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The Library of Congress now has the entire twitter archive from 2006-2010.

The Library of Congress now has the entire Twitter archive from 2006-2010.

I just finished reading an update on the Twitter archive at the Library of Congress.

The LOC now has the full archive from 2006-2010 which is approximately 170 billion tweets. That’s more than 133.2 terabytes of data. The update includes details about how the data was acquired and the ongoing process of receiving such massive amounts of data on a daily basis. The Library of Congress has always archived large amounts of data but the fact that Twitter  content is produced by the minute, and has no end –  is new. I’ll admit that it was a fascinating read and i now know a lot more about how the LOC operates. I could probably get through a round in Jeopardy on the topic.

But what intrigued me the most was all of the inquiries they’ve received from researchers, chomping at the bit for access to the archives.As a journalist, I certainly appreciate the release of information, and once it is released we will be in for some good stories, studies and research reports. So, if you’re wondering what some of those requests are, read on.

Here are two types of requests the LOC has received from researchers. This is directly from the update:

  • A master’s student is interested in understanding the role of citizens in disruptive events. The student is focusing on real-time micro-blogging of terrorist attacks. The
    questions focus on the timeliness and accuracy of tweets during specified events.
  • A post-doctoral researcher is looking at the language used to spread information about charities’ activities and solicitations via social media during and immediately following

The Library of Congress has received 400 such inquiries from researchers all over the world spanning topics from those above to tracking flu pandemic, citizen responses to candidates’
stances on various issues and tracking public access to court systems. There are also inquiries associated with specific hashtags.

And some people actually think Twitter has no purpose. Go figure.

I hope these researchers gain access ASAP, because I can’t wait to see what they deliver.

If you want to read the update for yourself, you can find it here.

 

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Looks like President Obama has a great deal of company when it comes to using Twitter to engage citizens.

According to a report issued today by The Digital Policy Council, (an international, non-partisan “think tank” on 21st Century Governance) three out of four World Leaders are using Twitter, with accounts set up in their personal name or through an official government office. That’s A total of 123 world leaders out of 164 countries – a 78% increase in the number of heads of state and national governments on Twitter from the third quarter of 2011.

President Obama does hold the top spot of all world leaders, however – with 24 million followers. He added 15 million followers in one year and exceeds his closest rival President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela by 20 million followers,.

Along with Chavez, Latin American leaders make up 50% of the Top 10 including newcomers President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and President Enrique Pena Nietoin of Mexico.

Other notables in the Top 10 include include Queen Rania of Jordan, President Dilma Rouseff of Brazil and Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner with a combined 5.5 million followers.

The sole European on the list is Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a fresh entrant into the top ten in 2012 likes to tweet in both Russian and English.

The Digital Policy Council’s most up-to-date research recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 93%  in world leaders joining Twitter since it began recording the data in early 2010 reflecting a near doubling every year of Heads of State on Twitter as they aggressively pursue new ways to build influence with their citizens and the international community.
SOURCE  The Digital Policy Council

Web Site: http://www.digitaldaya.com

It’s really interesting to see how the networks are using social media to garner interest in their TV shows. I’ve read a lot about various tactics, but hadn’t felt compelled to share any up until now. If you haven’t already, add this word to your vocabulary: Twittersode. If you want to know what it entails, I’ve posted the news release below. Good idea? Will it work?  Let me know if you plan to watch. This twitttersode will debut in just a few hours.

Here’s the press release:

For The First-Time-Ever NBC And Sony Pictures Television Will Debut A COMMUNITY Twittersode Prior To The Season Two Premiere Episode Thursday, September 23

As Greendale Community College Re-Convenes For The Semester, Everyone’s Favorite COMMUNITY Characters Will Tweet With One Another About The Start of The School Year and Their New Class, Anthropology 101

PR Newswire

CULVER CITY, Calif., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ — Leading into the season premiere of COMMUNITY, NBC and Sony Pictures Television will debut a COMMUNITY “Twittersode” Thursday, September 23 at 4:00p.m./PT (7:00p.m./ET). This event marks a first-of-its-kind digital marketing effort between NBC, Sony Pictures Television, and the characters of the comedy series COMMUNITY.

