Archive for January, 2009

How Do You Twitter: Mashable?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

interview mashable twitter

Amongst all the madness of moving to Belgium over the past few days, I got to chat with Pete Cashmore of Mashable fame about how he uses Twitter.  Mashable.com is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news, and is a goldmine for anybody interested in what’s happening on the web.


When I first joined Twitter I didn’t really understand its full power and abandoned it for months.  It was only until I started using it regularly again that I realised its potential and got the most out of it, connecting with people like yourself, Gary Vaynerchuk and Guy Kawasaki.  Did you have a similar sort of experience?

mashable twitter
It took me awhile to get into a rhythm, yes.  For a long time, we simply posted links to Mashable articles.  Now, I see it as more of a social media news feed – sharing articles, tidbits, pictures and videos on social media from around the web.  Essentially, I see our feed as an aggregator for everything relating to social media.


Will we still be tweeting in 5 years time?

mashable twitter
5 years is a long time on the web.  If Twitter reaches its fullest potential – becoming a messaging platform akin to IM and email – then we could indeed be tweeting in 5 years.  But there are so many unknowns in that equation that I’d be hesitant to give a definitive “yes”.


Can a big name brand really be trusted when using Twitter and social media in general?

mashable twitter
That depends entirely on the brand.  There are trustworthy brands and untrustworthy ones; brands that seek to serve their customers and those that seek to exploit them.  Social media brings a new level of transparency to our conversations with brands – that, I think, will help the sincere, authentic and genuine brands rise to the top.


What are your thoughts on the power of the ‘Retweet’?

mashable twitter
I like retweeting…the tweets you choose to share say as much about you as the tweets you create yourself.  Retweeting helps good ideas spread.


Did you find out about US Airways Flight 1549 crashing into the Hudson on Twitter or on the regular news?

mashable twitter
Twitter.


Who is the most interesting person you’ve found through Twitter?

mashable twitter
Actually, we discovered Jennifer Van Grove (@jbruin) through her Twitter account.  She’s now one of Mashable’s lead writers.


What prompted the move from ‘@petecashmore’ to ‘@mashable’?

mashable twitter
I’m not a big fan of talking about myself.  I’d rather talk about issues, and get behind a cause – like social media.  A “Mashable” branded account lets me focus on that and keep the personal stuff to a minimum.


Do you feel that the majority of your 40,000 followers came via Mashable’s reputation or has Twitter allowed you to reach a new audience also?

mashable twitter
No doubt our reputation helped a great deal, but I also feel that Twitter has brought the Mashable brand to new readers who wouldn’t necessarily call themselves tech geeks: people interested in media, marketing, communication and branding.


Have you ever had an accidental DM go public?

mashable twitter
Yup.  I seem to recall it was something fairly mundane, like confirming a meeting.  Even so, you get a moment of panic when you realize that your supposedly private message just got blasted to tens of thousands of people…you can’t take it back again.


How has Twitter helped/changed Mashable?

mashable twitter
Twitter is both a blessing and a curse to bloggers.  It has dramatically increased the speed with which news travels, but it also makes our job – filtering through that information – a greater challenge.  It creates more signal, but also more noise.  It spurns conversations around blogs, but makes those conversations more widely dispersed.  Most of all, it provides immediate feedback on our content in a way that wasn’t possible before.


Do you feel we are losing our ‘real life’ social skills with the rise in social media?

mashable twitter
No: it’s a medium that’s inherently about communication.


Has Twitter made it easier to engage with your audience rather than replying to hundreds of emails a day?

mashable twitter
I think it has made it easier to relate to our readers and get to know them as people, yes.


Who would you recommend following on Twitter?

mashable twitter
So many!   From the Mashable team, of course @adamostrow, @sharonfeder, @adamhirsch, @seanpaune, @khartline, @brett, @tamar and @franticnews.

Beyond those, I find myself constantly reading tweets from @prsarahevans (PR and social media tweets), @jowyang (social strategy) and @breakingnewson (breaking news).

Thanks!

Pete, that was brilliant.  I owe you a pint or two.  It’s fantastic to get an insight into Mashable’s use of Twitter. Thanks!

