Twitter. Retweet. Fail.

12 11 2009

Twitter plans to add native retweeting to  In plain language that means that you will be able to automatically resend or retweet messages from your twitter homepage with a single click.  However the intention is to fundamentally change the nature of RTs in the process.  In essence the retweets will look like the original tweet with the image or avatar and name of the originator.  The fact that they have been propelled by someone or ‘retweeted’ will only appear in the faint information below the tweet (or the metadata).

Twitter co-Founder Ev Williams explains the reason for this in great detail on his EvHead blog.  The argument for the change is that tweets will be unedited (they often have to be at present to allow characters for the tweeters name), they will be correctly attributed and you wont see multiple retweets because “You will only get the first copy of something retweeted multiple times by people you follow”.   This fundamentally misses the pont.  By seeing multiple retweets you get a real sense of the saliency or level of interest in a particular tweet.  No-one rereads them all.  Another problem with the new retweet system is the very absence of the retweeter – except in the metadata, and there is no guarantee that twitter clients will show this metadata.   The identity of the retweeter is important because it is an endorsement and the value of that endorsement varies according to who is providing it…what if you get a retweet from @stephenfry or Ev himself but lots of people never see it because @joebloggs got in there first?.

Finally retweeting is not a concept originated by Ev Williams, Biz Stone or indeed anyone at Twitter it was originated by the community and belongs to the community.  Ev says in his post “I know the design of this feature will be somewhat controversial”.  My guess if that users will continue to retweet in the way that they do now and ignore the retweet function on, and if they do this new feature will prove to be a real misjudgement. Fail.


Book Reprint Imminent

9 11 2009

I noticed last week that the book to which this blog is a companion ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ was apparently out of stock at Amazon.  The website is showing 1-3 weeks delivery time.  I checked with the publishers Kogan Page and got the following response from commissioning editor Annie Knight “It’s just reprinting at the moment – it will be available again in two weeks.  It sold out a lot quicker than we had anticipated…”   That was last Friday (6th November) so it should be in stock again in about 10 days.

BBC iPlayer on iPhone

8 11 2009

The  BBC’s iPlayer is accessible on the iPhone and iPod touch as well as a range of smart phones.  A search for iPlayer in the Apple app store turns up nothing at all, as the iPlayer mobile is currently a web based application.  It is most easily  accessed via a mobile web browser.   The service is also accessible as a click through via the mobile application (which is how I discovered it).  

Delivering TV on mobile devices has been a key objective for programme makers and mobile operators for years.  The quality of the service at first look is exceptional and this, combined with being ‘first to market’ is a major coup for the BBC.  Rather than aiming for a specific mobile phone platform the BBC is looking to provide a service that is widely available.  According to the iPlayer website all of the following devices should be able to receive the mobile iPlayer:

Are they Spammers?

5 11 2009

This blog is companion to a book and the blog has a companion twitter feed which doesn’t do much except post URLs from the blog.  It is a convenience more than anything for users who prefer URL’s via twitter to using  a feed reader.  This seems to make sense as over 6000 have chosen to follow the twitter feed – with just over 40 using feedburner.

When I started the  twitter feed I decide to follow back all of the followers – more out of courtesy than anything else and I did it manually.  I still do partly because I don’t want to auto follow bots or spammers.

However I noticed that a proportion of followers then decide to unfollow after I follow them back and I wondered why.  It looks to me that some of them are doing this on huge and systematic  scale just to boost their own follower numbers.  Generally this practise is regarded as spamming.  So I though I would publish the top eight (there are several hundred).  You have a look and decide if you think they are spammers and if they see this and they don’t agree perhaps they can add their comments and explain their approach to social media.


73,340 following 77,122 followers


49 following 39,219 followers


108 following 51,827 followers


10 following 47,621 followers


211 following 40,065 followers


34,924 following 36,329 followers


34,253 following 37,773 followers


123 following 31,281 followers

Update: The Twit that Made Fry Quit

4 11 2009

Or didn’t as the case may be.  With his mood lifted by the Californian sunshine Stephen Fry returned to twitter within 24 hours of announcing his departure and apologised to Richard from Birmingham ( @Brumplum ) for the furore.  Richard for his part seemed to be bemused by the attention good and bad and contrite about his description of Fry’s musings. His follower numbers have risen from a couple of hundred to nearly 1500.  

It hasn’t gained much attention but the person who came out of this with the least to smile about was comedian Alan Davies, panelist on Fry’s QI show, who used his twitter stream on Saturday night to hurl abuse at anyone who didn’t agree with his take on the spat.  He has since deleted most of them but you can see a choice selection of them here.  Davies is of course the happy go lucky chap who once chewed a tramp’s ear outside a London nightclub.

My Top 20 PR and Social Media Lists

3 11 2009

The arrival of twitter lists has led to a frenzy of list publishing along with widgets and gadgets and even a dedicated on line directory called Listorious.  My issue with the majority of these lists are that they are too long. 

As a contribution to the current list mania I am publishing a top 20 PR and social media list of lists.  The criteria used are that in addition to being on subject, all of these lists are of a manageable size, specifically they list between 10 and 50 accounts.  The figures quoted after each list are the number of twitter accounts that they include at the time of publication.

   @benfurber/media-new-media-people  23

  @uwelang/socialmedia 47

   @kprzewuska/all-about-social-media  14

  @PressPRsVIPs/uk-prs  27

  @djshadow19/pr-ism 13

  @CaSuPe15/pr  20

  @missPRmonkeee/pr-people  14

  @PRProspect/feed  35

  @dorothycrenshaw/pr-sources  11

  @mmmkatya/pr-sm-news  35

  @miguelstil/everythingpr  50

  @jeanette_fuchs/socialmedia  18

  @Blinkblog/comunica-o  40

  @kbuddski/pr 13

  @alexleebehan/pr  33

  @robynslingsby/journalists-pr  25

  @paulruk/pr-watch  28

  @attrACTpr/social-media  35

  @LozanoRP/publicrelations  13

  @walker_pr/social-media  47

Update: Hacked Off with Twitter Spam

2 11 2009

Following the twitter hack attack last week, thousands of accounts are still being hijacked by spammers who are using them to send bogus direct messages.  The majority being sent today appear to promote money-making scams.  Colin Byrne (@capbyrne) the CEO of Weber Shandwick in the UK and Europe is one of the latest victims.

The ‘phishing’ attach has been highly sophisticated.  The hackers have employed a bogus twitter login page to grab names and passwords.  It has also been reported that the players of the online game ‘Tribeswar’ have had their accounts hacked.   Users should check the connections tab in their twitter settings page and ‘revoke access’ for any applications that don’t know and trust.  When logging onto twitter check that the url is before logging in.

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