Sam Harrelson

So long and thanks for all the fish, Twitter.

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“Say hello to a brand new Twitter. The company is planning to introduce an algorithmic timeline as soon as next week, BuzzFeed News has learned. The timeline will reorder tweets based on what Twitter’s algorithm thinks people most want to see, a departure from the current feed’s reverse chronological order.”

Source: Twitter To Introduce Algorithmic Timeline As Soon As Next Week – BuzzFeed News

Welp, there goes Twitter.

Sigh.

Ugh.

Damn.

Evidently, there’s talk of an opt-out, but we’ll see.




Internet’s Action and Reaction Loop

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I’m archiving this snippet and article to revisit in 2020… I wonder if we’ll look back on 2015 as a “tipping point” of the internet as we knew it?

The Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace by John Perry Barlow in 1996 does seem like a long ago dream.

Perhaps immediacy is not a democratizing state of being for modern humans? Literalism is the enemy of imagination, after all.

The Internet’s Loop of Action and Reaction Is Worsening – The New York Times: “Hear me out. If you’ve logged on to Twitter and Facebook in the waning weeks of 2015, you’ve surely noticed that the Internet now seems to be on constant boil. Your social feed has always been loud, shrill, reflexive and ugly, but this year everything has been turned up to 11. The Islamic State’s use of the Internet is perhaps only the most dangerous manifestation of what, this year, became an inescapable fact of online life: The extremists of all stripes are ascendant, and just about everywhere you look, much of the Internet is terrible.”




Twitter’s Target

I started using Twitter in mid 2006, so I’m a little biased… but I still have many expectations and hopes for the platform that I don’t for Facebook, Instagram etc.

Twitter stands(or, it could if it were to become developer friendly again) at the fulcrum point between traditional social networks and the future of online social interaction (messaging platforms) with its following, rather than friending, structure and the ability to send direct messages baked into the architecture.

Now it’s Dorsey’s responsibility to perform a Steve Jobs-esque “second act” in which he returns to the company and rights the ship and steer it away from being perceived or imagined as an “enticing takeover target” …

“The microblogging site’s co-founder and chairman, Jack Dorsey, will replace him temporarily. Although the number of monthly active users topped 300m in the first quarter, growth has been slowing; revenue of $436m, though up 74% year-on-year, was less than expected. Twitter, a relative minnow in today’s tech sea, as the above interactive shows, looks an enticing takeover target.”

Source: Leaving the nest | The Economist




Now you can donate to a political candidate through a tweet. Why aren’t churches using this?

We’ve teamed up with Square to enable anyone in the US to make a donation directly to a US candidate through a Tweet, starting today. This is the fastest, easiest way to make an online donation, and the most effective way for campaigns to execute tailored digital fundraising, in real time, on the platform where Americans are already talking about the 2016 election and the issues they are passionate about.

Source: Political donations, now through a Tweet | Twitter Blogs

I wonder if this will get any coverage during tomorrow night’s Republican Presidential Debate?

Regardless, you can also send me money at my “cashtag” if you’d like to test the system: $samharrelson.

But seriously… why don’t more churches and non-profits use this??

 




Twitter Rolls Out Great New Analytics Update

Twitter quietly rolled out a huge and needed update to its developing analytics offering for businesses using its ad system to promote tweets and accounts.

Google obviously rules the roost when it comes to advertising on the web, but as Google continues to try and find its own footing with the Hummingbird update to better encompass mobile user experience (which is an important and growing traffic segment, of course), Twitter really has a chance to grab and keep substantial traffic when it comes to mobile users. According to Twitter, there are 230 million users of their services globally, and 76% access Twitter on a mobile device. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has a real chance to be a dagger in Google’s side given its focus on the mobile experience.

If it can better deliver ads and messaging to those users, there’s a real income source for Twitter to be had.

By offering companies the ability to segment down to the mobile OS and device versions along with location, this could be a big deal for Twitter over the long haul.

BTW If you’re not reading the Twitter Advertising Blog, you’re missing out.

Previously, we offered advertisers the ability to reach our highly mobile users by targeting only their operating system. Today we’re announcing greater flexibility to this targeting capability: Now all advertisers can segment audiences on iOS and Android by operating system version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity. And we’re also introducing granular reporting analytics for these targeting types across all campaigns.

via Enhanced mobile targeting by device, OS version, wifi | Twitter Blogs.




Twitter Learns from Pinterest

While tools like Storify have been doing something similar to this, Twitter’s newly unveiled custom timelines feature could be incredibly popular (and valuable for your business):

Starting today, we are introducing the ability to create custom timelines in TweetDeck. Custom timelines, which were just announced, are a new type of timeline that you control by selecting the Tweets you want to include.

via Twitter Announces Custom Timelines For Hashtags Or Topics On Tweetdeck, Launching API Too.

For instance, here’s a quick curated timeline I just put together:

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+”://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);

Why are these important and not just another random Twitter feature that only a few power users will use?

Think of this as the ability to “pin” Tweets into curated lists as you would do with images around certain topics on Pinterest. While you can do something like that by favoriting tweets (something I love to do), being able to assemble tweets in a non-timed based manner and more focused on certain hashtags or topics is exactly what Twitter needed to compete with other social services.

It looks like Twitter learned a great deal from Pinterest here and this is going to be popular with live sports events and reality shows like The Voice (pictured above). Your business could benefit.




