Monittering Twitter – The Obama Inauguration Experiment

Obama Inauguration Monittered Tweets
Obama Inauguration Monittered Tweets

Follow-up
In my prior My Five Ws of Twitter in less than 10 minutes (video included) post – How to follow section, I listed http://monitter.com as an amazing tool. Now, I’d like to show you a recording I made on Inauguration Day to illustrate that point.

 

How I monitored

  1. I went to http://search.twitter.com and looked for the hash tags (#) that folks were using to mark their tweets; “inauguration”, “inaug09” and “obama”.
  2. Opened http://monitter.com in my Chrome browser (simply because my blog theme matches it)
  3. Replaced my previous keywords in each column heading for the hash tagged terms I found in step 1
  4. Just for fun, I played around with the “Tweets within …” setting and entered “10 km” of “Washington, DC”
  5. Preferring a more global perspective, I cleared the “Washington, DC”

The tweets were coming through so fast, it was sometimes just a blur.

How I captured

  1. I quickly opened up my Camtasia 6.0 Recorder and choose a custom area setting of 1024×768. I knew this would be too large for my blog and too large for youtube, but there was so much content flying by that I figured I’d deal with that issue later.
  2. I started recording on 2009-01-20 at 11:46 ET
  3. I could see a few tweets coming in remarking how impressed some where that Twitter was handling the load and didn’t crash yet.
  4. Things slowed down around 12:12 ET for me and then nothing was coming in.
  5. I stopped recording and saved the file – which takes awhile for a recording that long.
  6. I then removed two columns from http://monitter.com by clicking the minus sign “-” at the bottom right hoping to improve things
  7. I started recording again changing my capture area setting to a more youtube friendly size (640×480) even though I couldn’t get things lined up nicely with my Monitter columns
  8. The second recording went from 12:33 ET to 13:13 ET.

How I tried to post to YouTube
This didn’t go well. I tried playing back my recordings and recapturing them in smaller area and uploading them. At first I got tripped up by the note on the upload page that tells me I can upload up to 1 GB. But there was no warning about not being able to upload videos more than 10 minutes. It took a few nasty error messages & trips to the Help to find that one out.

Then I thought I had it all figured out. I had played back, re-captured in 640×480 screen size, split into 10 minute files, uploaded a few files. And the playback was awful. I Googled, Helped, tried viewing in high definition, tried embedding here with various “width” and “height” values. All for not.

See for yourself. Here’s my inadequate 3-column version and a fruitless skinnied down attempt. All you can tell is the speed of tweets. And going to full screen is illegible.

How I finally published with the original quality

Camtasia Screencast Option
Camtasia Screencast Option

Sometimes the best solution is just too obvious. Techsmith, the makers of Camtasia are also the providers of Screencast. Nothing says “phew” like a good integration.

 

I quickly and easily uploaded my two large originally produced MP4 files with a click of a button. If I only realized that two days ago! In any case, life is good again. And even better if I just saved you a few days of headaches, or, enabled you to get that video published that you may’ve given up on. One more thing, Screencast has an free account option – which is what I went for. There’s a few limitations but I figure I can always upgrade later if need be.

This is it
Since its a large video, another browser tab, or, window will be opened: Obama Inauguration Tweets

Reflection
While I would’ve preferred the potential traffic generated from YouTube, Screencast is my choice when quality large resolution is required.

I hope you enjoy watching the tweets go by. Please let me know if you can see yours. My two attempts were not captured.

How to be a hero with stuff like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, delicious, wikis and more

Hint #1: The monkey was right.

The monkey was right
The monkey was right.

Look beyond what you see
Are you trying to convince your friends, or, colleauges that they need to get into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, wikis, instant messaging, etc. Worse yet, have you convinced your boss that these tools of social software are not developed and promoted by the Axis of Evil for the purposes of killing our productivity?

Don’t get me wrong. Look at what I blog about. Look at my photo. Do I look like a member of the Axis Of Evil Social Software Society? Look back at my Starting My Own, Thanks to … post & you’ll see that at one time, I too didn’t see the business value of this stuff. However, since then I can honestly say, that I don’t recall ever learning so much from some many different people – absolute strangers yet, in such a short period of time. Oh yah, did I mention that it was all for free? All thanks to social software, social networking, social media and most importantly the folks that provide the intellectual property – the content. Now that’s just my experience. And it may be just yours too. But it may not be your colleagues’, or, boss’. So the big question is; “What did your organization gain?” Where’s the business value for social software?