Just prior to the East Coast premiere of COMMUNITY, an exclusive “Twittersode,” comprised of 80 tweets, will unfold between everyone’s favorite COMMUNITY characters. The “Twittersode” will act as a prequel “scene” to the premiere episode and will focus on events leading up to the start of the characters second year at Greendale Community College including, making arrangements for their first meet up of the year as well as preparations for their first class, Anthropology 101.

The entire “Twittersode” event will be presented at www.NBC.COM/CommunityTwittersode

You can also watch the “Twittersode” unfold by following the character handles at:

If you’d like to tweet about COMMUNITY and our “Twittersode” please use the hash tag  #NBCCommunity.

Read the rest of this entry »

I am dedicating an entire blog post to rave about the use of Twitter as an excellent tool for customer relations. The company I’d like to rave about is Orbitz.
You see, I booked a vacation via Orbitz because of a great deal they were offering at a specific hotel. The deal was ‘kids eat free.’ I have two children and it included breakfast, lunch and dinner during the entire stay, which was a pretty attractive offer, so I booked it and sealed the deal.

The problems started when the hotel staff seemed to be unaware of this great offer and pretty much hassled me about the free meals. They gave me this song and dance about Orbitz being a ‘third party’ and how they had not been informed of any such deal.

I happened to print several copies so they did in fact honor the deal since it was there in black and white. But, that did not minimize the hassle and confusion on the faces of the restaurant staff and even the front desk manager since it took all of them to talk to me about this, rather loudly I must say, as if I was trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
As time went on, I got angry.
I decided to look for Orbitz on Twitter when I got home yesterday and saw that they were pretty active. So, I posted the following on Twitter, hoping to receive a response.

Hello @orbitz. Marriott Carolina Beach was totally unaware of your deal and it was not pleasant for me. Will be writing.

Now, in most cases one would expect a DM or @reply from the company if they are indeed serious about reaching thier customers via Twitter.

I received neither. What I did receive was a PHONE CALL.  A nice woman named Sarah left a message for me on my cell indicating that she saw my message on twitter and wanted to talk to me about what happened. She left her number and urged me to return her call.

I was quite impressed and called her back immediately. She listened to me recount the experience and even empathized. She did not go out of her way to blame the hotel even though I know now the fault lies with the hotel alone. She went on to tell me how the process works and then gave me a $50 voucher to use the next time I book travel through Orbitz.

That phone call was unexpected, and they have surpassed my idea of good customer service. I go by “communitygirl” on Twitter, so they clicked through to my profile to get my real name, looked me up in their system, then contacted me on my cell.

Not too shabby.

We hear so much about Comcast, JetBlue, Dell, BestBuy and others that are serious about transparency and customer service on Twitter. I would like to add Orbitz to the mix. They didn’t care about the world seeing a DM and recognizing them based on that. They only cared about me and made a direct connection. I was impressed and I find that to be huge.

So, here’s to Orbitz, and the customer service representative named Sarah.
Sarah, you had me at ‘hello.’
Keep up the good work!

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The next time you meet someone who doesn’t “get” Twitter, and you don’t have an hour to make a believer out of them but you really feel they’d benefit a great deal if they understood its power, send them a link to Brandon Uttley’s 15 page ebook, This is Your Brain on Twitter.

I am a big fan of what I call the “101 Approach” where people who are clearly in the know about a certain topic, explain it to to others without the least bit of condescension and the ultimate goal of educating them. That is what Brandon has done with this ebook.

He acknowledges that it can seem puzzling at first, which in my opinion is the first step to building trust with the reader, particularly if they’ve been struggling to wrap their arms around all of the recent hype.

Uttley offers useful tips for businesses, such as “Monitor keywords relevant to your brand or industry,” but instead of leaving it at that, he shares various tools to help the reader get started including Monitter, TweetGrid, (one of my personal favorites) BackTweets, TweetBeep (love that one too…) and Tweetlater to get email alerts on keywords and phrases. This information is listed under a section called Top Ways to Lurk More Effectively on Twitter.

The more I read, the more I learned, and it became evident that this ebook has something in it for everyone. Not only does this ebook offer excellent advice and tips for newbies, it’s a resource for veterans as well because you are bound to learn something new.

