Archive for the 'Twitter' Category

Businesses on Twitter

14 August, 2009

I was asked this question in relation to our corporate twitter account on LinkedIn today

Mick – Great idea but do you have any examples of this being used in a business context before and the value it could bring?

My response got kinda long so I decided to post it here 🙂 Enjoy!

There are hundreds of examples of businesses using twitter to achieve a whole range of objectives. The two most common objectives businesses set out to achieve via twitter are to raise their brand’s profile or provide proactive customer service. Proactive customer service, where an organisation ‘listens’ to the conversations happening on twitter for mentions of their brand and steps into help is becoming more and more common.

The best local example of proactive customer service using twitter is Telstra BigPond ( The team at BigPond search twitter for people talking about Telstra and BigPond products and offer to help.

Sometimes this is as simple as answering a question, other times they will ask the person with the problem to send their contact details via direct message (a private message between two twitter users) so it can be investigated further.

In many cases a twitter user will simply complain about a problem with their Telstra service to their friends and a BigPond representative will contact them directly and offer to help them solve it. In the US, Comcast ( have been very successful with a similar system.

Many organisations are using twitter to distribute news and information to their customers; many AFL football teams are doing this very effectively. I particularly like… but I might be biased!! Other examples include,,, and

Others conduct competitions to raise the profile of their brand. Two weeks ago I won an LCD TV after participating in a promotion run by Kogan Technologies (, as a result I told my 460 followers all about my new Kogan TV.

These are all great examples of how businesses are using twitter for their brands, but there are infinitely more examples of individuals using twitter to find, share and discuss information relating to their work on twitter.

One example occurred this morning. I read your comment and thought to myself ‘hmm I can think of a couple of good examples I wonder what else is out there.’ I asked the question on twitter and was alerted to Southwest Air, Jet Blue, Gimme Coffee, Dell and Comcast.

Another example came up a couple of weeks ago during the Knowledge Management Australia conference. I was not able to get to Sydney to attend the conference but much of the content is directly relevant to my work at CPA Australia. Traditionally I would have just missed out, however using twitter I was able to search for the tag #KMAus09 and follow the key points that were being made at the conference. A tag is simply a word that users tweeting about a common topic include in their tweets. You can view the search results for #KMAus09 here:

Following the conference on twitter was not as good as being there but it was better than not being there at all and provided a useful insight into the issues discussed.


Mick’s 5 steps to twitter bliss for newbies

17 March, 2009

My mate Paul (@pbeacham) and my brother Ben (@bjleyden) just joined twitter – if you weren’t already convinced that fact alone should be enough to tell you twitter has gone mainstream! 😉

Seeing as twitter can be a little hard to navigate when getting started I decided to send them an email with some tips… it got kinda long.  – Here it is.

1. Add a bio and Pic (does not have to be of you, but put something in)

People won’t follow you back if they don’t know who you are.
If they don’t follow you back they don’t see your tweets,
If they don’t see your tweets they don’t reply to your tweets
If they don’t reply to your tweets, you don’t get any conversation.

2. Conversation is what it is all about!

If you just watch other people’s tweets Twitter is bloody boring, who the hell cares what a random person thinks about public transport in Perth.

A tweet on it’s own is not SUPER interesting, what could be interesting is the conversation that can flow from it, very quickly you could have 3 or 4 people talking about public transport systems, what is good around the world, what sucks and why they suck.

Sure, that conversation is not going to change your world but it is one of thousands of micro-conversations you could have. The interesting part is the enormous amount you can learn from participating in these conversations.

3. Find people who are interested in what you are interested in

You need to find people who are interested in the stuff you are into. To do that start with Type in a word or phrase and it will return all tweets that include that phrase.

You can then click on the person who tweeted the phrase and see what else they have said. If you think they seem interesting, click follow.

Another good way to find new followers is go to > Settings  > Notices > then change @ replies to show all. That will allow you to see who the people you follow are talking to, it is a good way to find new followers. (this option has since been removed :-()

The great thing about  twitter is if you decide they are not to your taste just visit their twitter page ( and click on the follow button again, this time it will say “do you want to remove” then say yes and they are gone from your life for ever.

I’d also add, that I don’t think the twitter ‘superstars’ (Stephen Fry, Kevin Rudd, Barak Obama,) are that interesting. Try to find normal folks who are up for a chat. Why feed some famous persons ego?