Enterprise 2.0
The originator of the phrase “Enterprise 2.0”, Professor Andrew McAfee defines it as

the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers”.

Oddly enough, he specifically states that

Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, etc. These are for individuals on the Web, not companies. Some companies use sites like YouTube for viral and stealth marketing, but let’s explicitly put these activities outside our definition of Enterprise 2.0.

Dion Hinchcliffe, in his The state of Enterprise 2.0 post, reminds us of the primary concern of business

Whether Enterprise 2.0 brings real bang for the buck by making the daily work of organizations measurably more productive, efficient, and innovative.

Is it just me, or, don’t you find that a little bit funny? In my opinion, I think these examples of social software actually feed and drive Enterprise 2.0. I think its more about content than tools. But it’s Andrew’s phrase so I guess I’ll have to come up with my own. How about “ Social Content 2.0“?

Hint #2: What starts with someone requesting something & ends with someone else delivering it? (And it’s not pizza.)

One Smalll Step for Man
Find a cause. Remember

Step 1: Find a cause
Now, if we could see beyond all those tools, beyond what is and what is not Enterprise 2.0, and simply concentrate on the content, then I think we’re well on our way to becoming that hero. So find a cause. Find something you need to deliver. Something that you can’t do on your own. Something that cries out for collaboration, sharing, communicating. Use the tools to help you achieve your goal. Sound a little too abstract?

 

How about a project?
Projects start with someone asking for something and end with someone else delivering it. Projects are very social. So we’ve got our cause now. Now let’s look at our tools. We already have enough examples of social software, so now let’s consider our tradtional project management software.

The problem with projects
I’m in the middle of reading Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die and came across the following passage:

… “No plan survives contact with the enemy,” says Colonel Tom Kolditz, the head of the behavioral sciences division at West Point. “You may start off trying to fight your plan, but the enemy gets a vote. Unpredictable things happen – the weather changes, a key asset is destroyed, the enemy responds in a way you don’t expect. Many armies fail because they put all their emphasis into creating a plan that becomes useless ten minutes into the battle.”

Now replace some of the key words – like “enemy” for “customer”, “armies” for “software labs” and “battle” for “development”. Sounds like the Colonel and I have been on a few software development projects together. And I doubt we’d be alone in that analogy.

Step 2: Get social
IBM’s Carl Kessler and John Sweitzer wrote Outside-in Software Development: A Practical Approach to Building Successful Stakeholder-based Products which contains some great examples of things going wrong and how to rectify the situation. For me, outside-in software development is really about mixing the social process into the software development process.

In my previous The Role of Social Software and Outside-in Agile Development I discussed how we are moving away from the Waterfall Model for software development towards Agile. Coincidentally, I also illustrated how we are moving away from the stoic/static Ivory-tower based tooling to the outside-in community-based ones. And finally, I tie it all together with an illustration of how you could use Rational Team Concert, the Agile/Scrum Process and IBM’s Lotus Greenhouse for outside-in software development.

I then followed that post up with Whiteboarding about Social Maps and Software and sketched how various communities of Stakeholders can form ad hoc social networks through the use of social software, (read IBM’s Lotus Greenhouse).

Step 3: Find a project management tool that’s sociable
Flip through Leisa Reichelt‘s presentation about how project management is evolving.

Social Project Management 

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: collaboration process)

Here’s a few other opinions and possible tools to help you on your way to becoming that hero:

  • Andrew Filev, founder and CEO of Wrike, Inc. writes that “Project Management 2.0” is based on

    Collective intelligence … is a form of intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals.

    and

    Emergence … is a form of collective behavior, when parts of a system do together what they would not do by themselves.

  • Bruce P. Henry, a founder of Liquid Planner writes in his Social Project Management post that

    … project management is about people making commitments to other people to work with still other people to get something done or built for perhaps some other people. Project management is about people. If that’s not social then I don’t know what is!

