Category Archives: twitter

Is Social Media Worth Your Time?

Facebook is vying to be a one stop portal on the web, what with offering communication, connections to your friends and families, business information if you can bothered to use their mediochre search functions, games and the list is growing. Facebook has become a destination for approximately half of its 500 million users, but with such a huge user base, the type of user would need to be qualified; a lot of older people, home makers and the younger information generation primarily.

As search and online shopping demographics become available from time to time, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the majority of online shopping which used to be the stay at home wives and mothers, has begun to shift to the 30+ crowd that has worked hard for their income. Facebook doesn’t have a money making angle as of yet that they’ve disclosed, but one that’s been discussed is being a marketing portal for users to but and use online services. With the online purchasing power moving more towards the 30 something career crowd however, it won’t be a terribly positive revenue model.

The chief problem, is Facebook itself. It’s clunky, often slow to navigate and the site will just randomly stop working at times giving you it’s “Oops, we don’t know what just happened” error page. It’s those issues which will serve as some reasons as to why the 30 something crowd stays away from Facebook. Contributing to the reluctance to join, is most notably, disinterest. Social media is not a fad, it’s definitely entrenched within the pseudo-mainstream with Twitter and Facebook holding court, but aside from having “friends” whom you’ve not seen since you left high school 15 years ago, there’s no draw to the join either of the sites.

We’re all equals here, we all put our pants on the same way, we all wash and we all need sleep and food. Micro-blogging on Twitter and Facebook serves as a valuable go between for business in that your customers can feel they can leave a direct line and voice their question or concern. As for personal use, there really is none for the “normal” everyday person. As for personalized advertising coming from using Facebook and Twitter? Programmers have been writing query strings to pull information from databases for years, if you’d like to have a look see, create an account using a strange or silly name and see the types of ads you’re served.

Cheap SEO “often too good to be true”

 Getting your company noticed online is not always an easy thing to achieve. If your Website does not appear near the top of the first page on a Google search, chances are it will not see very much traffic. So in what is becoming an increasingly cutthroat business, how does an organisation draw attention to itself online?

By employing a  specialist search marketing company like fresh traffic whose goal is to help customers to find new business online, there are two distinct options for driving traffic to your Website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about making your Website friendlier to search engines, thereby achieving a higher ranking on the page. SEO focuses on optimizing elements such as keywords, navigation, images and videos, in order to obtain the best possible ranking on a search engine page.

The second option is Google’s AdWords, a paid for offering designed to maximise your online return on investment (ROI). AdWords ensures that when a Google search makes use of one of your keywords, your advert appears opposite the organic search results. Since it uses a pay-per-click system. AdWords can be more costly than SEO, but it is also more targeted and will not fall foul of changes in a search engine’s algorithms.

The down side to this is the fact that not only do the majority of users look predominantly at the left hand side of the page, (the organic SEO side) they also trust organic search results more, meaning they are more likely to click on these. Other problems include the rising cost of pay per click, along with the limited amount of copy space available – everything needs to be squeezed into a 70-character limit.

Businesses paying to improve their websites with search engine optimization (SEO) should be prepared for the cost, many companies today are paying a small amount of cash and expecting big results, but that as with most things “you get what you pay for”.

People investing in SEO should be wary of companies who charge very little as if a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is.

SEO to some can seem like smoke and mirrors, some companies we know now simply offer search engine submission, or Google adwords and camouflage it as SEO.

Doing it half way will leave you no better off than when you started down this path and don’t forget the thousands of dollars you could potentially spend in the effort, businesses should invest time and money in proper organic SEO and remember that the service is not a “one-time hit”.

Our company has experts who can help in respect of both SEO and AdWords. Call us today 204.942.4200

You can always add social media into the mix with a facebook or twitter account if needed.

Tweeting Gone Wild

Twitter.com made it’s own set of headlines recently two fold. First, they roll out their new design, and then they managed to be taken advantage of. Through a clever use of the onmouseover tag of javascripting, a worm was running amok on the micro blogging service. It was self-replicating, affecting all users who were directly using Twitter.com. Tweetdeck and other Twitter apps, were unaffected. Drive by attacks aren’t just in the real world anymore it seems.

