Archives For Twitter

Last week, I gave a group of artists a full introduction to Twitter along with some recommended best practices. At one point in the conversation, I pulled up my Twitter profile and explained why everything is the way it is. In that moment, I realized something: I take my profile so seriously because I judge the profiles of others.

So I’ve decided to make a list of the four things I see (or judge) when I look at your Twitter profile. Continue Reading…


This past week was an interesting one for me. I had some very unexpected interactions with brands that left an impression on me, and I thought I’d share them.

First: The Follow-Up

A couple of weeks ago I heard about the start-up Fitbay. Their website lets you put in your size and body-type and then they recommend clothing based on the information you provide. They’re currently in beta, so you have to request access and get on a waiting list. Somehow, I got quick access (my profile) and I’m already loving the site.

So @Fitbay tweeted that they’re looking for a social media manager for their young company, and I gave them a retweet because I know there are several social media savvy people who follow me on Twitter and might be interested in joining a start-up. Not too long after, @Fitbay publicly replies to thank me for my retweet.

Our exchange went on for a few more tweets, and they even mentioned that they saw I’d participated in the suggestion area of their website. Not only did they follow up with me, but they made the effort to look me up. I felt valued as a user, and I’ll continue to rave about them for a while.

Second: The Shout-Out

Around the same time I learned about Fitbay, I read about another start-up called ReadingPack. They allow users to save web articles and share them as reading lists. I signed up (my profile) thinking that ReadingPack would be an interesting solution for my coworkers and I to share articles with each other.

Then on Friday @ReadingPack tweeted about my reading pack. I was completely surprised.

Granted this is something that they’ve started doing regularly with users, but I still felt awesome that their company is paying attention to their users, including me.

Third: The Cold Shoulder

There’s this really popular blogger/leader who I follow on Twitter. (Let’s call him Hichael Myatt.) He tweets probably around 80 times a day, and though I find that incredibly annoying, some of that content is relevant to me. So I follow him anyway.

One day last week, Mr. Myatt had a malfunction in his auto-tweet software, so his tweet had special characters in the message instead of the title of his recent blog post and the link that accompanied it. So a few fellow tweeters and I replied to the message to try to get Mr. Myatt’s attention. I even went so far as to include the title and link that his tweet was missing.

Here’s a link to my reply (Warning! My reply totally gives away who the real Hichael Myatt is.): link.

Ten minutes later, the original tweet was deleted and replaced with what should’ve been in the original tweet. Which is good and fine, and I totally understand why Mr. Myatt (or the person running his Twitter account) might’ve done that. But it was also an opportunity to show a little humanity, to reach out to some very concerned and connected users. Instead, he hit delete, erasing it from existence.

(This wouldn’t be so bad if this wasn’t the fifth time I’ve tweeted at Mr. Myatt when he’s tweeted for help on a topic. Never once have I seen him reply to someone who has replied to his tweets.)

Conclusion: The New Truth

Social conversation is the new marketing. It turns users into advocates, brand reps. And it’s way cheaper than advertising.

Brands need to be aware of the importance of conversation on social media. My three examples are interactions that I take as personally as if I had spoken with a representative in-person. And they can rest assured that I’ll be sharing their story, content, and brand with my friends, family, and followers.

In 2013, I resolve to use social media more.

While a lot of people are resolving to use social media less this year, I’m asking for more.

Let me explain myself.

I would guess that I’ve read about 10-15 articles about tech and current events nearly every day for the last two years. Those articles keep me well-informed about global and domestic issues and new technologies that are quickly changing the landscape of our world. They aid me in my job and keep me thoughtful in my writing.

Where do I find most of these articles? Through social media.

So, if social media aids in my cultural awareness and personal growth, why wouldn’t I want more?

Now, I’ve read a lot of articles about productivity where the author tells readers to get away from Facebook and Twitter if they’re looking to accomplish anything. In most cases, I disagree.

I have a friend who is a photographer. She’s talented and looking for ways to promote herself better online. She needs to be leveraging Facebook every day. Sure, she may have some important photos that need to be edited right away, but if she jumps onto Facebook to see what her friends got for Christmas, she’s actually making things better for herself. The friend whose pictures she just liked is someone who knows her, someone who is likely refer one of their friends to her when they get engaged/married/pregnant. Even time “wasted” in social media can be beneficial to her business.

I have another friend who is finishing grad school for architecture. It may not make as much sense for him to be on Facebook, but who’s to fault him if he spends a half hour here and there on Pinterest? Every once in a while I see him pinning, and it’s sometimes related to his thesis. So what if he pins a recipe or two that he hopes his wife will make? Just after those pins, he finds something interesting that he may want to incorporate in his next project. Social media is helping him get his masters.

I’m not saying that everyone should be on Facebook more. I don’t think that continually reading the thoughts and opinions of those you get along with the most makes you relavent in today’s world.

I’m not saying that everyone should be on Twitter more. I think we need to start thinking in more than 140 characters.

I’m not saying that everyone should be on Instagram more. Your friends don’t want to see another Starbucks cups with the X Pro II filter.

