Tag Archives: twitter

Social Media Metrics: Reflections

Prior to last week’s class discussion of social media analytics and metrics, I had only a general idea of its value and what it was used for. The only time I heard of the term was in an online Adobe Dreamweaver course I took a year ago; I had to insert Google Analytics into a website I created. Being an online class, I never thoroughly understood what it was for except to observe the kind of traffic my website was receiving. My lesson was brief so I didn’t think much of it, although I did know Google Analytics was important and beneficial. I just didn’t understand why.

In terms of social media, I now know why. In class, Dr. Hether discussed the four components of social media metrics: exposure, engagement, influence, and action. I found these concepts interesting, especially when using a platform like Twitter.

Coincidently the day before Dr. Hether’s lesson, I had the idea of metrics in the back of my mind without even realizing it when I attempted to promote a tweet. For those who don’t know me that well, I’m a web editor for a new online literary magazine that showcases stories, essays, poetry, and art pieces that people have submitted and the magazine has selectively published. The newest issue was released last Monday and I wanted to reach as many people as I could. I tweeted the link once, keeping in mind the best hashtags to use. One of the essayists saw my link and retweeted me, adding how excited she was to have her essay included. I did the same to her tweet by adding my own commentary.

I then asked myself, how could I reach more people? Since I followed a lot of comic writers, who in turn have fans that are aspiring creative writers in general, I reached out to one of my favorite writers, Scott Snyder.

Scott is a rising star in the comic world, but aside from this, he’s a creative writing teacher at two colleges. Having followed him for a while, I know he’s passionate about helping writers break into the business. Considering he has 28.9K followers, I figured I could reach more people if he retweeted me. Therefore I tweeted him with this exact tweet: Can I get a RT to showcase some great writers and poets? Your aspiring writer fans can submit pieces too (link).

Hours later, he retweeted me. Though what made it greater was that he didn’t simply press the retweet button. He actually typed out “RT” and shortened my tweet so that his profile picture showed rather than mine. Thus, people reading his tweets from “lists” would still see his retweet. By putting his face on the tweet, it gave my tweet more authority. From there, three of his fans retweeted him.

Now how many people my tweet reached and influenced through Scott’s retweet, I can’t say, but it’s definitely interesting to think about. From this incident with Scott and from Dr. Hether’s lesson, I’m more excited than ever to use social media metrics and analytics. While I didn’t necessarily look at the metrics of my tweet with Scott using an actual service like Google Analytics or Klout, I told the story only to reflect on the concepts of metrics.

Comm 193: Live-Tweeting Assignment

Here is the link to my live-tweeting of the PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco that occurred last month. It’s pretty long since I tweeted the whole day, so prepare yourself. To anyone unfamiliar with PRSSA, it stands for Public Relations Student Society of America. Enjoy!

Personal Branding: Good or Bad?

In today’s world of social media, personal branding has become an interesting and debatable concept. Individuals now have to be aware of their online image because consequently, potential employers can find incriminating information that can affect an individual’s employment. To this end, personal branding may appear negative as people become comparable to products ready to be sold. Yet despite these images, I don’t think personal branding is a bad thing in this day and age. Sure, more caution must be taken in what material we publish about ourselves, but in some ways, it levels the playing field for people seeking out the same positions.

As an introvert with little work experience under my belt, finding a job or even securing an interview after receiving my B.A. was difficult. I’ve look at my resume and become demoralized. I can’t get a job because I have no experience. I can’t gain experience because I can’t get a job. It’s a Catch-22. Though with social media and the idea of personal branding making headway, my situation has looked up.

I’m an avid Twitter user and in the two years between the end of my undergraduate days and the start of my graduate ones, I’ve been building my brand. In a face-to-face situation, my brand is indistinguishable in the first, second, or even third meeting. Shy, I have the inability to formulate what I want to say. I make the worst first impressions. While I may have trouble articulating things aloud, I have no trouble at all writing it down. That’s because I’m a writer.

In comes Twitter. I’m able to brand myself with my words, both in my brief bio and my tweets. Though I’m a writer, I’m actually more than that. I brand myself as a running and fitness fanatic and a literature enthusiast (from classics to mysteries, from philosophy to comics). In addition, I engage in conversations with runners and writers. My tweets also give me a personality, such as being witty and a workaholic (as described by friends). Building my brand has been useful, going so far as being offered a staff writer position because of what I tweeted and the blog link attached to my profile.

Thus I’ve found that personal branding can be beneficial, but it’ll depend on the industry you want to work in and the type of person you are. The way I see it, each of us have always possessed a brand. It just wasn’t as easily accessible and visible face-to-face as it is today online.

I agree with William Arruda and Chris Brogan that we need to make ourselves stand out and manage our own careers. As Brogan writes, “A personal brand gives you the ability to stand out in a sea of similar products. In essence, you’re marketing yourself as something different than the rest of the pack”. Seth Godin takes a different standpoint. He says we shouldn’t see ourselves as brands, but as people. He dislikes “branding”, but what he does emphasize is that we’re entering a world where we can be people again. What I take from this is that personal branding, regardless of the term, is now about being who you genuinely are, not what you want yourself to be. Godin may be slightly cynical to the phrase “branding”, but he does stress the same idea that Arruda and Brogan employ.

Twitter Observation: Politician vs. Entertainer

For any readers outside of my class, this week’s PR assignment was to follow the Twitter accounts of a politician and an entertainer, and compare their feeds.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t follow politics. I know I should, but I haven’t yet gotten into the habit. Therefore my choice of politician is based on basic knowledge I know and a little bit of randomness rather than keen interest and activism. So who is the lucky politician? Cue the drumroll… it’s Lt. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom! And as a juxtaposition, I’ve chosen late night host and comedian, Conan O’Brien.

