Twitter Learns from Pinterest

While tools like Storify have been doing something similar to this, Twitter’s newly unveiled custom timelines feature could be incredibly popular (and valuable for your business):

Starting today, we are introducing the ability to create custom timelines in TweetDeck. Custom timelines, which were just announced, are a new type of timeline that you control by selecting the Tweets you want to include.

via Twitter Announces Custom Timelines For Hashtags Or Topics On Tweetdeck, Launching API Too.

For instance, here’s a quick curated timeline I just put together:

Why are these important and not just another random Twitter feature that only a few power users will use?

Think of this as the ability to “pin” Tweets into curated lists as you would do with images around certain topics on Pinterest. While you can do something like that by favoriting tweets (something I love to do), being able to assemble tweets in a non-timed based manner and more focused on certain hashtags or topics is exactly what Twitter needed to compete with other social services.

It looks like Twitter learned a great deal from Pinterest here and this is going to be popular with live sports events and reality shows like The Voice (pictured above). Your business could benefit.

Read More

Facebook’s Big Problem

Beautiful and well-argued post from The New Inquiry:

Facebook is like a television that monitors to see how much you are laughing and changes the channel if it decides you aren’t laughing hard enough. It hopes to engrain in users the idea that if your response to something isn’t recordable, it doesn’t exist, because for Facebook, that is true. Your pleasure is its product, what it wants to sell to marketers, so if you don’t evince it, you are a worthless user wasting Facebook’s server space. In the world according to Facebook, emotional interiority doesn’t exist. Introspection doesn’t exist, and neither does ambivalence. There is only ostentatious enthusiasm or null dormancy.

It’s worth your brain’s time to go read the entire piece, but the above paragraph is the penultimate one that makes the clearest comparison that non-techies can understand in the middle of talk about algorithms and organic searches.

Facebook’s main problem, in my opinion, is that the company (from the releases to date at least) doesn’t put stock in the power of its many users. Certainly, with a billion or so people using the service that seems like a fantastical idea. However, we continue to see growth in companies like Twitter and Google that, while relying on algorithms themselves, do much more than Facebook to maintain some transparency in their dealings and actively work to include the voice of users beyond what they might want to receive in the form of marketing messages.

When it runs out of its hydrogen and helium, Facebook will inevitably implode because of its own gravity into a black hole that will suck in all of the web or into a cooling dwarf star that is but a shadow of its former self (or a very cool quasar but that’s probably not going to happen). I’m betting on the dwarf star. We’ll look back on this period of the web and wonder what sucked us all in to its gravitational pull and why we fell for it. Books will be written about the cognitive surplus that web users enjoy post-Facebook while relying on services that will still be shining bright like Twitter.

In the meantime, let’s demand more than to be treated like a captive audience from the services we use.

Read More

Marketing Is Evolving; Don’t Get Stuck

Fantastic post from SumAll today:

The Switch to Continuous Marketing – SumAll – Blog: “Social media platforms and analytics provide an immediate, continuous feedback loop that puts marketing into an entirely new cycle. It’s now possible to get a faster, deeper sense of your potential customer and to tailor marketing materials to a highly specific demographic.”

This is a concept that we embrace and focus heavily on at Harrelson Agency.

In the past, marketing campaigns were structured differently and might have done pretty well for the time. However, we’ve seen a gradual shift and trend towards online marketing in the past decade or so as the web has grown and social networks like Facebook and Twitter emerged. While paid search still dominates over social media traffic this year, that’s likely to change in 2014. Marketing via social media is bound to become the larger of the two traffic drivers and that’s due in large to the in-depth analytics and insights tools that services like Facebook and Twitter offer to advertisers. Old-school marketing (create, launch, sit back, evaluate) doesn’t work as well anymore because marketing on the web is a continuous process that requires lots of creative thinking, sweating the details, and monitoring (in real time, not when the campaign ends) exactly what works and what doesn’t. And if something doesn’t work, you can always change it and see where you went wrong.

Tools like SumAll and Chartbeat are fantastic for tracking how your campaigns are doing and what kind of traffic you’re getting, but even the out-of-the-box solutions that Facebook, Twitter, et al offer are pretty good.

Read More

Twitter for Corporate PR

The great thing about twitter is that you can use it to connect with pretty much anyone at any level in any company. It is also used by writers, editors, journalists, bloggers and media types of all persuasions. It is also easy for anyone to pick up, so you can get started today, and if you cannot then find someone who can help.

Everyone has their favourite publications that they like to read: find out which publications your audiences like to read. How would you do that? Ask them, survey your customers and suppliers: you can do this formally or just by casually asking them in conversation.

Research those publications for the edits and contributors and find them on twitter. Listed to the conversations which they are engaged in and see if you can contribute something of value within those conversations and make additions. Then when the topic of conversation comes around to an area which you can really contribute something of value add that, ideally with a link to a blog post or video or some other point of content that you have which shows a source of interest.

You can also ask those writers what they are writing about at the moment, and if they are looking for other elements to contribute to what they are researching or looking to research in future weeks and months.