4. Say Hi to people you follow.

Many people get so many new followers (and spam followers) they might have a quick glance at your profile but will most likely ignore you. Unless that is, you make contact with them! If you follow someone just @ or DM them and say something like

“@interestingperson – Hi just started following, nice to meet you, enjoyed u’r blog post about ferret racing”

They will the notice you mostly say hi back, often follow you back and the conversation has begun.

5. Stick with it!

The first few weeks of twittering will be slow, uninteresting and you will spend a lot of time thinking “this is stupid, why am I wasting my time”.

But if you stick with it, follow people and reply to people you will start to see what the fuss is all about.

Finally open in the browser on your phone. It is a fully featured version for mobile and is awesome. Heaps better than most twitter apps…

Hi I’m Mick, now buy something!

21 January, 2009

There are a lot of people out there that use their web presence to feed their business, in many ways this is a great strategy. If you are visibly knowledgeable and helpful you will build a strong reputation and people will seek your services.

That makes sense to me, so I really wonder why twitterers still take the approach of responding to a follow by sending a message saying something to the effect of  “look at the cool products on my website”.

If you have a product to sell TALK TO ME ABOUT IT! Ask me why I followed you, ask me what I’m interested in, figure out what my needs are.  It will be worth it.  We will have taken some steps to establish a rapport and you’ll know what I am after, which means you can then suggest specific products or services that meets my needs. In the long run that’s far more likely to result in a sale.

End of rant… 🙂

If  you were wondering I really hate cold calls and I see that sort of response on twitter pretty much the same as a cold call.

More on Twitter – Ambient Awareness

15 September, 2008

I came across this article in the New York Times (and International Herald Tribune) via Jay Cross and Edgar at The Green Chameleon. It provides a great overview of how Facebook status updates and Twitter have become so popular. It would be worth passing on to anyone who doesn’t get it, they may not be convinced after reading the article, but they may have a slightly greater understanding of what it’s all about.

The Article disuccses the concept of ambient awareness.

Each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting

An interesting thought, more interesting to me was Edgar’s point about the potential for ambient awareness in the Enterprise:

Imagine knowing what your colleagues in another part of the building/city/country/globe are thinking or working on, and being able to connect and collaborate far more easily because you kinda know each other even though you’ve never met.

This is where we come to Yammer, an enterprise friendly microblogging client, that last week took out the TechCrunch50 award. I have not tried it yet, but it is attracting plenty of buzz in the blogosphere and twitterverse. It is deffinately one to watch, but as Steven Lewis points out, there are a few questions that must be answered before it gets picked up in a big way.

A final link that is worth checking out, Sue Waters just posted this intro to twitter post, that contains some great tips for getting started.

On blogs, comments and twittering

10 September, 2008

If you’ve looked at my sidebar in the last couple of months you may have noticed that I am ‘trying Twitter’. I’ve not posted on it yet as it has taken me a while to figure out if I like it and I think its useful. I’ve been twittering away for just over two months now and I think I’ve got it sussed.

First off I do like twitter, but I don’t love it! Here are the things I like:

Watching many conversations unfold in front of me and joining in if I have something to say.

As I have added more people to my follow list (I think I follow around 80 people at the moment), I can see the value in observing what is going on. While there is a lot of rubbish, it is easy to filter that out as I tend to skim the list, it is ever changing so anything that doesn’t capture your interest immediately is quickly gone from the page and forgotten. In watching the conversations unfold I have found a few useful links and come across a few people doing the same things as me, which has created opportunities to share and collaborate.

Keeping in touch with loose ties in my network

My follow list is made up of current work colleagues, people I have met once or twice through work, former colleagues and people I find through through blogs or twitter that I think might be interesting.

I really like that I can use it to keep up with what former colleagues, and various people I have met through work (but don’t work with) are up to, I’ve got many of them on my linked in profile, but I tend to only use that for contact details, twitter allows me to have a more active connection, which otherwise probably would not exist.

Following news

Over the last few weeks I have followed the launch of #iphone, #dnc08, #gustav and #rnc08 (for the uninitiated the # symbol denotes a tag applied to the tweet. Users include a #tag in a tweet when the tweet relates to a particular topic. These can be searched on using Twitter Search (formerly Summize), a hot one at the moment is #LHC – I’m going to be really peeved if I write this then the world gets sucked into a big black hole!) Watching each of these items unfold has been very interesting, with the iPhone it was all about where there was stock, which carriers were offering the best deals and how people were going getting it up and running. DNC and RNC resulted in a continuous flow of discussion questioning what the various candidates were saying, how the crowds were responding and in the case of RNC how the protests outside were unfolding.