Twitter Hashtags and Crisis Management

One thing that’s frequently seen in 2013 is some form of crisis that begins on and manifests itself across social media platforms. The folks at Social Media Today have some great tips for using hashtags effectively during times of crisis (even though they have a typo in their post title, evidently):

Use a Twitter Hashtags in a Crisis | Social Media Today: “One given in an incident: if you use social media, people will use your hashtag and @username as a source of getting the info they need. A hashtag in a crisis will become a sort of customer service channel. Be sure you have dedicated staff monitoring your social media channels and responding to  legitimate requests for information.”




How to Expire Contest or Coupon Related Tweets

If you use Twitter for anything marketing related, you’ll occasionally bump into the need to delete or expire a tweet (or series of tweets depending on the campaign).

Here’s a nifty tool that helps solve that problem:

A former Twitter engineer has released an app that lets you schedule your tweets to be deleted. Enable Spirit for Twitter and append a hashtag like #1m, #2h, or #3d, and your tweet will disappear after the specified timeframe. It’s introducing even more ephemerality to a service that’s already heavily focused on the moment.

via Add an expiration date to your tweets using a simple hashtag | The Verge.




I’m Quitting Marketing

I stumbled into the affiliate marketing world years ago.

I’m walking out of it today.

My experiences in the affiliate marketing world have been incredibly positive when it comes to interpersonal relationships. However, it’s time for me to move on. I’m not happy.

Why am I not happy?

Mainly because I don’t like the way online marketing continues to debase the human factor of interaction in attempts to “monetize” and find cracks in the sidewalks to plant sour seeds.

It’s not you, it’s me.

I’m just not interested in the day-to-day minutia of being a marketing professional anymore. I’m sure I’ll always keep up with the main trends and I’ll certainly keep up with the space in terms of how it affects social media, etc.

But these questions just don’t turn me on anymore…

“Why doesn’t tinyurl allow for better cookie tracking so that I can make affiliate sales from Twitter links?”

“Why does Google punish me for selling links when TechCrunch does the same thing?”

“How much should I invest in my StumbleUpon account in order to drive 1,000 pageviews a day?”

“Can you help me tweak my Twitter account so that I can drive sales thru my landing page?”

“How can I get more fans to join my (self-created) Facebook page?”

“Who do I need to pay to add outbound links to the affiliate marketing page on Wikipedia?”

“Is FriendFeed worth it? Yeah, I know you say it’s neat for finding out information and learning about new things, but will it make me money?”

And It is these sorts of things that have slowly driven a wedge between my own idealism and (what I see as) the current trajectory of online marketing. Beyond a growing distaste around such issues, I generally find myself on the wrong side of the fence for effective marketing. And I’ve been on all sides of that online marketing fence… publisher, affiliate, CPA network, email marketer, agency, vendor, OPM, and God knows whatever else… I’m coming to grips with my own realization that it’s not for me.

For me, the expectations have never met the promises. These days, I’m only feeling more alienated. As a result, I’m choosing to opt-out rather than becoming a constant nay-sayer or voice of doom and gloom.

To quote Lennon, “I don’t want to spoil the party, so I’ll go.”

On top of all that, I just don’t see myself as an “online” or even “affiliate” marketer anymore. I’m not saying I’ve grown beyond those labels. I just don’t feel that those pairs of socks go with my outfits now.

PLEASE do not get me wrong. I respect, admire and love so many people in the affiliate and online marketing space (and will continue to do so, of course). This is not a personal affront to anyone in the space or the space itself, but more of a realization that I have to move on.

As a result, I’ll be shutting down CostPerNews (or (fire) selling it if someone is interested) and doing my posting over on my personal site.

I’m also going to be working on the podcast network I’m developing (Thinking.fm) around issues I am excited about these days (science, religion, Nascar, parenting, tech, politics… the site is still being developed, so excuse the mess… will be up and going by February). I’m really excited about those sites.

And hopefully, the gang will still allow me to take part in GeekCast even though I’m turning in my affiliate hard card. I hope so (check out the site redesign, btw).

I’m also doing more work in the non-profit world (Hunger Initiative) and continuing my journey towards whatever end awaits me at seminary.

Yes, of course it is my hyperbole than anything to say I’m “quitting” marketing since we are all marketers in whatever we do. I should rephrase that and say “I’m quitting the professional guise of being an online marketer.” There, that feels better.

Two and a half years ago, I wrote this and my career only exploded afterwards:

So, with these realizations and my own skewed since of lefty politics and social views I’m embarking on a mission to do better… to make things good… to connect people to good things they might not have known about… to form community… and to use my skills to leave the internet a better place than it was when I found it (way back in the Prodigy Bulletin Board days).

Lofty goals often mean periods of worry, anxiety and joblessness in terms of “career” but sticking to my flower-guns has got to be a better policy than being miserable knowing that I’m not using my full potential.

So, who knows what’s next, but it will be shiny, rusty, exciting, boring, profitable, unprofitable and creative. I will make this work (whatever in the hell this is).

So, who knows what’s next? I will make it work. I will make it worthwhile.

Thank you all so much for the incredible dedication of readership as well as the inspiration you’ve provided me in the comments and emails.

Here’s to a new beginning and learning from the past.




More FeedBurner Fail?

Not sure if it’s Google Reader or FeedBurner, but this is not cool:

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Skitch.com > samharrelson > GoogReaderFail

Six hours of latency. Six.

Track will kill the RSS star.

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