Entries Tagged 'Twitter Tools' ↓

Your Own Twitter Based TV Channel

Last week we looked at the best tools to share your video clips using Twitter.

As a natural progression, this week we’re going to look at the tools that will allow you to start your own Twitter based live TV channel.

Live video streaming has been around for a while, but in recent months a number of these services have started to integrate with Twitter to create a powerful broadcasting platform.

So here are the leading services that will allow you to combine the promotional power of Twitter with live video streaming.

Twitcam.com

Create Your Own Twitter Based Tv Channel Using TwitCam

The first service is Twitcam which is owned by Livestream (formerly known as Mogulus). In essence they’ve taken their Livestream service and streamlined it to work with Twitter.

Just sign into Twitcam using your Twitter login details, then your webcam can capture the live video stream while Twitcam broadcasts it to the world and automatically tweets out the link to your followers.

But it gets even better…

When people view your live video stream, they can login to Twitcam with their own Twitter details and interact with other viewers using an integrated chat function which simultaneously updates their own Twitter account.

As you can imagine, when more people get used to the concept of Twitter based streaming, quality live video content has the potential to go viral and reach a significant number of viewers around the world.

At present, TwitCam doesn’t provide any options to customize the chat room of your new TV channel either in terms of looks or the urls that it uses. However, these issues are likely to be solved in the future as Twitter based video streaming continues to grow in popularity.

Another notable absence for such a high quality Twitter related service is the lack of support for the OAuth login system.

CamTweet.com

Create Your Own Twitter Based Tv Channel Using CamTweet

The second main competitor in the live Twitter streaming arena is CamTweet. Owned by Justin.tv this service has just emerged from private beta and provides substantially the same service as Twitcam.

Once you login to CamTweet using your Twitter details, a couple of clicks and the system will stream your video content live to the web and let your followers know that you’re live on air. Your viewers can then take part in the Twitter based chat which will help to promote your live show to an even wider audience.

Ustream.tv

Create Your Own Tv Channel Using Ustream

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that the other major live streaming service provided by Ustream provides a Twitter chat function in addition to its own social networking features.

This is an exciting area to watch as it effectively allows you to launch your own live TV channel, using the Twitter network to record the interaction between your viewers at the same time as promoting it to their followers.

Provided the content of your video stream is relevant and of good quality, the connection between video streaming and Twitter will allow your live TV channel to develop a significant number of viewers within a short period.

In fact, within a few short months, the best shows will have more viewers than some of the minor television channels in certain countries.

The other interesting thing related to all these developments is what they say about the way the market feels about the future prospects for Twitter.

Despite having cutting edge technology and a powerful business model in a rapidly growing sector, these video streaming businesses have chosen to spend significant amounts of time and money releasing major Twitter based versions of their core product.

If they’re correct, the Twitter phenomenon will continue to grow and remain one of the leading communication platforms for many years to come.

Have you used any of these live video streaming services? Have you used Twitter to promote your own TV channel? Share your experiences and your predictions for the future development of this technology using the comment system below.

How To Share Video Using Twitter

At present, one of the fastest growing Twitter trends is video messages. The great attraction is that it’s quick, more personal and allows you to convey more information more accurately for people who feel rather restricted by the 140 character limit.

And due to the relentless growth in the popularity of Twitter, this has been supported by an explosion in the number of Twitter enabled video sharing services.

Many of these services have been specifically designed to support Twitter video sharing, nearly all social networks allow you to tweet out your content and several well-established video sharing sites have added Twitter functionality to their box of tricks.

However, due to the sheer number of options, it can take a long time to work out the best service to meet your needs. So here is a quick summary of the different services that will allow you to share video using Twitter.

At the time of writing, there are a large number of Twitter video services but none of these services dominate their market. However, as these services reach agreements with leading Twitter clients such as Tweetdeck, Twhirl and Seesmic Desktop a few of them will achieve much greater recognition and develop a significant number of users.

1. TwitVid

Using TwitVid To Share Your Videos On Twitter

TwitVid, which is one of the leading Twitter video sites, hopes to emulate the success of TwitPic, both in terms of publicity and user base.

And thanks to the ease of use, Twitvid has every chance of achieving these objectives. Just login using your Twitter details, select the video file that you want to upload, add a short message of up to 117 characters (the remaining 23 characters are used to post the link to your video) and click the tweet button.

You can also upload your videos to TwitVid using email, your mobile phone or straight from your webcam.

One of the major advantages of this service is the file size limit, which allows you to upload up to 1 GB or 20 minutes of video.

TwitVid extends the social element of the service by allowing you to retweet, share and reply to videos direct from the site.

2. Twitc

Using Twitc To Share Your Videos On Twitter

If you want a high quality professional application to showcase your video on Twitter, look no further than Twitc. This excellent site allows you to host and share both videos and photos in a wide range of different file types.

You can upload multiple files at the same time, use high resolution HD videos and perform all the regular activities such as searching, commenting and updating your Twitter status (whether or not you include a video). In addition to uploading your own content directly, you can also import videos direct from a website address, which means you can use videos from YouTube and any other video sharing site.

However, all this extra functionality means that it takes longer to share your videos with the world. Before you can upload any content, you need to create an album. Then as you upload your videos you have to specify the album which will store your video. Once uploaded, you have to select the album and the appropriate video within the album then create your tweet.

