence. Robert attributes Twitter as his primary source of news and information.

The question to ask is how is he getting that info. I have 5k followers, and only get 1 or 2 direct messages a day. So from my perspective news and information is not coming from the followers maybe this why he made the following statement. Robert made it clear in a recent blog post about the new Twitter design that he could care less about his followers.

This is shocking out of context, but when you read what he has to say about the new design, Robert says it does not do enough to improve the functions of lists. Robert has a number of lists, those lists is where he gleans most of his news and information. That information is largely from those that “he” follows not those that follow him. So what he is saying without saying it, is to only pay attention to those you follow and ignore the rest. Which in my conclusion is why he says he could care less about his followers?

We all know the volume of chatter on twitter is staggering and impossible to keep up with, I follow a lot of people largely because they follow me, maybe I have been using Twitter incorrectly. For me it’s too time consuming to build lists, if there was a easier way to really separate the wheat from the chaff, then Twitter would become more valuable to me.

I like Twitter, but it is not my main source of news and information. I get that from a handful of websites and about 1000 other unique blogs I follow in Google Reader. Google Reader gives me one thing Twitter is not able to do. Google Reader guarantees I will not miss something while I have been working, and I can look back at the days news and get my self caught up. I react like everyone else about the big news events. But I still like to dig around in the weeds for the rest of the story.

Until twitter finds a way to feed me a steady stream of info that I want without a lot of hassle, then the RSS Reader will continue to be my daily source of news and information. 140 characters is never enough. Twitter will never replace blogs if you think it will try and grab a tweet you made 2 years ago off of Twitter.