I’m not saying that everyone should be reading blogs more. Sometimes we need news from people who are paid to write it because they have legitimate sources and they keep our country’s grammar standards at a respectable leve.

I AM saying that there has never been a better place of opportunity to make ourselves better than what social media presents us with today. 

You no longer need a library card, a newspaper subscription, or to be sitting in front of your TV for the thirty minutes they tell the most depressing news stories possible in order to stay current.

When my grandfather was my age, he started every morning with the local newspaper. I start every morning looking through my Twitter feed and reading reddit’s front page. Sure, I see more adorable cats in my news than he ever did, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. (Actually, it may make me a more productive person.)

So that’s why I’m going to use social media more this year. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but it may be worth considering.

I’m passionate about social media. I love that I have a job that allows for me to participate in the social realm, and I recently gave an interview about using Facebook in my work.

This week at work, I started a social media campaign that will run straight through to Christmas. Every day I’m making a new update or pushing out new content or trying to get a message across.

And, on Monday morning, I decided to take a look back at what the Obama campaign had done to see if there were any last-minute pointers I could walk away with to help me out. Instead, my world was rocked.

So I did what anyone else would: I tracked down the last 3,200 tweets from @BarackObama, opened all of the links to images, and pinned 137 of them to a board on Pinterest.

Here are the things I’ve learned:

Pictures win every time

The Obama campaign capitalized on the traffic that pictures receive on social media. It’s very well known that pictures get more likes on Facebook and more retweets on Twitter, but a lot of content creators will focus on their text and add a picture every now and again. (Don’t feel bad about it, though. I did it too.)

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” In the same way, never use words when a picture will do. Pictures can capture a moment like words can’t. Here’s a good example:

(Here’s a better example, even though it’s a little unfair to call it a campaign tweet since the campaign was officially over moments before it was sent.)

Infographics are like crack

The ability to take in information in graphical form has taken off over the last two years, and the Obama campaign capitalized on it. And they weren’t just good at it. They changed the infographic game.

Example 1

The above image may seem brief for an infographic, but it was created with a lot in mind.

  1. Notice the text in the graphic. Almost all of it is in caps. In the internet world, that’s known as the equivalent to yelling, but caps can also do a great job of grabbing your attention. In this context, it works.
  2. Notice the logo on the top left. It’s the same one Obama campaigned with in 2008. It’s not on every graphic the campaign put out, but it shows up where it needs to. It’s really something to keep in mind for when you’re working on your personal brand. Do you overuse or underuse your logo? Too much one way or the other can cause problems.
  3. Notice the colors, specifically the blues. With Obama being a democrat, blue is an inherent color, and the campaign used it in everything. But they didn’t use just any blue. They used two or three specific shades in everything. You can see some of the blues in the above image match the blue in the image below.

Example 2

Another brief infographic, but there’s a lot being carried with it.

  1. Notice the picture. It’s very detailed and warm. Does it remind you of anything? Instagram’s retro look for pictures has become extremely popular recently, and the Obama campaign uses similar tones in a lot of their images. (Barack also has an Instagram account.)
  2. Again, notice the text. Mostly caps. The font is used in the picture above. A simple URL has been added to the bottom to balance out the picture, plus it reminds the reader that there’s a source for the content provided and more information to be found.
  3. Again, notice the colors. The blue is the same as the blue above. The red is a color that the Obama campaign used consistently when referencing Romney in graphics. (Here’s an example.)

Between those two infographics, there’s a lot at learn from. Here’s a couple things that really stick out:

  • Keep is short. The messages are brief to match the attention span of their Twitter audience.
  • Keep it similar. The graphics follow a style guide to keep them consistent and familiar.
  • Keep it current. The styles follow trends that are popular and relevant.
  • Keep it connected. A link to more information can be found either in the tweet or on the graphic.

Stay quotable, my friends

Easily half of the tweets sent from @BarackObama were quotes from speeches he was giving. What’s truly remarkable is the number of quotes that could be tweeted from one speech. Sometimes it’s hard to get a whole concept into 140 characters, but it’s an even greater difficulty when you’re dealing with a direct quote because you need to keep the words intact.

I have no doubt in my mind that the president writes his speeches with the tweetable quotes already picked out. But I’ve started to turn this one introspectively. When I’m in a conversation, how can I make a point that fits into 140 characters? It’s definitely a skill to be mastered.

Also, when you really want to make an impression, add a quote to a picture.

Make your message last

Social network updates are notorious for being relavent for a matter of hours. (*ahem* Twitter) But sometimes there are messages that need to stay out there longer. Don’t be afraid to freshen up a message that you sent out yesterday and throw it out again today.

Be social

@MittRomney wasn’t consistent in sending updates, and I believe that hurt his campaign. Part of the reason President Obama was so successful on social media was because he didn’t have a lot of competition from his rival.

Do you know who your rival is on social media? Not sure? I’ll tell you. Everyone.

Do you know what can make you stand out from your competition? Being on social media regularly. If you’re consistently sending out tweets every day, your followers will get used to your voice. Tweet once a week, and no one can get a grip on what you have to offer.