Twitc takes a few moments longer to use, but if you’re looking for professional results, it’s the best option.

3. Twiddeo

Using Twiddeo To Share Your Videos On Twitter

Although the Twiddeo site looks rather plain, it provides all the basic video sharing functions. You can upload your video using the web, email or record it live using your webcam.

The site also allows you to comment on other videos using the Disqus platform and view all of the videos shared by every user.

However, there is one aspect of this service that deserves special credit. If you use the FireFox browser (and we always recommend that you do), there’s a neat greasemonkey script [http://beta.twiddeo.com/tools] that allows you to play Twiddeo videos from your Twitter profile.

Other Alternatives

Tweetube is a service that has gradually evolved from a simple device to share YouTube videos into a complete video hosting and sharing service. Tweetube now offers multiple photo uploads using the web or email, commenting, webcam uploading and multiple link sharing. However, webcam videos are limited to 25 seconds in length and the only other way to share videos through your Twitter account is using a YouTube url.

TwitLens covers Twitter based video and photo sharing. It also allows multiple uploads, mobile uploads and commenting. Videos are limited to a maximum file size of 50mb which is the equivalent of a few minutes depending upon the level of video quality used.

There are three features that make Twitlens stand out from the rest of the competition. First, it makes use of the Twitter OAuth system which means you can login to this site using your Twitter details without worrying that the security of your account will be compromised. Second, you can upload videos anonymously (well, as anonymously as the internet allows), which will attract numerous embarrassing videos and a few in the public interest.

Third, Twitlens provides a great way to notify specific people about your latest video. Once you’ve uploaded your content, just select the Twitter usernames that you want to inform and they will receive a tweet from you about your new post.

Bubble Tweet is a really smart looking site that allows you to record or upload a short video of up to 30 seconds. When people click on your Bubble Tweet page your regular Twitter profile will appear followed by a circular video bubble that will play your welcome message. This is a really fun way to introduce yourself to new followers and begin to build a relationship in a way that’s impossible with traditional text.

Twibeo allows you to connect with your friends through the exchange of photos, videos, links, and posts up to 500 characters long.

VidTweeter is an easy to use service that allows you to display videos from YouTube, Hulu, Metacafe, Vimeo and DailyMotion. Just enter your Twitter username, select the service you want to play a video from, enter the video url and it will give you a link to tweet out to your followers. When they click the link, they will see your Twitter page with the video of your choice floating in front.

12 Seconds remains true to the original idea behind Twitter by allowing you to share video message of up to 12 seconds in length.

Status Adder allows you to update your Twitter account with text, pictures or video from your mobile phone.

MobyPicture offers a complete service that allows you to update all your social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, Flickr with text, photos, audio and video. You can use the web, email, desktop clients or your cell phone.

TinyCast is quick and easy to use. Just record audio or video from your webcam then post it direct to your Twitter account.

Tinyvid.io allows you to share your favorite videos on Twitter. Just paste the video url, comment on it, then post it to your Twitter account.

How To Keep Your Twitter Stream Under Control

Most Twitter users follow less than a few hundred people, which means that they’re able to keep track of all the tweets that pass through their account.

How To Keep Your Twitter Stream Under Control

However, once you follow more than a thousand Twitter users, the stream of messages flowing through your account really starts to speed up.

Eventually it reaches the stage where you can’t keep track of all the tweets posted by the people that you follow.

Your first instinct may be to unfollow certain Twitter users whose tweets are less relevant to your interests.

And in some cases, this is a good idea.

However, this won’t help you much if you follow a number of people who post a combination of amazing tweets and complete rubbish.

So here are a few of the best Twitter filtering techniques that you can use to separate the good from the bad in your Twitter stream.

Link Filtering

According to recent stats, approximately 19% of all tweets contain a link, so this provides another way to filter your Twitter stream.

Introducing MicroPlazza, a useful service that allows you to organize the messages in your Twitter stream that contain links according to either the recency or the popularity. The system takes into account the number of times that each link has been (re)tweeted and more specifically, the number of times that these links have been tweeted by the people that you’re following.

This method of filtering is based on the idea that you’re more likely to be interested in the links tweeted by the people that you’ve chosen to follow.

MicroPlazza also allows you to sort the Twitter stream of any other Twitter user, so you can see the popularity of the links that the people they follow are posting. This is extremely useful if you follow people with a specific interest and you want to keep up to date with relevant links that are circulating within these micro communities.

Group Filtering

Another way to filter your Twitter stream is to organize the people that you follow into specific groups.

Splitting the Twitter users that you follow into different groups means that there will be fewer people in each group which will slow down the rate at which new messages flow through each group making them easier to track.

There are several different ways to sub-divide your Twitter stream. One of the best ways is to use a Twitter client that supports grouping, such as the desktop programs Destroy Twitter, Tweetdeck and Seesmic or a Twitter web-based application such as PeopleBrowsr.

Some of these options also allow you to filter your groups even further. For example, Tweetdeck allows you to filter the tweets in each group according to specific keywords.

In general, creating Twitter sub-groups is a good way to regain an element of control over your Twitter stream. However, as it only allows you to sort users at an account level, the results aren’t perfect.

