Twitter Lists Have Become My Favorite Twitter Feature

One of the most underrated features on Twitter has also quickly become one of my favorite. It’s Twitter Lists.

Twitter Lists is a way to stick different Twitter accounts into groups and then see all their posts in a dedicated feed. This is great if you have a group of accounts that all tweet about a similar topic and that you’d wanna see what they’re saying together.

For example, I have a Twitter List for people that tweet about St Louis stuff. This includes news outlets, sports teams, restaurants, neighborhoods, politicians and more. Seeing all their tweets together gives me a picture of what’s happening in the city. It’s given me great ideas for weekend adventures with the family.

Unfortunately, during the simplification of Twitter in order to make it something that can garner more mass appeal, Twitter Lists has become a pretty buried feature. But it’s worth seeking out. ¬†You can find them when you click over to your profile when you’re signed in.

I have other Twitter Lists like…

There’s one called VIP. It’s tweets that I absolutely can’t miss. I wanna read every single one. It’s family, close friends, and co-workers. This lists and its members is obviously private.

There’s my STL Tech list of people in the St Louis tech and startup community.

There’s my Food list. It’s famous chefs and food media sites that I love to follow. Food is one of my passions. ūüôā

I need to build out a few more. They’re that useful.

Do you use, follow, or create Twitter Lists?

Talk about yourself. It’s what your readers want.

I love sharing what I’m thinking, reading or seeing (photos/Instagram) via social media. It gives me an avenue for expressing myself. But… I never know, of everything that I share, what connects with people. What do my friends & online followers want to read?

Well, online reputation score Klout recently released a large update. They’ll show you of all your posts and which got the most engagement. In the end, what matters is engagement. It doesn’t mean much to have 1 million people follow you on Twitter, if they don’t click on the stuff that you’re posting.

It was fascinating to see what Klout came back with. I saw the highest engagement and exercised the most influence when I talked about myself or my family. People were excited to hear about our latest travels, new photos of the dog, my latest culinary creations, or what’s happening with Lauren’s startup Umba Box.

The experience underscored the importance that this medium is the most powerful when you’re sharing yourself. People subscribe to your feed, wherever it might be, because they want to keep up with you personally. Talk about yourself and what you’re going through/experiencing.

The same idea applies to business and organizations, especially at the early stage. People are using/trying your products for the usefulness of the product but also because they support you personally. Your users follow you because they’re rooting for your success. When you win, they want to celebrate with you. If you have your service/product has a problem, be transparent about it and your users/customers/readers will understand.

I manage all of our online marketing analytics at HelloWallet. I can see which posts our followers engage with. We write these great posts with incredible insights about personal finance. But… what gets us the most engagement is when we talk about what’s happening at the company & with our team personally.

So go out there and share.  Be transparent.

Justin Bieber and Why Social Media Rocks

I’ve haven’t listened to the radio in 5+ years and so have never heard a song by music sensation Justin Bieber but read about the interview with his manager at TechCrunch Disrupt. ¬† He talked about how Justin uses social media. ¬†Apparently, he has 2.7 million Twitter followers. ¬†Here’s a key passage…

He noted that there may be a random girl in Iowa who never thought she‚Äôd ever talk to Justin Bieber, then he responds to her on Twitter. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs something she‚Äôll remember for the rest of her life.‚ÄĚ

Social media has broken down the wall that would have prevented people from connecting before and that’s awesome.

“Privacy is dead”

Mashable’s Pete Cashmore wrote an interesting column for CNN entitled, “Privacy is dead, and social media hold smoking gun.”¬† He writes…

Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value. They’ll be the richest, the most successful, the most connected, capable and influential among us. We’re all publishers now, and the more we publish, the more valuable connections we’ll make.

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Fitbit and the SenseCam give us a simple choice: participate or fade into a lonely obscurity.

In a lot of ways I agree and am excited by where the world’s going.¬† In some ways, what he’s saying scares me because it all can be taken too far.

What are your thoughts?

Twitter Is Just As Good for One Way Broadcasts as Two Way Conversations

Blogs move over. ¬†Twitter is is the new squeeze of the social media scene and thus is getting more of a spotlight shined upon it by those who’re looking for more effective ways of taking their message to their users.

There are two things companies are doing.  Employees are getting on Twitter as themselves and talking on behalf of their company or companies are making corporate Twitter accounts like Starbucks or the Washington DC Metro (subway) System.

In a recent Mashable article, my friend Dr. Mark Drapeau makes the case that Twitter is for two way conversations. ¬†It’s about individual people talking to individual people.

I agree that this is a major use but I think that Twitter can be used just as effectively for one way broadcasts. ¬†There are plenty of times where I want to keep up with something, in the hyper connected manner that Twitter lends itself too, but don’t want to have a conversation with them.