The format is easy on the eyes and the cost was my name and email address over on Brandon’s blog.

I would have paid more.

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I was recently questioned on twitter about the way I described former TV anchor and reporter Tom Tucker in this post.

I referred to him as a social media enthusiast and evangelist. I’ll tell you right now that I simply copied that from his bio and quite honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I had also spoken with him at length before we recorded this podcast, and he talked about his blog and his history of pushing hard for social media with his employers and his excitement about his new endeavor, Talk Social Media.

It is not his full-time job and does not yet pay the bills, (he’s a corporate trainer by day) but he is passionate as most of us are, and it may pay them one day, if he’s lucky. But someone on twitter wanted to know more, and that’s okay too.

Here’s the @reply:

@communitygirl How can you call Tucker a social media enthusiast and evangelist when he’s only tweeted 7 times since Feb. 2008? Where else?

Now, I don’t think that having only seven tweets in a year disqualifies you from being a social media evangelist. Perhaps it is an account that you decided not to use, or maybe you didn’t “get” twitter at first, much like I didn’t. Maybe you’re active on many other SM platforms. The possibilities are many.

I do recognize that this person only wanted to know more and I did oblige, because that’s what we do on twitter. But it got me thinking.

When can one claim this title without bringing criticism their way? Is it after 500 tweets, 1,000 followers, 2,500 Facebook friends, 348 blogposts? What? Maybe it’s once you’ve explained twitter to 134 people and got your mom active on Friendfeed and Flickr and convinced your company to start a corporate blog.

Here are the definitions of evangelist on dictionary.com:

e⋅van⋅ge⋅list

–noun

1. a Protestant minister or layperson who serves as an itinerant or special preacher, esp. a revivalist.
2. a preacher of the gospel.
3. (initial capital letter) any of the writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) of the four Gospels.
4. (in the primitive church) a person who first brought the gospel to a city or region.
5. (initial capital letter) Mormon Church. a patriarch.
6. a person marked by evangelical enthusiasm for or support of any cause.

So, if we go with those definitions, evangelism can be all word-of-mouth. We can argue that you have to practice to be able to speak about anything with authority and I buy that to a certain extent. But you can also dabble, understand the benefits and spread the word.

Think about it. Aren’t we all evangelists of some sort?

I am a Coach Purse evangelist, a Little Gym evangelist, a lasagna evangelist and a Arm & Hammer Carpet Cleaner evangelist. I am also a PTA evangelist, a Lexus evangelist (don’t have one but I love them and I will get one some day) and an outlet mall evangelist. You could also consider me a Desperate Housewives and Mott’s Applesauce evangelist as well and I don’t think anyone is going to ask me how many bowls of applesauce I’ve eaten to clarify my status as an evangelist.

You may be laughing but it’s true. Anyone can evangelize. Yes, there should be some experience to back it up, but who’s to say how much or how little?

What are your thoughts?

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This is a question that sparked a great conversation at the inaugural Social Media Breakfast Raleigh that I co-organized with fellow social media enthusiast, Kipp Bodnar.

The conversation centered largely around Twitter, where anyone with an interest can post unlimited 140-character missives at a pace similar to the speed of light.

But can this freedom pose a problem for organizations if their employees are not using common sense or thinking about the fact that they represent a larger entity beyond themselves?

Duke Williams chimed in with this: “If you allow a person to answer the phone, they should be able to have a twitter account.” He doesn’t think guidelines are needed, and allows anyone on his staff to have an account. In fact, he encourages it.

Martin Reed, who was not at the event but answered the question when I posed it on twitter a few days later believes that guidelines are absolutely necessary if an employee is strongly associated with the company. Several people at the social media breakfast shared this sentiment as well.

Robyn Kalda has a different opinion, one that’s very similar to Duke Williams’ and sent me this reply via twitter: “No, they should trust their employees to behave professionally. Do we have guidelines on how to use a telephone?”

So on one hand we have those who view tweeting as they do communicating over the phone, and others who see it as a potential risk to employers who don’t attempt to exert some element of control. Kalda believes that either you trust your people to speak, or you’ve hired the wrong people.