I’ve mainly focused on the tweets that have been made available in the past week, although I’ve also glossed over older tweets to get a better picture of what kind of topics they tweet about and what their twitter persona is like.

Newsom tweets about what event (conferences, benefits) he is currently at to promote change and awareness in California. As of late, the majority of his tweets are about education and college tuition fees. For instance, he mentions the UC Regents meeting and expresses how frustrated he is that there are no alternatives to prevent a tuition increase if Prop 30 fails to pass:

He also retweets statistics and other people that are covering the meeting, doing a kind of mini live-coverage of the Regents meeting. In addition, he tweets about his campaign against bullying in San Francisco schools and promotes College Track, an afterschool program that works to increase high school graduation, college eligibility and enrollment, and college graduation rates. All his tweets, including retweets, reflects how important education is to him and emphasizes his wish that something needs to be done immediately.

Observing Newsom’s twitter feed as a whole, it appears he doesn’t reply to any tweets. I wonder why this is. Aside from the fact that he is a busy man, I assume it has to do with media control. That is, to prevent any misunderstanding he may have with a fellow follower, causing a political uproar. Regardless, I’m surprised how often he tweets. It’s not a lot, but it is more than one a day, and you can tell it’s really him who tweets and not someone working for him. Overall, his twitter serves to  send a message of awareness, keep people informed about policies in education, and to express a few opinions. Though there were a few tweets about Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Night Rises, and Looper, which I found to be outliers.

In contrast, Conan only posts one tweet every single day, with the occasional two related tweets to finish his thought. His tweets are basically witty one-liners or short jokes. Most of his tweets poke fun of recent current events (whether political, social, economical, etc.), although a good majority of them are jokes made at his own expense. He also attaches photos from time to time of himself being silly.

Just like Newsom, Conan does not reply to anyone. It seems the purpose of his twitter account is to only entertain, with his tweets having the appearance of having been planned out and scheduled ahead of time. I’ve often wondered if he himself is actually tweeting. Aside from the tweets in which he talks about himself, I’m sure he has writers on the side composing his funny one liners.

Looking at the Twitters of both Gavin Newsom and Conan, neither of them seem to utilize Twitter as a two-way interaction between themselves and their followers. While Newsom uses his twitter to inform and promote his politics, Conan’s twitter exists to provide a joke a day and make light of current events.

Tapping into Web 2.0

As discussed in the previous post, there are many social media outlets that the average individual can choose from. However, what about companies? How can they begin to utilize social media to bring forth consumers and be part of Web 2.0? According to the Groundswell, two ways: the Social Technographics Profile and POST (People, Objective, Strategy, and Technology).

Taking together the Social Technographic Profile and POST, I thought I’d apply it to two types of writers I follow on Twitter and see whether they promote their works effectively. The first is a novelist and the second, a comic writer. Lets assume that both are virtually unknown. That is, they’re not popular as say Stephen King.

The Novelist:

I did not follow the novelist on Twitter, but rather she followed me, probably based on computerized mumbo-jumbo that took into account my profile stating I’m a “Literature enthusiast” and the fact that I follow writers. Out of curiosity, I followed her back to see what she had to offer. Suffice to say, I was not impressed. All she does is autotweet the same generic advertisement of her novels. The purpose of her twitter is to sell her novel, which is fine, but she does not apply POST. The first three steps are very important here. How she targeted me was purely random, not taking into consideration what genre of books I may be into, but that I liked books overall. She doesn’t realize that I may also be a blogger who likes to write reviews. Her objective may be to sell books, but her strategy is nonexistent. She doesn’t try to establish a relationship with followers like me in any way. And it’s obvious she doesn’t read our tweets from time to time to figure us out and how she can cater her twitter to us. There’s no communication at all. Her tweets don’t acknowledge her thousands of followers and in turn, followers don’t read her tweets. She seems to only utilize O and T, which is ineffective. Of course, this is all speculation and I’m sure some of her followers may pick up her novels. But me? I ignore her tweets. In fact, I don’t know why I continue to follow her. Time to unfollow, perhaps.

The Comic Writer:

Unlike the novelist, I chose to follow this writer first, but for a specific reason. For anyone curious, he doesn’t write for DC Comics or Marvel, which comes with them stature and decent living, but a smaller company called Image. The only reason I knew of him was because I read a short article about his new comic book about Peter Pan in WWII. Being a Peter Pan fan, I blogged about the series and my anticipation. I then tweeted the title and link of my blog post. Days later, this same writer retweeted me and tweeted me directly, thanking me for blogging about his comic and hoping that I enjoyed it when it came out. I was impressed. He was actually searching tags about his comic and making an effort to promote it. I followed him after this incident to see what he had to offer.

This writer definitely applies POST and considers his audience. He doesn’t follow thousands of random people. He follows fellow comic writers, artists, reviewers, bloggers, and the like who can help him. The people are the fellow writers and reviewers I mentioned, but the people also consist of his fans. His objective is to market himself by talking and listening to both groups. His tweets don’t simply say, “Buy my comic!” He tweets sneak previews, sends us to his blog that go in depth about the process, engages his fans by making them excited, pitches other writers, gives advice to aspiring writers, and better yet, he talks directly to his fans. His strategy is therefore to energize writers and fans alike, and get feedback. By applying POST, Twitter (and blog posts) works for him. I’m now a huge fan and promoter of his works.

Granted these writers are different, being from different genres, but how they use their Twitter to market their work was important to me.