Tag Archives: Twitter

State of the Union screen capture, with a sharing icon overlay

The State of the Union is social

There’s a point I’ve been hammering for years now (and I do mean years): the rise of social networks and easily-shared media should mean a profound change in the way speakers and speechwriters approach our craft: at once both broader in scope and more conversational in approach. I call this approach the social speech.

But there’s still surprisingly little uptake. Maybe speakers put their Twitter handle on an opening slide, or post their deck to Slideshare, but that’s often about it.

Maybe that’s you. And maybe the thought of getting more social with your speaking (or speechwriting) has intrigued you before, but you weren’t really sure where to begin.

If so, then have a look at how the Obama White House handled the State of the Union speech last week. Continue reading

Oh! The Things That You’ll Tweet!

To celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday today, HootSuite has posted a really clever Dr.-Seuss-inflected guide to Twitter, and invited their friends and followers to share their own rhymes, hashtagged #HootSeuss.

Naturally, I found myself helpless to resist. (P.S.—I have nothing against live TV tweeting. It just scanned and rhymed so. well.) And so…

Oh! The things that you’ll tweet!

Oh, the things that you’ll tweet! Oh, the news you will share!
The wisdom you’ll show! The truth you’ll lay bare!
And then Twitter rewards you for all you have tried
when you wake up to find your account’s verified.
It’s all been worthwhile, tweeting all of that dreck,
now that your name appears next to that check.

You’ll tweet about breakfast!
You’ll tweet about memes!
You’ll tweet about farting—
well, that’s how it seems.

You’ll tweet about TV.
You’ll tweet sappy notes.
(On your very worst days?
Inspirational quotes.)

You’ll gain plenty of followers each time you tweet.
They’ll shower you with mentions and favourites so sweet.
You’ll soon know you’ve figured this Twitter thing out
as evidenced by your ever-increasing Klout.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

It’s hard to believe but
you need to know that
sometimes your very best
tweets will fall flat.

Your hashtags may wither,
your snark gone unheard.
Your follower numbers
may drop by a third.

You will come to a place where you soon realize
that sometimes your content unhappily dies.
Especially if you’re trying to force something viral.
That’s when you enter a bad downward spiral
and feeling defeated, and feeling goodbye-ral.

Could your Twitter fame have been sadly so fleeting?
What content will save you? Live TV show tweeting?
A desperate grab for some new trending trope?
Or maybe, just maybe, there may be some hope.
Some force in the darkness may throw you a rope.

Somehow you’ll escape
tweeting drivel and pap.
You’ll drag yourself out
of that trivial crap.

You’ll look deep inside you,
and you’ll make the choice:
to speak loud and clear
with your very own voice.

So…
whether you’re heard by a million and two,
or even if nobody’s following you,
you have something to say!
Come down off that shelf.
You don’t need to be GaGa.
Just come be yourself.

Update: Oh, for god’s sake—they tweeted about it today, but I just noticed that the actual blog post was from last year. It’s still terrific.

Follower-bombing as a political prank

This morning brought the news that municipal party Vision Vancouver‘s Twitter following (along with Mayor Gregor Robertson‘s) had ballooned overnight, and that most of those followers were fake. What should have been a non-story wasn’t, because politics and municipal election in November.

I weighed in, and I hope helped to clear this up a little. Here are my comments, collected in one handy bundle.

It wasn’t that long ago that news media and political opponents alike would run breathless stories about how some pol’s website was just four clicks away from pornography! Fortunately, something like that wouldn’t make headlines these days, because we’re a lot smarter about how the Internet works.

Which means there may be one bright side to this. Today the #vanpoli world got a crash course in the exciting world of fake followers. Maybe it’ll leave us all a lot less prone to using follower counts as any metric of social media influence or success.

Tweet your darlingsHaving reviewed my posts over the last several years, I’ve realized that they’re almost entirely made up of darlings. In fact, if you check the source code, you’ll see I make liberal use of the little-known <darling> tag.

(By the way, a lot of folks attribute this quotation to William Faulkner. But the evidence indicates it actually originated with Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. And while we’re at it, Gandhi probably never said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” )

 

Life Cycle of a Dumb Tweet

1

For whatever reason – not enough food with the wine at dinner, a coup d’état in the brain where the amygdala seizes control, or just a moment of weakness – someone in a position of prominence and authority posts a Dumb Tweet.
man chuckling as he types Continue reading

Five ways sharing links can build relationships instead of breaking faith

Suppose you read a tweet or a Facebook update: an urgent message about something truly vile that a public figure has said. Outraged, you click through… and discover that, actually, what they said is far milder.

Or you click the “About us” link on an organization’s web site… and you’re taken to a rambling, vague philosophical essay. Or you search online on three keywords, click a promising result, and discover the page has nothing, nothing to do with your search terms. Or you tap a link to “Read more” on a mobile web page, and a 30-megabyte PDF begins to download slow-w-w-ly onto your smartphone, sucking the life out of your data plan.

Been there? Me, too — all in the past week — and it left me fuming.

What happened in every case wasn’t just a little wasted time, or a frustrated search, or a dent in my data plan. What happened was a little tiny betrayal.

