Tag Archives: networking

5 Descriptions of What Makes a Great Tweet on Twitter

What Makes a Great Tweet

This Actually is My 20,000th Tweet

This post is actually going to mark my 20,000th tweet on Twitter since I joined back on November 1st, 2007. Over that period of 5 years I have tweeted approximately 10 times a day, from 3 different countries, on 3 different continents, posted approximately 1,000 original images, and 1,000 original blog posts, while following around 1,000 unique very specific individuals. In honor of this pointless historical marker I have published my next list, 50 Reasons Why I Still Love Twitter, and give you 5 examples of what makes up my favorite tweets below. By the way, the Twitter favorites (star) is the greatest ever feature of twitter, and you can even create your own rss feed for your favorites list.

Twitter as an Essential Tool

Twitter has become an essential tool of our culture, and that’s where Twitter gets it’s power, it’s a tool, and a useful one. My very first post about Twitter on my blog back in 2008 asked just that question, Is Twitter Really a Useful Tool for Your Business? While that post is now far outdated, at the time, I really didn’t know the answer to that question. Back then people would tell me I don’t want to know what you are having for lunch, but now Twitter can facilitate changes to governments like we saw in Egypt and elsewhere, it’s gone beyond expectations. Many still choose to ignore it’s significance, but the power of Twitter has an almost undeniable usefulness the world has never seen.

What Makes a Great Tweet

So what makes a great tweet? Harvard Business Review did this study on just that very subject, and provided their results in this superb graphic shown above on what makes a great tweet and what makes the worst tweet. Overall, their conclusions seem to be spot on, but it can also be summed up in saying the overall best tweet is one that leads to something else. It provides some useful piece of information, or some unique insight such as this post I came across yesterday, What Would Peter Tweet?, and then leads the reader to take some action. So here are five descriptions that makes an overall great tweet.

  1. One that calls you to an action of some kind
    This can be anything from going to buy a pair of shoes from Toms because they do good things to doing the mundane
  2. A tweet that sends you to something bigger than the tweet itself
    Many times this can be as simple as providing a link to a book that the majority of your readers may not be familiar with, often this is a link to a news article or a blog post that will send the reader off to another site other than twitter
  3. A message that gives the reader some unique insight into your own personal life
    Too many tweets are party line tweets, whatever that party line is for you. It could be theology, it could be politics, or just pick something, but this is meaningless without being able to get to know the writer. All business and no play makes for a boring repetitive tweets.
  4. One that asks a question of the reader
    It doesn’t have to be a hard question, it just needs to invoke a response from the reader. This can be totally overdone, but this creates interaction, and that creates community, and Twitter is a community of followers and followees.
  5. One that shares a general piece of knowledge or information
    This is the biggie for me. There is so much noise on the internet and in the world today. Provide me with some useful knowledge about my faith, about the world we live in, about how other people live, about different unfamiliar communities. Twitter’s greatest power comes from its free flow sharing of information and knowledge, and this is the great advantage to society as a whole.

The worst tweets, totally not worth reading, are those that are complaining about something else or someone else. I personally can’t stand reading tweets from my followers who only say what’s wrong with this person or that (even if that actually is the case), and I will often quickly unfollow that user. Give us some insight into your life, in a positive way, and send us on our way better than when we came.

Some Recent Examples of Great Tweets

Those are just a few examples of great tweets from my most recent favorites list, and there you have it. My 20,000th tweet 740 words instead of 140 characters. Coincidentally, much of what makes a great tweet also makes a great blog post as well, but that’s for another day.

Reasons Why Google+ is Already Better than Facebook

So I almost felt obligated at this point to do a post about Google+ just because it really wasn’t what I was expecting from Google. What I was expecting from Google was another failed attempt at doing something social (they do have a good long history of trying social networking and missing big time), but this time I think they created something that just might work long term. Of course, it works, because basically they finally developed a format stream that is just like Facebook except without much of the garbage that is Facebook. When (not if) Google adds an iPhone AND an iPad app they will have surpassed Facebook, at least in functionality.