Gustav was the most fascinating, I watched the search update and saw people supporting each other, providing advice, providing the latest information regarding traffic conditions, storm strength and evacuation points. A few different publications talked about twitter coming of age during the lead up to Gustav (I’m being lazy in not including a link… there are plenty out there), I could really see this. News organisations were using information coming from twitter to provide updates and in some cases were displaying #gustav tweets on screen during bulletins. It was a great example of how helpful a tool like twitter can actually be.

So where does that leave me?

As I said, I like twitter, but I am cutting back on my use. It is easy to get distracted by it, I am the type of person who needs to hit the off button to avoid distraction.

The bigger problem I have with twitter is I’ve found it has taken time away from this blog and commenting on other people’s blogs. I’d be happy with that if I felt twitter provided the same thing, but I feel like I am missing thinking through an issue in a greater depth. While twitter can allow for a conversation to unfold in real time, when using it I tend to only scratch the surface of an issue. I find blogging and commenting encourages me think through an issue in more detail than I do if chatting about it on twitter.

This is a really long post so I should stop it. The bottom line for me is, a little bit of twitter for the reasons I talked about is good and more blogging and commenting is required!

A timely reminder that the interweb is a little scary

4 August, 2008

Last week the blogosphere was abuzz (and here) with discussion of Exon’s twitter experimentIt turns out that ‘Janet’, Exon’s supposed twitter rep is a fake and has nothing to do with Exon!

This story is a perfect example of why a brand needs to be plugged into social media, even if they are not creating they must but listening. I’ve recently added two twitter searches for our brand name to my google reader and several colleagues have created Google alerts, most of the results are not to do with us, but it is nice to know what people are saying.

Perhaps the statements along the lines of ‘ignore social media at your peril’ are not so overstated afterall…

on Pubcamp and joining the darkside

24 June, 2008

I went down to check out Melbourne Pubcamp 08 yesterday, it proved to be an interesting experience on a couple of fronts.

First I caved and joined Twitter (micktleyden), the appeal of watching and potentially joining the back channel twitterstream was just a bit too tempting. I’m on there now and I must admit I am not sure what to do. I think I’ll play around for a couple of weeks and see what I can come up with .

Second, Pubcamp was really focused on the ‘media’ side of social media. There was a lot of discussion around the role of ‘old’ media in ‘new’ media. Being someone who spends all their time looking at social media from a learning or enterprise collaboration perspective, I found it a little difficult to connect with much of the discussion. It was still interesting to watch and listen.

The formal conference session was broken into several ‘bite sized’ presentations. Before I go on I would like to provide one piece of advice to anyone presenting a 5 – 10 minute session:

Take your 20 – 30 minute session and delete half of it! Do not just try to say it faster!!!

Here are some bits I found interesting from a few of the presenters:

Jed White kicked off the session, he spoke about the interesting paradox we encounter more and more frequently, we can be physically isolated in a crowd of people yet hyper-connected via a mobile device. He gave the example of sitting on a silent crowded train, tapping away on a laptop or PDA…

Stephen Collins filled the keynote role and spoke very quickly about the value of loose ties in a network. I think main guts of the presentation was that loose ties (defined as ‘loose’ connections with people e.g. those connected to via blogs or twitter) act as a bridge between different closely tied networks. He argues that this can support problem solving as closely tied networks are prone to group think. Bringing a loosly tied contact into a situation can provide a fresh perspective and connect the network with other contacts who may be helpful.

Mark Jones spoke about the value of social media in creating a soft persona for an organisation citing Robert Scoble (MS) and Jonathon Schwartz (Sun) as examples.

Janine Cahill spoke about future directions and talked up virtual worlds. She did point out that they will evolve and become more usable and immersive.

There were a bunch of other presenters mostly talking about journalism and advertising. All in all it was a pretty interesting experience. I didn’t hang around for the unconference segment, so I’ll be keen to hear from other participants.

As for twitter, not sure how it will go for me but it was fun sending messages to the screen behind the discussion panel. A final question to put out there is whether presenters should engage with the twitterstream during their presentations. There are arguments for and against but we will definitely see more presenters attempt to do so.

%d bloggers like this: