Twitter and Gustav-The value of micro-blogging just went up.

Where was Twitter during Katrina was all I could think over the weekend. And for good reason too. Being a former New Orleanian, it pained me to watch not only the network coverage of Katrina, but also the lack of information and the disinformation flowing in and out. Thanks to Twitter I felt I had a better handle on what was going on in the city and its surrounding areas during Hurricane Gustav instead of relying solely on Jim Cantore. Sorry Jim.

Over the course of the last 3 days, I found myself doing the following: Tapping into #Gustav on Summize while watching the Weather Channel, texting and tweeting to friends and family who still lived on the Gulf Coast and who had evacuated (some did not), what I was learning from others via Twitter, and then sharing and pushing that information back and forth with others through my tweets. I felt like I was participating in another of David Alson’s and Chris Brogan’s Twebinars, only this one had larger ramifications. In fact,  I knew of the Industrial Canal starting to spill over a full 20-30 minutes before it was broadcast on CNN and the Weather Channel, and that was scarry cool.

Even post Gustav, valuable and credible ( most of it) information is and was flowing through Twitter faster than you if were hoping to hear it on the radio, read it in the newspaper or hope to get it from your local television broadcasts. Twitter ID’s had been created specifically devoted to Gustav  such as @GustavReporter which were some Chicago Tribune reporters covering Hurricane Gustav, but they still were providing reliable and informative tweets. Another was local @MarkMayhew whose tweets from the Quarter were dead on during the height of the storms landfall, and @YatPundit whose tweets before, during and after the storm have been and had been invaluable!

The point is this, Twitter was providing very very informative and real time information without the hyperbole that often accompanies the national broadcasts.  The tweets were coming from people on the ground and in the city. With only 140 characters, one has a tendency to only tell you what is most important without the descriptives, if you know what I mean.

Twitter is also bridging the communications gaps between people that want to help and might not know how or who to contact. Since the storm has come ashore, countless tweets have come over of people and organizations who want to help and are essentially tweeting their availability. Sans the pitch and sans the B.S. Simply real time tweets from people who can help, who can share their experiences, who were there, who’ve been there, and who are there. It doesn’t get more real time than that! At the least, I think Twitter passes the test as a major form of communicating during extreme circumstances like a Cat 3 storm.

I know all of you at some point were paying attention to what was going on down here on the Gulf Coast, but did it dawn on any of you to follow the tweets? I’m curious.

Twitter chokes…again

So I was just remarking on how well Twitter performed during the last Twebinar and was also telling someone how I received 25 new followers, and then the next thing you know, I start seeing tweets of people who lost hundreds, thats right hundreds of followers. I lost 40.  If you’re curious as to what your numbers WERE go here Twittercounter 

I would also suggest reading TwitterCounter, Inflation and Moby Dick The excuses as usual, are vague if not nonexistent from Twitter who has basically said, they’re cleaning out “spammers”. Can’t we take care of that? As it is, a quick scan can show you who’s a spammer, it’s not like they’re hiding, with names like amanda492 or tracy312 and what not, they’re easy as hell  to find.  They’re following 2,345 people and have 12 followers, I mean WTF?

We’ve been talking a lot lately about protecting the brand and I have to be honest, I know that there are certain market segments that utilize Twitter more than others but, and I’ve said this before, someone is going to come along and blow Twitter out of the water. They will build something faster, more reliable and failsafe. Find a need and fill it. Well guess what,  Can you say?


Want to see lots of pissed off Twitter people? Go to Summize and type in #suckit. Wonder if Twitter is following that? Can you say Brand Failure? Can you say No Brand Loyalty? Can you say revolt? How many times do we have to put up with this?





Twebinar #2 review: Who owns your brand? We do.

Yesterday Twebinar #2 brought it on home. Huh? What I mean is that, though the first one was good, the second one was great! For those of you who are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, this is what a twebinar is and was.

The twebinars are a series of  mashups in which Chris Brogan and David Alston have assembled the best and brightest from PR, Marketing, and Social media into a series of video interviews, live sound bites, and live video, into a massive twitter round table. What occurs is this healthy discussion on a certain topic, in this case the brand, and more specifically, who owns your brand. The discussion is rapid fire, the tweets even faster, and this is something that has gotten better, and not only combines the best and the brightest as a focal point, but really what makes it work so well, is the conversations that occur with stars in their own right from companies far and wide. 

I was amazed at the depth and breadth of the tweets. Combine this with Chris Brogan moderating the stream of videos, the conversation with some live guests via web cam and phone such as Richard Binhammer, as well responding to questions via twitter and you have this organized chaos of free flowing discussion about a very poignant and hot topic at the present moment. Your Brand.

I have to give props to how quickly things have evolved from the first twebinar. Given the improvement and the depth to which they took constructive criticism to heart from the first twebinar, this bodes well for the next, which means that we will be seeing more of these in the future. For me, the twebinar produced 18 new followers in twitter, which is very cool.

What I would like to see for the next session is a way for a lot of us to be able to see the videos and the flow of discussion at the same time. I was using Summize-recently bought by Twitter. I was also using Twhirl too, which had some latency issues, which caused me to use Twiiter as my main client, So I toggled from the videos to Summize to Twitter. It worked for me since I was listening more than I was watching. But ultimately it worked.

What I took away from the mashup was simply that brand management is as important as anything that a company might do, and yet sometimes the brand gets ignored through complacency, smugness and ignorance. Often times, when this happens, it’s too late to try and grab marketshare back.

Yet, the companies that do value the customer, and who ultimately realize through an epihpany sometimes, that the customer is the one who defines the brand, are the ones that realize that YES they(the customer) are the brand as much as the company is.

Bottom Line, the twebinars give marketers, social media champions, PR peeps and N00bs all a chance to voice some very valuable opinions and thoughts and what it tells me is this. There are soooo many superstars out there who DO get it. I want to connect with them as much as I want to connect with the true superstars in the space.

For those of you that did participate yesterday, what did you think? What did you take away from it? and how will use what you learned? What should happen in the next Twebinar?

Twebinar Mashup was a success


Just got done with the twebinar hosted by Chris Brogan. It was an interesting way to push information out regarding social media. For those in the know, it gave them insight as to how some of the movers and shapers of social media, marketing and media think in regards to how social media is changing the game. It also was presented in a way that if someone who had “heard” what social media was, but was not entirely sure what IT was, could, perhaps in laymans terms utilize or understand it.

The mashup was interesting in that we had video, we had twitter, we had live webcam, we had twitter aggregators and we had live participants and we had half participants who were following the tweets and not perhaps the video. Even more interesting were the ways that participants were communicating. The primary means being Twitter, but in the Twebinar format, they were talking with individuals that were in the video, they were talking with the moderator, Chris Brogan and they were talking with each other.

Now picture that happening in any other type of moderator, speaker, panel, discussion presentation where everyone was, for the most part, talking at once. In this format it worked. It was staccato like in its essence, but it worked.

With a couple of tweaks here and there. I can definitely see this becoming some type of workable app for future conferences. Perhaps embedding the Twitter app in the screen of the presentation so that everyone could tweet and everyone could read everyone elses tweets without having to possibly toggle betwen Summize and the actual presentation? Either way it worked. Good job to David Alston of Radian6 as well. The good news? This is a 3 part series. What are you waiting for?