I think social media is amazing for many reasons, at the top of the list is the ability to turn online connections into real life relationships. I’ve experienced this many times, from tweetups to business meetings, and I marvel at how far we have come with technology over the last decade. Recently I wrote a post asking if there was a photographer in the San Francisco area that would be available to join me for an afternoon at Alcatraz Island with my kids, and advertised it only via my blog, Facebook and Twitter. I wasn’t sure what kind of a response I would get, and was surprised that I actually received over a dozen serious inquiries! Photographers from the very new to the very experienced got in touch with me, and all of them sounded great. I ended up picking Matthias Giezendanner from Matthias Photography, he sounded like he would really fit in well with me and the four kids, the pictures on his site looked great, and his bio really made the decision for me.
Somebody asked me today about how to get a Twitter feed emailed to them. This isn’t technically getting it in email format (although there are ways to do that), but I think it’s a great solution for anybody using Outlook 2007. In this video I explain how to grab a feed and put it into Outlook, and then some of the things you can do with it including:
- Keep an archive of all tweets
- Search tweets for keywords
- Forward tweets (great for monitoring competition and circulating to your team)
- View original tweet
If you have any questions, tips or tricks, add them in the comments on @ me on Twitter.
Spam on Twitter has been on my mind a lot lately. It could be the influx of unwanted replies that I talked about earlier, or the very positive actions by the Twitter team yesterday to purge known accounts, or the constant stream of “get more followers today” that I see. No matter, spam on Twitter is only going to get worse before it (hopefully) gets better. Anywhere people gather electronically, unscrupulous marketers will find a way to put get rich schemes or magic blue pills that promise a lifetime of pleasure information in front of us against our will. Spam isn’t just for email anymore.
We can work as a community to help slow its advance however, and I want to tell you the very simple way I do my part and ask you to do the same with just a couple of easy steps.
I’ve seen some interesting things pop up in my “mentions” on Twitter recently...public declarations of people that I stopped following or blocked. Unlike Qwitter that sent you emails when somebody stopped following you (that is, when the service worked…which it stopped long ago as far as I know), and SocialToo emails you a daily list of those that no longer subscribe to your updates, this new public method seems to be picking up steam and bots like Follower Monitor are popping up everywhere.
Personally I don’t care. The people that I unfollow or block are by and large spammers. Usually the accounts that I part ways with are telling me how to “get 400 new followers on Twitter every day!” or “make money online with this sure-fire, turn key system!”. Very rarely do I unfollow somebody because I don’t like what they are saying or doing, I’m pretty open to conversations that differ from my own views.
I’m not the only one noticing this, people like Jeremy Isaac see this too and call it like it is: spam. It’s spam because it shows up in my replies stream because my name is mentioned, and it annoys me because it’s the result of somebody that I’ve blocked or unfollowed. It kind of feels like they are saying to me, “oh yeah, you’re going to block me? Well then I’m going to show up in one last message of yours and there is nothing that I can do about it!” I think there is something we can do about it, let me detail it for you.
Have you seen the uber-popular YouTube video “United Breaks Guitars”? I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post so you can, it’s well worth 4:36 of your time to see this creative and funny look at poor customer service. Seems Dave Carroll from the band Sons of Maxwell had his guitar broken while flying on United Airlines, and just a handful of days ago released a music video detailing his complaint. If we take what he says as truth, he spent a year trying to get some resolve and was repeatedly told “no”. Personally I believe him because I’ve dealt with similar issues while traveling, and the corporate “no” is just too common.
If you run a business, big or small, you need to pay attention to what is happening in the world. The days of burying customer complaints are over, you need to develop a social media strategy to handle social media issues.
Whether you run a corporate or a personal Twitter account, your background image can say a lot about you. I want to explain my often questioned background, and then give you some pointers for what makes an effective background for company tweets.
I get a surprising amount of direct messages from people telling me that they like my Twitter background image, and they want to know what it is. Popular guesses include “steel mine” and anything to do with railroads. Off-the-wall guesses include stuff from the Sci-Fi channel and “jet engine factory”. The real answer is…a copper mine! Not just any copper mine, it’s one that my great-grandfather was the manager of in Arizona. I don’t know the exact date of the pic, but from what I understand (and this is understanding passed down a few generations, so who knows if it’s true or not) he actually took that picture. It would make sense to me as I pulled it out of a photo album that included dozens of other pictures of him, other family members and more pics of Arizona copper mines than I ever thought possible.
UPDATE: I spoke to the fine folks at Mashable, they did a good write up here. Also, the official Twitter Status Blog has an update, blames the suspensions on “human error” and they are working to restore everything.
I reported last week that my Twitter account was suspended, but it appeared to be isolated to me and wasn’t wide sweeping. Twitter was very quick to get me up and running, and their official explanation was:
At some point, a botnet tried to push out some of your updates as their own. This means that when we took out the botnet, you went with ’em. You’re back, and you should be safe from now on.
Today more suspensions are sweeping through Twitter,and even though my account was suspended again it wasn’t just isolated to me. In fact it was so rampant in the early afternoon that it started to trend as a hot topic. The suspensions have hit small accounts and large alike, and don’t seem to have a preference for who you are or what you do. Corporately I’m aware of both Blockbuster (@blockbuster) and a section of the L.A. Times (@latimestot) getting taken out, privately it ranged from myself to Kim Sherrell to ModelSupplies and everyone in between.
When Adventure Girl Stef Michaels invited me to the 140 Smiles event I knew I couldn’t say no. 140 Smiles is the official pre-event for TWTRCON and is designed to raise money and awarenes for Operation Smile, a 501(c)3 organization that helps children all around the world. I’m going to ask for your help with this (just scroll down a little if you want to get right to it), but wanted to share with you a blurb about what this great organization does.
Since its founding, Operation Smile volunteers have treated more than 130,000 children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities and the organization has a presence in 51 countries. In addition to contributing free medical treatment, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its partner countries and leaves behind crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency.
To know me at all is to know that I am extremely sympathetic to groups like this and have personally worked to help people (particularly children) around the world in different ways for most of my life. I know that most of you feel the same way, so I want to ask you for your help. It’s really quite simple, you’ll make a huge difference and you get to play around with Twitter! What could be better?
I’ve recently been getting a lot of emails from FriendFeed letting me know that somebody new is now following me over there. I have started receiving so many that I decided it needed to look into it…was I suddenly interesting whereas I was not before, or was there some change at FriendFeed that I needed to know about? Turns out I’m still not interesting, but there are some exciting changes at the social media aggregator FriendFeed, including the ability to import all of you Twitter friends’ feeds.
Okay, I get it…the Swine Flu is big news right now and it’s dangerous and I need to wash my hands and not lick toilet bowls in Tijuana and all that. I think I’m taking plenty of precautions. However, my Twitter stream is lighting up all day long with stuff about the Swine Flue and I don’t want to hear about it anymore, so what to do? This very simple trick will show you how to filter out all mentions of Swine Flu, or anything else for that matter. And yes, I do think that it is ironic that I wrote this post on the same day that I have mentioned the Swine Flu at least three times. And yes, Chumdinger is a friend of mine, and I loved his link in this screenshot :). Keep in mind that this tutorial is specifically filtering out one key word, but you can use it for anything, to remove or to search.