For example, if you follow 500 people in the PR industry who tweet about general items in addition to their work, filtering these users into a specific group will help to concentrate the number of PR related tweets in the stream, but it will still contain a significant amount of trivia that is of little interest to you.

Grouping will make it easier to keep up to date with each individual category, but ultimately, you’ll still have the same number of tweets flowing through the selection of categories that you create.

Keyword Filtering

The third way to keep your Twitter stream under control is to filter the tweets according to specific keywords.

Philtro is an interesting Twitter filtering service with great potential. Once you sign up and link it to your Twitter account, you can give any tweet that flows through your Twitter account the thumbs up or the thumbs down. Over time Philtro learns the type of tweets that you like and the ones that you dislike. This data is then used to filter the messages that flow through your Twitter account so that you only see the posts that are likely to be of interest to you. The more tweets you rate, the better the system works.

Likewise, Filttr is a web-based application that allows you to apply keyword filtering to your Twitter account. It allows you to blacklist and whitelist keywords which are then specifically displayed or prevented from appearing in your Twitter stream. However, due to the number of filtering options available, it can take some time to work out how to get the best from this service.

Do you find it difficult to keep up with all the tweets flowing through your Twitter account? How do you keep your account under control? What method of filtering do you use? Have you discovered a better way to keep up to date with your Twitter stream? Let us know using the comments below.

How To Protect Yourself From The Twitter Slap

In late April this year, the Twitter community was taken by surprise when the owners of Twitter suddenly imposed a new rule (known at the Twitter slap) that limited the number of people you could follow to 1000 per day.

Avoid The Twitter Slap

They have also taken action over the last few days, suspending thousands of accounts that they regard as spam. Many users have reported as many as 300 followers disappearing from their communities.

So why has Twitter made these changes?

The official line is that Twitter are attempting to strike a balance between popular users who follow people who follow them and those who follow thousands of people in the expectation of gaining new followers.

However, due to the massive growth of Twitter, it may also be an attempt to ease the load on the Twitter servers. In recent months it has been extremely slow and the fail whale has become a regular fixture on our screens.

Part of the reason behind this has been the massive increase in people using 3rd party tools to automate their Twitter account. In particular, the auto-follow tools that allow you to automatically follow everyone who follows you has placed a massive strain on the network.

Are these changes a good idea?

At first glance, these changes look like a sensible move to reduce the load on their servers and reduce the blatant manipulation of Twitter for marketing purposes.

But the more you consider the situation, the new 1000 rule has a couple of major flaws;

Problem Number 1

It’s a blanket rule. Whether you’re a super user with a gazillion followers or a Twitter newbie, you can’t follow more than 1000 users per day.

So popular Twitter users who attract more than an average of 1000 followers per day won’t be able to follow everyone who follows them.

As things stand, this isn’t a big deal (I don’t think anyone is under the illusion that being followed by a Twitter giant is anything more than a mechanical process on their part).

However, it does mark an important shift in the way that people view the Twitter service. If people become used to following certain people without the expectation of being followed back, the sense of reciprocity that was a major attraction for many people will diminish.

The sense of community will be reduced and instead replaced by an atmosphere of celebrity/guru following and broadcast announcements rather than genuine interaction.

Problem Number 2

It won’t stop many of the undesirable practices that Twitter wants to prevent. In fact, it may even make things worse.

First, the section of Twitter users who only follow other users in order to be followed will just set up multiple accounts. This proliferation of throw away accounts will lower the quality of the network.

Here’s why…

When someone spends time and effort building up a targeted community of 100,000 followers, a natural caution develops. They don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize their account.

But if they have 20 different accounts with 5,000 followers on each, they’ll be less reluctant to use borderline techniques. And if one or two of their accounts are suspended, it’s not the end of the world.

Second, if someone has one main Twitter account they may post 10 messages per day. And based on their own level of integrity, the number of those that promote their own content may range from 1 all the way up to 10.

If they have 20 accounts with their followers spread across them, they will have to post 10 messages to each account (using one of the many automation tools available) to achieve the same level of publicity for their own content.

That’s 200 tweets per day instead of just 10, which won’t do much to take the load off the Twitter servers. It will also reduce the ratio of genuine tweets to tweets with an ulterior motive by a significant factor.

Perhaps it would be best if Twitter introduced a quality score algorithm similar to the one used by Google. Several factors could be used to calculate a quality score for every user.

Each user would then be able to follow as many people as they want, with the knowledge that the total quality score of the users that they follow (in relation to the combined quality scores of their followers), will alter their own quality score which will either encourage or deter the people that they follow from reciprocating. So the overall emphasis would be on balance and developing a coherent community rather than indiscriminate bulk following.

This would give Twitter a subtle yet powerful way to cultivate the exact atmosphere that they want, without resorting to the blanket style regulations that they have imposed in recent months.

But what do you think? Do you like the new limit of 1000 follows per day? Do you think it should be higher or lower?

Was this the best rule that Twitter could have used? What rule would you prefer?

Add your thoughts below. If the folk at Twitter want to retain the loyalty of their most devoted users, every piece of feedback that exists online will help them to shape their business in a way that the majority of users can accept.

In the meantime, here’s how to protect your Twitter account from these changes?