Further Interviews

I’ve interviewed a whole host of other Internet gurus over the past few weeks including Guy Kawasaki, Tim O’Reilly, ProBlogger, Smashing Magazine and Chris Coyier so don’t forget to check them out.

Be sure and follow me at @paddydonnelly if you want to find out first about more exciting Twitter interviews :)

How Do You Twitter: Chris Brogan?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

interview chris brogan twitter

Social media sensei, Chris Brogan, is today’s exciting Twitter interview! Chris is the President of New Marketing Labs and helps businesses understand how to use the tools of this confusing social mediasphere to grow their business.  What better person to give us an insight into how he Twitters?


How can you trust a big name brand on Twitter? You never know who is tweeting, it could be anyone from the CEO to an intern.

chris brogan twitter
I much prefer when a brand identifies as a person on Twitter, like @MolsonFerg or @RichardATDell, but when you ask about trust, how much do I have to trust them? I’m not giving them my credit card info. I’m just learning something about them or having a dialogue.


How do you think tools like Twitter have changed the way we interact online?

chris brogan twitter
Twitter has become a fast-paced communications station for me. I use it with my business partners, my employees, my prospects, and my friends, all from one window. Because conversations are limited to 140 characters, the payload is often rapid. If we need more information, we can switch to email or phone. But it saves a lot in the “want to go get dinner on Wednesday?” types of messaging.


Will we still be tweeting in 5 years time?

chris brogan twitter
Yes, in some form or another. It won’t necessarily be “Twitter” the name brand, just like most people don’t stop to think if it’s AIM or Yahoo! or MSN. But yes. One-to-many micro conversations are a medium that will endure, if not proliferate.


When people ask you ‘Where were you when Obama was elected?’, will your answer be ‘On Twitter’?

chris brogan twitter
Yes. I watched the campaign on the web, using Tropicana’s special Twitter mashup, and also CNN.com. Why watch TV? It’s a one-way medium.


Are we losing our ‘real life’ social skills because of the increase in social media tools?

chris brogan twitter
No, but what’s interesting is, as online social tools are encouraging less real-world-socially-equipped people to meet up in the real world, I find that we’re flooded with a whole new generation of not-exactly-social people who thrive with the tools, and now need to learn their offline analog. I think it’s an exciting opportunity.


Should every business be using social media tools in some form in 2009?

chris brogan twitter
No. Not every business. There are plenty of transactions that are fast and simple that don’t require a lot of profile sharing and conversations. McDonalds consumer transactions, for instance. I don’t need to write on my order taker’s wall before ordering my Happy Meal. I don’t care if my oil change place tweets. But there are a lot of places where it will still matter.


You have almost 30,000 followers on Twitter, what an achievement!  How did you get up there? [Note how fast Chris’s follower count is growing, it’s up by 5,000 since I asked this question!]

chris brogan twitter
As of this moment, I have almost 35,000. I got there by being helpful. I share information. I talk back and forth with people. There’s no magic. It’s just about building relationships of value.


What are your thoughts on the power of the ‘Retweet’?

chris brogan twitter
I think retweets are a great way to feed the system. I think they’re wonderful for making a network light up and convey useful information.


Who would you recommend following?

chris brogan twitter
People who share your interests. If you’re not especially into tech, following @chrispirillo might not float your boat. If you don’t like learning about small business, then @beckymccray isn’t good for you. Follow people by learning what they’re into. One easy way? search.twitter.com and plug in terms you’re interested in.


Anything else to say about Twitter?

chris brogan twitter
The magic isn’t that we’re talking in 140 characters, but that we’re sewing the world a bit tighter. I know about people in pretty much every time zone in the world now, and we talk almost daily. How powerful is that? It’s not about the tech. It’s what the tech opened up for us.

Thanks!

Great stuff Chris, thank you! Make sure you are one of the thousands following @chrisbrogan for a great insight into a social media guru’s mind.  Also check out ChrisBrogan.com for a great blog on social media.

Further Interviews

I’ve interviewed a whole host of other Internet gurus over the past few weeks including Guy Kawasaki, Tim O’Reilly, ProBlogger, Smashing Magazine and Chris Coyier so don’t forget to check them out.

