Twitter wants you back.. but not that much

Uncle SamIf you’re on  Twitter you would have received an email from @Biz, @Ev, & @Jack this morning.

I found it wasn’t so much a “New Year’s Resolution” post, but more one that aims to get people who have signed up for the site, to start using it again, while promoting the use of the twitter website, instead of 3rd party applications that have become popular with more avid users. Dave Fleet brought up a good point in his post this morning. He said four points are a bit basic, and that there is so much more to entice people to use the site, so he came up with 25 extra suggestions.

If I had stopped using the site because I didn’t have a network of people around me who “got it” I don’t think these few points would entice me to come back, and it comes across as a bit desperate. What do you think?

Our resolution is to help you get the most of out of Twitter this year. To start, we thought we’d send this note with four simple suggestions. Come on by our web site to try these out anytime! http://twitter.com

1) Follow your interests. We’ve found that the people who enjoy Twitter most tend to follow a variety of accounts: friends, family, people in their profession, local shops and events, and most importantly, people who share their passions.

2) Get specific. Like sports? Follow your favorite leagues, teams, players, coaches, commentators, writers and fellow fans. Love food? Follow chefs, restaurants, critics, bloggers, specialty shops and respected foodies.

3) Don’t panic. People turn to Twitter during emergencies. Snowstorms, power outages and fires are just a few emergencies where Twitter may be helpful. Search for #hashtags and follow local civic accounts to stay informed.

4) Return to Twitter. There are about 200 million accounts on Twitter now – that means new interests, new voices, and new ideas every day. We offer services in seven languages, apps for most devices, and SMS worldwide.

Breakfast at Cora’s

I’m a huge Cora‘s fan and many may have seen my tweets about the progress of the new Scarborough franchise’s construction. The first time I noticed it was when I was at Starbucks with my nephew and saw the familiar Cora sunshine logo in the window (Twitpic). After that I paid close attention each morning on my way into work since my bus passed by the plaza.

One day I noticed the sign had gone up on the restaurant, so I tweeted about that. With the help my friend Coleman (@ColeYeung) I found out it was opening on September 7, which ended with us planning our outing on Saturday with May (@aMAYzin). I can’t speak for them, but I had a great time. My usual meal, the Crepomelette was perfection on a plate, I got to spend time with two really cool people and last but not least, got to use Facetime on my iPhone 4 for the first time ever (albeit across the table with May).

Fast forward to Sunday morning and I’m back yet again, this time with my girlfriend. I promised I’d take her on a date for her first Scarborough Cora’s experience, so before heading down to the TIFF block party, we grabbed some food. I moved away from my delicious Crepomelette and had the Cora’s Special, which was filling but not the same. One added bonus to the breakfast was my new Foursquare Mayor title, but I’m not sure how long that will last, to be honest.

Long story short, it was a Cora’s-filled (and filling) fun time. If you haven’t been, go! Just go early or else you’ll have to deal with lineups.

10 of my must have apps for the iPhone

Apps are what make iPhones, iPads or iPod Touches worth owning. With my iPod Touch I had quite a few, and I’ve been able to add some others that only make sense to have on the iPhone. Here’s my list of apps that I can’t do without:

1. Twitter for iPhone – When this app was first brought to my attention I was skeptical. I use Tweetdeck on my Macbook and I did use it in my iPod Touch, however there was a glitch that prevented horizontal typing, which is my preference. After looking at a few apps I decided on Twitter. I like it because it actually works for me, for starters. It’s simple and I’ve gotten used to the one column, compared to the many on Tweetdeck.

2. Foursquare – Putting a smart phone in my hands means I’ll check-in everywhere. I have no clue why I’m such a fan of Foursquare, and I’m sure many others feel the same. I guess it boils down to it being a fun app. It’s fun to compete with others for mayorships. It’s also fun to get deals at participating retailers from time to time too.

3. TTC Mobile – A simple app that takes the arrival times listed on TTC.ca and allows transit-dependent people like myself to quickly find out when the next bus is coming. I use this one often and now I can check wherever I am.

4. Tim Hortons – I haven’t had to use the locator yet, but if I’m ever in a need when I’m jonesin’ for a Timmies coffee, then I’ll know what app to bust out.

5. Facebook – Even though it’s not the best app, in terms of design, it’d be a lie to say it wasn’t a must to keep Facebook on the list.

6. The Edge – Each morning I like to listen to the Dean Blundell Show, but having the window pop up on my computer screen at work is distracting, especially when I have many others on the go. This app is perfect because now I can listen to the radio from my iPhone 4 without clogging up my workspace.

7. Yelp – The monocle feature makes this app worth downloading on its own. You can turn  in all directions and see where restaurants are, click through, and read/write reviews. So far it’s been a bit more effective in higher density areas like downtown.