Trend spotting: we all have our pet fads and things we really like and are interested in at the moment or on an ongoing theme. Reading someone’s twitter stream will provide you with that insight. See if you can spot which journalist or blogger has what pet project. Make a hobby of it and then when you have something of interest to say on that topic tweet it to them and see if they pick it up.

Online as in the real world, some people are much more open to being approached and talking to new people then others are. Find those that communicate only with their friends and those who like to communicate with a wider audience. It is those people you want to connect with.

Looking for corporate Social Media Management? Check out Experience Advertising for effective, pro-active social media management for your company.

Read More

Facebook Competition, Murray Newlands Fan Page Facebook Competition

The Murray Newlands Fan Page is a resource for affiliate marketing and social media innovation, as well as a great place to find other people who are doing just what you are- growing an online presence. Beginning this week is the End of Summer, Murray Newlands Facebook Fan Page Competition.
By becoming a Fan at the Murray Newlands Fan Page you will have access to great affiliate and social media information- The blog, the @MurrayNewlands twitter feed, conference recaps and photos and other resources.

But what about the competition? It’s a way to have fun and grow the community! The two best things about Facebook in the first place. (And you can win $100!)
With that, here is how you enter the End of Summer Murray Newlands Facebook Fan Page Competition.
What: End of Summer, Murray Newlands Facebook Fan Page Competition
Who: You
Where: MurrayNewlands Facebook Fan Page
Why: For that one last bit of creativity at the end of summer! (and to win $100)
How: To with the $100 prize, show how creative you can be at recruiting people to the Murray Newlands Fan Page!

Here is how you enter the Facebook Competition :
1. Become a Fan of the MurrayNewlands Facebook Fan Page and invite ALL your Facebook friends to join.
2. Tweet this message: “I signed up for the @MurrayNewlands Facebook Comp – $100 prize! Sign up @ Plz RT”
3. Post it to your Facebook Wall.
So how do you win the Facebook Competition?
The Facebook competition winner will be chosen at random on the 30 August 2009 by Murray Newlands. No purchase necessary. Murray Newlands’ decision is final and the rules are by his discretion. You must be able to take payment by paypal.

Read More

Famous People on Twitter and Twitter Marketing: What is the Effect?

Famous People on Twitter are changing the way Marketing on Twitter works. Twitter is one of the newest social media networks around, so there are few established rules or standards as far as marketing in general, and some social media purists argue that marketing has not place on Twitter at all. From the looks of it, marketing on Twitter isn’t going anywhere- and neither are famous people on Twitter.

Famous people on Twitter seem to have the same magical influence over their Follower base that they have over every other kind of media- public fascination. Ashton Kutcher’s @aplusk profile is the ideal example of this. After his much publicized race with CNN to 1 million Followers he then skyrocketed to over 2 million just 6 weeks later. 6 weeks! Celebrities use Twitter however they want to- just the other day @aplusk tweeted (to his 2 million + Followers) that his friend was writing a book and could really use some feedback on the first chapter. I don’t know the numbers, but if even ½ of 1% of those Followers clicked through to the book, that’s 1000 people looking at a book they probably wouldn’t have otherwise heard of.

Social media does beg a different marketing approach, and the presence of famous people on Twitter has both profound and under-the-radar effects on Twitter marketing. The presence of famous people on Twitter and how they use the micro-blogging service exerts an influence over the etiquette, the approach and the metrics of Twitter Marketing.

Here’s how Famous People on Twitter Influece Twitter Marketing:

1. Tone- Famous People on Twitter utilize the personal tone that is the calling card of Twitter. On any other media platform, their relationship with the general public is carefully scripted. Twitter’s essence is real-time, personal connection, and that changes how famous people on Twitter interact with their Followers, leading to an expected tone with marketers. Marketing messages on any media are traditionally scripted as well, refined to get attention and evoke a call to action These kinds of messages on Twitter are not as effective. Top-down entertainment doesn’t work, and neither does top-down marketing. If famous Twitterers can teach us anything about tone it’s that there is power in the personal.

2. Personality and Trust- Famous People on Twitter have large numbers of “Followers” just because they are already famous. That’s just how it is- they are celebrities. As I have said, Twitter is based on personal interaction- old marketing techniques and a lot of newer online marketing is premised on delivering a message TO people. While there have always been spokespeople or brand representatives, never before has there been such an emphasis on personal reputation and trust- what Chris Brogan called “Trust Agents.” Marketers on Twitter represent themselves and a group of products rather than the product in a group of people. Personal branding people and bloggers utilize strong personal branding abilities to grow their own Follower base- they themselves become famous people on Twitter by using Twitter effectively.

3. Conversation- People on Twitter expect conversations and respond to them positively- even @aplusk or @THE_REAL_SHAQ are talking to people they probably haven’t met in person. Most messages in traditional marketing have been one-way and top-down. Again, just as famous people on Twitter interacting with people who aren’t famous and breaks the content delivery mode of traditional entertainment, so is the normalizing of conversation on Twitter challenging marketers to change the traditional content delivery mode of marketing.