  • Rick Cook in his post Jazz in Concert—Jazz Platform and Rational Team Concert Make Sweet Music for Development Teams writes

    Collaboration in software development isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity that software teams have to figure out how to do better. With the right tools such as IBM’s Rational Team Concert built on the Jazz technology, any size software development team can stay in sync in real-time, regardless of location.

Superman
Be that hero. Put Social Content 2.0 into your next project.

Step 4: Get viral
Take a look at Business Week’s Social Media Will Change Your Business By Stephen Baker and Heather Green. You don’t have to read it. Just look at the number of comments it solicited. At the time of this post, it was at 3110! Now that’s social. That’s viral! That’s Social Content 2.0. And apparently, it doesn’t even matter how accurate, or, truthfull some of those comments are. According to Rubicon Consulting & Online Communities and Their Impact on Business: Ignore at Your Peril, 10% of the community members contribute 80% of the content. These Most Frequent Contributors (MFCs) are second to word of mouth when it comes to influencing others. So while having Web 2.0 technology features in your project management tool may make it more social, it’ll never make your deliverable more viral.

The Sweet Spot – Social Content 2.0
Dion Hinchcliffe’s #1 prediction from his 8 Predictions for Enterprise Web 2.0 in 2009 Enterprise Web 2.0 post, states

1. Tight budgets will drive the adoption of low-cost Web 2.0 and cloud/SaaS solutions. This seems like an obvious prediction but how it plays out will be very interesting. This could end up actually helping the smaller Enterprise Web 2.0 players as companies look to get away from the big-ticket, enterprise-class offerings from major vendors like IBM, Oracle, and others. But in reality, once enterprises make the decision to move to platforms for wikis, enterprise mashups, cloud services, SaaS enterprise apps, and so on, they may find the one-stop shop of pre-integrated solutions from entrenched software providers more than they can resist. Make no mistake, however, IT shops and businesses alike will be looking to cut costs and I expect a lot of IT and business downsizing to happen in a surge of “Economics 2.0″.

Did you catch that? The “pre-integrated solutions” part? To me, that’s the sweet spot. Whoever can, not only integrate Web 2.0 technologies into their project management tools, but integrate that viral Most Frequent Contributor Social Content 2.0 into the products developed by those tools will rule.

Reflection
Do you have any experience with any of the products in this space? If so, I’d love to see your comments. If not, are you a traditional project management type? Do you think this is just one of those phases & in the end folks will return to the classics?

In the spirit of openess, I’m going to reach out to some of those mentioned above. In addition, I’ll ping someone at Basecamp and Cynapse who I know do great things in collaboration software but am uncertain about the extent of their project management features.

Your opinion along with any constructive feedback is much appreciated.

Photo credits, click on images to find source.

Just lucky?

Lucky Child
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lucky_child.jpg

A little out of step

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, then you already know each one tries to cover a specific tool in the family of social software. My next post is actually going a little too far but circumstances have inspired me to come out with it now.

A little story

Many moons ago when I was a self-employed consultant, someone I know griped to a mutual friend of our’s, that I was just lucky to always be landing contracts one after the other. At first, I looked at it as sour grapes and was grateful for my luck. But a few months later, I was watching 60 Minutes and the interviewer suggested to the interviewee, that many others discount his good fortune as just being lucky. (I wish I could remember their names). The response was something along the following: “True, I am lucky… if you define “Luck” as the point in time when preparedness meets opportunity.” So, I’m just lucky to be writing the next post out of sequence and will return to any missing pieces shortly.

Focusing and Scaling Your Activities with IBM Lotus Greenhouse Connections

How to better focus and socially scale your activities using IBM Lotus Greenhouse Connections Activities

Sample IBM Lotus Greenhouse Connections Activities using Chris Brogan's New Marketing Bootcamp
Sample Activities using Chris Brogan's New Marketing Bootcamp
Who would use Activities

For those of you would-be social networkers out there, here’s a simple post about how to use Activities as a collaboration tool.