Be sure and follow me at @paddydonnelly if you want to find out first about more exciting Twitter interviews :)

How Much Wood Can A Macbook Chuck?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Want to stand out even more when pulling your MacBook out at that next conference?  Check out these wooden covers.

macbook wooden cover

Wooden Laptop Case with leather lining and magnetic closing device for Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro 15inch.

How great do these look?  A polished wooden cover just puts another level to Apple’s class.  They have been created by Berlin based furniture, interior and exhibition designer Rainer Spehl. You could think practically that they would weigh a ton, but come one, your MacBook deserves it.  No price listed on the site, you have to contact Rainer directly if you wood like one.

macwood

macwood

It’s great to see people are branching out into different styles. Hehe.

Oh God, now the comments are just going to consist of wood puns. :)

How Do You Twitter: Mayhem Studios?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

interview mayhemstudios

I got to chat with Calvin Lee, aka Mayhem Studios, Self-Proclaimed Media Ho, identity designer guy, blogger, part-time stunt double for the Hulk and nice guy!  Mayhem Studios is one of the most retweeted users and he gives us his thoughts on his Twitter addiction.


How can you trust a big name brand on Twitter? You never know who is tweeting, it could be anyone from the CEO to an intern.

calvinlee mayhem studios
Like anyone you meet online or in real life, trust will be built over time. Also depending on the content they are tweeting. Is the information useful to their followers or just a sales pitch? Do they engage with their followers?

Being a large name brand company with many followers. I understand they may not be able to respond back to everyone. It’s cool when they do. Like the time when Guy Kawasaki responded to my tweet and Chris Brogan gave me a shout out.


How do you think tools like Twitter have changed the way we interact online?

calvinlee mayhem studios
Twitter totally changed how you interact with people and large companies online. Most companies have a Twitter account with easy access to them 24/7, day or night. People are more open to contact a company if they are able to start an immediate conversation with feedback. I’m pretty sure companies are monitoring where their names are mentioned on Twitter.


Will we still be tweeting in 5 years time?

calvinlee mayhem studios
Five years is a long time from now. It’s really hard to say if Twitter will still be around but if they stay innovative and evolve, Twitter should be around for a long time. We will probably still be tweeting but maybe a different form of it.  May evolve into something like Tweetdeck, with groups or instant messenger features.


Have you become addicted to Twitter?

calvinlee mayhem studios
I think you already know that answer and anyone else that follows me. Haha.  As you know, I do tweet/retweet a lot. I mostly tweet about design or anything creative. I also tweet about seo, social media and self-promotion. I really enjoy promoting and helping others, get the word out. It’s a fun way to meet new friends and build your network. I do tend to get stuck in the time suck, which is Twitter. I always end up getting to events late. Haha


Do you think Twitter helps or hinders your work?

calvinlee mayhem studios
Twitter can be both, helpful and a hindrance. The good – get immediate feedback on your projects and designs or opinions on various topics. The bad – can bring your productivity way down, if you get caught in the time suck. Which is very easy to do. You need to balance the Twitter time, set certain times in the day, when to tweet.


Should every business be using social media tools in some form in 2009?

calvinlee mayhem studios
I know many businesses are a success without using any social media tools at all. I do believe they can still benefit from incorporating some social media tools into their promotional campaign. The key is staying visible with social media sites like Twitter and getting your name out there, even in busy times. It takes time to build a network of clientèle. If you start promoting in slow times, it’s too late.


How do you manage to follow over 2,000 people’s updates effectively?

calvinlee mayhem studios
I don’t really follow everyone’s updates and they are not all on at the same time. Lucky for me! I do follow updates of a core group I like. I scan through my stream to see if there is anything interesting to retweet or engage followers about their tweets.

It’s like being at a big party. You have your usual group of friends you talk to. Then you have all these other conversations. When I hear something interesting outside my group. I strike up a conversation with them. I’m always listening, even though I have a group of followers I talk to regularly.