Look at the success of the Barack Obama campaign on Twitter. ¬†Let’s be honest with ourselves. ¬†This wasn’t Barack Obama on Twitter. ¬†Someone in his ¬†campaign hooked their RSS feed of live events to their Twitter account so that their community could know when things are going on. ¬†And guess what?… it worked. ¬†150,000+ folks followed the account and I’m confident it drove significant traffic to their Web site.

If I was a big fan of Dunkin Donuts, I’d absolutely want to follow them on Twitter. ¬†It’s not because I want to have a conversation with them. ¬†It’s because if they’re holding an event or something where I can get a discount, I want to know about it right away.

I guess what I’m saying is… I think the value of Twitter is in its hyper connectedness. ¬†It allows me to have that level of ambient intimacy with whomever I want however I want. ¬†Whether I want to use that for being connected with the coming and goings of people, organizations, trends/memes, or for ¬†having conversations, that’s up to me as the user.

Keep Your Eye Out for Shel Israel’s New Book Twitterville

My good friend, social media expert, and Naked Conversations co-author Shel Israel has recently announced that he’s going to be writing a new book called “Twitterville–How Business can Thrive in the new Global Neighborhoods.”

From a business perspective, it will cover and give examples of how social media, especially Twitter, us to come together, breaking down major geographical boundaries, to start conversations and form communities or as Shel like’s to put it global neighborhoods.

When it’s done, I’m confident that this book will be a must read.

What’s really fun is that he’s going to post a lot of his notes and text from the book on his blog and on Twitter as he writes it.¬† The world will be able to help give feedback and shape the book to make it even better.

JamLegend – Rock out with this game that’s Guitar Hero meets Scrabulous

Music is definitely a major part of my life. Whether it’s bobbing my head with my headphones plugged into my iPhone or when I’m at a concert and dancing to the band jamming out, I’m wanting to feel it and understand it. There is something human… honest about the emotion that expressed in music. You want to feel that emotion and connect with the music

While I’ve never played the game Guitar Hero, I understand the idea and how it allows me to sit in the shoes of the guitarist and feel what they feel.

JamLegend is a game that was created by my friends Andrew, Arjun, and Ryan. It takes the notion of Guitar Hero, you playing with the song, and brings it to your computer in a free and very accessible/fun way. It allows me to connect to the music.

In the game, you’ll see the notes flying down the screen and then you have play along using the number keys and the guitar frets and the enter key as the strumming.¬† You can play it by yourself or you can play against your friends.

I’ll admit at first I was very skeptical but then they gave me an invite and I started playing. Friday night at the airport on my way back to DC the time flew by because I was rocking out playing JamLegend the entire time.¬† I was/am hooked.

The current music library is limited to about 20+ songs but I’m confident more will come soon.¬† Right now it’s just independent artists… I’m kind of hoping that they just stick with independent artists. If you check out their Web site, bands can actually work with them to get their music signed up.

Getting your music into this game seems like it’d be a boon for a band.¬† The game is going to be a HUGE success and right now you have the possibility of getting in on the ground floor and getting maximum exposure.¬† Plus when I was done playing the different songs I was thinking to myself, “I should buy this album.”

So… check out JamLegend. Request to get into the private beta or be really nice to me and ask me for one of my few invites.¬† I know you’ll love it and connect with music in an renewed way.

Washington DC’s JamLegend Featured in TechCrunch

Congrats to Andrew, Arjun, and Ryan, from Washington DC-based Web start-up JamLegend.  Yesterday, their company was featured in leading Web 2.0 blog TechCrunch.

One of the most promising startups to come out of the LaunchBox incubator is JamLegend, a music site with mass appeal. JamLegend takes the familiar anyone-can-be-a-rockstar model made popular by videogames like Guitar Hero and Rock Band and puts it on the Web.

These guys rock!¬† They have an incredibly contagious passion for what they’re doing.¬† I’m confident they’ll go far.

WordCamp: Achieving sustainable virality means not being a dick

Just sat in a really good session by Ben Huh. He’s one of the dudes behind I Can Haz Cheezburger. His talk was entitled “LOLcats and the Secret of Virality.” It rocked. Here’s the gist:

He talked about how most achieve virality by shotgunning invites out to as many people. This works in the short term but there is one big downside. People will see you as a dick. Plus it doesn’t achieve sustainable traffic. People will come to your site, find out they don’t like it, leave, and never come back.

The key is sustainable traffic. You’re not going to get it fast. It takes time but they’re users who’ll come back over and over and over

You do this via… having a good product that someone wants. People like good content.

You need to show love to your users. Engage your users. Show them you appreciate them. This will build goodwill with your users.

Then make it easy for your users to share your content with their friends. (Maybe do this with widgets/Clearspring? :-))

If you wanna check out his slides, go here:

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