What is Activities

While many of us use email for many of our collaboration efforts, Activities may prove to be more efficient and effective. Aside from sharing many of the same attributes of email messages, one of the advantages of Activities is that its helps you focus on a common goal, or, objective. Similar to an email thread but more focused like a mini-project management tool. Just like email, Activities can have attachments but they should simply provide supporting data and would not be the focal point. The Activity is the focal point.

Where are the Activities

In my earlier The Funny Thing About Leaving Comments post I discussed the reasoning for using Chris Brogan’s Bootcamp as an example for my subsequent posts. As a result, I created
New Marketing Bootcamp in IBM’s Lotus Greenhosue Activities. At the time of this writing, the Activity is Public (I’ll ellaborate more on that later), which means once you’re registered in Greenhouse, anyone can access the Activity. See my earlier My Five Ws of IBM’s Lotus Greenhouse in less than 10 minutes post for some more background and registration.

How-to create the Activities

Here’s my yourtube video which through the magic of copying & pasting from Question for You While Preparing for 2009, Camtasia editing and clip-speed, I managed to reduce the effort to 2 minutes.

Why would I want to create Activities

So why not simply create a document or spreadsheet and email that around? Well,

  1. For starters, I may want to share it with my community of followers in my social network & I just may not have all their email addresses.
  2. My email may not be welcome by all, or, interpretted as spam
  3. and perhaps most importantly – versioning. There’s a direct correlation between the effort required to manage a document’s version and the number of contributors it has.
  4. Signal-to-Noise Ratio: Garr Reynolds, describes this in his presentationzen book on slide creation, as

    … the ratio of relevant to irrelevent elements or information in a slide or other display. People have a hard time coping with excessive cognitive strain.

    For our purposes, replace “slide” with “email message”. How many times have you seen someone hijack an email thread, taking it in a different direction than the original subject text?

So why would I use Activities when I can simply post my activities in my blog & read the feedback? While blogging is a great way to publish information, its not the best collaboration tool, nor can it scale socially.

When‘s a good time to create Activities

Personally, I would use start using Activities once you intend on collaborating with others. With the mechanism in place, you can start scaling not only your activities’s content but ownership as well. In my post, I’ll introduce you to a few communication tools that will certainly contribute to your social scaling efforts.

Reflection
As always, all comments are welcome. I’d love to see your comments about similar platforms like – Yammer, Present.ly, Basecamp, Central Desktop, and Producteev. Thanks in advance to Dom Derrien for pointing these out to me.

IBM Lotus Greenhouse Connections, Stickmen and Communities

How a social networking stickman can use IBM’s Lotus Connections to better server a community, or, enterprise – for free

Social Networking Stickman
Social Networking Stickman
Who

In my previous post – My Five Ws of IBM’s Lotus Greenhouse in less than 10 minutes, I introduced you to Greenhouse and hopefully, got you underway in the registration process. So now, for all you would-be social networking stickmen out there, let’s see what free tools we can exploit.

Getting Into Connections

What

For starters, once you log into Greenhouse, click on the IBM Lotus Connections link and you’ll brought to a typical portal looking page. The page should resemble familiar sites like Yahoo! with the added usability of customizing your page like iGoogle.

Here’s what you should be seeing:

  1. Profiles: The Facebook of Connections where you maintain your own profile, network with others and link with colleagues and their content. Take a few extra minutes and check out Chris Brogan‘s advice in Write Your LinkedIn Profile for Your Future. My personal favorites are about describing more about what you want to do most and your choice of photos.
  2. Blogs: Personal journals sequenced by most current entries that potentially allow readers to leave comments.
  3. Communities: Your own collection of member profiles sharing discussion forums, bookmarks and feeds, as described in My Five Ws of RSS in less than 10 minutes (video included)
  4. Activities: A novel alternative to email where you can share content, documents and comments around a specific activity, including To-Do’s with dates.
  5. Dogear: You can share, or, not, your choice bookmarks – just like Delicious, or, Digg, but integrated with your community.
Where

Now keep in mind where you are at this point. You logged into Greenhouse and as a result anything you do inside Greenhouse will not show up when you Google for it. Perhaps more importantly, all the Greenhouse feeds available to you are pretty much restricted to internal Greenhouse use. The problem is typical news readers – like Google Reader do not account for credentials – no pun intended. Go ahead and try adding one of your Greenhouse feeds to Google

Google Reader and a Greenhouse Feed
Google Reader and a Greenhouse Feed

and please let me know if you have better results than I do.