Can you Facebook?

It may seem intuitive to be able to use Facebook and it’s services. Maybe the problem was a comprehension issue then. A 14 year old English girl learned the hard way to always double check before you submit an event on Facebook. With her upcoming 15th birthday party, she’d decided that Facebooking the event would be the surest way to invite all of her friends to attend, neglecting however to privatise the affair. Instead of only having those she wished to attend, there were 21,000 attendees confirmed for the (now) gala event. Alas, the girls parents decided that perhaps having that many people at their house wouldn’t work, and called off the party, and even so the local police are ready for any surprise events.

That the girl made a simple enough mistake in not privatising her party to her invitees only, it opened the door that Facebooks privacy settings are too difficult to administer. To think, that all she had to do was actually read the page she was using to post the event, and uncheck the box labelled: Anyone can view and RSVP (public event) Accountability it seems, is never a personal responsibility.

All that Gwitters..? Twoogle it.. ?

Tuesday Twitter announces their new business model of Promoted Tweets to help the company generate revenue to help with the costs of running their equipment.

On Wednesday, Google announces the arrival of the ability of searching past Tweets, in an index of sorts of the history of Twitter.

Twitter, is taking a page from the Google playbook with ad generating tweets (AdWords anyone?), and Google is working it’s way into the real time search areana by including the newest Tweets, and now indexing all of the past ones up to the companies beginning.

In the strictest sense of the word, they’re not true competitors, as they provide different services to users. Google, returns relevant search results to users who search for specific strings. Twitter, is a real time account of the world. It’s a play by play of the world, as it happens.

A thought which has surfaced, and gained some momentum in discussion, is the idea of Google and Twitter joining forces, as opposed to outright confronting each other. In a sense, it would combine the best of real time accounts, with the worlds most powerful search engine; a very potent mix.

But, now that Twitter has developed it’s own revenue model, which it’s still working on, is it enough to keep its solidarity? Or will Google find a way to gobble it up, time will tell. If that happens, what’s the new term to be?

Gwitter?

Twoogle?

Twitter Getting Popular?

In an ever developing technology world, Twitter has been working on implementing a feature into it’s service involving the most popular tweets turning up in it’s search service.

Taylor Singletary:

“The Search team is working on a beta project that returns the most popular tweets for a query, rather than only the most recent tweets. This is a beta project, but an important first step to surface the most popular tweets for users searching Twitter..

Until the popular tweet feature all search results have been sorted chronologically, most recent results at the top. If a search query has any popular results, those will be returned at the top, even if they are older than the other results.”

The methodology to implement the service is outlined in detail for developers, but just how the ranking scheme for the tweets is handled, is unknown. The Thought of making the popular results available at search.twitter.com and not just via it’s API was also inferred in the post. But as for an implementation date or time, Singletary was noncommittal.

It’s an interesting idea that is, in a way, a shift in movement for Twitter in it’s core. Twitter, touted as a real time search results source, changing things to bring a user popular/relevant results over it’s real time results?

Blocking Social Media at the Workplace

You hear all the time about employees using social media websites while at work, well if you haven’t already blocked them, here’s a simple trick.

In Linux, you can type “sudo vi /etc/hosts” and add the following lines:

127.0.0.1 twitter.com
127.0.0.1 www.twitter.com
127.0.0.1 facebook.com
127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com
127.0.0.1 myspace.com
127.0.0.1 www.myspace.com

What these lines say is “Computer, when you try to use the domain name system (DNS) to resolve twitter.com to an IP address, hard-code the IP address to be 127.0.0.1.” Note that 127.0.0.1 is a special IP address that corresponds to your own computer. In essence, these entries make it impossible to browse to Twitter, Facebook, or Myspace. You might need to reboot your computer too for the settings to take effect.

Thanks to Matt for the tip.