  • Don’t try to follow more than 1000 people per day.
  • Try to grow your community at a stable rate. It’s better to follow 150 people every day rather than 1000 people once a week.
  • Follow people who have something in common with the info on your bio or the content of your tweets.
  • Don’t follow people who appear to be following vast numbers of unrelated people every day just to gain new followers.

These basic precautions will help to prevent your account tripping any of the red flags that will cause Twitter to review and possibly suspend your account.

If you want to build your Twitter community without running the risk of suffering from the Twitter slap, Tweet Adder is a new tool that allows you to manage your account and build a well targeted community.

Tweet AdderOnce Tweet Adder is setup, you can set a daily follow limit and the system will find relevant people for you to follow without having to worry about suffering from the Twitter slap. This will allow you to spend your time on the most important aspect of Twitter - interacting with people and forming mutually beneficial relationships with other people in your micro community.

10 Twitter Tools To Help Build Your Community

Once you’ve been using Twitter for a while it’s easy to lose control of your friends and followers due to the sheer amount of activity within your Twitter account.

Fortunately, there are hundreds of Twitter tools, services and applications that have been developed to make your life easier. These tools will help you to manage your followers and improve your overall Twitter experience.

  • Discover who stops following you
  • Identify people who don’t follow you back
  • Find relevant people to follow

…and a wide range of other statistics.

In fact, the main challence is working out the best tools to use.

So to help you choose the right tools for your circumstances, here are 10 of the best tools and services to help you attract and manage your Twitter followers.

Twitter Management Tool 1 - Just Tweet It

Just Tweet It

Just Tweet It is an excellent directory of Twitter users divided into hundreds of categories that makes it easy for you to find relevant people to follow on Twitter.

Twitter Management Tool 2 - Mr Tweet

Mr Tweet

Mr Tweet is an excellent way to build the strength of your Twitter community. Thanks to a powerful formula, Mr Tweet acts as your personal networking agent by reviewing your Twitter network and suggesting other relevant people that you may want to follow.

The system also provides you with cool stats about your account, such as how often you engage in Twitter conversations and how often your recommend links.

Twitter Management Tool 3 - We Follow

We Follow

This user powered Twitter directory allows you to post your Twitter details under a selection of self-defined categories. You can search through thousands of users across hundreds of different categories to find other Twitter users with similar interests and experiences. Adding your details to this popular site will also help you to attract relevant followers.

Twitter Management Tool 4 - Twellow

Twellow

This is another huge Twitter directory with hundreds of thousands of other Twitter users divided into hundreds of different categories. Unlike the other directories, the emphasis is on job-related categories and industry, which makes this a perfect tool for business based Twitter networking.

Twitter Management Tool 5 - Twitoria

Twitoria

Discover the number of inactive people that you’re following on Twitter. Just enter your Twitter username, select the period of inactivity that you want to search for and it will display a list of all your Twitter friends that haven’t tweeted in a long time. If you like to keep your Twitter community smaller and more powerfully focused, this is a powerful tool to help weed out people who don’t add much to your Twitter community.

Twitter Management Tool 6 - Qwitter

Qwitter

Qwitter provides you with a email message whenever someone stops following you on Twitter. Although it’s important to not to get hung up whenever someone stops following you, it’s important to monitor the number of people and the quality of accounts that stop following you.

If too many quality users stop following you, it’s an indication that something is wrong. It could be that your profile and tweets don’t match up, the subject or quality of your tweets has changed

Twitter Management Tool 7 - My Tweeple

My Tweeple

My Tweeple is a powerful management tool that allows you to sort your Twitter account into lists of people that you follow but don’t follow you, people that follow you that you don’t follow and mutual following relationships. This allows you to select certain people to follow or unfollow.

Twitter Management Tool 8 - Social Too

Social Too

SocialToo allows you to automatically follow everyone who follows you. It also has a feature that allows you to unfollow anyone who stops following you, or any account that exhibits spam like behaviour (such as rapid following and unfollowing of accounts).

You can also choose to receive a daily email that includes the number of people who have followed you and stopped following you over the past 24 hours.

Twitter Management Tool 9 - Twitter Friends

Twitter Friends

Twitter Friends is an extremely interesting tool if you want to analyse the way you use your Twitter account. Just enter your Twitter username and it produces a wide range of detailed Twitter stats.

Discover who your closest Twitter friends are, find out how many Twitter fans you have and how loyal they are, how often you tweet, how often you converse etc.

If you take the effort to interpret the meaning of all this data, it will give you important clues about how to increase the value of the Twitter network that you’re developing.

Twitter Management Tool 10 - Twittermass

Twittermass

Twittermass is a relatively new suite of tools to help you grow and inspire your Twitter network. The empahasis on building business relationships makes this a powerful networking tool.

The wide range of tools gives you the ability to auto follow, local follow, manual follow, block unwanted users, track keywords, track followers, clone followers, view your Twitter metrics and get the most from Follow Friday.

8 Powerful Tools To Put Twitter On Your Website

As Twitter continues its meteoric rise, millions of people are discovering that it allows them to find quality information and resources that are relevant to their needs.

It’s like a massive human-edited search engine. Twitter is also an extremely meritocratic environment. Quality users and content are rewarded, while poor users and content aren’t.

When popular users provide a link to a relevant resource that link is visited more often and retweeted more often.