When Zuckerberg made the statement that the iPad was not a mobile device, and therefore Facebook would not be developing an app for the iPad, he pretty much told everyone using Facebook that Facebook is whatever Zuckerberg says it is. Google, even though they seem to have the biggest rival with Apple, can no doubt see beyond this and will very quickly release apps for the iPhone and iPad. Once Google+ hits the iPhone/iPad users they will grow at an alarming rate. It’s the “mobile” users that will feed Google+ and the easier Google makes it to use on ANY mobile device the faster they will grow Google+. The misses right now with Google+ remain the lack of an iPhone app and some other minor functionality issues like being able to hide comments in a stream, being able to view several circle streams at the same time, and at the moment people. The people thing is a plus and a minus at the same time. The millions and millions of masses on Facebook are what makes Facebook work. Google+ has a different genre of people right now and I don’t see that as a bad thing, but they do need more buy in.

Why is Google+ better than Facebook already?

  • No Ads
    so far (who knows how long this will last) there are no ads, anywhere. This is top on my list, and key. This is why I like twitter, this is why the experience on Google+ is better right from the start. All that junk on Facebook’s sidebars is the worst. You never know what’s going to come up but you know you don’t want to look at it.
  • No Spam
    Facebook and spam go together like spam in a can, or something like that. Spam is not the telemarketer calling you at dinner anymore. Spam is ANYTHING sent to you unsolicited. Facebook is full of this stuff from Mafia Wars to stupid games and poll questions, event invites, and all the other stuff that clutters up your feed stream with stuff you don’t want to look at. The stuff you do want to read is so buried in the mess of Facebook I often just give up trying to find actual real high quality content.
  • Design is Cleaner
    everything is cleaner, but making a cleaner design makes it easier to read, has less clutter, call it whatever you want but Google+ is just flat out easier on the eyes. Google has long since prided itself on simplicity of design, and in this case it works so much better than Facebook
  • Messaging System
    while Facebook has been vastly improving their messaging system, trying to overtake email, the message system on Facebook has always been one of their weakest points, and until recently, no one wanted to look at that inbox, it was just annoying. Google+ has made sending a message to a single person, or a select group, extremely easy. I would expect this since Google has built it’s non-search business around Gmail, but Google+ has the potential to be able to do away with email all together.
  • Integrates with Google Everything
    this is a no-brainer but it’s worth pointing out. There are some things I like better off Google, like their photo system Picasa (Flickr still has better functionality) but overall everything you do throughout the day is basically run on Google’s cloud anyway, you are already there, so adding Google+ isn’t too much of a burden.
  • People Who Don’t Like Social Networking Will Like Google+
    there are still some people that are not attached to a social network at all (really, I know this for a fact). For those people, Google+ is a way into that social networking circle without being in Facebook or Twitter. For many (or most) of these people they are already on Google. They use Google, they use Gmail, they are familiar with Google and in some ways have a trust built with them as a company. If you aren’t on Facebook or Twitter or anything else, you are probably already on Google, and Google will make trying Google+ a breeze for the non-adopters.
  • It isn’t Facebook
    there are many people who just hate Facebook, for them, this isn’t Facebook and that is good enough for them.
  • It is Google
    this is just like the Apple vs Android thing. Some people think Apple is straight from the devil himself and think Android is not. Facebook has a lot of “you are the devil” fans so being anything but Facebook is a plus.
  • It’s New and Has a Lot of Potential
    everyone doesn’t necessarily like change but new is always a big seller. Since every company puts out products or services today that are a work in progress (beta) and not a final completed entity, Google will continue to develop and improve Google+. Yes I know Facebook does this too, but they seem to take 2 steps forward and one step back and make everyone mad in the process.
  • Facebook still Doesn’t Give you Ownership of Your Data
    some will say Google doesn’t either, but they have made far more progress in this realm than Facebook has, and Facebook has no intention of ever letting go of your data. Every time you put content on Facebook instead of your own blog or somewhere that you have access to your own data you are building up the mother ship, not your own history. Google+ has a really cool download data set functionality that will probably improve over time. Facebook has nothing. Facebook owns everything you put on there and you own nothing.
So there you have it. I am sure there are plenty of other points I could make but those are my first and initial observations after using Google+ for about a week now. What has your Google+ experience been so far? If you need an invite just send me an email and I will send one over.

