Showing posts from August, 2011

Twitter Account Automation: Five Best Practices for Business Accounts

Twitter is an amazingly useful service but is constantly being undermined by two things: spam and automation. There is not much we can do about spam except report it, but we can all help to minimize the negative effects of automation by teaching everyone how to auto-tweet responsibly. All social media management tools offer automation features, from simple tweet scheduling to fully automated RSS feeds. Some automation is very useful for businesses, to make community managers more productive and reduce mistakes, but carried to excess it makes the whole exercise rather futile. Many times I have seen robots auto follow my account because I mentioned a certain hashtag. When I check who is following them I discover other robots -- so robots are following each other and no humans are in the loop at all. Pointless. So where is the line between acceptable automation and self defeating automation -- the sort that gets your account unfollowed by humans? Here are five best practices. 1. Hav

Zerply: Three Thumbs Up, Two Thumbs Sideways

This week I have been testing Zerply, the new professional networking site aimed primarily at people who grew up with the web. Though it sounds like an embarrassing disease, the name is inspired by the idea of "serious play" and the idea is to bring effective networking to non-corporate people who find traditional networking sites like LinkedIn very dull. You can read more about this idea at and you can find my test profile at . Zerply is very simple and lacks the status updates, news feeds, groups and so on of traditional networking sites. Instead it focuses on one thing: finding people with similar interests. Each person defines some tags related to their interests, professional or not, and then you are presented with random people with similar interests on your home page. You can also search for people with specific tags. The "play" part is based on the idea that you don't choose business partne

Three Reasons Why Heello Could Be a Success

Since the service started earlier this month I have seen and heard many people say that Twitter users are not going to pack their bags and move to Heello so it is doomed to failure. On the first point I might agree but I do not believe that this means it cannot succeed. I don't say it necessarily will succeed but here I am going to give you three reasons why it could succeed. Just in case you missed the announcement, Heello is a microblogging site that is today essentially a copy of Twitter where tweets are called "pings", retweets are called "echoes" and so on. Today (19 August 2011) only the most basic features are available and not all of those work reliably but this is still work in progress. For beginners it is probably better to wait but for the pros it is interesting to watch the problems get fixed and the features added. You also have the chance to ask for the features you need. For the moment you can ping, echo, reply and search users. A