Twitter

DM Whacker – A Tool for Deleting all of your Twitter Direct Messages

I get way too many direct messages on Twitter – and there’s few of them I actually read. I’ve posted in the past about the annoyance of Twitter auto-responder messages. For some reason, people still feel the need to auto reply to anyone who follows them with something like:

“Thanks for the follow! Now read my blog!”

As if we followed this person for the sole purpose of helping them increase the number of views of their site. I’m surprised I haven’t heard someone go that step further and ask me to click on an ad because, “I have car payments, dick!”

I’ve found a great solution for this though: DM Whacker is a great way to delete ALL of your instant messages. Now keep reading, there are some instructions.

1) Go here to get the DM Whacker bookmarklet. Drag it into your browser’s toolbar.

2) Go to Twitter and sign in. While this tool really does work, it was made before Twitter’s layout update – so you’ll want to switch back to the old layout.

3) Once you’ve done that, click on the link in your toolbar. It will likely ask you if it can go to your messages. Click that “ok” button.

If you look on your right rail, you’ll see this:

The fields are pretty self-explanatory. You can either delete all of your DMs, or you can just delete DMs from a specific user. If you’ve got an active Twitter stalker, the latter is for you. But I get hit-and-run DMs from all of those dummies who read some blog post telling them to DM anyone who followed them. So I select “all dm’s.”

And a quick aside to the developer – it’s “all dms,” not “all dm’s.” That apostrophe is only necessary if you’re going on to say, “all dm’s on your profile are trash and need to be destroyed.” “All dms,” however, means all of your direct messages.

Anyway, if you also want to delete all of the DMs you’ve sent, check that box too. If you have a TrueTwit account, you’ve likely got hundreds of those. Also, shame on you for making people verify themselves. There aren’t THAT many Twitter bots out there you should be allowed to pester people who’ve been kind enough to show interest in you. I had to set up an account with them just to get all these messages to stop. Hypocritical? You betcha. Still, when TrueTwit wins, everybody looses.

Anyway again, you can also delete DMs with specific keywords in it, like, say, “TrueTwit validation service. To validate click here.” Then it will only kill those specific messages.

It would be nice if you could tell the app to delete all messages except those from specific users, but how badly do you really need your favorite DMs? If the person who wrote you was really that heartfelt, they’d have sent you a real letter. Or at least posted it to your Facebook Wall.

Because really, while DMs are supposed to be an easy way to get a quick, private message off to one of your followers, it’s been perverted by too many. Twitter isn’t going to do anything about it, so you may as well.

Twitter Redesign doesn’t show Posting Source

I really want to like Twitter’s redesign. It does a lot of things I like, and I know I have a bad habit of finding the bad side of most anything.

Unfortunately, the redesign does remove a post’s source, and this is a big, big problem for me.

I know it sounds minor, but it isn’t. I’ve posted at length on this blog about discarding potential followers because they use autoposting services for their tweets – particularly the Twitter API itself. On the old Twitter page they look like this:

I don’t have many, if any followers that use the Twitter API, because I unfollow them as fast as I find them. But here is someone who uses Twitterfeed, which helps users commit the same sin: Auto posting from a feed.

Auto posting is a way to continuously have content pouring into your Twitter profile, so that you never have to read anyone else’s posts. It’s an acceptable tool if it’s part of your overall posting strategy, but if you only want to import stories, you aren’t really on Twitter.

And I shouldn’t have to put up with you.

With the redesign, you can’t simply see how people are creating their posts. As such, if I suspect someone has created a dummy profile connected to a feed, I need to research them further. Is every post a story with a link? Do they ever respond to anyone? Does anyone retweet them? If the answer is yes, no and no, then they’re gone.

But I should be able to do that at a glance. If the post source didn’t keep people honest, it at least gave me a tool to get rid of spammers. If that’s gone, the people who do this will flourish – and Twitter will become more and more noise without conversations.

Twitter, please, put this feature back into the redesign. Believe me, those of us who are sensitive to this kind of misuse and do something about it are only helping you.

Windows Live Profile is the 2nd most popular social network? Seriously?

Today the news was delivered: Twitter had beaten Myspace for third place as the most visited social network. When I heard that I thought, “Well what the hell’s in second?”

Xbox Live

The answer is confounding to me: It’s Windows Live Profiles.

That’s right, Windows Live Profiles – of course! Haven’t we all spent just hours pouring over our… uh… Profiles and did… stuff?

Seriously, Windows Live Profiles? Do you even know what that is? I do – it’s the social “enhancements” attached to Hotmail. In other words, it’s part of an e-mail client, but not a social network. If that’s the criteria commScore used, I’d imagine Google Buzz does very well, since it runs by default on Gmail. Of course, no one uses Buzz either – cross posting from Twitter doesn’t count. Or does it? I don’t know! The standards here are beyond confusing!