When

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a showstopper and should not prevent you from moving forward now. As a matter of fact, anyone wanting to adopt social software in the workplace will have the same issue. This is a good thing. Enterprises and Information Technology (IT) folks call this Security and once you’re logged into Greenhouse your entries are encrypted with something called Secure Sockets Layers (SSL), which means, among other things, unintended eyes cannot see what you post. Notice the “s” in https://greenhouse.lotus.com?

Why / How

Perhaps the most compelling reason for me to use Greenhouse Connections is the concept of community which I hope is communicated in my following video.

Now in order to have a Community, you need to have Members. You can only select Members from existing Greenhouse Profiles. Once you have your list of folks who can access your content, you can then determine what privileges they have. privileges depend on the Memberships Roles you assign and vary among Owners, Authors and Readers.

So how do we work around the problem of getting the most out of feeds if we can’t add those from Greenhouse to our readers? Here’ one I’m experimenting with a start-up project. Since all the members are into, or, are getting into Twitter, I set up a FriendFeed account and created a private Room for the members to communicate. We keep all our community-related content inside our members-only Greenhouse Connections Community and only use FriendFeed for notification purposes. It’s going OK, but I thinking of switching over to GroupTweet because its simpler. Sometime less features is just better.

Reflection
Please let me know if you have any trouble following my instructions, hit a snafu along the way, or, simply have any of your own suggestions / alternatives. Especially if you have alternatives 🙂

My Five Ws of IBM’s Lotus Greenhouse in less than 10 minutes

Use IBM’s Lotus Collaboration Products for free, including Lotus Connections for social networking.

Inside Registered Greenhouse

Who

I’ve been blogging, or, talking about IBM’s Lotus Greenhouse for a while now, but have yet to deliver a scenario that folks can relate to. So for all of you out there that have a desire to know more about social software and maybe even start testing the waters, this series of posts is for you.

Why

Most of my friends and colleagues think social software is limited to blogging. Some consider video sharing like youtube. Some know about bookmark sharing like delicious. Some may consider podcasts in there. Perhaps even fewer know about slideshare. I don’t know of any them that consider leaving comments on retailers’ site as being “social”. And again, none of them would consider some form of project management as a social activity.

Now, what’s nice about IBM’s Lotus Greenhouse is that it offers all of these capabilities and more, for free. Why? I can think of two good reasons why IBM let’s you use their production, backed-up software for free:

  1. Outside-in software development: There’s a big push within Big Blue to get more feedback from stakeholders outside the lab into the lab. Greenhouse has a whack of forums for members to provide feedback, or, get help. This goes hand-in-hand with another big push in Big Blue: Agile, or, scrum software development. In very brief terms, this means developing high value chunks of executable software in short iterations cycles – like two weeks, demonstrating it to stakeholders, getting feedback, reflecting on the experience & then moving forward. The objective is to mitigate the risk in developing software no one except the developers think is necessary. (Perhaps now’s a good time to point you to the Disclaimer on my sidebar.)
  2. As the site says:

    Bluehouse is the code name for a first-of-its-kind, IBM® software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. “Bluehouse” is an innovative and powerfully intuitive set of business services integrated with robust social networking capabilities, which enable users to collaborate quickly and efficiently work with others outside or inside the firewall.

    So my guess is, if you get hooked on Greenhouse & are reaping the benefits from it, then you would consider going for the full-meal deal with the Bluehouse hosted solution. Makes sense to me!

What

Glancing at the Inside Greenhouse image above, you can tell there’s a lot going on here. But I did say in my last The Funny Thing About Leaving Comments post that I was going to use Chris Brogan‘s Question for You While Preparing for 2009 getting started scenario. So that’s what we’re going to focus on moving forward – for now.