A step up

OneRiot, a real-time search engine for web and video content, has launched a new Twitter search engine with a unique angle: Rather than focus on what people are saying, the search engine focuses on the web pages people are linking to.

But whenever the subject of real-time search and/or Twitter search comes up, inevitably the argument heads to “too much meaningless chatter to find anything of value”. It’s a generally fair argument. But OneRiot thinks it’s found a way to cut through the layers of noise.

How Does It Work?

One Riot crawls Twitter, looking for tweets with embedded links, then crawls and indexes the content being linked to. The OneRiot search algorithm includes spam checking and has checks for relevance, and a “hotness” factor for URLs that are being talked about a lot in recent tweets.

As you do a search, you can see the focus is on content — the URLs people are discussing and sharing on Twitter. But Twitter being a social site, OneRiot’s search results also include some social elements for anyone who wants to dip into the conversation. Each result includes a reference to how recently the link was shared on Twitter, how many tweets mention it, and who first posted it on Twitter.

It’s a unique approach to Twitter search that should prove particularly beneficial to the business community embracing social media advertising. In a short time testing the service, I found that it does bypass a lot of the chatter, and leads more quickly to relevant content. And there’s convenience too, in that OneRiot’s search expands shortened links, so you can see the actual content link.

An alpha version of their Twitter search engine is available now at twitter.oneriot.com.

Google, Bing to Launch Twitter, Facebook Search

The battle between Bing and Google has heated up with both sides agreeing to deals with micro-blogging site Twitter. In addition, Microsoft has reached a separate agreement with Facebook, while Google is launching its own, unique search tool for social networking sites.

User demand is behind decisions by Microsoft and Google to include social networking in search results. While both search sites update their index of web pages regularly, they still struggle to cope with very recent information such as current events. While both Google and Bing have dedicated searches of news websites, that doesn’t cover comments and reports by non-journalists, including those on hand during a major event — information which is available through social networks.

Twin Tie-Ups For Twitter
Twitter appears to have pulled off a smart marketing move by having deals with both search giants announced within hours of one another. Bing has already released a beta edition of its Twitter search which, unlike the facility on Twitter’s own site, includes a list of the web pages which receive the most links in Twitter posts. That’s a useful way of finding the latest talking points.

40% of Tweets are Babble

With Twitter being such a hot trend right now, research firms have been anxious to study how people are using the social platform, and analyze trends in aggregate view.

One such company, data analytics provider, Pear Analytics, set out to study the contents of our tweets to determine if, in fact, we’re all just sharing mindless babble, or if there was something more intellectual going on.

Their findings aren’t all that favorable to those of us with lofty views of Twitter, because as it turns out, 40.55% of tweets are pointless babble.

The Pear Analytics group took 2,000 tweets in English from the public timeline over a time span of two weeks, with 200 tweets captured each half-hour from 11am – 5pm CST daily. They then categorized tweets into six different types: news, spam, self-promotion, pointless babble, conversation, and pass-along value.

Forget Twitter. COBOL is where it's at

All the hipsters in Silicon Valley are talking about PHP, Twitter, and Web 2.0, but according to recent surveys, kids can’t be bothered to use Twitter and COBOL, one of the industry’s oldest programming languages, still “equates to 80 percent of the world’s actively used code.

COBOL? Really?

Yes, really. COBOL keeps chugging because it continues to power the boring (but essential) software like CICS (Customer Information Control System). Not very sexy, but when you think about life for more than a nanosecond, most of what makes life work is the transportation, finance, healthcare, etc. systems that don’t make waves but do make our lives more efficient.

This is why the hot jobs in the cold economy center on “old” programming languages like Java and .Net. They’re not cool. They’re essential.

I’ve grown to love Twitter, but I’m not waiting for it to change the world. My demographic (25 to 45-year olds working in technology) believes it’s changing the world, starting with the ushering in of a new age of Iranian democracy, but as Foreign Policy points out, Twitter does as much to help crush dissidents and spread misinformation as it helps to remedy things.

In other words, it’s really no different from the old technology, except that it does a better job getting into the news.