Because a link isn’t just an URL or a little HTML code. A link is a promise.

On a web page, it’s a promise that if you click or tap here, you’ll go to the page, document or resource that the text inside the anchor tag describes. In a Twitter feed or on a Facebook page, it’s a promise that this link will be worth your while – that it was worth sharing because it’s worth reading.

Breaking that promise means breaking faith with readers and visitors. And the ways people do just that are depressingly numerous:

  • Letdowns: Site navigation that leads to “Coming soon!” pages.
  • Surprise downloads: Links that lead without warning to Word documents, PowerPoint files and anything else that doesn’t load seamlessly in a user’s browser.
  • Hype: Claims that the content at the other end of the link is far more controversial, significant, useful, factual or hi-LAR-ious than it really is.
  • Lockouts: Links to walled gardens that many users won’t be able to enter: paywall-protected news stories, for instance, or any service that requires you to create an account to see the content.
  • Lies: Outright deception about what’s at the other end. (No matter what the motivation is – whether it’s rickrolling, black-hat SEO tactics or something else – you’re making a withdrawal from your trustworthiness account.)

The result? Some pretty upset people:

  • Working links: The web is a living thing, which means bits of it die sometimes – bits you may have linked to. From time to time, give your site a check for broken links. (Looking through your analytics for common 404 errors is a start.)
  • Unvarnished truth: Sharing your honest excitement along with the link? Great. Puffing up mediocre content as life-shatteringly awesome? Less so.
  • Due diligence: Twitter and Facebook make it awfully easy to repost someone’s link if they’ve made it sound appealing. But have a look first – so you know what you’re sharing when you pass a link along.
  • Sharing links can do a lot of good for you and your audiences. Just remember that when you share content, it reflects on your reputation – for better or worse.

    Five ways sharing links can build relationships instead of breaking faith

    Suppose you read a tweet or a Facebook update: an urgent message about something truly vile that a public figure has said. Outraged, you click through… and discover that, actually, what they said is far milder.

    Or you click the “About us” link on an organization’s web site… and you’re taken to a rambling, vague philosophical essay. Or you search online on three keywords, click a promising result, and discover the page has nothing, nothing to do with your search terms. Or you tap a link to “Read more” on a mobile web page, and a 30-megabyte PDF begins to download slow-w-w-ly onto your smartphone, sucking the life out of your data plan.

    Been there? Me, too — all in the past week — and it left me fuming.

    What happened in every case wasn’t just a little wasted time, or a frustrated search, or a dent in my data plan. What happened was a little tiny betrayal.

    Because a link isn’t just an URL or a little HTML code. A link is a promise.

    On a web page, it’s a promise that if you click or tap here, you’ll go to the page, document or resource that the text inside the anchor tag describes. In a Twitter feed or on a Facebook page, it’s a promise that this link will be worth your while – that it was worth sharing because it’s worth reading.

    Breaking that promise means breaking faith with readers and visitors. And the ways people do just that are depressingly numerous:

    • Letdowns: Site navigation that leads to “Coming soon!” pages.
    • Surprise downloads: Links that lead without warning to Word documents, PowerPoint files and anything else that doesn’t load seamlessly in a user’s browser.
    • Hype: Claims that the content at the other end of the link is far more controversial, significant, useful, factual or hi-LAR-ious than it really is.
    • Lockouts: Links to walled gardens that many users won’t be able to enter: paywall-protected news stories, for instance, or any service that requires you to create an account to see the content.
    • Lies: Outright deception about what’s at the other end. (No matter what the motivation is – whether it’s rickrolling, black-hat SEO tactics or something else – you’re making a withdrawal from your trustworthiness account.)

    The result? Some pretty upset people:

  • Working links: The web is a living thing, which means bits of it die sometimes – bits you may have linked to. From time to time, give your site a check for broken links. (Looking through your analytics for common 404 errors is a start.)
  • Unvarnished truth: Sharing your honest excitement along with the link? Great. Puffing up mediocre content as life-shatteringly awesome? Less so.
  • Due diligence: Twitter and Facebook make it awfully easy to repost someone’s link if they’ve made it sound appealing. But have a look first – so you know what you’re sharing when you pass a link along.
  • Sharing links can do a lot of good for you and your audiences. Just remember that when you share content, it reflects on your reputation – for better or worse.

    You, in the back. Stop looking at me and start tweeting.

    Jeff Hurt reports on a study that suggests tweeting during a class isn’t distracting – it actually increases engagement:

    Education Professor Christine Greenhow, Michigan State University, conducted a study on Twitter as a new form of literacy. Her results showed that adults who tweet during a class and as part of the instruction:

    • are more engaged with the course content
    • are more engaged with the instructor
    • are more engaged with other students
    • and have higher grades than the other students.

    via Now Proven! Using Twitter At Conferences Increases Attendee Engagement.

    So the next time you look up from your speaking notes into a sea of heads bent over laptops, tablets and mobile devices, don’t despair – as long as they’re tweeting and not, say, checking their email, your audience may be more engaged with you than ever.

    Filed under: Social Speech, Speaking Tagged: backchannel, twitter