Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Are Your Social Shares Making Your Headlines Look Dull?

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Headlines, they’re one of the most important elements of a good piece of content.  They help readers to know what the content is about, they generate clicks, and can set your content apart from others like it.  But I’ve noticed lately when sharing content that the headline or text used for sharing content is overlooked, which can make headlines look dull to your social audience, and potentially impact your content’s engagement.

Below is a recent article I read on CNN.  You’ll notice the headline to the piece is “Seating secrets: How airlines decide what fare you pay.”  The “seating secrets” part of the headline is what got me to click when I saw the article in an email.  By putting the word “secret” in the title it leads the reader to believe they are getting information that they shouldn’t have access to and perhaps after reading the piece will know how to save on airfare.  It’s a psychological tactic that enticed me and likely a number of other users to click and read the article.  But if you look in the same image, you’ll see what populated when I went to tweet the article on Twitter.  The populated tweet simply reads, “How airlines decide what fare you pay.”  While some frequent flyers might be interested in this headline, it doesn’t have the same psychological appeal that the “seating secrets” headline does.

Screencap of CNN article

This is a common problem that is a result of sites automating the creation of Twitter share content in order to have some control over the message, but oftentimes this information is pulled from the wrong location.  Some tools are setup to pull the tweet content from the title tag on the page, others use the article heading.  In the case of CNN, the tweet content appears to have been pulled from the page’s Open Graph title tag. Regardless of how it’s pulled, it’s important to make sure the messaging going out is exactly how you want it to appear to social media users.  If not the piece may sound dull and you may miss out on potential engagement.

Wondering how your shared content appears on Facebook?  Find out how Facebook’s debugger tool can help.

Twitter Hacked: Password Resets Being Sent To Impacted Users

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Oh, Fail Whale, How I've Missed Thee by Jeff HesterJust a short time ago Twitter posted about a security threat that may have given hackers access to over 250,000 users.  The attack, which follows a string of recent attacks on U.S. websites such as The New York Times  and Wall Street Journal, have forced the social media giant to take action to protect its users.

This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/saltedversions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.

As a precautionary security measure, we have reset passwords and revoked session tokens for these accounts. If your account was one of them, you will have recently received (or will shortly) an email from us at the address associated with your Twitter account notifying you that you will need to create a new password. Your old password will not work when you try to log in to Twitter.

Twitter believes the attack was carried out by very savvy individuals and does not believe it to be an isolated incident.  While the company has not completed its investigation it announced the attack because of its severity and the belief that other websites may also be impacted.

If you were impacted Twitter suggests creating a strong password that isn’t utilized across multiple accounts.  The password should be at least 10 characters, with a mixture of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

The story is still developing, but users should be on the look out for the mentioned emails and as a safety precaution update their passwords.

Finding Quality Users To Follow On Twitter When You Can’t Trust Your Twitter Friends

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Whether you’re just starting out on Twitter, or are a seasoned user looking for some new influencers its easy to want to look to the people we know for people to follow.  After all, that’s one of the big draws of social media isn’t it?  The ability to gain influence and insight from the people we trust?  But unfortunately with the advent of auto-follow the quality of those your friend is following can be decieving.

I’ve mentioned in the past that, while it can be overwhelming at times, I still manually review every follower notification I receive on Twitter.  Each day I’ll get a number of emails like the one below that feature another Twitter follower that I may or may not be interested in following.

A Twitter Follower Notification Email

At the bottom of the email Twitter tries to build some credibility for the user by displaying people you follow that also follow the user.  I used to put some weight into this list, but over time I’ve noticed that thanks to our good friend the auto follower, my trusted friends aren’t really of much help.  In this particular case eight people seem to really be digging on this eBay store.

Hmm, further research reveals that the site blasts a large number of tweets each hour showcasing some of its fine eBay auctions.  Not exactly fodder that most of the folks I follow would eat up.  Yet even Mari Smith is following this gem of an account.  Luckily I know Mari utilizes an auto follow tool, or I might suspect she fancy’s vintage pinup fashion.  Needless to say, I’m not going to be able to trust my social friends on this one.

Don’t Take All Follows at Face Value

When it comes to following users back, or even researching new people to follow do your due diligence.  I personally have a set criteria every person I follow must pass before I follow them:

  1. Do they have a profile photo? If not there’s no way I am following them
  2. Do they have a bio? If not, no go. If they do does it appeal to me?
  3. What’s their tweet to follower to following ratio?  2 tweets, 46 followers and following 999? Something’s fishy. You better sell me pretty damn good in those two tweets to score a follow.
  4. What are they tweeting? Do they use a #hash #tag on every other word or in every tweet? Nothing screams spammer like the over utilization of the hashtag.

If they pass those core elements its time to skim their tweets and learn a bit more about the user.  Are they tweeting content that will actually interest you and resonate, or is it all tweets about their eating schedule and bowel movements?

Twitter’s timeline can get crowded quickly.  Even with hand picking who I follow I’m up to over 1600 people and I guarantee you I miss most of their content.  If you want to cut down the noise do your part to follow only those who you feel will actually have an influence on you.

Ways to Find Quality People to Follow

  • Look at the people your friends engage with most – Who are they retweeting or conversing with most?  Chances are these are the users who are most influential in their stream.
  • Explore Twitter Lists – While I never personally got into the lists game I know they can be a great resource for finding like minds. Visit profiles of users who influence you and explore lists they are featured on.
  • Look for curated lists on industry blogs – Most industries I play in have had a member of their community write up a nice list of influential users in their marketplace. Here are a couple for the realms I play in:
  • Klout – While many question its value, it still is a great way to at least discover people that might actually be topically relevant to your interests.  That being said, the quality of those users can be questionable depending on niche, as displayed in my Top 10 Plastic Surgery Social Media Influencers According to Klout post
  • Who To Follow – A native feature in Twitter, this can be a great resource once you’ve built up a decent group of people you’ve followed.  Again, do your due diligence though and verify they are actually a user who is going to satisfy your twitter needs.
  • Follow Friday, #FF – Though greatly ignored personally, many users I have talk to still value the Follow Friday trend, especially when users give good testament as to why you should follow.  SpinSucks does really cool #FollowFriday blog posts that gives in depth reasons to follow various people on Twitter.
  • Twitter Directories –,,, and are just a few of the many sites out there than can help you take an old school approach to finding influential people to follow.

So now that you know you can’t trust your Twitter friends, its time to do your part to make sure you are following the best and the brightest Twitter has to offer.  Do you have your own techniques for finding new people to follow on Twitter? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

NBC 4’s @RealTimeLARiots a Clever Use of Social Media or Confusing Social Noise?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

A few years back I posted about a modern day War of the Worlds that I feared would break out on Twitter.  In October 2009, California was holding a statewide earthquake drill and the Orange County Register was considering running simulated tweets during the event.  The proposed tweets would coincide with the event and would report as though a magnitude 7.8 earthquake had hit the region.  At the time I wrote how it was a clever idea, but it came with risks.  What would happen if someone outside of the loop mistook the tweet for something real?  What sort of paranoia would it create?  The Register never followed through with the tweets, but I have been observing a similar reaction nearly three years later.

“April 26, 1992. There was a riot on the streets tell me where were you?” ― Sublime

Yesterday I stumbled upon this tweet in my Twitter stream:

At the time I saw the tweet I had no idea what @RealTimeLARiots was. All I saw was the words “National Guard officially deployed. #LARiots” and as a Southern California resident who has witnessed a number of riots in Los Angeles both big and small I was concerned.

But before overreacting, I did my due diligence to click through and figure out what all the fuss was about.  In just a few clicks I discovered that @RealTimeLARiots was nothing more than livetweeting of the Los Angeles riots as they happened back in 1992.  I was instantly taken back to my modern day War of the Worlds post and realized that I had almost fallen victim to the exact sort of thing I mentioned back then.

I tweeted my concern and actually found out from NBC 4’s John Cádiz Klemack that another local station had actually called to confirm the report:

But funny as it may seem, I was almost duped into believing the city of Los Angeles was in the midst of a riot, and I wouldn’t be the last to think so.

As many of you know today was May Day and to coordinate with the “Workers Holiday” Occupy protesters were out in force to demonstrate across the U.S. and more specifically in Los Angeles.  As the day unfolded Twitter and news outlets posted about the protest and various police confrontations.  But things got tricky when Twitter users following the events began seeing the current day occurrences collide with the past:



The above are just a small sampling of the kind of tweets that have been posted about the overlap and confusion caused by the @RealTimeLARiots account and the current events unfolding in Los Angeles, but is @RealTimeLARiots a bad thing?

If you search for @RealTimeLARiots on Twitter you’ll discover a mix bag of reactions to the account.  Many who were too young to experience the riots first hand have been in awe watching the tweets unfold.  Others have commented on how this is one of the most innovative uses of Twitter to date, but at what cost?

@RealTimeLARiots is not the first of its kinda.  Most recently the History Channel ran a real-time Titanic account to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  There is also a popular RealTimeWWII account which is “livetweeting the 2nd World War, as it happens on this date & time in 1940, & for 6 years to come.”  But what sets @RealTimeLARiots apart in my opinion is how it is being tweeted and reported in a way that makes it feel more realistic or actual accounts.  Using #BREAKING hash tags and various mentions these appear much more real and this is most likely why they have become so confusing for many.

It’s a unique effort that I think is both risky, as well as innovative.  For those who are too young to remember it, or never experienced it, it is an education experience.  For those who lived through it, its an opportunity to reflect and look back at those terrifying moments.  For others, its just one more form of online entertainment.  But ultimately it does come at a risk.  Twitter allows information to spread rapidly and all it takes is one group of people to miss the backstory to spread panic among users.  Think of all the dead celebrity rumors that have spread like wildfire on Twitter?  Now apply that to a crisis or emergency and things could get a little rocky.

What are your thoughts on the Real Time LA Riots account?  Is it an innovative use of social media, or is NBC 4 going too far as a news outlet?

Why Posting to Social Networks in a One Size Fits All Format Is A Bad Idea

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

There was a time when I thought was the greatest thing in the world. It allowed me to easily update nearly every social network I belonged to all at once, but there was one problem with that.  I was updating every social network I belonged to at once.  At the time I didn’t think about the fact that different social networks have different audiences and want different things from me as part of their network.  With so many networks and services allowing you to integrate your posts across multiple platforms, a lot of clients have asked me to help them set them up so that Facebook posts to Twitter or Twitter posts to Facebook, and the like.  Every time it comes up I strongly advise against it, and here is why.

Below is an image of a tweet I came across a few weeks back while doing some research.  When I saw it I was confused. Why was this doctor telling people to follow him on Twitter from Twitter. Sure, if they came across it the way I did it may entice them to follow, but let’s be honest, this tweet clearly wasn’t intended for his Twitter audience.

Twitter Status from @rsplastic

Sure enough, when I clicked through I found that this doctor had originally posted this on Facebook as a means to get his Facebook fans to follow him on Twitter, but it was being fed from Facebook to his Twitter timeline.  I did a little bit more digging and found that there was a lot of cross posting like this.  Some posts were fine this way, where others left me scratching my head as a user on Twitter.

Earlier this week I posted reasons why posting via third party apps can impact Facebook engagement, and one of the things mentioned in the study from Applum was that the content was not intended or optimized for the social network it was on, and this is a prime example.

Aside from looking ridiculous (Do you get as annoyed as I do when you see people post Twitter updates on Facebook full of @username and # in the status?), you are creating a content echo chamber that is repeating your message over and over to those that have connected with you on multiple networks.  That’s the social networking equivalent to calling or emailing a client to let them know you are offering a new promotion, and then doing it again, and again, and again. Talk about annoying.

Each social network is different and they should be treated as such.  Does this mean it’s not ok to share the same content on multiple networks? Of course not, but be conscious of what you are doing.  Does your LinkedIn network want to know that you just checked-in to your favorite Chinese food restaurant on Foursquare? Probably not.  Do you need to ask your Twitter audience to follow you on Twitter? Absolutely not.   So before you start integrating all of your social networks into each other, ask yourself, does this network want to hear what I have to say on every other network? In most cases the answer is going to be no.  To ensure you get the best engagement for your content on the social network of your choice, take a few extra minutes to post the proper messages into the proper channels, and if you are going to automate make sure the content that’s being fed is suitable for that particular audience first.