Tweetdeck is my Weapon of Choice

15 02 2009

I have been pretty resolutely old skool about Twitter, choosing to use the web as my application of choice. That was up until today when I decided to check out Tweetdeck.  It’s a desktop application developed in the UK by Iain Dodsworth and launched in June 08.  It has also just raised almost $1/2 million in funding to allow Ian the time to develop it, so expect it to get better and better.  

Tweetdeck allows you to tackle the issue that every Twitter user encounters when they get to follow about fifty or more people (Ian reckons his problem kicked in at the thirty mark), the issue of too much noise.  It provides a set of columns that allow you to organise your twitter information streams.  You still have a column for everyone you follow but you can set up columns of selected followers or columns based around search terms that you select.  

There is also a Twitscoop word cloud that allows you to track ‘trending terms’. This Sunday morning I watched ‘hangover’ trending highly in the morning to be edged out by ‘church’ as the day progressed.  For us PR people it provides a neat adition to the tools we can use to track the twitterverse and the conversations that are taking place, which might particularly interest us.

There is also an audio alert for new tweets or, and this is my preference, a discreet notification window which is gently nudging me as I type this blog.

Oh, and the default colour scheme, which you could alter if you wished, is black and cool.

Celebrity Twitters – Real or Fake?

6 01 2009

Stephen Fry, Andy Murray and Jonathan Ross are amongst the growing band of celebrities on Twitter, but how do we know that it is really them and not just a fan of even a member of their celebrity entourage posting, purely for publicity?

There have been a host of examples of fake Twitterers and bloggers. For over a year a blog ran under the moniker “Fake Steve” or FSJ, a fake Steve Jobs blog that in some months attracted almost a million visitors including the real Steve Jobs and apparently the real Bill Gates too.

The business of revealing a celebrity Twitter as a fake in the title is an established phenomenon (at the time of writing the newly reinstated Twitter search facility revealed over 200 of these).  The bigger issue is the ease with which anyone can register a name and become a twit imposter.  

So how do we tell if the celebrity on Twitter is the real deal?  There are some tests that we can apply:

1 The Authentic Voice.   Does it feel real?  This can be an acid test in itself.  Whilst it might be possible to adopt a persona for a few tweets it is very difficult to sustain over time.  We should trust our instincts (but not rely on them solely).  Whilst some tweets feel like celebrity publicists at work (@BritneySpears admits as much) if you follow @Andy_Murray it doesn’t feel like it could be anyone else.

2. The Official Website. Stephen Fry, who is no slouch when it comes to the social web, fed his Twitter stream to his official web-site.  Voila,  instant validation, so it’s worth checking.

3. The Fourth Estate.  Traditional media channels and established journalists remain vital to news and  communications because they set the bar for accuracy and authority (a subject worthy of much further discussion).  When I openly asked on Twitter if @wossy was the real Jonathan Ross two journalists pointed me in the direction of established news source confirming it.  Check them out.

4. Ask. Put the question on Twitter either directly or to the Twittersphere.  It is the social web after all and you might get the confirmation that you need. 

The social web of its nature creates margins for doubt and error but if you apply these tests you should fairly quickly be able to separate the  glam from the sham.

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