Where/How

Join Now In order to move forward, you do need to register by clicking Join and filling out the Self Nomination page. Now there’s a few things you should be aware of when registering:

  1. You cannot change the following after you register:
    1. E-mail address
    2. First Name
    3. Last Name
  2. I honestly don’t know if it helps any of us, but I can’t imagine it could hurt, so, feel free to use my name as Your IBM Contact

The first point really tripped me up. As a result, I now have an account with my IBM email address, first & last name and another one with my stevenmilstein.com email address with first name “S” and last name “StevenMilstein”. I’m trying to get this resolved since I have more control over the fate of my stevenmilstein.com email address, as opposed to, my IBM one.

When

Registration is not automatic. I think there’s a human intervening on the other end. So the sooner you register the sooner you can get started.

Please let me know if you have any trouble following my instructions, or, hit a snafu along the way.

The Funny Thing About Leaving Comments

Taking Advice
Taking Advice

Taking advice from my own comments

Leaving my mark

A few days ago I made the following comment on Chris Brogan‘s Question for You While Preparing for 2009;

Steven Milstein 12.19.08 at 9:31 am

I have to agree with many of the comments above. Personally, I’d take a whack of those bullets & make them perquisites for the bootcamp. Why not blog a Prerequisite To-Do List with Chris’ Preferred Bookmark and let folks go off on their own to get them done? Maybe even give them an estimate of how much time they could expect to spend on each task. Personally, I think this approach is not only more scalable and containable, but it also ensures participants that you’ll get to the good stuff.

For me, that good stuff would not be the technology behind Chris Brogan but the classic Chris Brogan we read everyday. That would be the value add for me.

And speaking of Classic Chris Brogan stuff, it would be very much in your persona, and your curriculum, to link to some of your contributors. As I comment here, I’m number 26. That means there’s potentially 25 links ahead of me who could make that list. IMO, of course 🙂

Despite my closing 🙂 , I have to admint to being a little frustrated that Chris – who’s taught me so much & has such a huge social network, would exert his energy showing people what so many others – myself included, are already doing in their own special way. I was especially surprised that Chris, who’s always made it a point to link to others, wasn’t taking advantage of the this seemingly obvious opportunity to do so. And that’s why I left my comment.

Not being one to dwell too much on these things, I went off to tackle another one of my To-Do’s. Oddly enough the To-Do was from one of Chris’ earlier posts and one which he reiterated on above.

Claim the blog on Technorati.

Clutch in (or, changing gears, subject….)

I’ve been to Technorati but never understood this business of Claiming your blog. So, like a good little student, I followed the links and went through the process. By the way, you may be interested to know that, at the time of this writing, my blog is ranked 4,713,769 with 1 having the most blogs linked to it, and therefore being the Best! While I’m not aiming for the best, there is lots of room for improvement. So, I continued reading some of their tips & saw one like this;

Find out what others are writing and interested about and post something that helps them achieve their goal.

All altruism aside, this also happens to increase your own blogs awareness. And then I remembered that comment I left.

Clutch in. Taking my own and Technorati’s advice

Ding, ding, ding. So right after I publish this post – which I’m doing my best to keep short, I’m going to start a series of posts implementing Chris’s bootcamp scenario in Lotus Greenhouse Connections.

Clutch out.

My Five Ws of Twitter in less than 10 minutes (video included)

Twitter – not your father’s Oldsmobile of news sources

Who’s this for

Are you one of those folks whose heard of Twitter & wondered what’s it all about? Or perhaps you once were adventurous enough to visit the site http://twitter.com but, for the life of you, just couldn’t get it? I know that’s exactly how I felt. Even their own “What”, “Why”, “How” and slick video just didn’t do it for me. Did I really need to announce to the world that I’m eating soup? Did anyone out there really care? Even my own mother?

So if you are the way I was, then this post’s for you. On the other hand, if you wear your Twitter badge with pride – like I do, then maybe you can read on anyway & share your thoughts on how to help others benefit from this technology.

Why I like Twitter

When I was just a little guy growing up – not that I’m such a giant now, I remember my father leaving for the office before we went off to school and somehow always managing to pull his big brown Oldsmobile 98 into the driveway at exactly 6 PM. He would then sit in his car & listen to the news. Afterwards, he’d join us at the kitchen table and once supper was over, he’d then move onto his special reading corner. He’d sit back in his big comfy black leather chair and ottoman – like the one on Fasier and read the newspaper from cover to cover. (In those days, we received the newspaper in the late afternoon.) He read every square inch of that paper. That & his 6 o’clock news were his sources of information. (He usually fell asleep in front of the TV long before the 11 o’lock news.)