So if you’ve developed a good reputation on Twitter and publish high-quality content, it’s possible to bring the two together, providing great value for your followers and additional traffic for your website.

There are several powerful tools that allow you to integrate your Twitter account with your website, blog, email list and other social media pages.

These tools will automatically update your webpages whenever you post a new Tweet and allow visitors to promote webpages on your behalf.

So with that in mind, here are 8 of the best tools and services that will allow you to join the mashup revolution.

Adding Your Tweets To Your Website

Twitter Tool 1: Twitter Widgets

Twitter WidgetsIf you want a simple way to display your latest tweets on your site, the first tool to consider is the official widgets offered by Twitter.

They’re simple to install (just copy and paste the code into your website template), can be added to almost any website or blog (including MySpace, Facebook, Blogger, Typepad) and will help to engage your readers with your Twitter updates without taking up too much space on your site.

Twitter Tool 2: Twitter Buttons

Twitter ButtonsThis is a quick and simple service that gives you access to more than 80 different Twitter button graphics. Just enter your Twitter username, select the design that you want, then copy and paste the custom code into your website to help turn your website traffic into new Twitter followers.

Twitter Tool 3: Chirrup

ChirrupChirrup is a simple idea with a lot of potential if you want to integrate Twitter with your website. It allows you to display all of the messages that are sent to your Twitter account and sort them by url, which means you can use Twitter to run a comment feed system for each page on your site.

The major advantages of Chirrup are the ease of installation (just add a short snippet of Javascript to your site), ease of customization (you can organize the data and the look of the output exactly as you want) and the ability to use it on any site, whether it’s a blog or a static html page. All you need is a hosting package that supports php.

Integrating Your Twitter Account With Facebook

Twitter Tool 4: Twitter Facebook Application

Twitter Facebook ApplicationThis application allows you to link your Facebook account to your Twitter feed. Just login to your Facebook account, click the link to the application above, then select to add it to your Facebook page. Once installed, this application will automatically update your Facebook status every time you post a new tweet.

Integrating Your Twitter Account With Your Wordpress Blog

Twitter Tool 5: Twitter Tools

Twitter ToolsOne of the best Twitter integration scripts is the excellent Twitter Tools by Alex King. If you have a Wordpress blog this powerful Wordpress plugin offers several ways to connect your blog and Twitter account, including;

a) Automatically update your Twitter account with a link to your latest blog post

b) Automatically create a new blog post whenever you post a new tweet

c) Automatically create a blog post with a daily digest of all the tweets you have posted in the last 24 hours

d) Post tweets from the sidebar of your blog

e) Post tweets from your Wordpress admin area

f) Syndicate your tweets to other services using an API hook

Helping Twitter Users To Promote Your Content

Twitter Tool 6: TwitThis

TwitThisTwitThis provides you with a short piece of code that you can add to the html of your site or blog template (they also offer a wordpress plugin). The code adds a small TwitThis button graphic to your site that allows your visitors to share your page with their Twitter followers.

When your visitors click on the button, it automatically shortens the website address then allows them to add their own description before posting the message to their followers.

Due to the growing popularity of Twitter, a brief mention by a couple of trusted Twitter users can send an avalanche of traffic to your site. And if some of them use the TwitThis button, the viral marketing effect will start to gather pace.

Twitter Tool 7: Tweet This

Tweet ThisIf you have a wordpress blog, Tweet This provides the same type of service as TwitThis but offers greater customization flexibility. This is a great plugin, and one that we personally use on this site (take a look at the top right of each post).

Once you’ve got the plugin installed on your blog, you can alter the way the button looks from within the Wordpress admin area without having to spend too much time wading through the template code. This is a major advantage if that sort of thing brings you out in a cold sweat.

Tweet This provides a quick and easy way for your blog visitors to share your content with their Twitter followers. One click posts the title of the blog post and a shortened url to their Twitter status box. A second click will post it to their Twitter account.

But beyond the obvious viral promotion benefits of this service, Tweet This provides two additional benefits;

a) Social Proof

If you use one of the default images provided by Tweet This, the system generates two links next to each blog post. A green “Retweet” link and a grey box that shows the number of times that the post has been retweeted.

This provides your blog with a massive promotional benefit - Social Proof

In general, people are more likely to share content that is already popular. So if your visitors see that your latest blog post has already been retweeted 200 times, they are more likely to share it with their followers than if the post had 0 retweets.

Why?

Because it provides a measure of proof regarding the quality of content on your blog and the quality of each specific post. Success breeds success. The more retweets your posts get, the more likely they are to receive additional retweets.

b) Subtle Market Research

Tweet This is also a great way to gauge the popularity of the content on your blog.

Okay, you can use Google Analytics and your website stats, but that only tells you half the story.

You can find out how many people have visited each page and even how long they spend on it, but all that data won’t tell you what people thought of the content on your blog.

It doesn’t tell you which pages people are prepared to risk their social reputation to share with their followers.

So unless people post comments on your blog, you won’t have any positive feedback on the type of information that your website visitors find valuable.

The retweet counter provides you with powerful feedback on the type of content that motivates your visitors to read and then share. That type of information is like gold dust as it will provide ideas for future blog posts that are likely to be in high demand.

Linking Twitter To Your List Of Email Subscribers

Twitter Tool 8: Aweber

AweberThanks to a feature-rich platform that’s constantly improving and an incredible deliverability rate, Aweber is best known for being the leading email marketing service. It’s an essential part of any newsletter publishing or list building activity.

However, Aweber now has the ability to integrate directly with your Twitter account. When you setup a broadcast email, there is a section towards the foot of each page that allows you to select the syndication options.

Just make sure that the “Publish in RSS/XML feed or html archive” box is checked, the “Twitter Update” box is checked and your Twitter login details are entered (they will be stored securely by Aweber).

When your email is broadcast, Aweber will use your Twitter login details to post a short message to your Twitter account, which will consist of the subject line you chose for your email and an Aweber tracking link to an html archive version of the email.

If you have a email list or plan to start one, this is a quick and easy way to attract additional subscribers from your Twitter followers. It’s also a good way to provide significant value for your Twitter followers.

Please Note: If you intend to use this technique, it’s a good idea to include a link to your subscription squeeze page at the foot of your broadcast email so that anyone who reads the html version linked to in your Twitter message will find it easy to subscribe to future newsletters.

What Twitter integration tools do you use? If there are any Twitter integration tools that you recommend, we’d love to hear from you.

Leave your comments below to help other users get their Twitter account connected.

How To Power Up Your Twitter Search Techniques

Twitter Search Power TechniquesAs every day passes, the popularity of Twitter continues to grow. However, while the main focus is usually on the number of users or the volume of tweets, one area that most people overlook is the growing value of the network for the purposes of search.

In fact, there have even been suggestions that Twitter will eventually rival the power of Google search. This is based on the fact that most of the popular information (such as suggested links) on the network is human edited, unlike Google which has to rely upon its mechanical algorithm.

So if you want to get the maximum from Twitter, it’s important to harness the power of Twitter search. There’s a vast ocean of valuable information on the Twitter network just waiting to be discovered.

Twitter Search

Originally called Summize, this search tool was bought by Twitter in 2008. At the time it seemed a strange acquisition given the range of powerful third party Twitter tools that could have been acquired. However, that purchase is now beginning to look like an extremely far-sighted and shrewd purchase.

Twitter search has grown into an extremely powerful tool. If you visit the main Twitter search the functionality of the page looks similar to Google.

And like Google, the main Twitter search allows you to use various search operators to fine tune your search.

Plain Search

Searching for the words Twitter search will return posts containing either Twitter or search or both.

Exact phrase search

For example, “Twitter Search” will search for messages that include this exact phrase.

Negative Search

If you want to exclude messages with certain words, just include that word with the minus sign in front of it.

For example, Search -Twitter will return messages about search, but exclude those that also contain the word Twitter.

Hashtag Search

Hashtags are a powerful way for Twitter users to group messages around a certain topic. Twitter allows you to search for these hashtags.

For example, if you want to find information about the Twitter Power System, searching for #tps will return all of the messages that contain that hashtag.

You can add other modifiers to the end of this search to narrow down the results.

For a brief explanation of hashtags, check out our other post about #followfriday.

From Search

If you want to search the messages posted by a Twitter user, just enter from:USERNAME

For example, if you want to see all the messages that Jamesrivers has posted, just search for from:jamesrivers

To add even more power, you can add any search term after this from search. To see how many times James uses the word followers, just search for from:jamesrivers followers

To Search

Likewise, you can search for all the @replies sent to a specific user, for example, to:peterfrancis

@ Search

To find all the searches where a certain Twitter user is mentioned, just reach for @ followed by the username. For example, @stuartlaing will uncover all the messages that contain @stuartlaing

Location Searches

If you want to find how often the phrase internet marketing is sent by people near New York, just search for

“Internet Marketing” near:”New York”

This is great if you want to find people with similar interests in your part of the world.

If you want to narrow down the search, you can add a distance modifier, for example;

“Internet Marketing” near:”New York” within:20mi

This will return messages that refer to internet marketing sent from within a 20 mile radius of New York.

After Searches

twitter since:2009-02-25 will return all messages containing the word Twitter posted since 25th Feb 2009

Before Searches

twitter until:2009-02-25 will return all messages containing the word Twitter posted before 25th Feb 2009

You can then combine these two modifiers to search for posts within a specific period.

Attitude Searches

Adding : ) to your search will filter the results so that only messages with a positive attitude are displayed. Likewise, adding : ( to your search will return messages with a negative attitude.

For example, if you’re searching for reviews of a certain product or company, just search for the relevant name, then choose whether you want to see positive or negative mentions of the keyword.

dell : ) Will bring up positive posts about Dell.

dell : ( will bring up negative messages about Dell.

Question Searches

Add a question mark to your search and it will return posts that ask a question. This is great if you want to add value to the network and raise your profile by answering questions. If you’re a blog expert search for blog ? or blogging ? or wordpress ? to find questions that you can answer.

Link Searches

To filter your searches so that the results only include posts that contain links, just add the filter:links after your search term.

For example, if you’re looking for funny content, just search for funny filter:links or hilarious filter:links

Source Searches

To find messages posted from certain sources, just add source: followed by the Twitter source that you want to search for.

To find all the messages that mention weather posted by the cell phone software twinkle, just search for;

weather source:twinkle

Advanced Search

Alternatively, if you have more time and want to apply these search operators without using the shortcuts, click through to the Advanced Twitter Search and use the form to construct your search.