It comes down to: If you want to be social, be social.

Unless you’ve got a campaign team, you’re going to have to get in the habit of sending regular updates yourself. And that’s hard, but it gets easier with time..


There’s plenty more to be learned from the Obama campaign, but I’ll end there. Happy socializing!

So over the last few years, I’ve really embraced technology and social media. I love the tools that have been made available, I love the platform these tools have created, and I love being on the cutting edge of change. But there are a few things that I’ve come across over the last couple months that I feel strongly about, and I’m going to share them.

Note: Every website/service that I mention has no monetary cost to the user.

Put the Internet to work for you

IFTTT (IF This Then That) is the most useful site for anyone who uses the Internet often. The site uses the APIs of websites and web tools you already use (or should be using) to make tasks happen. IFTTT has 50 channels right now, so a lot is possible.

Here’s an example: I have connected my Facebook and Evernote accounts with IFTTT. I have a “recipe” in IFTTT that says IF I post something on Facebook (THIS), THEN save a copy in my Evernote (THAT). I have the same thing setup for my Twitter account.

But it gets better.

I have my cell phone connected to IFTTT, so I get a text message whenever the forecast says it’s about to rain soon. I have also been getting text messages anytime a U.S. athlete wins a medal in the Olympics. And, whenever someone posts an Apple product for free on Craigslist, I get another text message.

My favorite recipe has my Foursquare account connected to my Google Calendar. Anytime I check in to a place on Foursquare, it creates an event on my Google Calendar, so I have a running history of the places I’ve been to.

So. Freaking. Sweet.

Archive your social account data

Did you know that Twitter only saves your last 3,200 tweets? After that, they disappear. (Or should I say, “fly away?”)

You probably know that Facebook saves all of your information, but did you know you can ask them to send you everything associated with your profile since October 2009?

As a writer, I hate the idea of losing anything I’ve written, and most people tend to agree.

There are a few places you need to go to get your account data:

  • twDocs — Export almost anything from Twitter into a series of different file types.
  • Facebook Archive — Because nothing is more tragic than losing your precious Facebook information.
  • Google Takeout — A Google product that exports all of your Google account information (Google+, Voice, Drive, etc.).

 Get in the cloud

The cloud is a magical place of storage for your computer files, and it’s wonderful because it lives out in the ether (aka a company’s servers) rather than your computer. This makes transporting files simple. At my work, cloud services have almost completely replaced the use of thumb drives.

But, as I’ve learned the hard way, cloud services are best used to back up your important files. I’ve lost files from my last two computers crapping out on me. (Yes, “crapping out” is a technical term.) <cheesy grin>Never again thanks to the cloud.</cheesy grin>

The best news is that, even if you haven’t clearly signed up for a cloud service, there’s a great chance you already have one. Do you have an Amazon account? Then you have five gigs available on their cloud drive. Do you use Google Docs? Then you have a five gigs available in your Google Drive.

There are plenty more cloud services available, but the two I use the most are Dropbox and Box. Dropbox is nice because it puts a folder on your computer that automatically syncs to the cloud, plus it makes sharing files with others very easy. Sharing on Box is just as good, but its interface is web based so you upload files through their website. Box’s best features are the ability to track versions of files and the ability to edit some documents while on their website (similar to Google Docs).

Are you ready to have your mind blown a bit? Because Dropbox and Box are both channels on IFTTT, so you can backup your Facebook photos, Instagram pictures, emails, blog posts, YouTube favorites, and so on.

Now only if I could get IFTTT to backup my social accounts and upload them to the cloud. (If I figure this out, I will let you know.)

I’ve surprised myself by blogging from two conferences already this year. “Surprised” because I don’t consider myself a conference blogger, but writing about my experiences has really helped me process the large amount of information I’ve been given in such a short time.

This Thursday and Friday, I’ll be at the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit. For those who are unfamiliar, the Summit pulls great church, business, and organization leaders together to share best practices, new techniques, and insightful knowledge over two days.

I’ve attended the last four years and I’ve seen Bono, Jack Welch, Catherine Rohr, Tony Blair, Gary Haugen, Tony Dungy, Blake Mycoskie, Cory Booker, Seth Godin, and many more. Each year I walk away wondering how I will ever remember the wisdom and learnings I was presented, and there’s a part of me that wishes I could walk away with more.

This year, I will be one of 8,000 watching the Summit live in South Barrington. Another 62,000 attendees will be watching the satellite feed all across North America. The neat part is that I will be watching the whole event in a room that about 50 people have access to—the Summit’s social media room. I get to be in there for my job (I’ll be tweeting from @WillowCreekCC), and each year I’ve been in there, the room has gotten just a little bit bigger. If there’s one downside to being in that room, it’s that I can’t always tell the mood of the auditorium from what I’m seeing on a screen. Some speakers command a presence when they speak, and that doesn’t always translate over a monitor.

So expect to see a couple blogs before the end of this week. Plus I’ll be tweeting parts of the event from my person Twitter account (@iphilpot) as well as from my Google + and Pinterest accounts. (That’s right. No Facebook love from me.)