After I read that, I could almost hear the gasp of online marketers across the land moaning, “But I don’t do anything with Windows Live Profiles! I don’t even know what the hell it is! Guess I’d better start setting up my company’s profile!”

Well you can relax. It isn’t a social profile the way you think it is. Windows Live Profile is used to access Xbox Live. There, players can game against each other, exchange messages, and in that way it’s a social platform. There are a lot of Xboxes in the world, which would explain why there are so many users.

But if that’s how they’re calling it a social network, I think it’s cheating. You need a Google account in order to use an Android phone. If Buzz is attached to your Google account by default, (which it is,) that would make it pretty damn popular. We know it isn’t, of course, because no one uses it. But there are a lot of Android phones on the market, enough to make even Buzz seem like it’s happening too.

But at least you won’t have to set up yet another company profile no one’s going to be interested in.

A Great Example of how Not to use Twitter: Celebrity business pitching

There comes a time when you’ve seen everything – and then, you see something else.

It started with a follow request from this person:

Crazy Twitter 01

As you can see, this is a new-ish account. Following a lot of people in hopes some will follow back. The people you usually get to follow you back are the people who also only care about follow counts, though, so even if you get 10,000 of these followers, none of them will ever be terribly interested in what you say.

But there’s nothing new about that. Anyway, I don’t follow people back unless they post something interesting.

The fun really begins with:

Crazy Twitter 04

Because why wouldn’t Justin Timberlake want to talk to a complete stranger from Twitter about his life insurance, which I’m sure he’s thinking about all the time, right?

But you have to give it up to @LifeHealthIns for persistence:

Crazy Twitter 03

The problem is when persistence becomes stalking. You try on the 8th, you try again on the 11th…

Crazy Twitter 02

But if you can’t catch on by the 14th that your plan doesn’t work and you won’t get  a response, don’t you think either JT or his social media guy (if he has one) checks his Twitter account a little more often than once a week?

I’m sorry, Life – he’s just not that into you.

Still, I have to get you props for not limiting yourself:

Crazy Twitter 05

If you’re dedicated to this course of action, you might want to use this list of celebrities who use Twitter. Seriously, there are hundreds of names on here of famous people who will be happy to ignore you.

Good luck!

Goodbye, SarahPalinU5A

Update: The original author of @SarahPalinU5A moved to the new Twitter address, @SarrahPalinU5A and is active again, and doing the same brilliant posts I gush about below. I’d like to take credit for bringing him/her/them back with this blog, but I’m just not that egotistical. 🙂

Shame on Twitter for removing the account @SarahPalinu5a – which is not to be confused with @SarahPalinusa. @SarahPalinu5a was a spoof of the actual Sarah Palin twitter account @SarahPalinusa. It parodied posts made by our favorite losing Vice Presidential candidate turned failed Alaska governor.

@SarahPalinu5a was the most brilliant kind of parody available on Twitter, where few are who they actually say they are. One would have thought that the actual Sarah Palin account’s “Verified Account” status would have been enough to let people know the difference between the real thing and the parodies. After all, if SarahPalinu5a didn’t say, “Verified Account,” then obviously anyone who got there should be able to figure out it wasn’t actually Sarah Palin.

Which leads into the first reason the profile may have been pulled, that Twitter doesn’t want someone pretending to be someone else. I find that hard to swallow, given the number of “fake” personality profiles. Surely no one actually believes Betty Draper, a fictional character on the show, “Mad Men,” is really posting tweets. People are capable of reading content and discerning whether or not something is from the actual person.

I doubt anyone thought these posts were actually from Palin:

“I’m so heartbroken about this spill in the gulf situation. All those animals. They’re polluting our oil.”

“Some days I just wanna stay in bed and play with my boobs.”

“The liberal media wants us to believe a volcano in Iceland is disrupting air travel. Everyone knows Iceland is too cold for volcanoes.”

“Keep fighting the good fight [insert republican candidate]. Don’t let [insert democratic opponent] win the election in [insert November]!”

The complete brilliance of SarahPalinu5a can still be found here.

My hope is that this is the result of an overly aggressive protection from parody on Twitter’s part – but I have a feeling the cause was much more sinister.

Because the other possibility is that the Palin camp caught wind of what was going on, and moved to squash it. I don’t doubt enough lawyers making enough phone calls threatening lawsuits could get a site like Twitter to buckle under and do what they’re told.

I really hope that isn’t the case. I don’t know which would make me feel worse: That Palin has a legal hit squad out to make sure no one tarnishes her name worse than she does herself, or that Twitter would give in to anyone making this kind of threat. I won’t go into how Larry Flint got the Supreme Court to rule on just this sort of thing, because as I say, I don’t know that things went down this way.