8. Maple Leafs – Here I can find the latest on my favourite hockey team, along with other hockey scores.

9. Rogers My Account – From what I’ve been able to see with this app, it looks pretty sleek and it’s definitely something I’ll keep coming back to to check my data usage (though with my 6GB plan I likely won’t come near it.)

10. TD – I hopped on this app as soon as it came out because I really like the chance to find out my account balance and pay bills with the click of a button, should I need to.

I’ll always be picking up newer, fancier apps as they’re released so be sure to watch out for my future recommendations. Also games are something I can also make a list for..

What are some of your favourite apps out there? Paid/Free – doesn’t matter.

Twitter clients for business: Why so few?

With more businesses taking advantage of engaging with their audiences via Twitter, I’m shocked at the lack of free clients out there. Of course small businesses or companies with one person manning the social media helm can manage just fine with clients like Tweetdeck or Seesmic, but what about those businesses that have teams of people answering customer questions and concerns online?

What works best for teams in that situation has been CoTweet. The ability to easily assign tweets to others to respond to makes life so much easier. You can also check past conversations to see if the person has tweeted the account previously and who dealt with them. Where CoTweet was lagging was the ability to monitor conversations, which is why it’s best to use it with a client like Tweetdeck.

Game changer?

Thursday morning I saw an email from Hootsuite‘s Ryan Holmes, announcing “teams can now coordinate tasks with increased efficiency and reduced hassle with the ability to assign messages to team members and share columns within teams.”

I immediately thought, ‘finally!’ Now teams can assign messages which at first glance looks like it’ll be a game changer for businesses using Twitter. Coupled with a Tweetdeck-like interface, plus the great functions of CoTweet, Hootsuite allows companies to do their job from the web, and with one client.

Competition coming?

There are so many mobile Twitter clients and they seem to pop up quite regularly, but I wonder where’s the competition for the business users out there? Is there not enough demand? Until then, Hootsuite will probably see a rise in users as those with CoTweet migrate over to see if it works for them and I predict many will stay.

No place for cheap talkin’

Last night I made a trip back to Centennial College where I spent the majority of my life after high school. No it wasn’t for a class, but for Talk is Cheap,  an UN-conference put on by the Corporate  Communications & PR students.

The sessions

We got there a little late so ended up missing the opening discussion on Social Media & Haiti but fortunately I was able to make it to School Board Social Media with T.J Goertz and Stuart Oakley from the TDSB; Being a Community Manager with Mary Pretotto from Rogers (obviously); and finally I’m not here to make friends! with Jaime Woo.

School Board Social Media:

I want to say any time I see anything to do with the government taking part in social media they automatically get kudos from me. It’s important that the TDSB is getting out there and providing that outlet where there was was none before.  The most active forum I found the TDSB takes part in is their blog; here is where they answer questions/concerns the most. The Facebook/Twitter presence is great, but my biggest criticism (and I noticed a couple in the twitter stream felt the same way) is the lack of conversation; this isn’t a big knock – it comes with time. Starting small (actually being there) is the important step. As long as questions are being answered on the Facebook and Twitter pages I see no fault in what they’re doing. Eventually though it’s important to build and promote that conversation (questions, contests, etc.) and not just answer concerns in a reactive way.

Being a community manager:

My co-worker Mary Pretotto is the Community Manager on the Social Media team here at Rogers. You likely know her as @RogersMary and she’s out there engaging with Rogers customers on Twitter, Forums, Blogs and wherever else she needs to be. The gist of her presentation dealt with building that relationship with customers online and turning it into a positive one (if negative before). She broke down how the team is separated into proactive (ie. RedBoard blog posts) and reactive outreach (ie. Twitter, forums), but engagement online is done by different members of the team, depending on the issue. Come question time it was interesting (and a bit surprising) to see the majority were professionals looking to incorporate or grow social media at their organizations. They were looking out to Rogers for guidance and best practices. It went well and I can’t wait to see her present again! (As you may know I currently work at Rogers, but I’m not a spokesperson – this is just “In Sean’s Opinion” – heh.)

I’m not here to make friends:

Jaime Woo‘s presentation compared how people use Twitter to various reality show scenarios. The title was a bit misleading, as someone brought up during question time, because the entire presentation was about how to engage and make friends on Twitter. Once over that hump, the analogies began making a little more sense. It essentially boiled down to: be real on Twitter, being fake leads to high school (or reality show) drama, and share as much as you want, but within reason.

In the end

It was a fun time heading back to Centennial for the first time since graduation. The CC&PR class put on a great event and it went off without a hitch. I can’t wait til next year!

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