Cartype : Oldsmobile
As he got older, had more time on his hands and more choices, he got into other news sources like CNN, FOX, CBC, or, The Weather Channel. But somethings always remained the same. Regardless of the content, he always had to select a news source first, filter out the content that interested him and sometimes filter out the opinions, views and biases of those sources before he was able to get what he wanted.

Today, Twitter is not my father’s Oldsmobile of news sources. With Twitter, I select my content first and then look to the source. The next time something major is going on – like an election, a natural disaster, or both, just try to keep up with the tweets. All of a sudden, everyone is an Eye Witness news reporter. That means anyone with a connection to the Net, or, capable of text messaging (I’m guessing any mobile phone purchased within the last five years) is a Twittereporter. That’s got to out number any news agency’s sources – unless of course they follow Twitter too. But even if they did. Their coverage still can’t compare, simply because of their value add – read bias. So, saying Twitter is a premium news source may in fact be an understatement.

What‘s Twitter, tweets and micro-blogging

So now’s a good time to check out that slick video I mentioned earlier on Twitter’s home page. But, remember, its not really about soup, or, mowing the lawn.

In addition, Alex Iskold‘s Evolution of Communication: From Email to Twitter and Beyond – ReadWriteWeb gives a great comparison of mail/email, phone/instant messaging, newspapers/blogs and of course Twitter.

How to follow
  1. Content
    1. Go to http://search.twitter.comhttp://search.twitter.com (No registration required!)
    2. Note the “Trending topics”. The ones prefixed with the hash (#) are tags authors use to shortcut their topic – like keywors.
    3. Aside from current events that would make national, or, international headlines, try searching for something less news worthy. Try a brand like JetBlue, or, product like iPhone. This is all word of mouth and most likely not an official support mechanism. Watch what people are saying about great/poor service, awesome/lemon products…
    4. Did you notice the ? Add that feed to your news reader and you now have you’re very own staff of twitterreporters. If you’re not sure what that means, take a look at my previous post My Five Ws of RSS in less than 10 minutes (video included)
  2. People
    1. Take a look at other people’s profiles and follow their lead. Things like using a real picture, and your actual name go a long way when it comes to building relationships
    2. Go ahead and register a free account at http://twitter.com
    3. Based on your search results, you may have come across folks you’d like to follow more specifically. Click on their picture and then the Twitter Follow Me button
    4. Just for fun, check out Dr. Mark Drapeau‘s, Guest Post- The Post-Geekdominant Twitterverse where among other things, he refers to Who has the most Followers on Twitter? (Top 100) | Twitterholic.com
  3. Tools, tools and more tools
Where‘s to start

If nothing else, I really hope you’re at least intrigued by it all. So here again is where to start:

  1. Search Twitter
  2. Twitter
  3. I’d be honored if you’d like to follow me

When to subscribe
Even if you don’t Tweet – for now, the very least you should be doing is listening for others. So follow your interests, passions – personal & professional. If you’re lucky, they’ll all the same.

Up next

I think there’s a tremendous target audience out there just waiting for us to onboard them into the world of social software and I’ll explain further in my next post. In the meantime, I’ll be searching and tweeting trying to validate my theory. So if you have anything you’d like to share along these lines, please comment, or, Tweet me @stevenmistein.

How about searching for something of interest right now and comment below how it went. Was it as easy as described? Did I oversimplify things? Would you like me to find some other helpful pointers out there? You’ll never know unless you ask.

By the way, I really did love that Olds 98. And that big comfy black leather chair & ottoman, is just a few feet away from me.

Whiteboarding about Social Maps and Software follow-up (under 3 minutes)


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Inspired by

Can you visualize your organization’s social map? Are you already using social software? What advice could you offer up?

Inspired/incited by Seth Godin. Empowered by Garr Reynolds & Dan Roam (under 7 minutes)


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Inspired by

Do you have positions like this in your organization? If so, how’s it working out? If not, would you consider one like this? What tips could you offer up?