But if they did, it’s a stark reminder of how little ownership we have over what we do on social media sites.

Which shouldn’t surprise us either. We are involved in an agreement with sites like Twitter: We’ll provide you with our content, you provide us with your network of potential readers.

If social sites start buckling under to pressure from wealthy and powerful users who just can’t take it, though, they should be abandoned. I emplore whomever actually wrote the @SarahPalinu5a account to continue writing those posts, but using some other site – Facebook seems an obvious second choice, though even Jaiku or identi.ca would work. It isn’t about the network for you, @SarahPalinu5a, it’s about your content. That would be the draw.

Hell, I’d gladly start using my Plurk account if it meant I could read those posts again.

Twitter Basics

I just got back from the Isagenix Social Media Road Show in Atlanta, teaching the people there the importance of using social media to build their small businesses. It’s really fun spreading the word like that: Gathering a lot of people who know it’s something they need to start using, and are open to learning.

Something a lot of us who work with social every day probably don’t realize is how non-mainstream these tools are. We use Twitter and Facebook every day, so we forget that there’s a learning curve to “getting” how to use them effectively.

HowCast.com has this great video on the basics of Twitter that I recommend for anyone starting on the site. It’s also something that would be useful if you’ve got clients you’re trying to get Tweeting.

You can’t actually Tweet for someone else, in my opinion. You can train them on the tools, and show them the best ways to get something out of it – but the only way it really works is if someone gets on themselves and is willing to share a part of themselves.

Lists make Twitter Manageable

At this weekend’s Isagenix Social Media Road Show I got to talk to a lot of people who understood Facebook, but just couldn’t wrap their heads around Twitter.

Which I totally understand. For the longest time I couldn’t get into Twitter because who can read all of those posts? I ultimately decided I wasn’t supposed to – it was just there to sample stuff as it came in, and hope something in there was worth reading.

Then Twitter came out with lists, and I could finally compartmentalize the people I was following. Here’s how it works:

You have a slew of friends, but let’s say you want to be able to sort out only the ones you work with.

You go to that person’s profile. Select this button:

Since this is the first time you’ll be creating a list, select “New List.” You’ll be given a chance to name the list and give a description.

Now that you have the list, you can add all the other people you work with to that list. Then you can add all of your high school friends you know on Twitter to another list. And another for your bowling team, another for the famous people you want to follow… you can make as many lists as you want. When you’re done, you’ll see them on the right rail of your profile.

Now, whenever you ONLY want to see posts by one group of your friends or another, they’re all right there. Simple!

Padding your Twitter Followers isn’t Good for Buisness

I’ve been crowing this for a year now, but few appear to have listened to me. Now, however, an article appears at MSNBC.com that may help people get the message: High numbers of “followers” doth not a lot of money, make.

Services are always available to help a business shortcut the natural order of collecting leads – from e-mail lists to Twitter accounts, no one wants to invest time in something if that time can be shortened somehow. The result are thousands of social media profiles with thousands of followers, which they how will lead you to believe they are popular and relevant.

The problem remains that since no time was put into meeting all of these people, these followers aren’t of any value. What’s more, the more businesses there are that can brag of large followings, the less a “large following” is going to be worth. It’s like trying to brag that your company has “e-mail.” Well what company doesn’t have e-mail these days!?!

The article focuses more on how these businesses selling Twitter followers end up coming with more bad news than they are worth, and that’s true – with little money to actually be made on Twitter, they are going to be more concerned with their own longevity. That means using the Twitter accounts of their clients to promote themselves, one way or the other. (A good reason not to use padding services, but also not to give out your Twitter log-in to any service that requires it.)

If you are a business owner or marketing manager interested in leveradging Twitter, remember: The game here is not about collecting the most followers, but the best ones. If you have 20 followers, but they are unabashed fanboys of your company or product, then you can get these people to go out into the world as your evangels, singing your praises, promoting your offers by their own word of mouth to their own followers. If each one had, say 500 followers of their own, that’s 2000 followers you are messaging to.

That, my friends, is how Twitter can be made to work for business. People crow about their follow counts when they aren’t marketing savvy enough to know what is important. Following counts can produce large numbers, which can be impressive on paper. But using it correctly, to meet others, impress them, friend them, and getting them to turn on their friends to you, this will increase conversions and sales, if not directly.

In another article from MSNBC, Best Buy used Twitter to ask users what they thought the qualifications for their Marketing Manager should be. This is certainly a smart use of the technology, as it engages the public direclty. It listens to what others are saying about them, answering a question they posed.

So will this sell more Blue-Ray players in the long run? Will this keep Best Buy on the tips of more people’s tounges? Will they gain a respect they didn’t necessarily have with Twits up until now?

Yes. Because this is now social media works.