Use your imagination! The potential of Annotated Tweets


Aside from the announcement of Promoted Tweets, Twitter’s advertising platform, the most important thing coming out of Twitter’s Chirp developer’s conference was a hazy pre-announcement of Annotated Tweets.

In a nutshell, developer’s will be able to let users to attach up to (probably) 512bytes of structured metadata to a tweet (plans are to increase this to 2KB), which can be used in one or many ‘annotations’ with additional data. This can only be added at the time of the tweet, or it if is retweeted.

To put this in context, a character can be represented in a byte, so you can add over 3 times as much data as the 140 characters of a tweet, in whatever format you want.

It is very early yet, with estimates of being launch in two months, and many things to be ironed out, not least how people can untangle the plethora of annotation formats that are likely to be launched.

It is completely open what can be done with this. In its note to developers Twitter says: Think big. Blow our minds.

Ideas for what annotations could be used for, adapted from Twitter, Venture Beat, Scobleizer, plus quite a few of our own, include:

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A few thoughts on Twitter’s ‘Promoted Tweets’


Just over 4 years since the first Tweet was sent, Twitter has announced its plan to sell advertising on Twitter, by the name of ‘Promoted Tweets’.

A good interview of Twitter COO Dick Costolo on CNBC gives quite a bit of detail on the plan:

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There will be two types of people: content creators and non-content creators


In the future there will be two types of people.

Either you will create content to share with the world, or you will not.

Many of us have already made the choice to share content with the world at large. We will be joined by many more.

The advantages of having a visible presence in a world awash with information will create a substantial economic and social difference between content creators and the rest.

Yet some people will not to want to share. Some won’t want to share anything about themselves beyond family and close friends. Others will be concerned about the privacy implications. They will not share of themselves to the world.

However if you choose to be a content-creator, it’s a slippery slope. Once you are sharing your voice online, be it through blogging, Twitter, social networks, videos, or other channels, the demands are intense just to keep it going. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, but it’s a commitment.

When your reputation and personal potential are driven by sharing, you do more. So as I just wrote, there can be spiralling demands from content creation.

If you choose to create content, content creation will be your life.

New research: Microblogging Inside and Outside the Workplace


I just got off the phone with Kate Ehrlich of IBM Research, who I’ve known for many years and was one my co-authors for our California Management Review article Managing Collaboration: Improving Team Effectiveness through a Network Perspective.

We had a great discussion about a variety of common interests, including where things are going in using social network analysis for performance improvement, and the value of social media in sales teams. Kate shared with me some recent research she has done with the use of microblogging inside and outside the enterprise, which has been written up as a paper titled Microblogging Inside and Outside the Workplace – it’s well worth a read.

IBM established BlueTwit some time ago as an internal microblogging tool, and its employees also use Twitter. As such, they were able to do research comparing how staff used microblogging for internal and external audiences.


Source: Microblogging Inside and Outside the Workplace

The research showed that Twitter is used more for sharing information and status updates, while the internal tool was used more for asking questions and directed interaction.

The study also included a qualitative component of interviews with IBM employees on how they used the microblogging tools. Below are the motivations and perspectives identified in the studies, together with representative quotes. See the article for the detailed research.


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Twitter stats: more users are engaged, one-third have more followers than following, the most prolific Tweeters have around 1000 followers


Barracuda Labs’ annual report contains some interesting analysis of the online space, including Twitter and security issues. A few highlights:

* Only 21% of Twitter accounts are active i.e. at least 10 followers/ 10 following/ 10 tweets

* Even so, there has been an increase in activity from dormant accounts – 40% fewer accounts have zero followers compared with six months ago

* 66% of users are following more or the same as the their number of followers (i.e. you are in the “top” one third if you have more followers than following)

* The most prolific Tweeters are those with around 1,000 followers. Those with more followers tend to tweet less – see chart below.


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Top Twitter nations: USA, Singapore, Canada, Ireland, UK, New Zealand, Australia


Software firm Sysomos has provided some more interesting research on Twitter usage.

Using this data, we have analyzed which countries use Twitter the most on a per capita basis, shown below.


I did the same analysis from Sysomos’ report in June, showing the most prominent Twitter nations on a per capita basis at the time, according to the data provided.

While the results are fairly consistent between the June 2009 and January 2010, it seems that neither set of results is complete. Norway, which ranked as the third highest per capita Twitter nation last June, had no data provided on it in this survey, while Singapore – now the second highest ranked nation – and Ireland – now ranked fourth – were not included in the June survey.

On a relative basis New Zealand has gained ground, catching up with Australia and the UK, while Germany appears to have moved ahead considerably compared to other countries such as France.

Sysomos doesn’t give details on its “proprietary” methodology for identifying the location of Twitterers, however it very interestingly says that only 0.23% of tweets are tagged with location through Twitter’s geo-location API tool. I may have a play with getting some of this data directly at some point.

Top blog posts of 2009: 8 Perspectives on Influence


Other 2009 summary posts

Top blog posts of 2009: 6 on Twitter and the media

Top blog posts of 2009: Enterprise 2.0 and organizational effectiveness

Top blog posts of 2009: The future

Top keynote speech presentations/ videos of 2009

And one more summary of my blog posts that have attracted the most interest this year, this time on the topic of influence, which has become very central to my interests and research.

1. Launch of the Influence Landscape framework (Beta)

A visual framework to explain the role and mechanisms of influence today


2. “Influence is the future of media”

Why influence is at the center of where the media industry is going

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Top blog posts of 2009: 6 on Twitter and the media


Other 2009 summary posts

Top blog posts of 2009: Enterprise 2.0 and organizational effectiveness

Top blog posts of 2009: The future

Top keynote speech presentations/ videos of 2009

At this time of year it’s good to look back at the blog posts I’ve written and see what is most interesting. Some have got quite a lot of attention, other posts I liked got passed over.

Having looked through my blog posts, the most useful approach seems to be by topics. I’ll start with a list of six posts on Twitter and the media, including some embeds.

1. Twitter on ABC TV – the impact on politics, media and socializing

The post includes this ABC TV segment on Twitter, which includes interviews with myself and Mark Scott, Managing Director of ABC. Full analysis on the post.

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Sky Business Tech Report: Interview on social media, online outsourcing, and how small companies are using technology to leapfrog big business


I was interviewed this morning on Sky Business Tech Report. Some of the things we discussed in the interview are:

* How social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many others change how companies engage with customers, become more efficient, and being competitive.

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ABC TV Interview: How business can create value with Twitter


ABC TV ran a segment a few days ago on how companies are using Twitter to create value, including an interview with me on how businesses can use Twitter effectively.

This should be a topic of particular interest to small and mid-sized companies. If you are interested in learning more, SME Tech Summit in Sydney on 1 December will include specific in-detail coverage of how your company can use Twitter (as well as other social media tools) to build your success.

Comments made during the program include:

* Experts say Twitter is here to stay

* Twitter has become a legitimate business tool

* When you don’t have much money to spend, Twitter can be an excellent way to promote your business

* You need to be conversational and human to engage your customers

* There are ways that companies in any industry to use Twitter

* It is hard to do properly, and you do need to be consistent if you start

* Twitter is here to stay as part of companies’ branding strategy