Choose the right type of search and you can find a host of valuable information that will help improve your Twitter experience and strengthen your network.

Please let us know if you have any Twitter search related questions or tips that will help your fellow readers.

Twitter Favorites - The Best Way To Use Them

Twitter FavoritesFavorites are a much underused Twitter feature. And if you get creative, they can provide you with much more than a way to store your favorite tweets.

The technique that I’m about to describe provides a great way to make sure that your followers pay close attention to your future tweets.

Post a message to your followers asking them to send you their favorite tweets. But put a limit on the submissions, such as the first 20, within 24 hours or before a certain date and time. For example;

Send your top tweets. The best will appear on my FAVs page. First 20 only. Post: @powersystem Fav tweet + Static Twitter Page URL

Only accept tweets for consideration if they are submitted within the timeframe that you stipulate. This creates an element of scarcity or urgency.

If you want to provide your followers with more instructions and outline the benefits of participating, you could create a page on your website/blog with all the instructions, then link to the page whenever you request more favorites.

For example;

Send your top tweets. Best will appear on my FAVs page. Rules http://is.gd/xxxxx Post: @powersystem Fav tweet + Static Twitter Page URL

After the time limit has passed, select the best posts and add them to your favorites (click the start icon to the right of the messages that you want to select).

To obtain the maximum benefit, you should repeat these steps every week or month, but don’t make it too predictable. The aim is to make your followers read your posts waiting for another opportunity to submit their favorite tweets.

Then it’s just a case of promoting your Twitter favorites page as much as possible. All the normal promotion methods are available, however, it’s also possible to increase the reach of your favorites page by linking the RSS feed to your other sites and social media pages.

The RSS feed for your Twitter favorites takes the following format; http://twitter.com/favorites/USERNAME.rss for example, the RSS feed for the Twitter Power Team can be found at; http://twitter.com/favorites/powersystem.rss

Ultimately, the more popular your favorites page, the more eager your followers will be to win one of your contests. To make your offer ever more attractive, you could also offer to Retweet the best messages to your followers.

Let us know whether you use the favorites feature on Twitter, and if you do, how do you use it? Is there a better way to use the favorites list?

How To Backup Your Twitter Account

Backup TwitterThe issue of backing up data from your Twitter account is becoming more important as people spend considerable amounts of time and effort building a valuable reputation and network of contacts.

There are serveral reasons why it’s a good idea to backup your Twitter account on a regular basis;

  • There might be a reappearance of the Big Fail Whale that caused Twitter to lose certain follower records in June/July 2008
  • You may want to refer to an older Tweet that no longer exists on the Twitter network
  • After the recent Twitter Phishing attacks, if your account was hacked, could you prove that it was initially your account? At least if you have the details of the people that you followed, you’ll find it easier and quicker to rebuild a new account.

Which leads us to the central question; How do I backup my Twitter account?

1. Online Twitter Backup Services

www.Tweetake.com
www.TwitterSafe.com
www.BackUpMyTweets.com

These sites allow you to login using your Twitter details, select what you want to backup, then work in the background until they are ready to present you with an csv file of your Twitter data. The file can then be viewed using a program such as Microsoft Excel.

However, due to the recent phishing related security concerns, many of you may prefer not to share your Twitter password with a third party site until some sort of user verification process is adpoted by Twitter.

2. Tools

At the time of writing I could only find two desktop tools to backup Twitter account data. The first tool, Twitter Backup, recently created by Johann Burkard allows you to backup your tweets. Just download Twitter Backup, enter your Twitter username and password (only Twitter will receive your login details) and the name of the file that you want to create. The software will request 20 tweets from your account every minute, so if you have posted hundreds or even thousands of tweets, this could take a while.

The second tool that I have just found is a Twitter backup java application that allows you to backup every aspect of your Twitter account, including your friends, followers, tweets, @ messages, direct messages, favorites etc.

As yet I haven’t used this tool so I can’t comment on how effective it is.

3. Manual Backup From The Twitter API

If you prefer to backup your data manually, it’s possible to submit queries to the Twitter API.

Backup the people you follow by entering the following url into your browser. Once you have entered your Twitter ID and password, it will provide you with an xml page with all the data from the first 100 people that you follow.

http://twitter.com/statuses/friends.xml?page=1

In your browser, click file, save page as, then select file type (webpage, xml only) and select a file name. You will then be able to open the xml file with Microsoft Excel.

For the second hundred people that you follow, use http://twitter.com/statuses/friends.xml?page=2 then just keep increasing the page number until you have backed up all the people that you follow.

To back up your followers, use the same procedure with this url;

http://twitter.com/statuses/followers.xml?page=1

And finally, to backup your tweets, use this url (change USERNAME to your Twitter username);

http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/USERNAME.xml?page=1

If you have an active Twitter account, this manual backup method can take a long time.

4. RSS Feed

If you want to automatically back up your own tweets, one of the simplest techniques is to search for your @username using http://search.twitter.com, then subscribe to your Twitter RSS feed. This will automatically pull all of your tweets, past, present and future to your feed reader where you can archive the data.

But if you know of any other Twitter backup techniques or tools, we’d love to hear from you.

Twitter Phishing Attack - How To Protect Your Account

By now you should have heard about the latest phishing attack to hit Twitter.