Are we losing our ‘real life’ social skills because of the increase in social media tools?

calvinlee mayhem studios
Well, maybe I do lose some of my real life social skills but it has also helped me to be more concise and get my ideas out in 140 characters or less. Haha. I think I’m OK; since I do get out enough during the week, then hang out with friends on the weekends.


What are your thoughts on the power of the ‘Retweet’?

calvinlee mayhem studios
The retweet is a great and powerful thing. If you retweet useful info that benefits your followers and bring the good stuff, they will retweet you. Followers can see that you’re considerate in retweeting their tweets, will return the favor. As a result, it will build your brand, network, friendships, bring projects, trust, and credibility-expert in your field.


Who would you recommend following?

calvinlee mayhem studios
Besides you? Here are some of my picks.

@Logomotives – Jeff Fisher: Great logo designer, inspiration and self-promotion guru
@Vonster – Von Glitschka: Fantastic illustrative designer, giver of the design community
@OperationNice – Melissa Morris: Really nice designer, inspiration for others to do the same
@guykawasaki – Guy Kawasaki: Interesting dynamic social media guy to watch
@problogger – Darren Rowse: Helpful blogging/Twitter tips
@chrisbrogan – Chris Brogan: All around awesome guy with great social media tips


Anything else to say about Twitter?

calvinlee mayhem studios
Twitter is a great marketing tool if used correctly. As a result, I have contribute to articles and interviewed on few dozen websites and blogs.
Don’t sell! Share, give and tweet/retweet content that benefits others. Don’t ask for anything in return. Follow people with similar interests and industry.

Have fun and don’t take Twitter too seriously. Step away from Twitter once in a while. Balance is key.

Thanks!

There’s always a whole host of great links from Mayhem Studios, I know he retweets a lot of my stuff, so thanks Calvin! ;)

Further Interviews

I’ve interviewed a whole host of other Internet gurus over the past few weeks including Guy Kawasaki, Tim O’Reilly, ProBlogger, Smashing Magazine and Chris Coyier so don’t forget to check them out.

Be sure and follow me at @paddydonnelly if you want to find out first about more exciting Twitter interviews :)

How Do You Twitter: Guy Kawasaki?

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

interview guy kawasaki

Another Twitter interview with an Internet guru, this time with Guy Kawasaki, writer and co-founder of digital magazine rack AllTop.com.


How can you trust a big name brand on Twitter? You never know who is tweeting, it could be anyone from the CEO to an intern.

guy kawasaki twitter
Why does it matter who is doing the tweeting? Either the content is good or not good. I’d rather follow a smart intern tweeting for a CEO than an dumb CEO tweeting for himself or herself.  Twitter is great that way: Everybody, no matter who they are, gets 140 characters. Then you have to earn your followers and keep earning their allegiance with every tweet.


You co-founded AllTop, a fantastic online magazine.  Do you feel the Internet is really killing print?

guy kawasaki twitter
I hate to say this, but the Internet is killing print. If this wasn’t bad enough, now we’re in a recession. Still, I’d rather be a newspaper than a car company making SUVs. The thing to do is separate “print” from “journalism.” Let’s hope that the latter will prevail.


Will we still be tweeting in 5 years time?

guy kawasaki twitter
I hope that I’m not. Or at least that I’m just tweeting for the sheer pleasure of it–about stuff like my cat rolling over and the line at Starbucks.


When people ask you ‘Where were you when Obama was elected?’, will your answer be ‘On Twitter’?

guy kawasaki twitter
Yeah, except that doesn’t really say much because I’m always on Twitter. I was tweeting my usual links to cool stuff on election night and several people criticized me for tweeting on such a “special day.”  I voted for Obama, and I am very hopeful about what he can do, but right now, people are judging Bush’s results against Obama’s intentions. The work is only beginning. Every day starting Tuesday is a special day.


Does AllTop benefit a lot from Twitter?

guy kawasaki twitter
This is like asking if Hawaii benefits from the surf or Aspen from the snow. Twitter is making Alltop. The Twitter community suggests topics, suggests feeds for the topics, and then spreads the word about Alltop. Alltop wouldn’t be nearly what it is without Twitter.