I definitely see how there could be cause for concern and am somewhat on the fence. I think that perhaps it depends on the organization. Should CIA operatives spend time divulging strategies on twitter? Of course not, but is there real harm to random employees occasionally talking shop in the twitterverse? Maybe.

What do you think? Should companies be worried about the messages employees are conveying through twitter or trust them to use their best judgment? And what exactly is at risk if they don’t?

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Yes, this is a crazy idea.
But after the amazing response on this post about whether or not we’re taking the 140 character limit to the extreme and such varied points of view, I had another idea.

Can we get a good message across with such parameters when it matters most?

I’m talking about the ultimate long-tail piece of prose. Words that will live longer than we ever will. Yep, I’m talking about your tombstone.
This may be morbid on the surface but I bet we can make it fun.

Here’s the task: You have to write a message for your tombstone as if you died this morning, and it must begin with “Here lies (your name…) so you’re really down to even fewer than 140 characters.

And just to be fair, I only took a few minutes to write mine because I know that’s all you’ll have. Here I am, six feet under. 139 characters.

Here lies Angela. Mother of two amazing daughters, eternal optimist, dependable wife and friend. Loved, worked played hard. Missed by many.

Okay, it wasn’t as tough as I thought. It’s not the best, but it’s not all bad either.

Leave yours in the comments section. I’ll pick the top 5 later in the week and post them in a new entry.

Spread the word. This could get interesting!

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When I blogged about Peter Shankman’s prediction of the death of the press release I had no idea it would become one of my top posts for 2008. It garnered a lot of discussion. So much so, that I had to ask Peter to respond to some of the comments left on the post and write a second one with his feedback.

The line that drew the most criticism was this: “If your clients can’t send their message in 140 characters or less, it needs to change.”

The post also prompted this post on the blog, Getting Ink, written by Sally Whittle, a freelance journalist based in the UK. She called Peter’s declaration “uber-wank.”
I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at first, and I’m still not sure I understand completely, but I do know that it is far from a compliment.

Her issue really isn’t with Peter though, but a man by the name of Dennis Howlett who wrote in a post titled PR is so over , that after 17 years he would no longer accept pitches that exceed 140 characters.

In fact, he created this automated response for anyone sending him pitches via email. “I’ve stopped accepting email pitches. Please follow me on Twitter and pitch in 140 characters or less.”

Well, Whittle was not happy about that. She refers to Howlett and all others who insist on twitter pitches as arrogant “hacks.”

Many of the comments share the same sentiment. Not that insisting on twitter pitches only makes one a “hack” but that by limiting the delivery method to one that most people are not familiar with or interested in using will have an adverse affect. One that decreases the ability to consider information on its merits.

Do you agree? Is this the move of “hacks” or those simply in tune with the future?

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It started off with this DM from BryanPerson on November 23rd:
@Bryan: Really enjoying your blog, Angela. Any chance for a phone call this week to say hello and introduce myself?
Me: Yes! Call me at work! 919.821.8545

During this introductory phone call, Bryan and I discussed a myriad of topics. He told me all about LiveWorld and how much he loves his work and also about the social media breakfasts he’s initiated in several states.
Among other things, I told him that I’m writing a book and I’ve been shopping my proposal around in search of agents.  We laughed a bit, shared a few war stories and doled out some mutual admiration. We also spoke of working together some day on an idea that we are certain will materialize.

Well before we hung up, Bryan told me about an agent/publisher he once spoke with about a project that he’s since tabled and promised to search his email archives and send me his name. As promised, he sent me the contact info for Mitchell Levy.

Here’s what happened next:

  • I followed up and sent a query and proposal.
  • Mitchell wanted more and I obliged.
  • He sent an email a few days later asking me to call him.
  • We spoke on the phone.
  • I shared my vision and he liked it. We discussed strategy.
  • We exchanged a few additional emails.
  • He said he wanted to work with me.
  • He sent me a publishing contract.
  • I’m sending it back in a few days.

Yep, I’ll be a published author in 2009. And all because Bryan Person makes a point to reach out to people and introduce himself once he’s established a relationship with them online.

That is the power of a social network!

If you want to follow my journey, please subscribe to this blog and follow @communitygirl on twitter.  I will share a lot about the process and would love to have you along for the ride.

Thanks Bryan!

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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