On the 3rd Jan I received 2 suspicious direct messages through Twitter. On the 4th Jan I received at least 8 bogus direct messages and a couple of them were from accounts that I know are owned by genuine users of Twitter.

So this post is part of our contibution to stamping out this attack before the viral nature of this scam spreads through Twitter like a disease.

The Problem

You receive a direct message from someone that you follow on Twitter. It says something rather innocent and intriguing such as;

“Check out this blog type website. you need to see it..” and

“hey look at this funny blog”

There may be other variants, but you get the idea. I have removed the links, but anything on the access-logins.com domain should be avoided.

When you click the link you arrive at what looks like the main Twitter login page. Only it’s not genuine, it’s a cloned site. And if you use this cloned site to enter your login details, your username and password will be recorded and used to access your account.

This could be devastating for both the Twitter network and legitimate users, especially if you use Twitter for business or professional purposes. It can take months or even years to build a good reputation online. If people have access to your Twitter account and start posting unauthorized messages, your reputation can be severely damaged within minutes.

To make sure that you don’t get caught by this trap or others, the best policy is to make sure that you don’t login to Twitter when you arrive at the site through a link. Open a new browser and type in the address http://twitter.com

The Reason

Why is this happening? Who knows! It could be people who are bored, jealous of Twitter’s success or even training for a career in cyber crime. But the most likely explanation is money. Phishers do what they do to make money. So how can they possibly hope to make money from a series of stolen Twitter accounts?

Off the top of my head, I can think of four potential methods;

a. Twitter Spam

They plan to build up as many compromised accounts as possible, then flood them with spam (either promoting affiliate products/services or selling the spam potential to a third party) to make a quick buck.

In this case, established Twitter accounts are far more valuable than recently created accounts as they are far less likely to trigger the anti-spam techniques that Twitter are likely to be using.

b. Twitter Account Ransom

They plan to demand ranson from legitimate account holders who have built up a fair bit of social value and reputation using their Twitter account. Let’s face it, some legitimate account holders could find it difficult and/or time consuming to prove that they are the real owner of their Twitter account. Could you prove that you own your Twitter account?

c. Selling Twitter Accounts

They plan to sell some of the hijacked accounts, especially the well established accounts with generic names. So if you’re offered a Twitter account with 3000 followers for $50, don’t have anything to do with it. Better still, take the details and pass them on to the team at Twitter.

d. The Long Game

They plan to use the reputation and integrity of Twitter to launch an even bigger assault on the social networking community. So take extra care of the way that you use your other social accounts and keep an eye out for news of the latest scams.

The Danger

The great danger is the speed at which this attack could spread. Every account that is hacked provides the phishers with more power to distribute their messages containing links to the cloned Twitter site.

Unfortunately, that’s the negative side of viral marketing.

The danger gets even greater if some people have used the same name and password when they signed up for other Twitter related services.

After hacking someone’s Twitter account, the phishers could have speculatively tried a whole range of third party services (such as the services which provide automated or scheduled direct messages) and used them to perpetuate the attack.

So your main Twitter account might look okay, but your automated direct messages will continue going out to your new followers, spreading the dangerous links, without you knowing anything about it.

The Solution

1. Check Your Twitter Account

If you can still login, change your password. It’s good practice to change your Twitter password on a regular basis

If you can’t access your Twitter account, try resetting your password. This will send an email to the address associated with your account, allowing you to set a new password. If you don’t receive this email, check your spam or junk folder. And finally, if you still haven’t received this email, contact the Twitter support team, providing them with as much information about your account as possible.

2. Use Different Passwords For All Your Twitter Related Accounts

If you use any Twitter related third party service that allows you to set your own username and password, make sure that you don’t use the same details as for your main Twitter account.

If you have been using the same login details for other accounts, make sure you change the passwords to something different as soon as possible. And if the service in question was for sending scheduled or automated Twitter messages, make sure that nothing has been altered in your account.

3. Keep your Twitter Password Private

This might sound obvious, but due to the number of third party Twitter services that have developed, there’s a great temptation to use your Twitter username and password “just to see what the service does”.

Blogger Chris Pirillo, who was one of the first people to write about this Twitter Phishing incident has suggested that the only way to avoid being a victim is to make sure that you don’t login to your Twitter account using any other site apart from Twitter.com

This is good advice which will further amplify calls for an official verification system (so that you know you’re giving your login details to the right people) to be developed for services using the Twitter API.

4. Make Regular Backups Of Your Twitter Account

If you use Twitter regularly and have invested a lot of time building up your account, it’s important to backup your data.

But following the advice from number 3, don’t use any of the 3rd party services (at least until a system of account verification has been developed).

There is a way that you can use the Twitter API to backup your lists (both followers and the people that you follow) that I’ll cover in a future post.

These backups will help to protect your information if Twitter has a major loss of data. The big fail whale has happened before as far as I’m aware.

A record of your lists will also help you to rebuild a new Twitter account in the unlikely event that your account is hacked and you can’t convince Twitter that you are the original and rightful owner.

5. Let Your Followers Know About This Problem

Education can help to put a stop to this. And Twitter is the perfect platform to spread the word about this threat. So once you’ve made sure that your account is secure, send a short tweet out to your followers.

Safe Tweeting!


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