The Complete Egoist by Arthur Guiterman

I have tried over the years to reconcile the whole of what is social networking to how it helps or destroys the effort of devoting one’s life to the pursuit of God.  Reading through a sermon written by a family member in 1976, I came across this poem by Arthur Guiterman called “The Complete Egoist”, who wrote this around 1930 about our pursuit to self. I wonder what he would think of our narcissism in 2010.

A Mollusc who dwelt in primordial slime
Was always himself to the innermost core;
As being himself took up most of his time,
He never did anything more.
Still just as he was, though long ages have flown,
He stands on the specimen-cabinet shelf
A fossil, immortal in durable stone,
A monument raised to himself.

–Guiterman ~1930

How to Create a Twitter Favorites RSS Feed

twitter-rss-birdIf you haven’t had time to get into Twitter yet you might want to jump over there and do a Twitter crash course before you read this post, but for others who are already knee deep in Twitter, how effectively are you using this great service?  There are so many aspects to Twitter that can be utilized that the deeper I go in Twitter the more I find.

One thing I started really using lately is the “favorites” feature on Twitter.  If you haven’t given this much thought, the favorites feature is a great way to start to bookmark those really great posts you see and don’t want to forget.  Once you start to mark tweets as favorites (or star them) you need some good way to get back to the information at some point.  I was marking the posts on Twitter I didn’t want to forget but never went back to look at them.  So, this is how you can take the Twitter favorites and pull the RSS feed from Twitter into your favorite RSS feed reader.

twitter-feed

First thing you want to do is start marking your favorite tweets.  You can do this in TweetDeck or in the basic browser application by clicking on the star icon when you mouse over a tweet.  Then, follow these steps below to start pulling your Twitter favorites feed (if you want the short version just read step 1 and that should do it).

1. Create the Twitter Favorite Feed in RSS Reader

This doesn’t seem to be published on any Twitter help pages or anywhere else, but you can grab your favorites feed (or anyone else’s for that matter) by using the address: http://twitter.com/favorites/%5Binsert_your_ID_here%5D.rss , so to pull an rss feed of my twitter favorites, you would place the url http://twitter.com/favorites/scottfillmer.rss.  Just drop this url in your feed reader and it works just like any other feed.

For more information on actually pulling RSS feeds from Twitter that are posted by Twitter (that would be the friends timeline, profile page, @replies page, and the home page, you can visit How do I find my Twitter rss feed? from Twitter support.  You can also read an older post of my called Add Value to Your Blog, Offer an RSS Feed in Reverse if you really want to look at some different rss feed stuff.

If you question after reading this is what in the world is an RSS feed Brad Ruggles has compiled some of the popular how-to YouTube videos on what is an rss feed, twitter, and blogs.  You can see that here.

2. Make Your RSS Feed Public (optional step)

You can now use it in any way you would use a normal rss feed.  So do some cool things with it like make it a public feed or as a blogroll on your site.  You can see the results below, those are live and updated as I mark items as favorites.

google-reader-feed

You can do this (if you use Google Reader) by going to the “manage feeds” link in your reader, then choosing the tag where you placed the rss feed to be public, then either choose to “add a clip to your site” or “add a blogroll to your site” and it will give you a piece of code to use where ever you like. The list below is my last 5 favorites (when they are placed in your RSS Reader they won’t clip after a certain number of characters like they do below).

3. Use What You Have Created

One reason to use the favorites options is to mark the genius in Twitter.  There is a lot of information to be gained from Twitter, but it isn’t really from Twitter, it is from the people who post to Twitter.  Many people take the time to post very useful information and actually create value in their 140 characters.  You can find new websites, new ideas, new ways of doing things that you may not have ever thought about before seeing them on Twitter.

Update March 2011

Obviously much have changed in the way twitter functions over the last few years, but I think you will find this information still relavant and useful. Another great post on the subject can be found over at ProfHacker called Managing Twitter Feeds as well.

Plurk Tries to Takeover Where Twitter Leaves Off?

Scott Fillmer on Plurk

Have you seen the movie Wall Street? I assume so, I guess just about everyone has seen that movie at this point. A movie deemed to be about greed, but really is much more than surface deep. I love the link in the movie Wall Street that goes something like this.