Did you find out about US Airways Flight 1549 crashing into the Hudson on Twitter or on the news?

guy kawasaki twitter
I found out via a CNN email alert, but I love the fact that just about wherever news happens these days, someone on Twitter is reporting on it.


Should every business be using social media tools in some form in 2009?

guy kawasaki twitter
“Every” is a strong word, but most businesses with a significant online presence should use social media tools. For example, I don’t think that your corner Shell service station needs to be on Twitter even if the Shell station has a web site to provide its location and hours.


Are we losing our ‘real life’ social skills because of the increase in social media tools?

guy kawasaki twitter
I could make the case either way. In one sense, if you’re glued to a monitor and never get out, then your real-life social skills will decline. However, email and social media tools enable me to connect with thousands of people. I could not do this with only face-to-face meetings.  I can tweet that I am going to be in many cities in the world and organize a tweetup. I’ve done this in Istanbul, Moscow, Mumbai, and Honolulu so far. In this sense, social media is increase social skills–to the degree that a tweetup is social.


What are your thoughts on the power of the ‘Retweet’?

guy kawasaki twitter
Do you know the old saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”? Now the operative saying is, “Retweeting is the sincerest form of flattery.” Using various techniques, one can gain followers, but it’s much harder to game retweeting because people either like what you tweet and spread it or they don’t. Here is the place for checking retweeting.

I’m sure people will figure out a way to game retweeting too but until they do, there is no better measure of the quality of a person’s tweets than retweeting. This is especially true if you believe that the number of followers doesn’t necessarily increase the number of retweets. You would think that the more followers you have, the more retweets you’ll get, but I don’t think that’s true.


You have almost 50,000 followers on Twitter, what an achievement!  How did you get up there?

guy kawasaki twitter
One fascinating tweet at a time. :-)


How do you tweet so much? It seems like you tweet 24/7.

guy kawasaki twitter
This is the most common question that I face. I have several things going on.

First, I use a Twitterfeed from the Alltop announcements blog, but this is only one per day or so. These tweets only announce the availability of new Alltop topics.

Second, I have a Twitterfeed from Truemors. Any story that is posted at Truemors is tweeted because I have such confidence in Annie Colbert, the editor of Truemors. She always puts out interesting, well-written stuff. This accounts for ten to fifteen tweets per day.

Third, there are two people who tweet on my behalf. One, @amoxcalli, is a grandmother in LA who has an exquisite eye for the interesting and controversial. She adds about five tweets per day. The other is @billmeade. He is the best beta tester of books that I have ever met. I wish he would do more, but he does about one tweet every two days or so.

Fourth, the rest is me. I scour the web looking for interesting stuff. I use email newsletters as well as StumbleUpon. However, the bulk of what I find is through Alltop–specifically, mostpopular.alltop, psychology.alltop, science.alltop, marketing.alltop, and neuroscience.alltop. This accounts for another fifteen or twenty tweets per day. Basically, when I’m on a computer, I’m tweeting.


Why do you tweet so much through all these methods?

guy kawasaki twitter
Two reasons. First, I enjoy pointing people to interesting and cool stuff. Second, I tweet so much to earn the privilege of promoting Alltop to my followers. To be interesting to them, my tweets answer the question, “What is interesting?” not “What are you doing?” I’m like PBS: if it didn’t have such great content, no one would tolerate its fund-raising telethons.

Thus, Twitter is not a “social toy” for me–it’s a marketing weapon. There is no a better way that I know of to instantly and cheaply reach tens of thousands of people. If you believe Twinfluence, I can reach 19,000,000 people–though that number is way high because it counts the same people over and over.


If you could only follow one person’s updates, who would it be and why?

guy kawasaki twitter
Yours if you will follow me back.

Thanks!

Thanks Guy! Again a fascinating insight into the mind of a great twitterer.  I would encourage everone to follow Guy on Twitter and check out AllTop.com, where there’s bound to be a page for whatever you are into.  Personally, my homepage is WebDesign.alltop.com.  Make sure and check out the AllTop Announcements Blog to keep updated with this brilliant service.

Oh, and you can also follow me on Twitter @paddydonnelly :)