My own blog competition has seen a lot of traffic from even semi famous people on twitter tweeting about it to try and get votes. And as Twitter continues to grow, the influence of what one trusted person has to say will only grow.
The personal nature of Twitter is changing how we view our relationships with famous people on Twitter, and that changes the way people expect marketers to act and interact on Twitter.

Guest post: Murray Newlands works in affiliate marketing and affiliate management. You can find out more about him at

Read More

AIM Mail Widgets: Webmail Finally Growing Up

I logged into my AIM mail account today. That’s not something I do frequently. However, if these new widgets I found waiting for me are any indication of future development, I may be giving AIM (how about AOL Mail?) a second look.

aim widgets.jpg

AOL is famous for having been a walled-garden portal in the past. However, as I wrote last week, AOL is really on the ball with the whole spirit of the open web by introducing ways to bring in content from such places (competitors?) as Yahoo Mail, GMail, Twitter, Facebook, etc on the main AOL homepage, which does millions of impressions every month.

And the results from this newfound embracing of openness are more engagement, more pageviews and more attention. AOL is on to something.

With these new widgets in AIM mail, you can integrate Yahoo Mail, contacts, AIM, AOL Finance, Mapquest, etc within your inbox. GMail has this same feature with its Labs platform, so it’s good to see competition there. The trick with AIM is that they are bringing in properties from outside the AOL universe (unless the AIM Mail team knows something about a Yahoo/AOL deal that we don’t). Nifty.

However, my main question is if this is a sign of the future? Will you eventually be able to update Twitter or your Facebook status (or send Facebook messages) within AIM or AOL mail as you can on the AOL home page? If so, that will be very compelling. Will I ditch GMail for AIM even if that happens? Perhaps not, but I will definitely take a second look at my AOL/AIM mail.

It’s time for web-based email clients to grow up and become platforms instead of proprietary gardens of in-house developers. I’m glad to see AOL is helping to make that happen.

Read More

BearHug Camp Today

For all those interested in the wild-west world of micro-blogging (Twitter,, TWiT Army, etc), BearHug Camp starts at 9am PST today.

Strange name, but this really looks like it will be a very important day for the future of the web…

TechCrunchIT » Blog Archive » BearHug Camp is here: “Friday, September 12 at 9 am, BearHug Camp begins. The brainchild of Dave Winer, BearHug is based on a tactic Winer used to great effect in bootstrapping coincident work by Netscape and Winer into what we now know as RSS. Recently, we’ve seen the emergence of similar strategies in the so-called micro-blogging segment that has grown around Twitter.”

You can follow along live from Leo Laporte’s stream at TWiTLive.TV

Read More

Branding on Twitter Study

Jeremiah Owyang continues his insightful series on branding and Twitter with this piece about how brands are succeeding on the Twitter platform.

If you’re at all interested in how microblogging will shape the future of direct performance marketing (it will) and corporate communications (it will), make sure to read this:

Web Strategy: The Evolution of Brands on Twitter: “Last week, I listed out 9 reasons Why Brands Are Unsuccessful In Twitter, and other microblogging technologies. Companies are caught between the minutia of the discussions and their willingness to be human or add value to the conversations. Although a one-sided view of what’s going wrong, now let’s focus on what’s going right.”

It’s amazing to see how much the perception of Twitter has changed in 2 short years. So many people I speak to now see the business application of Twitter (or microblogging in general) whereas a year ago, I was being laughed at for bringing Twitter up in such conversations!

Read More

Twitter Search and Summize Acquisition


Twitter has taken another step to finally put down the great FailWhale of ’08 by acquiring the real time search service Summize:

Twitter Search
We’re excited to announce that Twitter has acquired Summize—an extraordinary search tool and an amazing group of engineers. All five Summize engineers will move to San Francisco, CA and take jobs at Twitter, Inc. This is an important step forward in the evolution of Twitter as a service and as a company.

Since Twitter’s track functionality has been down, I’ve been a heavy user of Summize (and recommend you do the same through the new interface).

Here’s to keeping things back on Track on Twitter…

Read More

What Is a Social Media Marketer?

I’m still dubious of the term “social media” (or marketer for that matter), but here’s an interesting piece with a variety of voices from Tamar Weinberg…

The Definition of Social Media Marketing: How to Find the Best Social Media Consultant » techipedia | tamar weinberg: “With many individuals finding great success with social media (and as an aside, a basic understanding of search engine optimization), they immediately consider themselves social media marketers and consultants (as well as seasoned SEOs) and offer to sell their promotional services. What skills, though, do successful social media marketers have that put these individuals above the average (or addicted) social media user, and better yet, above the traditional marketer? I asked several social media consultants, bloggers, marketers, search engine optimizers, and social media addicts about what they considered to be essential skills and characteristics of the most efficient and results-driven social media consultants. In the many paragraphs that follow, learn from many of the experts and hear what they consider success when using social media to engage with consumers about products and services.”

Read More