Bud Fox: How much is enough Gordon? How many boats can you ski behind… how much is enough?
Gordon Gekko: It’s not a question of enough, Bud.

How Much is Enough To Make Us Crazy

The Internet is a lot like this. How much is enough to make us go crazy. I think that is the wrong question. My friends over at Worship Journey and GotRoot have been discussing the use of technology and how to use the tools and options that come along with embracing technology (also see The Church Body and the Internet, Part 2).

I don’t think it is a question of how much is to much, it is a question of will be embrace “new” or “change” or we will turn a blind eye.

Today I started checking out Plurk (add me to your plurk here). If you don’t know what Plurk is, it is like a pimped up version of Twitter (follow me on twitter here). Don’t know what Twitter is, it is sort of like texting the entire world what you are doing. Don’t know what texting is, well, guess I can’t help you then, and how in the world did you make it to this blog.

To Embrace Change is to Grow

We tend to get overwhelmed easily by new things like this, but I think we look at it head on, and maybe we need to look at it from the side and upside down. We don’t have to dive into everything full boar, but to resist change, or new things is to stop growing.

I try to keep an open ear and if something comes up several times, I will probably go check it out, and over the last week or two, that was Plurk.

What I am more interested in doing is being able to brainstorm enough to come up with new and innovative ideas on my own. How about you? Is see new things like those mentioned here and inevitably I think, why didn’t I think of that. Or, if I did, I had no way to implement my ideas.

So, I am constantly looking around for ideas and those new things that other more brainy people that have been able to implement their ideas and see how they were able to go about this process.

If you are a little more interested in seeing what Plurk can do, a real good article was posted a few days ago, read up at Plurk: Unique or Just Another Twitter Clone?

So, do you Plurk? Do you look at new things like this with anxiety or with excitement?

Is Twitter Really a Useful Tool for Your Business?

Follow Scott Fillmer on TwitterWith all the hype surrounding Twitter I had to give it a go a few months ago. The big question for me at the time was, is Twitter a useful tool or another avenue that eats time on the Internet?

I am not sure that question has really been answered in my mind yet, but I have made some observations over its use the last month, and if nothing else at all it has connected me to some people in business and blogging that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. At this point, I only wish more of my existing friends were using Twitter.  I do see some fluctuation where people do come in and out of Twitter so it can be hard to make acquaintances and keep them going if the someone you meet then jumps out or is never heard from again.  I wouldn’t say this is the norm, and there are so many useful applications now that you can use with Twitter, it is hard not to jump on the Twitter bandwagon.

So Does Twitter Have Usefulness

What caught my eye and got me using Twitter was all the blog posts about its usefulness in business applications, and of course blogging. A few good posts I came across are:

Since most of these posts go into how Twitter functions I won’t try to repeat that here, but I have found a few good applications for its use. Blogging is all about networking of sorts, and Twitter is a social networking agent, so put the two together with a WordPress Twitter Tools Plugin and you have a great match.

Twitter Tools Plugin & Twhirl

This is a great plugin (and another great one by Alex King, whom I am starting to think is the king of WordPress plugins) that will automatically post a tweet when you post a new blog article. It is simple to use, and is loaded with options. This is the area on my sidebar that says “What I’m doing…” and it updates with blog posts and also @replies and regular tweet posts.

Then there is Twhirl. This is a standalone program that runs on Adobe’s Air platform that will allow you to use Twitter similar to an IM window on your desktop. They also just came out with a new version, info is on their blog at twhirl 0.8 released – adding friendfeed support. This and support through iPhone and other mobile devises make using Twitter easy.

Interacting is Networking

I found out that you really don’t want to call an automatic blog post entry the end of your Twitter use though. This is not quite the best etiquette to be used on Twitter. Like most things. To make them truly useful you really need to use and interact with them.

This is the case on Twitter as well. I learned how to use the @replies and general updates through a fellow user on Twitter and it expanded it use and productivity, at least as far as traffic goes, ten fold. I would highly recommend using Twitter for more than just blog post entries.

What has your experience been with Twitter? Do you find it a useful tool to use in business applications?

If you are so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scottfillmer